I want you to have fun making games you think are good. I want you to have radical pride in your work, even when the ugly systems that shape our lives tell you your stories are worthless. Because that journey is fun as hell. It’s life-changing, in a small way, to share art that you’re proud of, to see it resonate with others..John Thyer, How To Make Small Good Games
For various reasons, lately I’ve been thinking a fair bit about how much small game advocacy has given way to business advice.
That there is a beautiful, thriving world of small videogames being made is an obviously wonderful thing for me, I’ve been arguing for years now that we live in an absolutely bountiful time for videogames and yet advocacy for bringing more people into games (not the games industry) is increasingly difficult to find and distribute (and to be fair, to justify at times also).
I mean, I understand these are difficult times for a lot of us. Videogames have become a potential route to surviving as other opportunities to make any money become more out of reach. In that context especially, I can understand how we get to where we are.
And, of course, the internet has changed a lot since the last determined go round where we renivented new games but somewhat digital. Time has passed, RSS has been sidelined and so too have blogs. The internet is a crueller place that lots of awful people get to treat as their playground. There’s plenty of reasons the dream of “everyone who wants to make a game should be able to” has become murkier, things less inviting.
2023 is harsh, basically.
ANYWAY! My own personal manifesto would be a whole lot more scattershot than the one John Thyer has constructed. Having been around the block a few times now I’ve had ample time to work out my preferences. None the less, there’s a lot of good stuff in John’s piece – especially if you’re just thinking “maybe I could make a game” for the first time.
That quote I pulled out at the top of this piece though? That’s everything.