How Not To Run A Game Business

I’ve been reading Your Business Sucks lately. The author is incisive, caustic, and possibly on the verge of a mental breakdown.

I also read the jolly good Tears of Envy blog, which I found because the blogger comments on YBS’s Stop. Making. Games. post. A lot of what’s said in ToE reflects my feelings, so go read that post instead. But I wanted to comment on one of the points in Stop Making Games:

I’m tired of it. I love games. No, let me rephrase that. I fucking love games. I love games so much that I play the shitheel games because I can’t find another starship combat game. I am tired of the bar being so fucking low. I am goddamned fed up with the idea that it’s okay to put out shitty games because you’re not in it to be wealthy. It’s bad for the industry.

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p>I sympathise to a point. But I’ve heard this argument that e-publishing lowers the barrier to entry and therefore lowers the standard of quality, and it’s quite frankly bullshit (and rebuffed by ToE). All entertainment industries have been putting out mediocre products to the masses long before e-publishing ever became an option. Two words: Dan Brown.

To YBS’s other comment about “[playing] shitheel games because I can’t find another… [decent] game [in the genre I like]” – I have to take the Open Source view here. If you don’t like the tools, make your own and stop moaning. That’s what I and half of the gamers I know do. I’ll complain along with you about sliding standards of quality in writing, gaming, winemaking and the music industry but I am free to vote with my wallet.

Last point – it does seem YBS’s gaming bent is towards traditional gamist style games (e.g. D&D). Because in their failed hunt for a decent rpg they’ve clearly overlooked games like Dogs In The Vineyard and Spirit Of The Century and Monsters and Other Childish Things, all of which are very high quality products. It’s a shame if the current trend in gaming doesn’t cater to your tastes – but maybe that’s telling you to dig out your old rpgs and play those instead (and put a Hawkwind album on the turntable while you’re at it).

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