"Everyone" is down on game designers, especially those in the indie space.
If you’re one of these people, you may want to click away!
I am a host to London Game Dev Lunch Meet-Up, and I meet a ton of new Indies’ every month! And I have listened to their woes.
If you haven’t personally taken the time out to try creating a game from scratch, then I’m sorry (not sorry) but your opinion doesn’t stand for much. Even if you have done so, you should know better. There are 100 worthless critics to every one designer. Some kid has a dream, a dream to make games, and he’s trying, what are you doing about your dreams?
Or was it your dream to be a game critic? If that’s the case, I think you’re lost!
These brave kids are out there, trying to bring their dreams to life (most of them), they are making mistakes and learning hard lessons, they’re dreaming big and just going for it. And who can blame them, it’s a huge and fierce industry, it’s taking no prisoners, you do or die. Breaking into the game industry takes more than a good idea, it takes some serious guts, and no one is giving them any breaks.
The competition is huge and vastly ranged. The critics are harsh as hell, the fans are even harder! These young people (some less young) are trying to find new ways to make games, new mechanics, new stories, new ways to tell stories, new ways to express, to twist media to their will, all in the name of a moment of joy, for you, the undeserving public.
What did you do to deserve the entertainment these people are trying to provide? That’s right, you did nothing. You didn’t support them, you didn’t offer advice, you didn’t listen to their struggles, you didn’t feed them, or clothe them, or encourage them. That is of course unless you’re a super-fan of indie games (there’s not a lot of you out there).
For the most part, you, yes you, maybe the person I’m talking about! You play games and you criticise it, because you feel entitled! You may have paid the (almost certainly) underpriced cost for the game, (remember we’re talking indie, not AAA) you make a split-second judgement because it’s not fast enough for your tiny attention span, with no consideration for the time it took, the blood sweat, tears, and shattered nerves of those who lovingly crafted the game. You fail to see the simple beauty in another human beings creation. And you click, ONE STAR! You’re the worst!
Didn’t expect to come here and be insulted huh? Well, I’m not here to sugar coat anything to protect your feelings. Hopefully, this isn’t you, hopefully, you’re reading this thinking that there’s an indie game you saw in your social feed that needs funding and you feel compelled to hit up their crowdfunding campaign and donate a little money. A little support, for something you may actually like, instead of paying for some gems in whatever heavily monetised game you play, created by a AAA monster, on your phone, or in place of buying one of your favourite overpriced coffees!
Might be the best money you spend all year, might not, but you can feel good about the spend, it’s not just going in one end and then flushed down a loo right?
There’ll be a tangible product at the end, a small piece of entertainment, if you can bring yourself to enjoy something and bask in someone else’s passion.
Imagine you play a game, before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon! Imagine you supported them to get there! Imagine you took that little chance, and how good that would feel. You chat to a friend, and you can say “Hey, check out this game, it’s really cool, and I helped make it happen!”. Wouldn’t that feel great? Hell yeah it would.
So, if you’ve been a critic, think about what you spout before you trash some small indie creation. Consider all the hard work someone (someone just like you) has poured into it. In most cases they have spent years developing it! Think about how brave they have been to share this with the world, knowing that there are a hundred thousand tongues awaiting to lash at it.
And remember, some game designs, aren’t as bad as you think!
Thanks for reading.
About the author:
Stuart De Ville is a CEO at zappoppow.co.uk and the Co-founder here at
Game Dev London, he also hosts episodes of the GDL podcast.
He is also involved in #PitchYaGame on Twitter, an initiative to help indies showcase their games and get noticed by investors and publishers.
A self-confessed workaholic and stay at home parent to a 2yrld boy, we really don’t know where he finds the time to write blogs!