Games designer/entrepreneur and novelist Greg Costikyan has written a provocative piece about how games and stories fit together. His premise is that games democratize fiction: with fiction, the author tells the audience how the story goes; with games, the story is made by the audience.
Thinking about this recently, and about what Manifesto is trying to do, it occurs to me that the video game industry has, in some ways, betrayed the democratic nature of the form it sells. The game industry, even if the product it promotes is democratic and interactive in nature, is structured virtually identically to entertainment media that predate it. Creators contract with publishers, who do their best to screw them financially; marketing is "top-down," broadcast-style, with a carefully crafted message disseminated via PR and advertising to consumers; publishers, console manufacturers, and retailers jointly act as gate-keepers to narrow consumer options; and gamers are viewed as little more than sheep to be fleeced, induced by a glut of advertising and manipulated press attention to go to the store and buy the next game in the franchise.
Now, let's think about this a little. There are essentially two groups in this value chain who love games: the people who create them, i.e., developers; and the people who consume them, i.e., gamers. Everyone in between is a necessary evil, a means of getting games from developers into the hands of gamers. But it's also everyone in between who basically doesn't give a rat's ass about games, and indeed, would probably be happier selling detergent, or working in film. For developers, and for gamers, games are something special; for the intermediaries, they're just another SKU in a packaged goods industry.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
If you don’t want to get stuck footing the bill for a hit and run, this dashboard-mounted camera offers up to 2K resolution to make sure you always have a reliable witness, and it’s available in the Boing Boing Store for 30% off it’s usual price.The PapaGo mounts unobtrusively to your windshield to see everything […]
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]