When we established our Offworld colony here at Boing Boing, one of the core tenets of our charter was that we want to remove, wherever possible, the barriers that often shut the act of playing games, and the art of making them, away to a privileged few. We don't believe you must pass a set of "nerd culture" signposts in order to be welcomed. We do not care how "hardcore" you are. We don't believe you must have access to expensive high-end equipment, advanced education or hours upon hours of free time in order to join us in modern play.
We would like Offworld to be a place for curious, intelligent fans of all kinds of digital art and interactive entertainment, from the seasoned player in search of something fresh and new, to that friend of yours who holds up her hands and goes "but I'm not really a gamer", even though she understands tech and culture in every other way. We want you to be able to send her a link to a brief, transformative experience that respects her time and intelligence but does not necessarily demand she possess "geek literacy" or the vocabulary of a traditional controller.
You might notice we don't use the word "gamer" here—we are not involved in "gaming", we do not "game" (we don't mind you using whatever words you like, though). We are hobbyists, yes, but we're interested in play, which encompasses self-expression, creation and communication, not a mere consumer category prescribed to you based on the products you buy. We are here for joy and for sharing, and hopefully to play some small role in helping shift the dialogue around games away from widely-misunderstood culture-pocket to its deserved status as broad cultural object.
That's why we so often exhort you, yes, you, reader, to try making games of your own, to engage in their vocabulary to whatever extent you're interested. You don't have to be a professional writer to enjoy keeping a journal, nor a professional actor to enjoy community theatre or improv with your friends. Luckily the barrier to entry for learning to make games is lower now than ever, and free and low-cost resources abound for you to use. We hope this leads to new voices, new modes of expression, new kinds of characters, and new experiences joining the spectrum of what our medium can be and for whom.
All of this has been a long preface to sharing a new resource with you: developer Zoe Quinn (who wrote her own take on the "altgames" manifesto here a few months ago) has unveiled gamesareforeveryone.com, a repository of resources anyone can use as a starting point to answer common questions and find support for entry-level game-making. In the coming months at Offworld we'll be inviting you to join us in low-stakes game jams where you can try out the skills you've learned. For fun. More on that soon! Games are fun, aren't they?