Addendum on Anger

I don’t like being the guy who’s always angry, always pointing out all that is wrong. I don’t like pissing off talented if misguided people and making my own life harder. I do like peace and quiet.

But if you think that the appropriate response to this kind of situation….

is this kind of thing

then we have a problem.

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25 Comments

  1. jm

     /  October 6, 2012

    Kannst du das zweite Bild größer einstellen? Es ist so klien, dass ich es nur schwer lesen kann, geht sicher anderen auch so, und daher verstehe ich nicht, worauf du hinaus willst.

  2. jm

     /  October 6, 2012

    OK, ich hab den anderen Artikel von dir gelesen, jetzt versteh ich worauf sich das bezieht, aber kann du trotzdem diesen Aztez-Beitrag verlinken, vielleicht über das Bild? Ich würde ihn gern lesen.

  3. Nein, ich möchte diesen Leuten keine weiteren Hits schicken. Das Bild sagt eigentlich schon genug aus.

  4. Hi Jonas, this is Ben Ruiz. I’m the guy who writes all the posts at Aztezgame.com, where I am the artist and designer on the game most of those posts are referring to.

    I’m not entirely comfortable engaging you in conversation because you seem entirely determined to be upset about things, and you seem resolute in your loathing of me. But I had to at least stop and say that I think it is disingenuous to imply that I wrote my post in response to Amon26 getting evicted from his home.

    I do not know Amon26 and I am not familiar with his games. My post had nothing to do with him. Or you. Or poor people. Or poverty. Or economic tragedy. Or indie game development. Or Valve. Or Steam. It had to do with solutions.

    Where you are sensitive to people dismissing economic and social differences, I am sensitive to people not utilizing their time and energy to sufficiently improve their lives. When I heard 10000 voices saying that $100 USD was a tremendous barrier to their success as an indie game developer, I got frustrated and wrote what I wrote.

    And while I sincerely wish it didn’t rub you the way it did, I don’t take it back because I meant it.

    But I believe that we are -all- supposed to use -all- of our available time and energy to improve our lives physically, intellectually, emotionally, technically, and spiritually as much as we can. I realize “available time and energy” is going to widely vary by individual, and widely vary by culture, country, socioeconomic status, climate, profession, etc. etc. etc.

    But we are indie game developers. In order to make games the way we make games, we need to be intelligent, creative, and have a substantial amount of time, thought energy, and technical focus. We also need internet access. Well I suppose we don’t NEED it but not a single person participating in this argument (and potentially sharing their game on a service like Steam) doesn’t have it.

    And this is the subtle linchpin in my argument that $100 USD should not be a profound barrier for an indie game developer, regardless of their location of financial status.

    As long as we have internet access, we have access to an entire universe of opportunity. And the skills, abilities, and knowledge we’ve built and cultivated as game developers is highly applicable to a enormous amount of that universe. To be a game developer on the internet and assume you are not capable of trading in a trivial amount of time and energy to overcome Valve’s barrier is fallacious.

    This is the point that a lot of your detractors have been trying to make. I understand how you’ve taken issue with some of our language and attitude (especially mine), but you must understand that the people trying to make this point figured out much earlier in their lives. They have been overcoming these kinds of barriers for years and years and years now, and to see a group of people feel like they’ve been slapped in the face is a bit of a slap in their face.

    I’m getting frustrated and sad realizing that I don’t believe you’re going to process this. Based on what I’ve read from you, you seem incredibly cynical and pessimistic, and you seem utterly intent on maintaining enemies whom you perceive to be in a different “class” than you, and whom you believe are dismissive of your life’s conditions.

    So I’m sorry you’re so upset but I don’t know what to tell you except “keep on truckin’.”

    You seem to care a lot of about Amon26, and I’m sorry he’s getting kicked out of his house. But I also noticed that he’s taking a game of his and putting it on Kickstarter as a way of paying his rent and continuing development. Good for him. That’s a perfect example of someone being up against some shitty life changer, and doing something about it.

    In my perfect world, we would all simply do that instead of being really upset about the shitty life changers.

    I hope you’re having a good day, Jonas, and I hope that life is treating you okay.

  5. But I had to at least stop and say that I think it is disingenuous to imply that I wrote my post in response to Amon26 getting evicted from his home.

    If I had suggested that, it would be. If I had, on the other hand, suggested that the whining babies you imagine are actually real people with real problems and your attitude isn’t OK, then that’s a whole different story.

    My post had nothing to do with him. Or you. Or poor people. Or poverty. Or economic tragedy. Or indie game development. Or Valve. Or Steam. It had to do with solutions.

    Yes it did. It was a perfect illustration of how ignorant you seem to be of these things, and how much contempt you have (whining babies, seriously?) for the people who are hindered by these things and dare to mention this fact.

    As long as we have internet access, we have access to an entire universe of opportunity. And the skills, abilities, and knowledge we’ve built and cultivated as game developers is highly applicable to a enormous amount of that universe. To be a game developer on the internet and assume you are not capable of trading in a trivial amount of time and energy to overcome Valve’s barrier is fallacious.

    And there are thousands upon thousands of people with the same intelligence and skills from a wide variety of fields. Are they all rich and successful, or even getting by? No. Besides, you ignore the simple fact that most of the people who come from disadvantaged economic backgrounds are *already* doing all this just in order to be where they are.

    Based on what I’ve read from you, you seem incredibly cynical and pessimistic, and you seem utterly intent on maintaining enemies whom you perceive to be in a different “class” than you, and whom you believe are dismissive of your life’s conditions.

    I am neither cynical nor pessimistic, or I wouldn’t be putting this much energy into trying to change things. I simply don’t subscribe to the view that the system is a “meritocracy” and people who are in a bad situation deserve to be there, or have no right to speak out.

    I hope you’re having a good day, Jonas, and I hope that life is treating you okay.

    I hope you’re having the same. I don’t know you as a person and I don’t hate you, but I will keep fighting against the attitudes you stand for. I hope you manage to put yourself in someone else’s shoes at some point and understand that none of this has anything to do with whining or being entitled.

  6. You DID suggest it by using the word “response”, but that’s not really here nor there anymore.

    the whining babies you imagine are actually real people with real problems and your attitude isn’t OK

    We’re all real people with real problems. What is your point here? And let’s not talk about attitudes right now because you appear to employ as much hostility by default as I did in one post.

    It was a perfect illustration of how ignorant you seem to be of these things, and how much contempt you have (whining babies, seriously?) for the people who are hindered by these things and dare to mention this fact.

    You appear to have become fixated on a photo I used and an example I wrote out and have come to believe that I assume everyone’s life is like my mine. I am happy to report that I am not a closed minded adult idiot devoid of perspective and I do not believe this.

    I was simply making a point that I needed a thing, so I did something in order to get that thing. This is a very simple process that I am (mistakenly?) optimistically positive every functional adult is capable of.

    If for whatever horrific reason you are a game developer in an environment where you are not permitted to use your arms and legs and brain in order to get a thing you need, then you very quickly need to leave your environment for a better one. But I can’t imagine a sensible game developer existing in an environment like this.

    I am neither cynical nor pessimistic…

    Again, your writing style (and Twitter feed, which is right here in the sidebar of this very site) is generally pretty hostile. This is confusing to me.

    I simply don’t subscribe to the view that the system is a ‘meritocracy’…

    I guess that’s the difference between you and I. I do view life, living, and industry as a meritocracy. But I also optimistically believe that we all have the same potential, regardless of where we are in the world or what we were given at birth. If we were all RPG characters, we’d simply have different distributions of points. We are all capable of anything is the belief I carry around with me. If you want to grill me about that, and how naive and irrational and annoyingly optimistic that is I’d completely understand.

    …and people who are in a bad situation deserve to be there, or have no right to speak out.

    And who said anything like that? I most CERTAINLY did not so I’m not sure why that came up.

    none of this has anything to do with whining or being entitled.

    I agree! It has to do with the incredible potential of the indie game developer, and them being capable of getting what they want yet sometimes choosing to put thought barriers between themselves and their goals.

    You can the poorest indie game developer in the entire world and as long as you have internet access you are capable of obtaining $100 USD. Somehow. Someway. I promise. That’s my entire point.

    Promise exempt if you bail out on you goals.

  7. Hahaha! I have grossly misunderstood the correct way to utilize blockquote.

    (Fixed it. – Jonas)

  8. You DID suggest it by using the word “response”, but that’s not really here nor there anymore.

    I disagree. The post is clearly labelled as an addendum, because all it’s meant to do is illustrate a point about the rather long discussion that happened previously, in which your article was mentioned.

    We’re all real people with real problems. What is your point here? And let’s not talk about attitudes right now because you appear to employ as much hostility by default as I did in one post.

    Not really. Besides, context matters. Your hostility was to people who said they had a problem and tried to explain it; you dismissed them as being whiners. Hostility from a position of privilege is not the same as hostility to those who argue without empathy from a position of privilege.

    You appear to have become fixated on a photo I used

    If the photo is insignificant and does not represent something, why use it? In a situation where people are talking about their struggles, choosing a picture like that says a *lot*.

    I guess that’s the difference between you and I. I do view life, living, and industry as a meritocracy. But I also optimistically believe that we all have the same potential, regardless of where we are in the world or what we were given at birth. If we were all RPG characters, we’d simply have different distributions of points. We are all capable of anything is the belief I carry around with me. If you want to grill me about that, and how naive and irrational and annoyingly optimistic that is I’d completely understand.

    Optimistic? I see nothing optimistic about a worldview that suggests that everyone deserves what they get, that every victim of the shocking injustices of our world simply didn’t try hard enough. I do think it betrays a complete lack of understanding of what poverty really means; the idea that we all start out with the same chances is both ludicrous and quite offensive to all those who happen not to be white middle-class males.

    And who said anything like that? I most CERTAINLY did not so I’m not sure why that came up.

    You did, when you infantilized those who voiced their disagreement instead of actually taking their arguments and stories at face value.

    It has to do with the incredible potential of the indie game developer, and them being capable of getting what they want yet sometimes choosing to put thought barriers between themselves and their goals.

    Do you seriously believe that it’s all just a matter of attitude? Is it so hard to imagine that there are unavoidable material considerations for people with different backgrounds? That if it was this easy, maybe people wouldn’t be saying that they can’t afford $100? That maybe people are *already* working incredibly hard just to be indie developers in the first place and be able to afford that internet connection you think defines everything? That maybe if everything was just a matter of attitude, the world wouldn’t be drowning in poverty?

  9. I’m gonna have to disengage now.

    You (and those in your camp of individuals who are maintaining this fictional class war) have already decided I am a rich white evil tycoon carrying around some strange privilege who doesn’t understand not having money.

    Trying to undo that and make a point is obviously futile.

    Sorry if I have wasted your time and good look with everything.

  10. Sorry. I have trouble responding with anything but sarcasm to someone who looks at the world today and says “You can achieve anything if you just believe hard enough!” and explains away poverty as people having given up on their goals.

    So, yeah. You don’t understand about not having money.

  11. Matthew

     /  October 19, 2012

    Hey Jonas,

    I’m not going to write very much here, because I think Ben made some eloquent points and I’d just be repeating them.

    As a quick intro, I’m Matthew, the other half of Aztez, and an indie-about-town (Flashbang/Blurst, IGS, IGF, Indie Fund, TIGSource).

    I’m only chiming in because your last point seems to say that Ben has never poor. Or that I have never been poor. But maybe it’s just saying that we didn’t understand being poor, even if we ever were.

    That’s a big assumption.

    I’m not going to get into a pissing match over impoverished upbringings, but think for just a little bit about where such “privileged” viewpoints come from. Most silver spoon-types I know don’t hold anything resembling “upwards mobility” optimism; it’s the people who have experienced being poor.

    I know the friction of having a $150/month budget, and I’ve also fortunately experienced the lubrication of being able to exchange time-for-money whenever I please (at an hourly rate that matches my old monthly budget).

    I think it’s hugely valid to encourage people to stick to their guns, to find some way to make whatever barriers work–$100 Greenlight fee as an example–and it’s frustrating when those expression of optimism get mutated into pessimism under cover of “privilege” push back argument.

    I guess the only point I wanted to make is that I noticed an assumption about our financial history that allows you to frame this whole thing in an “us-versus-them” kind of way. But that line was never there. It was entirely imaginary, and without it we’re just a bunch of people trying to realize our dreams.

    Best,
    Matthew

    P.S. Okay, I guess I did write a bit.

  12. Matthew

     /  October 19, 2012

    Oh, and despite talking about “us” — Ben wrote the Aztez article. I have similar frustrations myself with the way the Greenlight discussion turned out, although I want to be clear that I’m not speaking for Ben here…

  13. I’m not going to get into a pissing match over impoverished upbringings, but think for just a little bit about where such “privileged” viewpoints come from. Most silver spoon-types I know don’t hold anything resembling “upwards mobility” optimism; it’s the people who have experienced being poor.

    That’s certainly true. It’s what often keeps poor people from acting together for change; the hope that one day they can be on top themselves, just because a tiny minority of them succeeded.

    “Privilege” does not necessarily refer to being fed with a silver spoon. I think I’ve used the term “middle-class” often enough to make that clear.

    I think it’s hugely valid to encourage people to stick to their guns, to find some way to make whatever barriers work–$100 Greenlight fee as an example–and it’s frustrating when those expression of optimism get mutated into pessimism under cover of “privilege” push back argument.

    Accusing people of just whining when they are talking about facing serious problems is optimistic encouragement?

    I guess the only point I wanted to make is that I noticed an assumption about our financial history that allows you to frame this whole thing in an “us-versus-them” kind of way.

    Not at all. This is a disagreement about politics, economics and empathy. I disagree with plenty of poor people and plenty of non-poor people agree with me, which is why you might have also noticed a number of successful indies linking to my original article. This was never about poor indies whining.

    It’s entirely bizarre to me that you claim that I drew a line. The discussion began with people saying they had a problem, that a situation was difficult for them and that they thought a certain system was unfair and destructive. They made no comment at all about the right of other people not to experience such problems – as I have emphasized again and again, there in absolutely nothing wrong with being in a financial situation where $100 isn’t much to you.

    The reaction of folks like Ben Ruiz was to describe the people who expressed this opinion as lazy whiners who aren’t trying hard enough, and to argue along the lines of “Go make a great game, and then everything will line up for you, assuming you’ve got half a brain.” – suggesting that everyone who’s made games but hasn’t had things line up for them is either not a good game designer or stupid. Which is pretty silly given the many great games that have failed to find audiences and the long history of artists only being recognized decades or even centuries after their deaths.

    So basically the conversation went:
    “This new fee is a big problem for a lot of people.”
    “No, if you don’t have enough money you’re either lazy or stupid!”

    So who’s drawing the lines here? Who is excluding others?

  14. Matthew

     /  October 19, 2012

    That’s a straw man argument. If your quote about lazy/stupid was indeed a quote I would be right there with you, pitchfork in hand.

    But it’s not, and there’s a nuanced discussion here about effort, obstacles, motivation, dealing with defeat, and so much more.

    But yes, you seem to have dismissed some of the other side of the discussion with a “you don’t understand being poor”. That’s what brought me to post. I just wanted to point out that it was wrong (well, at least the part about being poor as a fact–I suppose you could stand your ground on what “understanding” means).

    Anyway, I’m out as well! Back to work on IGF here…

  15. But it’s not, and there’s a nuanced discussion here about effort, obstacles, motivation, dealing with defeat, and so much more.

    Nuanced!

    All of the noise has that distinct air of indie entitlement, where they erroneously assumed that another service exists (or should) for their personal benefit.

  16. And no, it’s not a straw man argument, it’s a pretty accurate description of the tone and content of Ben’s comments.

    Do you know what is a straw man argument, though? The argument (presented in Ben’s article) that what we were arguing for is that everyone should just get to go on Steam, that we all have a right to be on Steam regardless of the quality of our games.

  17. AAncient

     /  October 26, 2012

    There are some great posts here. This thread is far more constructive than the previous one and I (and probably many other readers) appreciate it.

    However, these arguments are still unsatisfying and frustrating to me. Jonas – your anger is not serving you well and as this conversation progresses I’m more and more concerned about your intellectual rigor and honesty. It’s not easy for me to say this because I think we believe in many of the same things but the way you express yourself and the quality of your debate actually matters – discussions like these should not be about expressing your passion, they should be about uncovering the truth or perhaps convincing others of a truth you’ve already discovered.

    So, with that out of the way, let me contribute my two cents. It feels like we’re dancing around a central truth here but, due to the constant use of inflammatory and near-meaningless terms like “laziness” and “entitlement” and “privilege”, never really getting any closer to anything of value.

    At its core, this conversation is simply not about any of these things and while in my darker hours I think we’re struggling because it’s just easier to demonize your “opponent” than actually make an effort to understand them, it’s more likely that people are just emotional and defensive and sensitive issues. And in contemporary western cuture, money is a VERY sensitive issue.

    So, what are we really talking about? It’s the concept of compromise. Ruiz is clearly willing to compromise in order to make sure he’s able to make – and continue to make – games. This might the shape of doing other work – perhaps work unrelated to games, perhaps work on games that are creatively controlled by other people, perhaps work that is physically or emotionally degrading. He’s advising others to do the same and is admitting that creative people may need to sometimes compromise in order to support themselves. This is not a sexy thing to say – in fact, it’s rather brave, since it flies directly in the face of the common romantic perception of the “starving artist” (a vicious and dangerous concept if I’ve ever seen one)!

    As for Amon, I’m not familiar with him or his life or his games, so I won’t presume to speak to his situation, but I reading Ruiz’s points as a personal attack as him or even a misunderstanding of poverty is a mistake. It may be that Amon is already compromising, already doing work that is not always entirely parallel with his aspirations – again, I know little about him (although, as a cis white male who can create art, audio and code he’s probably in a better position than most of us, but that’s not the point).

  18. Jonas – your anger is not serving you well and as this conversation progresses I’m more and more concerned about your intellectual rigor and honesty.

    Oh, seriously. That’s really quite low. Yes, you’re so concerned. I’m clearly acting out of anger because I’m not saying what you want me to say. And I’m dishonest, too! I should be more polite to the people whose idea of a good debate is posting pictures of crying babies to infantilize their intellectual opponents and implying that those who are not financially successful are either incompetent or stupid. My behaviour is just impossible!

    but the way you express yourself and the quality of your debate actually matters – discussions like these should not be about expressing your passion, they should be about uncovering the truth or perhaps convincing others of a truth you’ve already discovered.

    You’ll note I keep responding with arguments, and then people say “oh, that’s enough!” and leave. No, I won’t accept the premise that “Go make a great game, and then everything will line up for you, assuming you’ve got half a brain.” constitutes optimism and inclusiveness. I’ve elucidated why.

    I think we’re struggling because it’s just easier to demonize your “opponent” than actually make an effort to understand them

    When did I demonize my opponents? When I simply mentioned the things they themselves wrote? When I said that what they stated clearly shows that they don’t understand something? Or when I made it clear that despite what Ben Ruiz and others have claimed, no-one was ever accused of being on the wrong side for being able to afford something? At no point have I drawn that imaginary line in the sand and said that this is about the non-privileged versus the privileged.

    So, what are we really talking about? It’s the concept of compromise.

    I disagree. We’re not talking about that at all.

    Ruiz is clearly willing to compromise in order to make sure he’s able to make – and continue to make – games. This might the shape of doing other work – perhaps work unrelated to games, perhaps work on games that are creatively controlled by other people, perhaps work that is physically or emotionally degrading. He’s advising others to do the same and is admitting that creative people may need to sometimes compromise in order to support themselves.

    And now you’re just replicating his “laziness and unwillingness to work” narrative. At which point did anyone claim that it is not necessary to do such work in order to survive? Was it not in fact one of the main points of my original article that many game developers are already doing this? That poverty doesn’t mean “oh I can just do some work on the side to afford this” (as the story in Ruiz’s post suggests) but that it means already doing all of this just to have that internet connection everyone seems to think is a sign of being rich? Or, for that matter, that no matter how much you may want to compromise, there may simply be no jobs available? Say you’re a game developer in Greece, where youth unemployment is 50%. Do you think that’s because people are unwilling to compromise?

    The life of the poor consists of constant compromise, because the only alternative is starvation.

    This is not a sexy thing to say – in fact, it’s rather brave, since it flies directly in the face of the common romantic perception of the “starving artist” (a vicious and dangerous concept if I’ve ever seen one)!

    Parroting the most common clichés that we are constantly bombarded with by politicians and the media is brave? Really?

    So, let me see. Pointing out the incredible hardships of being poor, the fact that the world of gaming is not a meritocracy, and asking for people to take that seriously is a way of supporting the common romantic perception of the starving artist? But saying that all you need to do is make a good game and everything will be okay is forcing people to face the harsh truths of game development? Right.

  19. AAncient

     /  October 30, 2012

    It seems like you’re reading my comments as a defense of your “opponent”, which was not at all my intention. I did (and still) think you’re misunderstanding his point though.

    “I’m clearly acting out of anger because I’m not saying what you want me to say.”

    What is it you think I want you to say?

    “No, I won’t accept the premise that “Go make a great game, and then everything will line up for you, assuming you’ve got half a brain.” constitutes optimism and inclusiveness.”

    Where is this premise outlined? I certainly didn’t put it forward and I just re-read Ruiz’s piece and I don’t see it there, either.

    “When did I demonize my opponents?”

    I admit, demonize might have been a strong choice of words here. Still, I wasn’t speaking about you specifically, rather the entirety of discourse surrounding this issue.

    “And now you’re just replicating his “laziness and unwillingness to work” narrative.”

    It’s frustrating that I have to spell this out, because I never said or implied it, but I’m not accusing anyone of being “lazy” or “unwilling to work”. Making a game is work. Lazy people don’t tend to make games. I’d expected this to go without saying.

    However, you’re wrong about this not being about compromise – at least in the case of Amon 26, the developer you keep bring up.

    I’m not trying to point fingers or criticize him, but he recently launched an internet funding project in order to raise several thousand dollars to continue work on his game, as well as paying rent, buying food, so on.

    I feel I should say this again – this is isn’t a criticism of him, I’m just attempting to engage you in an argument and correct what seems to be to be an error in your comment.

    So, compromise. From Amon26’s IndieGogo page:

    “Unfortunatley, that will mean I’ll need to split my time between Arrapha and a day-job which will drastically hamper progress.”

    Again, this is not criticism – I applaud what he’s doing. I’m not familiar with the man’s work but it looks interesting. However, he’s clearly making a choice. Neither option – relying on donors versus doing work outside of his passion – is fantastic, but both are different kinds of compromise toward the goal of doing what he wants.

    “Or, for that matter, that no matter how much you may want to compromise, there may simply be no jobs available?”

    That’s certainly the case in some situations, but not here.

    “But saying that all you need to do is make a good game and everything will be okay is forcing people to face the harsh truths of game development? Right.”

    Again, you’re putting words in my mouth. Consider this comment me spitting them out.

  20. AAncient

     /  October 30, 2012

    As an addendum, I acknowledge that as an educated cis white male in America Amon has it a lot easier than many others, though I’m not pointing this out as an attempt to dismiss his work or experiences due to “privilege”.

    My point isn’t even really to argue about the Steam fee at this (which I agree is unnecessarily high), but to attempt to help get to the root of what we’re really trying to talk about here.

  21. Where is this premise outlined? I certainly didn’t put it forward and I just re-read Ruiz’s piece and I don’t see it there, either.

    So what do those words mean, then? What do they constitute? And how do they relate to what he posted in this comments thread?

    Or are you, like Adam Atomic did on Twitter, saying that these words aren’t in the article? Because they are.

    Again, this is not criticism – I applaud what he’s doing. I’m not familiar with the man’s work but it looks interesting. However, he’s clearly making a choice. Neither option – relying on donors versus doing work outside of his passion – is fantastic, but both are different kinds of compromise toward the goal of doing what he wants.

    Your point being?

    That’s certainly the case in some situations, but not here.

    Because unemployment in the United States is not a massive problem?

    Again, you’re putting words in my mouth. Consider this comment me spitting them out.

    I am not putting words in your mouth. You described Ben Ruiz’s article as bravely flying against the idea of the romanticized starving artist. Yet what he says is “Go make a great game, and then everything will line up for you, assuming you’ve got half a brain.” – in other words, game development is a meritocracy, and if you just work hard and make a good game, everything will be fine; and if it’s not, then either your game isn’t good or you’re an idiot. This more than anything romanticizes the idea of the starving artist who is bound to eventually make it. Ruiz is giving us another version of the rags-to-riches myth, while also justifying poverty as essentially self-inflicted or deserved. How does this have anything to do with compromise or the realities of indie game development?

    My point isn’t even really to argue about the Steam fee at this (which I agree is unnecessarily high), but to attempt to help get to the root of what we’re really trying to talk about here.

    I’ve made it clear from the beginning that the Greenlight fee is not what this is about.

  22. AAncient

     /  November 6, 2012

    He says “go make a great game”, yes, but only after advocating that aspiring game developers do other work to make ends meet.

    “That’s certainly the case in some situations, but not here.”

    By “here” I did not mean the United States. I was talking about your example, Amon. Again, I don’t want to pick on him or call him out, but I do think he’s a poor choice of developers for your argument since he has chosen to forgo a day job, rather than having been forced into poverty.

  23. He says “go make a great game”, yes, but only after advocating that aspiring game developers do other work to make ends meet.

    How is this relevant? First of all, at no point has anyone who criticized the Greenlight fee suggested that people should not do other work to make ends meet; they suggested that people are already doing other work just to survive.

    Beyond that, the point made by myself and others is that game development is not a meritocracy; making a good game does not guarantee financial success on any scale. You can have made a good game and still have no money left over at the end of the month. Ruiz suggests that this is impossible, because if your game is good and you are not stupid, then things will just line up for you.

    What Ruiz is suggesting is that you work to make ends meet until you’ve made a good game, and then everything will be OK; if things aren’t OK, you’re either a bad game developer or an idiot. That is the inescapable logic of the idea of meritocracy – if quality guarantees success, that which is not successful must be lacking in quality.

    Again, I don’t want to pick on him or call him out, but I do think he’s a poor choice of developers for your argument since he has chosen to forgo a day job, rather than having been forced into poverty.

    He has not chosen to forgo a day job, he has attempted to make a living by making games (something which, as has been pointed out before, takes a lot of time and effort). His games were highly acclaimed, so according to Ruiz’s ideology, that should be viable.

    Sadly, that’s all the idea of meritocracy is. Ideology, perhaps based on the enthusiastic first few years of the indie games explosion, before the inevitable mechanisms of capitalism kicked in. The reality of the indie games market today is quite different.

  24. AAncient

     /  December 14, 2012

    Ok, I know this is old so I’ll try to reply briefly.

    What Ruiz is suggesting is that you work to make ends meet until you’ve made a good game

    What does “good” mean here, anyway? I’m assuming he means profitable. Is that what you thought he meant?

    He has not chosen to forgo a day job, he has attempted to make a living by making games

    A distinction without a difference.

    His games were highly acclaimed

    Honestly, given that I hadn’t heard of him until this post, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree.

    Again, though, I realize this basically boils down to your being disappointed that people like Ruiz do not share your worldview to the degree you’d thought they might have. I’ll quote myself from earlier:


    Frankly, this is an epiphany that I’m surprised the author hasn’t already experienced! The indie “scene” is just a bunch of people. Some of them are businessmen, some of them are kids, some of them are just passing through, some of them make propaganda, some of them make addiction machines, and so on. It’s naive to believe in “scenes”, we’ve seen this over and over again in the history of art, from the preposterous implosion and disgrace of punk rock to the disgusting spectacle of the modern conceptual art world.

    I sympathize with the author’s frustration, however.

    And I still do. But, given that these are just people, each of which are as entitled as you to their personal thoughts and words, I still believe your anger is not serving you well.

  25. What does “good” mean here, anyway? I’m assuming he means profitable. Is that what you thought he meant?

    Now you’re playing with words. It’s absurd to suggest that in this context he could have meant anything but a game of good quality, well-designed – you know, what the word good (or “great” in this case) actually means, as opposed to profitable, which is a different word because it has a different meaning.

    “Go make a great game, and then everything will line up for you, assuming you’ve got half a brain.”

    This sentence would be entirely tautological if by “great” he meant “profitable” – a profitable game will make you a profit, yes. And why would he make such an absurd statement when he has clearly said that he believes the world is meritocratic, i.e. that quality will result in success? His statement is not hard to misunderstand except on purpose.

    Honestly, given that I hadn’t heard of him until this post, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree.

    Right, because that’s the standard by which things should be judged. (Though I guess that is the new logic, and the first years of indie history will be thrown away so that only a few individual megahits that journalists can be bothered will be remembered.)

    And I still do. But, given that these are just people, each of which are as entitled as you to their personal thoughts and words, I still believe your anger is not serving you well.

    Funny thing, though – I’m not trying to exclude them from anything. I’m criticizing them, but I’m not telling them they’re not real indies, or not trying hard enough, or make shit games because their games don’t sell enough. They’re doing that, and you’re attacking me.