We burn developers out, lashing each to a computer until their personal relationships, inner passion, and will to build games are all destitute.
We use anxiety and destructive emotional attachment to keep our players coming back again and again.
We promote action without insight and keep our players hooked to a material world bereft of self-awareness.
We shackle our developers and force them to hide their opinions and ideas for the fiscal betterment of our organizations, without thought or heed to the human factory of neurotic tendencies and defunct relationships we're fashioning.
We hide it all in a delicious wrapper made of chocolaty, "We make games! And have fun doing it!" sentiment that coats the rebellion, unease, and anxiety of our workforce.
We make false promises to players and employees and say it's for their own good and this is just how it's done.
We lie to ourselves. Day in. Day out.
That definitely reads dramatic and extreme. I know a lot of individuals that would take offense. "This is the way it is!" "This is games, not manufacturing!" Various war chants ring from the mouths of the industry's defenders. Yet, where is the rebellious uprising calling for change?
I see a few meditations on how our industry is; yet, there isn't a resounding thump, a heavy thwack as the weight of visionaries cuts through the dishonesty bleeding from our peers.
So, this is my call to action.
The extirpation of our industry's rebellious nature is the concern of every game developer. We started as outcasts, skilled individuals laboring in tiny groups, carefully putting together our ideas for a sole cause: expression and recognition.
Yet, now we find ourselves breaking the natural organization limits of 10 or so individuals, forming into strict regiments of hundreds. We've become pieces working towards an oft shapeless goal.
We are to blame for our industry's splendors and horrors.
We've become well versed in building games. We know what parts go where and how they fit together. We've blue printed. We've engineered.
And we've lost the human element in the mix.
Why do our games ship late? Humans.
Why do our games fall short? Humans.
We need more leaders, more rebellious visionaries willing to do it "the right way." We need more empathy and more compassion, a better understanding of psychology, of destructive and constructive emotions.
What ships games? Humans.
Let's make humans and humankind the primary concern of game development.
About the Author
Andrew Andreas Grapsas is a game programmer at Arkadium, Inc. developing casual and social games. He previously worked at THQ and EA as a systems and gameplay programmer on triple-A shooters.
Andrew is actively writing and programming for various projects. You can read more articles exclusively at his blog aagrapsas.com.