Tale of Tales didn't fail, all of us did

Why indie sperimental games always struggle? Why often the gamers community doesn't even recognize them as games? The case of Tale of Tales' Sunset could be a good starting point to have a global vision on these issues.

This is a repost, you can read the original article here.


Tale of Tales probably won’t make games anymore. The reason, as they explained, is the poor sells of their last game Sunset. I don’t think this is a failure of Tale of Tales, but instead a failure of the whole developer community, especially by the ones that tried to push the boundaries of our medium.

When I started my indie project Maggese I was inspired by the people of Tale of Tales, Molleindustria, Santa Ragione, Quantic Dream and all who tried with their games to provide deep experiences or make story not only a “feature”, but a main focus. Although any of these people (more or less) had fully succeeded in what they really need: a new audience.

Experimental games often aren’t fun in the traditional term, they tend to be fun as a serious movie can be. This means that the average player won’t consider them real games, since she’s used to games that want you just to relax and not to think. Games have to be lightweight leisure of none importance, they don’t have to require particular efforts to be interpreted.

The common idea of game as leisure is totally comprehensible, since it’s around from the beginning of the 19th century. Changing games means to change their purpose, the meaning that for years has been attached to them. Who usually plays games has a strong and clear idea of what games are, and she doesn’t want to question her ideas.

We don’t have to target veteran players, but non players. People that, not having experienced for years the same traditional design, is opened to new concepts.

One of the aim of Maggese is to provide support to artists that want to experiment with interactive software, but don’t have the knowledge to do that. Every time I go in an art gallery for promotion, when I use the word “video games”, people makes incredible facial expressions of disgust and disapproval. Only after long conversations I succeed to make them understand.

The face of many non gamers when you use the word 'video game'

The problem is that all these potential players have a lot of prejudices (video games are violent, childish, stupid, etc). From here it rises up the necessity to make them aware, to teach them that video games can be incredibly more than what they know.

Recently I had a conversation with Mena Lech at Game Happens about this topic. Both of us thought that probably “interactive experience” would suit better certain kinds of games, but any of us wanted to adopt that expression. We didn’t want to renounce to the word “game”, because, I think, everything started from that.

Right now games can be everything, like movies. If we make games that are not for usual gamers, we have just to let the people know. We have to explain them that there are games made having in mind employers, families, intellectuals and everyone who walks in the streets of our cities without distinctions of genders, age or provenience. We have to talk to everyone, became activists, put adds on movies and books websites, wright posts, get covering from non specialized press, and not just to promote our games, but to say to the world: games can provide the same range of experiences and feelings as a movie or a book can.

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