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Thought Experiment : 'Holy Wars' In The Game Industry.

This is not a troll, although this article features trolling mechanisms. This is a thought experiment. Reader discretion advised.

This is not a troll, although this article features trolling mechanisms.

This is a thought experiment.

Reader discretion advised.

So, I was clicking my cow; I realize how Mr. Bogost exposes a brewing 'taboo' amongst in the game design 'oligarchy'.  But I'll leave that tethered to this sentence for now.

On to taboo's, and pissing off game designers and gamers, EVERYWHERE.  

It's time to collectively make fun of ourselves.


It's time to stop taking ourselves so freakin' srsly.

wait wait wait........ not good enough for a thought experiment.

Let's ignore everything 'sacred' about our craft,

and measure our responses to rage inducing 'taboos',

For Science.  

We should do this aggregately, not in our individual cliques, or 'scene'.  I'm talking every person directly involved in making games, from Indie's, all the way up to the upper echelons. Game designers, critiques, and casuals alike.  If you think you are part of 'HardCore Gaming'; you better damn participate.

Follow this link; skip to the part about social taboo prediction,....there?  Ok read moar until you grok enough to comfortably shed all your comforts.

Ok good.  We should do a version of the experiment, and apply it to the most 'heated', fan-tard generating holy wars that seem to be erupting everywhere in game design.  I can't seem to land on any article, without some X vs Y problem state emerging, without some 'edgy' opinion piece being sedated through our collective bullshit meters.

This article is not about these opinions and edge-pie pieces, nor their passions.  Rather, this article is about the consequences of such passionate assumptions; whether they be successful or not, whether they remain as paradigms carried out by the next generation of game design.

And I do mean this coming generation; the next 5 years.

I will structure the experiment like this; I will attempt to filter some 'holy grail', Virgin-Mary ground, whether it's your love for 'Indie', or your justification for being a game designer.  I will use the filter, and execute a 'controlled troll'.  Your job as a reader; determine as best as you can, the current value of your nerd-rage as you read the rage inducing phenomena.

Try to find what makes you rage, especially the ones 'that burn a thousand null pointers' in your soul.  Also, try to find that entire set of controlled trolls, and see if you value contradictory premises.

Please keep in mind; these 'controlled trolls' are set 5 years from now, in a hypothetical situation to be taken as 'fact'. For the purposes of experimentation, and keeping data clean, we assume all scenarios are mutually exclusive.  Contradictory scenarios cannot exist together.

I take no responsibility for any prediction that comes true, nor any ruffled sensibilities.  These are not meant to flame, nor have any intention of flaming.  This experiment does hold the goal of trolling-under-controlled-conditions.

Let's begin.


Prediction: Social Gaming Failed.

Once you have all stopped pretending you make 'games', and start admitting that you make over-glorified pachinko slots (without producing the same value of pachinko gaming), than there may be hope in saving your dying industry.  

Your user turnover is slowing to a crawl.  If it was the velocity of a comedian's LOL value; you're between Carlos Mencia's 'Mexican schtick' and Glenn Beck's grasp of the US Constitution.

You spent years riding that wave of 'social design space', only to see an insurgency of hardcore elitists absorbing your userbase, killing your doodz, dashing your rat-grinding game mechanics under worthless stock options.  You failed to evolve new social mechanics, to establish your identity as a legitimate successor to the dominant market.  People have seen through the gimmicky marketroid forces, and no longer see you relevant.

Social games have turned into the 'Whitney Houston of the gaming industry'.


Prediction: Everyone is Indie

After years of being comfortable with vacuous design spaces, a lack of social grounding, unestablished core values, and a culture of absolute, unbounded openness; indie game developers started assimilating everyone, and anyone, Borg Style.

'We are INDIES, you're existence will be added to our own.  You will be assimilated.  Share teh Love.'

You can use GameMaker?  You're Indie!  Share the love.  You know how to rig an animation skeleton?  You're Indie!  You played Contra for like 30 seconds?  Hey dude, you're indie!  

Your name is John Carmack?  Whatever, you're indie like an 8-bit keffiyeh!

The IGF featured its 17th out of 42 leagues, with over 9000 submissions for 'Pong, Redefined'.

Game Scholars Michael Mateas and Noah Wardrip-Fruin have decided to shorten 'You're Indie." to "You're In.", as a flood of 4500 game design undergraduates flock to UC Santa Cruz.


Prediction: Social Gaming Succeeded.

You have hyper-stochastic based processes that predict click-rates-per-attention-span-frame, enough to see real numbers to increase the confidence votes in your Valuation Committee. You're growing market of users logon daily to 'play', and also disburse micro-stock-options to your monetary hyper-cache on PayPal/7Eleven/Valero.  You have collected home mortgages from all those soccer moms and 'Mama Grizlies' playing 'Border Patrol Ville : Arizona Lockdown', including all the user-generating virtual properties.  Game interfaces and mechanics in 'Anchor Baby Detection' have increased an interest in immigration policy, enabling legislators to strike the 14th amendment from the US Constitution.

Goldman Sachs announces its formal acquisition of Zynga Enterprises, with a buyout of over 200 billion dollars.


Prediction: The Indie Oligarchy announces its next IGF Chairman

Headed by THE_Game_Company's { name omitted at the request of the IGO }, a new IGF chairman has been named to draft and select the voting body for this year's games festival.

Game makers from all over America are expected to converge on this years GDC, with many applying for their first 'independent license certification.'


Prediction: Bobby Kotick accepted as the first person in the Gamer Hall of Fame.


From Eric Carr :

PREDICTION :  In 5 Years, with XBOX 720 and PS4, the development costs to create HD 3D blockbuster games will reach into the $200 Million + range. Unproven IP will not be financially sound, and AAA gaming will be reduced to sequels and spin offs.


I'm gonna nap down, and think of more control cases.  Please feel free to make a controlled troll of your own.

Part of this experiments emergent goal is to answer a question;

"In the near future, what would I do,

if the thing I hated the most,

becomes the norm?  

Would I still call myself a game designer?"


[NB : Please do not implement 'BorderPatrolVille : Arizona Lockdown' in any design document.]

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