Are game developers xenophobic?

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Are game developers xenophobic?

Postby Johanna » Fri May 01, 2009 12:16 pm

I just listened to Jenova's interview on CBC's Spark and it was great.
http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2009/01/full-in ... nova-chen/

I was particularly interested in how Jenova described his very broad experiences in school with the, perhaps, more closed perspectives of older or more traditional game developers.

I have talked to people in the IGDA who think that xenophobia is a major problem in the mainstream game industry - for example, game developers hang out with each other outside of work, they all play the mainstream games and make games for people like themselves. Also they all work so hard that they have little time for experiences outside of making and playing video games. So there is limited space for growth and innovation. The lack of diversity in the game industry has also been mentioned as a problem of this.

Do people agree with this idea? Are independent studios different from the larger studios and publishers in this?
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Postby Amish_Gramish » Fri May 01, 2009 9:06 pm

I don't know anyone personally that has gone into the video game industry, but from those that I know that wanted to go into the games industry, most of them seem to only play mainstream titles.
But, when you look at it, mainstream titles are mainstream, so more people that only play mainstream titles will become game developers than people that play a lot of or mainly innovative/independent/non-mainstream games.
From what I've noticed, the game developers that like non-mainstream games join together, just like how we have noticed on South Park about how Goth kids, and later Vampire kids, gathered together (but the vampires went to Hot Topic and turned other kids into vampires, just so Comedy Central could sell some Vampire kids T-Shirts there).

Anyways, games like Okami, Ico, and Madworld show that the percentage of non-mainstream games are probably larger than the percentage of people that want to play the non-mainstream games.

The people that I know that wanted to become game developers seemed to be xenophobic, but it may have just them being Nintendo fanboys.
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Postby Jenova » Sat May 02, 2009 1:01 am

I can't speak for the industry. On the bright side, all the students who grew up with games and study video games are much more open minded to a wide variety of things outside the traditional games.
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Postby BloodyBandage » Mon May 18, 2009 11:48 pm

interesting theory but most will encounter things in outside life that can give them inspiration for a game...whether that's a movie or a weird encounter at a grocery store there is little seeds of thought everywhere. But yes, doing the same thing with the same group of people will tend to kill diversity/creativity.
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Postby KelleeSan » Tue May 19, 2009 6:45 pm

I definitely think there's been resistance to publishing unique game ideas in the last few decades as well, though. Even if there were games inspired by other sources, they rarely saw the light of day, or marketed very well. I think also the lack of formal game design education contributed to the "xenophobia." You couldn't really learn how to design games other than by playing other people's games. Now there are great sources like Gamasutra, books on game design theory, and, of course, full-blown academic institutions that teach methods for game design.

Jenova has said it before in talks, but making video games that aren't about normal "video game" subjects is really hard. You can't lean on techniques of other designers as much. In this way, we're forced to look outside the box. Also, the USC program gave us tools to help us figure out new game play styles and mechanics.
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Postby FROGGEman2 » Thu May 21, 2009 9:02 pm

if so, the same could be said about authors, directors and other workers of art.
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Postby KelleeSan » Fri May 22, 2009 11:21 am

FROGGEman2 wrote:if so, the same could be said about authors, directors and other workers of art.


I think it's still true. It's tough to find your own voice, in any medium, and so the beginners and the lazy creators simply mimic the styles of those before them. You see it all the time.
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Postby FROGGEman2 » Sun May 24, 2009 3:15 am

Well, I guess you have a point (although I don't think that "xenophibia" is the word...)

Actually, the proof is right here (Haze)
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