Celebrity-ification in indie game news, nothing we can do, maybePosted: 2013-07-27
Most of this argument is rooted in believing that games as a culture will grow best if we are exposed to a wider variety of games and if the journalism backing everything also looks at a wider variety of games rather than a popular few. The same idea is at the root of the Indie Game Stores movement (https://bit.ly/whyindiegamestores) .
In recent news, well, read it if you want. http://www.examiner.com/article/phil-fish-breaks-a-gasket-tells-media-member-to-kill-himself
It’s an observation of what I think is an effect of the tendency for game news to solicit opinions of the more popular developers. Perhaps that makes sense if you want to retain readers, they might be more trusted though there is no reason to trust them over anyone else (as Jon Blow points out) – no one really has the “facts”, just guesses.
Anyways, there is a tendency to reach out for celebrity-like developers for facts. Obviously this happens everywhere – not just in games, and there is not much we can do about it, since it is a way to get something read by more people. You can always get a lot of hits or views on a news piece by talking about something Notch or Jon Blow or Phil Fish says, even if their opinion might hold less information than someone else’s.
My initial thought is that this sort of behavior – covering stories like the phil fish one – is hurtful to the community as a whole. We are wasting our time writing about useless things, rather than looking at more interesting reasons why these useless things even occur. And we are spending less time covering an argument than we could have spent analyzing or discussing a small, not well-known game, and exposing that to other players and developers. And it does not reflect well on the public outside of games, to think we are a medium that only has a few “Good” games, this makes trying to win over cultural acceptance even harder, if we don’t expose the wide variety of ideas being explored through games, and instead look at small arguments.
The same goes for normal news, and many other systems where celebrities can form (I guess it’s a normal human behavior thing)?
What this results in is a culture that centers upon a few things that can be important (FEZ, minecraft, braid are obviously important games), but that can be hurtful when we focus too much upon a few things, rather than looking for influences in more places.
Oh well. You can still do your part by just not talking about celebrities, I guess, but as far as the general will of the public goes, we are screwed.