The indie community especially is buzzing the last few days about a letigious douchebag named Tim Langdell, who is on the IGDA Board of Directors. Recently he asked Apple to remove IGF nominee (and one of the very few decent original iPhone games ever made) EDGE from the App Store in Europe, and Apple complied. You can read more about the recent events here:
Whether or not his actions are legal I think is rather beside the point, as they fly in the face of the very values that the IGDA (and many Normals Humans) think are so important. Selections from the official IGDA About page:
Mission: "promoting professional development"
Core Values: Community, Professionalism, Leadership, Fun
They go on to claim that "The IGDA empowers everyone with the means to positively affect their career and the industry."
I think it's worth contrasting those values with Tim's actions and history. Tim's bio on the IGDA Directors page begins with this statement:
"Tim is a 30-year veteran of the video game industry, CEO of EDGE Games, its lead game designer, game developer, as well as professor and Lead Faculty for the MFA in Videogame Production & Design at National University . He also instigated interactive media and game curriculum at the University of Southern California Film School in 1992, and taught at USC for 14 years before moving to become Department Chair at National. Tim has worked on almost 200 titles over his career to-date, and is currently working on new games for the PS3, Wii, PC and Xbox 360."
Of course, if you check mobygames, EDGE is only credited (under various aliases) on a maximum of 26 titles, most of which are at least a decade old, if not two. Tim himself is credited on ZERO titles, unless you count "special thanks" sections, in which case he is credited on THREE games. I mean, we all shine up our resumes now and then, but damn. 0 to 200 is a pretty big jump! I mean I worked on 26 games in the last two years, so can I just round that up to 200 and be on the Board too?
One wonders, between the trumped up qualifications and history of letigious douchebaggery, how these qualities align with any of the IGDA's core values? If one of the directors is a trademark troll shutting down independent developers, its hard to see that as "fun" or "community" oriented, and it's quite difficult to see that as positively affecting anyone's careers or the industry.
We had a funny experience up at the Montreal International Game Summit last year that I think sums up the IGDA for me (that is, the IGDA at large, not specific local branches etc). We were wandering around between the conference and the infamous GAMMA afterparty trying to find something decent to eat, when lo and behold we stumble upon then-chairman Jason Della Rocca! As you may know, he is a Montreal native, so we were sure to get a decent lead on some good eats.
US: "Oh hey Jason! Do you know where to get some decent food in this part of the city?"
JASON looks around and spies the shady hot dog joint that we are standing directly in front of.
JASON: "Ummm this place has hot dogs?"
US: "Yea we were thinking of maybe not hot dogs, maybe more of a sit-down place?"
JASON: "I gotta go"
That's the same Jason who upon resigning wrote this extremely... insightful "rant" about his experience as the chairman of the largest game-oriented organization in the world.
Anyways, this isn't a call to arms or revolution or anything like that obviously. This has just been on my mind a lot the last couple days, and hey what is a blog for if not for that?