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GDC Europe: We Have A 'Responsibility' To Support Indies, Says IGF Chairman Boyer

GDC Europe: We Have A 'Responsibility' To Support Indies, Says IGF Chairman Boyer

August 15, 2011 | By Mike Rose

August 15, 2011 | By Mike Rose
More: Indie, Business/Marketing

Gamers need to support innovation in games and developers that are trying to add "color" to games just as we support other media like the music industry, even if we don't enjoy particular experiences.

During the Gamasutra-attended Indie Games Summit at Game Developers Conference in Cologne, Germany today, IGF chairman Brandon Boyer said that those who care about expanding what games can be have a "responsibility" to support experiences that can provoke emotion and make us feel better about ourselves.

In a wide-ranging call to independent game developers that also explained his personal influences, Boyer explained that, as an industry, we need to support more personal experiences. These are the games that can really make us feel connected, and help some feel better about themselves.

"Is it something we're afraid of?" he asked, giving a nod to the subtle lifelessness in Nintendo's Pokemon series. He noted Mare Odomo's comic series "Letters To An Absent Father," which plays on the fact that we never see the father of Pokemon protagonists.

"We should appreciate what a game is trying to do, whether we like it or not," argued Boyer, also a veteran of Gamasutra, Edge, and, pointing to how important it is to make games with wider emotional reach.

He discussed the differences between the music industry and the games industry, quipping, "we don't buy a music album and say 'this album was only 30 minutes long'" -- hence, why should we do it for games, he asks.

He also urged developers at AAA companies to "make a stand and go make the games you really want to", citing examples like Superbrothers' Craig Adams - formerly of Koei Canada - who struck out to make Sword & Sworcery with Capy.

Boyer finished by urging developers to consider the following: if a game can't provide as deep an experience as a music album can, then we must question why exactly that is. He asked developers to personally consider the answer for themselves, and attempt to make games that can provoke the same "color" and emotion that music can.

[UPDATE: Boyer has added more detailed notes from his complex, wide-ranging talk below.]

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