Dear Chicago Public Library,
This isn’t a children’s book. You are making a terrible mistake.
Via Harold’s blog
Dear Chicago Public Library,
This isn’t a children’s book. You are making a terrible mistake.
Via Harold’s blog
I’m Sorry: The Rise And Fall Of The Indie Game Magazine is written by Mike Gnade, the founder, former owner and former E-I-C of Indie Game Mag, and posted by Chris Priestman, another IGM alum, over at Indie Statik.
This article is written by Mike Gnade, founder and former owner of The Indie Game Magazine (IGM) and founder of IndieGameStand (IGS). He was upset with what happened with IGM after he let it go and wanted to have a final say on what IGM meant to him and others.
Actually, I want to quote the entire article here, because basically every line of Mike’ experiences trying to balance IGM, other game work, a regular 9-to-5 and having a personal life sounded familiar to me. But I must quote at least this part:
These indie game developers that I had discovered were really nice and were sending me free games to write about on my stupid little Blogger account. I needed this outlet from my regular day job, and I found myself rushing home to these experimental and creative games, playing them for hours, and then writing up a review
That was also my experience coming into indie games and game reviewing, only I was also lucky enough to stumble onto an encouraging editor like Mike, and then meet other amazing people at IGM, and then go to shows and conferences for IGM.
I wrote on Mike’s article:
When I wrote my first piece for IGM’s issue #3, I was so happy to be writing about games for a real, live magazine, and so happy to be part of this community of creative and thoughtful gamers! IGM has been a a great community and led to many other opportunities, I think for us all.
I wrote for IGM for 4 years, which has outlasted relationships, jobs, and home cities for me. Writing for IGM has helped me launch my career in games, by letting me attend shows as press, building my clips, and most importantly giving me that feeling of being a working journalist in a community of dedicated indies.
I wonder, too, if there are times I could have done more for IGM. I work in game development, which means insane crunch hours, punctuated by unemployment (see previous re: relationships, jobs, cities, etc.), so when I had heavy workloads, I’d post now and then about indie games I happened to find interesting and exciting. In retrospect, I could probably have done more to promote the magazine.
Sure, IGM never paid all that much (for totally understandable reasons, not because writers weren’t valued!), and yeah, I wish more of the amazing conversations about individual games and the indie industry were at the bar instead of via email. But I was very lucky to be part of Indie Game Magazine.
IGM gave me four good years with a great magazine. Thank you.
Today the fire alarm in our building went off, so my entire office shrugged, took our laptops and chairs out to the parking lot, and used the wifi from the coffeeshop next door. I think these are my people…
(The) Absolute has asked me to point readers to awesome underground and indie games. Here’s a literary twist on the endless runner:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that adding Jane Austen to anything will make it better, and the usually-edu game developers at No Crusts Interactive must agree. In their new release Stride and Prejudice, the full text of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice forms the platforms and challenges for an endless runner.
No need to get your petticoats six inches deep in mud, just tap to hop and then let Lizzie run along the text. Set the speed for a challenging game, or slow it down to read the book while playing. And of course, you can bookmark your game to pick up right where you left off next time.
I have been writing for one particular gaming publication for 4 years now, and a new owner has decided to turn profit-share instead of payment for each article.
If you aren’t a freelance writer, you might not realize how ridiculous revenue share promises are, but you have definitely encountered the unpleasant results. Basically, the publisher or site owner agrees to pay the writer a percentage of advertising money generated, usually based on the number of clicks a particular story has generated.
It’s payment for getting clicks on a page, not payment for insight, analysis or wordsmithing. The writer’s job expands from writing a great piece, to writing a great piece with a clever headline, promoting his own work on his social networks, growing his social media following, and generally being his own advertising department, with no guarantee of payment. It encourages rushed article respins over longform analysis, yet another slant on a popular keyword over a unique topic, and reaction pieces over careful research. Revenue share for writers encourages all kinds of awful internet behavior, like clickbaiting headlines, failing to spellcheck, and endless self-promotion.
Underpaying the writer(s) gives me a bad feeling. It’s definitely not the first time I’ve encountered it, but it’s particularly sour at a publication where I’ve been writing at a very low rate for a long time, in order to pay those mythical career dues. This magazine was already my lowest paying outlet, by quite a bit, and going to revenue share will be even more of a paycut. My average article for my other editors earns between 10 and 20 times what I make here. My highest paid piece (which is by no means a regular thing, too bad for me!) has earned me literally 50 times this fee.
But I have loved this particular outlet for several reasons. First, the community is great. When I write for this site, the comments are relevant to the topic! Even when commenters disagree with me, they’re just pointing out reasons why they felt differently about a game, instead of telling me that I am incompetent scum.
The meanest comment I’ve ever gotten here was when I covered Robert Yang’s talk at G4C, and Kotaku also chose to cover the same speaker, our of a at the same event. As a journo, I felt good that I choose the same highlights from a day of great speakers, that a mainstream, well paid journo at Kotaku choose, but one reader must have read Kotaku’s first, and found mine derivative. In comparison, I’ve read and received pretty abusive comments on plenty of other gaming outlets.
Second, I have been writing for this outlet for 4 years. Four! Years! Years in which lots of other things in my life changed. When I was waitressing and looking for work, when Next Island folded and I lost my job, when Stick and I split up, all kinds of times when my life was not going my way, I thought about my contributions to this outlet and reminded myself that I have all these thoughtful pieces for an important and beloved gaming publication. This magazine has been a huge part of my identity.
I’m not sure if I will accept the paycut to continue with this outlet or not. There are a lot of reasons to continue, like four years in a truly great community, but a lot of reasons not to, like how my landlord refuses to accept internet bylines and valuable exposure in lieu of cash.
(Note for my friends: It might be fairly clear to my friends which outlet this is, but I’m not going to name it, because these are my thoughts about my experiences, and not meant to be an attack on the mag or on any individual connected to it.)
Neocolonialism is Seth Alter’s new strategy game of economic control and dirty politics. I wrote about Neocolonialism’s Kickstarter for IGM, back in January. The game’s out now, so I interviewed Seth for GamerHub.Tv:
What was your main goal in developing and releasing Neocolonialism?
I had three main goals. The first is that the game didn’t exist yet—in fact, there’s nothing quite like it out there—and I wanted it in my world. Second, Neocolonialism is, as you have written about in the past, a new sort of educational game, and it’s meant to herald a totally new approach to serious game design. Third, I love making games, and I’ve had fun with the process itself.
It’s hard for me to describe Neocolonialism without mentioning Sid Meier’s Civilization. What other games influenced you in developing this game?
Neocolonialism was heavily influenced by Euro-style board games like the 18xx series or Imperial. Board games have this whole genre of “economic” games that just don’t really exist in the digital world. I hate economic games, and the initial genesis of this project was a response to that—Neocolonialism may look and feel a bit like its relatives at first, but in the end, it’s an economic game that is not an “Economic Game”.
Relatedly, I’ve been playing Civ since I was eight, and while it is in the end my go-to for design principles to emulate, it has really troubling social implications—namely, that you do all of these terrible things to other people but the game makes you feel good about your actions. Neocolonialism is partially meant to be anti-Civ: ultimately, you pretty much do what you do in Civ, except that my game makes it clear that you are a terrible person.
Neocolonialism aligns the player’s gameplay goals with economic exploitation, and in-game success is moral failure. This puts the player in the role of the villain, a mechanic which was done successfully in iconic serious games like Brenda Brathwaite Romero’s Train and Molleindustria’s McVideogame.
Right, you don’t play as the Good Guy in the game, because the idea of a superhero-esque protagonist in this context is inherently imperialistic and also wishful thinking.
(As a game writer, I can’t help seeing some of Neocolonialism’s evil goals as a bit of a play on a common gamer’s desire to view the game setting as secondary to winning.)
The Subway Bride is out! I’m really excited to share this one. You can read my story, and my amazing Southern author bio here. I usually have a lot of trouble writing author bios, but not this time.
The author of the story above mine notes that her piece was originally written for a Surreal South magical realism anthology, and I can’t help wondering if it was for the same one that I originally wrote The Subway Bride for.
Harold wants me to make it very clear to everyone that this is not what his real family is like. I tried to tell him that he’s not really a changeling, either, and also that he wrote a book about monster porn, and I don’t go round asking him to tell people it’s fictional.
N’ Elefant Mouse’z ‘Str Trek: Rivalz’ 4 iOz, playerz amazz a deck f cardz, each wit an image from teh nu JJ Abramz “Str Trek,” n’ teh middle & 4 numberz aroun teh zidez. N’ each game, each playr be dealt 5 random cardz, & teh 2 playerz take turnz carefullee placN cardz on a three-by-three gri. Game journalis’ Meg Stivison explainz how 2 improve UR gy 2 defeat UR homiez. (Thiz be an intro guide suitable 4 nu playerz, doez not include hintz 4 avance Treknology)
– ImProVin’ UR GAME n’ ‘Str trEk: rIVALS’ | GeEK GAwK, as creatively scraped from my Yahoo! piece of (almost) the same name.
This. This is why I have a Google alert for my name. Just in case someone scrapes something I wrote, runs it through a bizarre sort of spinner, and publishes it like that.
Harold brought me flowers at work! I was in a meeting when he came by, so Harold left them with the receptionist, Dave. When I came out of the meeting, my whole office asked me what the occasion could be and teased me about Harold’s romantic gesture. (“Is it your anniversary?” “Maybe! Oh crap! Oh, no, it isn’t, I’m good. Whew.”) More than one of the men in the studio threatened to steal a flower to put in his hair, but only one thought he might steal one to hold between his teeth to dance a tango. Plus, I work in a start-up where space is at a premium, so I moved an armload of flowers from place to place around the office all day!
When I got home, with my arms completely full of flowers because Harold gave me ALL THE FLOWERS, I told him what a stir he’d created in the studio.
“…and even the students thought it was sweet. But I wish you’d come in to see me! Did someone ask you to stay out of the meeting?” I asked, “You should have come in!”
“Actually, everyone told me to come into your meeting,” Harold grudgingly admitted, “And make some kind of grand romantic gesture.”
“Oh! That would have been so romantic!”
“Respecting someone’s work by not interrupting her meeting is also very romantic.” Harold said.
Boss: Tomorrow a high schooler is coming to shadow you for a careers project.
Me: Hahahaha, I’m an adult role model with a respectable career! Hahahaha!