Indies & medium transition

So, I hear you’re making a game. Oh, book? Yeah, er… book.

Tell you what. I understand you have passion. I understand you have a detailed, delicate plot. What would you say if I gave you 10 cents for every time you mention Tide Brand Laundry Detergent™ in your book?

You could drop it in casually, or better yet, force people to see a picture of the iconic orange bottle every time they open your book. If they end up buying a bottle of  Tide Brand Laundry Detergent™ after reading your book, we’ll even give you a shiny quarter! Think of how rich you’ll be!

We just need you to change a few, small, fundamental aspects of your book. These chapters here, we’d like to edit those, make them a little more boring. We purposefully want people to be bored, so that they will buy our products. Don’t worry, we can make them wait. They’ll cool down for a period then get right back to your “story”, excited as ever. We just need to make your book a little less than it could be.

Don’t worry, we can bankroll all of this. The check is good.


Let me just say first of that I am not against anyone making a living with games. I understand how hard it is to keep your head above water, ramen on the table, and a content family life while doing what you love to do. It is rare. Be proud if you are one of the few that can.

That said, the long term evolution of games used as a medium for human memetics is never more apparent than now. Just as with the evolution of television programming, and film before it, games are being viewed less in the light of tool for unique and meaningful human communication and more in the shade of revenue generation, metrics, and conversions.

Games are the first medium beyond interpersonal communication or first hand experience that is a two way street between you and the player that is capable of meaning beyond simple mechanical feedback. This is fundamentally different from books, television and movies. We’ve all seen what those mediums have devolved into at the influence of commerce.

Perhaps it is the dirty necessities of the business. If you’re doing it, you’ve already internalized justifications. Perhaps you’re trying to secure resources for that one great game you’re making. Regardless, as the creators, we all choose to define the medium.


Also, an in-game Awayland screenshot:



Written by

Christopher M McGarryChristopher M McGarry
August 23, 2013 - 11:35 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

48 ÷ 6 =