Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can DIY Supplant the First Person Shooter?

Good article in Friday's NY Times Magazine section -- and it features Las Cruces area game developer Jason Rohrer.

Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?
By JOSHUAH BEARMAN
Published: November 13, 2009

The face of the enemy flashed across a 20-foot screen. “That’s right,” Jason Rohrer announced. “It’s Roger Ebert.” There were a few boos, as several hundred people stirred in their seats. The film critic’s cherubic face stared at the audience. “Ebert said video games can’t be art,” Rohrer said. “He issued all of us a direct challenge. And we need to find an answer.”

Rohrer was addressing the Game Developers Conference, one of his industry’s premier trade events. Each spring, the conference convenes in San Francisco, and among the tens of thousands of people who attend is a burgeoning fringe of independent designers like Rohrer who hope to radically transform their medium. “A realization is dawning that games can be much more than what they are now,” Rohrer told me later. “They even have the potential to be meaningful in deep, fundamental ways.”

These game designers, a self-described indie scene, form a tightly knit group with a
do-it-yourself culture and a rebellious spirit — something like a ’zine movement
for video games. New and cheap technologies have enabled the movement’s rise.
New tools for production and distribution — through smartphones, over the Web
and via downloadable services on PlayStation, Wii and Xbox consoles — now make
it possible for individuals to conceive, develop and publish their own games.

Rohrer himself is a kind of Thoreauvian game designer, a 31-year-old
back-to-the-land programmer-philosopher who lives in Las Cruces, N.M., where he
codes his eccentrically engrossing games, which can feel like digitally mediated
poetic moods, on an ancient computer and makes them available free online. “Now
anyone can do it,” he says, “which is not how the mainstream video-game industry
works.” ...

The rest of the article is well worth reading... check it out at: Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?

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