Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Indie Game Developers Girlfriend

A friend of mine linked me an article today which mentioned my boyfriends and friends recently released iOS game Tobor.  Meat Boy dev has mixed feelings about iOS knock-offs

As you can see from the title of the article and upon reading it, you don't get strong warm and fuzzy feelings from the writer.  There is a lot of negativity being generated from this article, some of which can be seen in the comments (although not all comments are negative and/or ignorant, which is nice to see.)  I felt I needed to share my opinion and feelings on the matter, not only discussing the other side of the argument, but basically my perspective on the bigger picture.   

Just to give a bit of background to those who do not know me.  I've been playing and loving video games since the age of 4.  I attended school for Game Art and Design and have been working as a Tech Artist for nearly 5 years. So I guess I know a bit about video games and game development.

Like many other industries, the gaming industry has suffered greatly because of the recession.  This resulted to the cancellation of many game projects, massive layoffs and game studios having to shut down.  I think we can all agree the recession sucks! 

It's a tough life to pursue the dream of being a video game developer.  Definitely not an easy road by any means.  So now with the result of the recession, there's a bunch of talented people sitting around unemployed, unable to find jobs because there's not a major demand and there's heaps of people who are all racing for the next available job posting.  

Game development isn't just for those who want to make the next major console/PC title.  There's a whole other world to explore!  The world of indie developers is large and continually growing.  It's a really cool community and everyone seems to be very supportive of each other - although this type of game development isn't for everyone. 

Making games isn't just a hobby, for most it's a true passion.  It takes a lot of hard work/effort to make an indie game or any game for that matter.  You can go to school to study how to make games, but a lot of the things you do learn, are from your peers, from personal research and experience.  You most definitely have to be passionate to pursue indie game development full-time, as you don't have the luxuries that come with working for a company or even some of the assurances you get from doing freelance work.  It's tough stuff!

Back to the article.  The writers opinion, is one of which I obviously do not share but thanks for the exposure!  Any publicity is good publicity!  As you can tell I'm an optimist haha.  The game has similarities, yes but I don't see how it's a bad thing to be inspired by and develop something that people already enjoy.  Look at Tetris, Bejeweled, Pac-man, Space Invaders...all fun games which have inspired many game developers to make similar games.  Looking back, the two first games I've made were an Asteroids and a Frogger game.  In the article they even mentioned Edmund McMillen, co-creator of Super Meat Boy felt really flattered and wasn't bothered by it.  Some comments posted on the article even point out the fact that SMB is inspired by Jumper 2.  So why should anyone sweat the fact games are similar?  This is not news...most of everything is inspired by something else.

We can also look at this as a learning experience too!  There's so much that you learn from making your own game because you're doing more than one job, and especially if you're trying to make an indie game for the first time (which was my boyfriends case.)  You should really try it out if you're interested in pursuing this as a career.  It totally helps if you're planning to attend a program in college/university related to this field. 

People need to realize, indie developers not only put in a lot of time and effort into these games, but also a lot of their own money!  0.99 cents for a game isn't asking much.  Many people who have bought and played the game have really liked it.  If the game is fun to play, the only reason you should complain is because you reached a level that seems impossible to beat, but your 7 year old niece completed it with ease.  I don't expect to change anyone's mind who thought negatively about the game - I just want to spread some positivity around!   

Also I just want to say to my boyfriend...you're truly incredible!  You never gave up on your dreams and passions and that is an amazing accomplishment on its own.  You embody so many amazing qualities and inspire me everyday.  The strength, courage and compassion you carry in all aspects of your life, helps me push past my own boundaries.  I don't say it often enough but I am so proud of you!  I'm proud to say I'm an indie game developers girlfriend! (Ya it just got mushy up in here lol.)

To everyone else, please support indie developers.  Come to appreciate all the hard work that goes into making these wonderful titles!  Thank you to those of you who already do!  And most importantly stay positive and have fun!  Thanks for reading! (That's a lot of exclamation points haha.)

Also I should mention if you're interested, Tobor can be purchased here:
Tobor App Store Page

Also here are some of my favourite comments posted on the Destructoid article.  Thanks for your support!:

"Tobor is a very fun game, sure it is similar to SMB, which I also played, but super adventure island was similar to super mario brothers. Both were sweet. Why does everyone do this bulls*** argument. If the game is good, its good. Tobor is filling a void on IOS that SMB was not. So get over it friends." - nickervision

"Tobor is a great game that emulates hardcore gaming on the IOS. Although the game has been out for three days i have been addicted to the to the challenges TOBOR brings to the table.. for a game that costs 99 cents i see it as money well spent." - MrMcpwn

"Lets leave emotions out of this. Comment about s*** game play if you have played it, otherwise your opinion is null and void. What's the same and what's different?
Similarities: jumper platform, block shaped character, avoid blades
Differences: Console, motion controls instead of arrow keys/keyboard (which demands a whole different coding element.) game play is intuitive in it's own right with the motion controls. The reward system is different and bronze through diamond according to performance.
Graphics are unique and reminiscent of 50's retro design. For 99c this game is worth it and fulfills a gap in the market. Every platformer appropriates ideas. Choice and variety is what makes life interesting." - PostPaint

Here's to everyone who has to battle evil robots!