I Hate Indie Games!

By Jim Rossignol on March 20th, 2008 at 10:01 am.

WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYY!?
I don’t hate indie games. But just so you understand the true nature of PC Gamer’s most recent Devil’s Advocate, I direct you to look at the title. Devil’s Advocate. It’s the column in which I argued graphics are more important than gameplay, and games should be harder, more boring, and free of violence. You know, I was being a Devil’s Advocate. DO YOU SEE? The latest one is here, and in it I slag off the recent Indie gaming trend:

Nostalgia will end up turning gaming into the Ouroboros worm, the snake that swallowed its own tail: the more we depend on this stuff, the more we backpedal, and the more stunted our gaming world becomes. Retro, you see, can mean ‘retrograde’ as well as ‘retrospective’.

Once you’ve had a read, take a look at the comments thread. JESUS CHRIST HOW STUPID ARE THESE PEOPLE. THE CLUE IS IN THE FRICKEN’ TITLE. HELLO? EARTH TO MOLE PEOPLE?! WHAT TIME IS IT ON YOUR PLANET? HNNGAARGH.

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35 Comments »

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  1. Janek says:

    I’ve made it my general policy to never ever read comments on the internet. Ever.

    …Except here.

  2. dartt says:

    You advocate the devil AND hate indie games?!

  3. Windlab says:

    We feel for you Jim – your literary genius must always be misunderstood whilst away from RPS.

  4. Lightbulb says:

    Well if you want my honest opinion Jim its getting alot of bad responses because:

    1) Its the internet
    2) The article, while making some good arguments, is buried in rubbish

    The actual arguments that:

    remakes are bad (i disagree because everything is new to someone)
    nostalgia is bad
    Games are about looking forward

    “And how good can they really be when most of the entries are not even finished? Eh? The IGF is blatantly, openly encouraging young game designers to create games that will never have major commercial success, and will probably be forgotten by this time next year. Hell, some of them might never be playable by the gaming public. Yes, there’s something fishy going on. ”

    All that is great. A serious article making these points would be a great and thought provoking read (and its something i would love to read on here or The Escapist). However the style of the Devils Advocate articles means that theses arguments are lost in the ‘humour’ of saying outrageous things.

    Half of the article is just about the joke – to me its clearly absurd and MEANT as a joke (but i don’t find it funny) but this is the internet and people will not get jokes less subtle than clown gets hit in the face with a gravity gun projected toilet…

    However if you read the wiki you linked to it says:

    “This process can be used to test the quality of the original argument and identify weaknesses in its structure.”

    The points i identify above do this very well. Indie games are not perfect, they will not save the world, they DON’T do everything right.

    Playing devils advocate means putting an argument that may be contrary to current opinion, or in some other way different to see if it has merit.

    To put it another way it should not involve making clearly absurd statements because these will only detract from the main (and VERY valid) arguments.

    In short you can try and be funny and make a decent argument but if people don’t ‘get’ it they won’t pay any attention to the argument just rip apart the ‘untrue’ parts.

  5. Dinger says:

    I can’t believe you bought the whole Bagpuss series on DVD. You know it’s viewed best on VHS (or ideally black and white and broadcast).

  6. Feet says:

    It’s difficult to advocate a position that is so obviously wrong. You made a fine attempt at it under the circumstances. I do think that the Devil’s Advocate colums is only suited to things that would actually have two positions with equal pros (and cons) (EDIT: though I suppose then it wouldn’t be a devils advocate, what I meant is there must be subjects where the common position or thought on a subject is misinformed to a degree that allows you to extrapolate a legitimate opposing view), and the chosen subject here really doesn’t fit with that. I think anyone on the internet with an interest in PC Gaming knows that indie games are likely to save, or atleast change PC gaming rather than help ruin it. I appreciate that a devil’s advocate has to believe Hitler was a hero, and that column is to purpofully court a controvertial view. There’s a difference between controversial and wrong though.

    Whoever assigned you that subject did you no favours basically.

  7. Rev. S Campbell says:

    Um, what’s the point in playing Devil’s Advocate if NOT to provoke a storm of outrage and fury?

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    True, but in this case it’s rather undermined by the column explicitly being called “Devil’s Advocate”. You’d expect a reader to say “Oh yes, but he doesn’t mean it,” rather than “this is akin to the outrages of the Daily Mail.”

  9. sana says:

    You need to pack the feature in a video with funny stick people and speak very fast into a microphone for people to get it.

  10. MisterBritish says:

    I also heard you hate kittens, and take 5 minutes everyday to drown a sack-full.

    Some guy told me.

  11. Alec Meer says:

    I do worry that the title alone doesn’t make that point strongly enough. It’s fine if you’re familar with the piece, but I think it’s all too easy for non-Gamer-veterans (i.e. CVG’s readership at large) to presume it just means ‘rant’. This may well be deliberate, of course – as Stuart observes, the column’s supposed to incite debate.

  12. Colthor says:

    You hate indie games?!

    You make baby zombie Jesus cry :'(

  13. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, I’m probably completely wrong about this. Maybe people *are* supposed to think I’m a raving madman, and take umbrage. (What a great phrase.)

  14. Alex says:

    Maybe you should change the title of the column to Go On And Take Umbrage, Why Don’t You?

    It’s snappy, it tells the story. Frankly – it’s a winner.

  15. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, I’ll forward that idea to the next PC Gamer redesign.

  16. Dinger says:

    Maybe it’s because the title “The Devil’s Advocate” is largely superfluous around here. Guys like Dvorak make a living out of being professional trolls. Sacred Cow-Tipping generates tons of page visits, and lots of discussion.

    I mean, after all, what’s up with giving awards for games that aren’t complete yet? I keep telling you guys, E3 is dead! (But nobody seems to believe me)

    It’s good to have an avant-garde. That means you have an army for an artform. And, as I keep harping, avant-gardes exist to scope the terrain ahead of the army. Often they find dead-ends, and occasionally they get get slaughtered.

    Go recon!

  17. Sander says:

    That was funny. Is there link to where I can catch up with Devil’s Advocates # 1-184?

  18. J says:

    I think there is a bit of a point in those retro comments. Not all retro is instantly good.
    Like some of those revivalist 60’s esque garage bands.
    (In my defence I love quite a few of them).

    There should be a reason for it not just for its own sake.
    And likewise for tech pushing of course.

    Also there are some reasons to criticise the IGF, I believe some of the Flow folks have said it’s very conservative and favours games that are more traditional.

    Though Darwinia may argue against that.

  19. Dracko says:

    To be fair, being a Devil’s Advocate does not mean to be sarcastic, so I don’t see why it comes to a surprise that people don’t identify this as parody.

  20. dhex says:

    maybe change it to “the devil’s plaything” or “satan talks shop”?

  21. Film11 says:

    I must admit that so far I have raged about every Devil’s Advocate article I read, often thinking “How can he SAY that?!“, then realising that you are indeed playing Devil’s Advocate. So, kudos to you sir for daring to fill that role ;)

  22. Geoff says:

    Yeah, I’m with Dracko. You lose a little of the whole “Devil’s Advocate” thing because it doesn’t sound like you’re seriously trying to identify some of the weak points. Instead, it reads like you’re creating straw men and voicing them with heavy sarcasm – “These indie developers must not be allowed to weaken our resolve to make bigger and more expensive games. Because we all know: bigger is better, and pricier is er… nicier.”

    It comes off more like you’re doing an impression of some guy who hates indie games to make fun of him, rather than playing Devil’s Advocate.

    Of course, if the commenters took your straw men for legitimately held beliefs, then they’re missing the point even more.

  23. Lightbulb says:

    Geoff – ‘s what i was trying to say with my bigish post… :)

  24. Alex says:

    In short: maybe the column could use a bit of an introduction, something like:

    “Just like the real world the gaming world is rife with received opinions and convential wisdom.. only one man dares to approach these dogmas from a dangerously different angle –

    Jim Rossignol is.. The Devil’s Advocate!”

  25. James says:

    And then you play the I’m-a-seventies-cop-show musical sting!

  26. Alex says:

    Exactly!

  27. Noc says:

    I read through the article. And for the first half I was thinking “Well, I know that it’s a joke, but this is the kind of thing that could be taken as a genuine criticism. It’s a bit sillily and pompously voiced, but it still reads like a serious article.”

    Then I started reading about how the IGF is the face of a vast conspiracy. And started laughing. And saw the “Sorry” at the end.

    Is this, then, simply another example of people commenting on things without reading the entire article? Or is the article in fact simply too long, and exceeds either the attention span or the short-term memory capacity of it’s prospective commentors?

    Either way, I propose that you try this again – this time on YouTube. It could be a grand experiment.

  28. KingMob says:

    Have you ever read the Jon Swift blog?

    In the vein of the
    original
    , his posts are elaborate political satire on topical issues.
    Basically he poses as a conservative… but careful readers can probably tell that’s not his true position.
    Er, here’s a relatively inoffensive post:
    Castro Resigns! Sanctions Work!

    In any case, his comments are invariably 50% people who don’t get the joke and either agree with him or are outraged by his extreme position.

  29. malkav11 says:

    This is the internet. If you don’t say exactly what you mean with footnotes, annotation, and flashing lights pointing out your exact and precise meaning, people will miss what you’re getting at.

  30. cannon fodder says:

    It’s worth remembering two things:

    Even if the mean and median intelligence of your readership is greater than that of the general population you are still likely to have a substantial “tail” of readers (I use the term loosely) who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, much less understand the principle of advancing contrarian or unorthodox views for the sake of stimulating disscusion or debate.

    If you add the fact that text is the easiest communication medium in which to misinterpret the “tone” of a statement or argument, you are more or less asking to get flamed.

    As already suggested above by Noc; a piece to camera on youtube, or even a audio piece would be much harder for the audience to misinterpret.

  31. Meat Circus says:

    You said “Gameplay”.

    VERBOTEN.

  32. Rockeye says:

    Wait, so indie games are the reason Pope John Paul II shouldn’t be a saint?

  33. MetalCircus says:

    Janek: Not even YouTube?! User comments are one of the best parts! All those arguments and misspelled, grammatically poor posts! I can’t get enough! (seriously, I can’t, they provide me with many unintentional laughs!)

  34. PoC says:

    I read 19th century novels. Most of them last longer than the modern video game, though that’s not necessarily a good thing.