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Our Boys On The News! BBC On Indies

This caption applies to every story I use it for.

Aw, I feel so proud. It’s like seeing your own children in the papers, but without their having had to stab someone to get there. For winning a really tough swimming race or something. Because today on the real actual Queen’s official BBC News is a story about Mr Cliff Harris and Mr Dan Marshall. That’s Cliffski and Dan Off Of Time Gentlemen Please to you and me. It’s a story about the “return of the bedroom coder”, focusing on Positech and Zombie Cow as examples of British independent developers, and explaining that they can be successful in the larger world of gaming. Cliffski and Dan! We know them! They’re on the news!

It’s tremendously fantastic to see these guys getting that profile. I hope it translates into a bunch of sales.

It leads me to a thought. I’m not sure “bedroom coder” is a very helpful phrase to be attached to. In fact, I think it creates the impression that the product will be amateurish, rather than independent. I’m aware that anyone old enough to remember gaming in the 80s will have a different attachment to the phrase – it’s a positive term in our own world. But reading it on the BBC site, it strikes me as a term that doesn’t translate well. Perhaps you disagree. But I wonder how much less appealing something seems to an audience once it’s been suggested to have been created not even in the front room. “Indie developers” is a fantastic phrase, implying separation from the corporations as well as suggesting an alternative attitude. Let’s say that instead?

Oh, and because it’s the law to not get computer games stories right on the news, I’m a bit confused by the Braid bit. 360 first, right? PC ages later.

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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