I have no audio and I must scream

On Monday, May 7th, Google Chrome released an update that disables audio autoplay on certain sites that use HTML5. Due to this, the audio from several independent videogames stopped working. Among the wondrous things that got broken we have all HTML5 games from Increpare (known as the author of Stephen’s Sausage Roll), Terry Cavanagh’s games (beloved by Matajuegos for making Don’t look back) and the gorgeous stuff from cabbibo (who announced that they will shut their site down if a solution isn’t found). Continue reading I have no audio and I must scream

Prestige is for People With Money

It’s GDC season and it shows. Social networks are filled with comments about the conference. We see local developers, by which I mean Argentinian ones, telling us that “going to GDC should be the dream of anyone interested in videogame development.” Or telling us how GDC was the place where they kick-started to their carrers. But, what happens if you’re short on money and can’t afford it? What happens if you got a pass but can’t afford the plane tickets to get there? Or if they won’t give you a visa? What happens if you are the minority the gamedev scene and for that reason you’ll be paying a lot of money to have a bad time? Is it advisable to tell everyone that going to the industry most expensive event should be their main goal?

There’s something similar going on with Steam. We know that publishing on Steam is expensive, that if we try to sell our game there the platform will retain 30% of our sales. But it should sell well in the first place, which is tricky because the curator system is awful. If you still want to publish on Steam after all, you’ll have to handle issues with toxic communities and review bombing. We know that Steam problems have solutions because itch.io deals successfully with the “there’s too many good games and we need to help people find them” and “I don’t want to deal with toxic people when I share my game” since its conception. If Steam doesn’t solve its problems is because it’s not interested. Then, why do  we recommend, and sometimes demand, devs to publish on Steam?

Yes, there’s indeed people that made a name for themselves by going to GDC or that got a job thanks to having published a game on Steam. There’s also people that didn’t do any of those things and have a job. just the same The career of those persons that neither went to GDC nor published on Steam is not suffering because they didn’t spent tons of money following the advise of some sector of the industry. Those people exist and I know them. There’s also people that went to GDC or published on Steam and all they got to show for it was a lighter wallet.

It’s perfectly fine if your actual dream is to attend GDC or to publish on Steam or on a certain console. It’s ok to attend GDC if you have the resources, or got a scholarship, or you know what you are getting into. But don’t feel pressured to attend the most expensive game conference there is just because people with more experience told you it was the real deal.

Maybe we should stop selling as a one-size-fits-all solution something that can only be helpful to people with lots of money and the means to spend it. We can’t aim for a more diverse industry while recommending solutions that are only valid for people with resources as if they were universal. Specially if those solutions give us intangible rewards. For instance, people recommend GDC for networking, but not for getting publishers or promote your game. That means that, when they advise you to attend GDC they are asking of you to spend 2000USD on a pass, plus the worth of a plane ticket to San Francisco, plus whatever accommodations cost, just for networking.

There’s also the issue of sending devs from third world countries from an industry that’s going through a good period for addressing ethical questions about working on videogames to a place that doesn’t pay their speakers, doesn’t give diversity issues the same weight as the rest of their talks, hosts anti-union panels and talks that pretend the ethical regulations of abusive practices are censorship.

I understand that people recommend giant events and giant platforms with an equally large public because there’s legitimacy in numbers, but it’s irresponsible to ask people to drive into bankruptcy to scrape off a litlle bit of legitimacy. It may be better for developers and consummers to support more sustainable events and platforms.

There are events that are more budget friendly and inclusive than GDC, as well as there are platforms that are fairer and more democratic than Steam. For instance, Oklhos (Coffee Powered Machine, 2016) got a publishing deal with Devolver by attending BIG Festival. Several people make videogames in a sustainable maner with the help of itch.io and patreon.

It’s important that we assume our identity as developers from third world countries and we strengthen bonds with people who shares our circumstances. We know that first world countries export their solutions to underdeveloped countries once they start to fail. So let’s start working on solutions of our own. It’s going to work better than adapting the failed solutions of a third party that also grows money on trees.

Note from the author: we are working on a calendar for videogame events that focuses on affordability, diversity and being different. We intend to keep it updated constantly and add events from all of Latin America, so if you know of any you can contact us through our form, on Twitter, with smoke signals, whatever floats your boat. As soon as we have a link, we are going to put it here and share it on our social networks.

Update (3/14/2018): We corrected with sales, where it originally said profit.

Getting Over It with David Marchand

Video transcript

A lot of people detest spoilers. When you’re in no hurry to watch a certain movie, but you know you have to go see it because if anybody tells you how it ends you’re not gonna to be able to enjoy it. Or when a new season of a show you like just came out on Netflix, and you have to tread carefully on social media. Bear in mind that you can save this video, buy the game, try it out for as long as you want and then come back if you feel like it. My accent’s not gonna get any better, but I’ll still be here. Continue reading Getting Over It with David Marchand

Windows, borders and defamiliarization in Daniel Linssen’s games

For some minutes he had been watching the Tower of Art […] As is the case with many things that are totally familiar, he hadn’t really looked at it for years.

Guards! Guards! (Terry Pratchett, 1989)

The first game by Daniel “Managore” Linssen I played was his metroidvania birdsong (2014). The game’s main appeal, in at least two ways, is its camera. The first way is the clearest: the viewport encompasses Continue reading Windows, borders and defamiliarization in Daniel Linssen’s games

Arc Symphony: Building Our Identity One JRPG at a Time

SPOILERS: This article contains spoilers about Arc Symphony.

Arc Symphony (2017) is an interactive piece by Sophia Park and Penelope Evans. Like the works covered in Love in Times of BBS, it portrays interpersonal relationships in the first internet communities, but instead of focusing on a general interests community, it shows us a community obsessed with Arc Symphony, an imaginary PSX JRPG.

Continue reading Arc Symphony: Building Our Identity One JRPG at a Time

Which is the industry we want?

Cover by crysanthema.

At the inaugural panel of last year’s Meet the Devs a lot of panelists agreed that the videogame industry is composed not only by companies, but also by indies, hobbyists, academic institutions, and the specialized press and critique. This statement, that I still hear nowadays, worries me, because it presents several issues from a moral standpoint, and because stacking several different things together as if they were part of a whole makes for poor analysis and clumsy critical thinking.. Continue reading Which is the industry we want?

Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 4 of 4)

In August of last year, Matajuegos sat to chat with Paolo Pedercini (of Molleindustria) about videogames and art and politics, resulting in a conversation we divided in four parts. We already published the first, second, and third ones. This is the fourth and last one, where we talk about Paolo’s youth, his first experiences playing videogames and analyzing them critically, the evolution of his political thought, and the stupidity of bees.

Santiago Franzani: So, about you. Did you grow up playing games, is it something that is part of yourself?

Paolo Pedercini: Yeah, I played games, started with Nintendo. Actually Continue reading Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 4 of 4)

Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 3 of 4)

In August of last year, Matajuegos sat to chat with Paolo Pedercini (of Molleindustria) about videogames and art and politics, resulting in a conversation we divided in four parts. We already published the firstsecond, and fourth ones. This is the third one, where we talk about the industry, the indie side, experimentation, and representation of broken systems.

Santiago Franzani: Do you make any difference between if you are indie or if you are industry, or there is something that you can say that, OK, this is the opposite, or you can gather all together to think the same way?

Paolo Pedercini: Um…

SF: Hard question?

PP: Yeah, it’s hard. When I was in Italy, Continue reading Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 3 of 4)