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Tuesday
Feb122008

The Mysterious Grassroots Gamemaster

There's a mysterious, secret guy called Grassroots Gamemaster. You can read about him here, and especially this post of his. He talks about how backwards the game industry is right now, and one of his best points is how people who know the most about the design of games are nearly never the ones who decide which games to make. Those decisions are usually made by people who wear suits. I laughed at his analogy of a money guy telling Thomas Edison that a lightbulb is not really what anyone wants but he'd like to hire Mr. Edison to be an inventor of something else (perhaps a genre platformer for the next kids movie coming out).

Dear Grassroots Gamemaster, I have a lot of positive things to say and one negative. The positive part is that you have exactly described me, I fully accept your arguments, agree with them, and would like to work in the environment you describe. To give you an idea of how true that is, it's hard for me to picture myself working as cog in someone else's machine where I get $0 for each additional copy sold for much longer. I don't care about job security, I care about doing something that has lasting impact and meaning, but those notions get lost in the shuffle as you described.

So when do I start? Let's do it.

I hate to give out jeers on something when I haven't really researched it, but at first glance I have to wonder what is up with the IGDA regarding Grassroots Gamemaster. He says someone threatened to kick him out of the organization for his views. Grassroots Gamemaster: what is the person's name who told you this? What is his position? What were his reasons? Also, I notice that the IGDA forums deleted pretty much all your posts. IGDA: Why did you do this? Deleting unpopular speech doesn't really sit well with me, especially when the message is so spot-on.

Again, I didn't look into this that closely, but that really worries me about the IGDA. I'm all for an organization that looks out for my interests by lobbying against insane anti-video game laws and that publishes whitepapers on the quality of life in the game industry, as the IGDA does. But really, deleting posts and threating to ban someone who is unmasking the game industry with such cutting accuracy makes me very, very uncomfortable.

Finally, Grassroots Gamer, since we're now going to work together and make great products and win the video game lottery and all, let's just get it out in the open now. I have one problem with you: you're a coward. People who post anonymously on the internet are cowards. Please put your real name on your site and keep saying what you're saying. Wouldn't it feel better to stand up and be counted for what you believe in, even though the people you currently work with might be mad at you?

There's a lot worse things to be than a coward. Being wrong is worse, and Grassroots Gamemaster is not wrong, so he's way ahead of the curve.

--Sirlin

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