Or, how not to get me to promote your video game…
When will indie developers realize that they don’t get a special pass from people just because they’re independent?
Sometimes I want to tell Indie Devs that it’s awesome they had all of this AAA experience, but I’m not reviewing those games and the development choices that were made. I’m reviewing their current work and if you want to get defensive and kick up dust when I ask questions then maybe you shouldn’t be an Indie Developer. Maybe, you should go back to being the awesome guy or gal that can hide under the protection of the AAA name. The outside world is a scary place, but this is where you wanted to be right? This is why you left to become independent; to be able to have your own vision and your own voice, right? So, please don’t be angry with me for giving you what you want.
I had a recent encounter that made me wonder if this person knew that I am all about the little people in gaming? I tend to be predominantly on the indie dev’s side but I also feel that just because your David trying to tackle Goliath doesn’t mean you are exempt from questions. Forgive me for asking questions about art design and game mechanic choices. Is it completely unreasonable to ask questions about reasons why you did x,y or z? I’m sorry I personally think that “just because” isn’t a reason. I don’t like it when anyone creates a game and doesn’t have some sort of logic behind why they’re doing what they’re doing. I honestly don’t care if the reason is because you didn’t have the budget or that you’re experimenting, or even “I don’t think I’ve thought about that and will have to get back to you.” Please do not turn into the proverbial 5 year old and yell “‘cuz” and run away flailing your arms. It’s unprofessional and not very helpful for the promotion of you game. Being brutally honest, as an indie game developer you are currently a dime a dozen.
Which brings me to the defense mechanism of, “well do you ask AAA devs the same questions?” And the simple answer is “yes.” I’m actually harder on AAA games than I am on indie games, when I interview someone or review the games because I know they have more resources at their disposal. This type of deflection is a red flag for me and it’s letting everyone know that you don’t like to be questioned or challenged. I never expect anyone to have all of the answers. I think it is a good thing to have other people’s perspectives in your toolbox; how else will you grow? Why lash out at whomever made you feel uncomfortable? There must be a reason why you felt this way and I’m pretty sure it has everything to do with you.
I’m an engineer, so I can empathize with the plight of being constantly questioned and yes it can get nerve wrecking when someone challenges your decisions, but I’ve always found that it makes me and my products better. I don’t think I’d be creating a good consumer anything, if I didn’t like being asked questions about my choices and decisions. What I want to make clear is that if you want to make it in the business world you have to be prepared as my best friend says “to put on your big girl/boy pants.” No one is going to hold your hand, those days are over. Questions and criticisms are a necessary and healthy part of any artistic process; if you find it hard to develop an open mind and thick skin then you may not be long for the gaming industry.
After all is said and done, this particular gentlemen unfortunately loss my endorsement. I was already prepared to feature him on our Indie Developer Corner and he sort of blew it. C’est la vie.