Jonathan Blow, the developer of indie-darling mind-bending, time-warping platform puzzler Braid and long-in-development The Witness is often heralded as a figurehead in the indie development scene. Only he thinks most indie games are terrible.
The videogame industry is a shaky one at the moment. Most big budget games are thinly disguised clones of each other, playing it safe in the chase for cash. That leaves the arty, independent developers to be the ones innovating, right? Well, yes – but most are awful, says Blow.
“With regard to indie developers specifically, I wouldn’t look at them as paragons of innovation,” Blow said in an interview with Gamasutra about games as art. “Some indie developers innovate, but strictly speaking by quantity, most indie developers are just copying other peoples’ games with minor changes, just like mainstream developers do. Look at all those iPhone games! The difference is just that you notice the indie games that are innovative because they make bigger splashes than the copies.”
Blow believes that games, not just indie games, need to mature because they’re mostly immature and embarrassing.
“…most games are extremely immature and in fact kind of embarrassing.,” he lamented “That is obvious to anyone who is not immersed in game culture. But if you are immersed in game culture, it might be hard to see.
And “as for whether games ‘need’ to mature, I don’t know if they need to do anything, but definitely I think it would be nice if they were to mature on average,” continued Blow. “For sure there are some of us out there trying to make games for an audience with mature sensibilities. We’ll see if that catches on.”
Last Updated: May 14, 2013