The corner of fed up people

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Polygon gave carte blanche to a few professionnals anxious to express their opinions about the videogame industry. What they say is far from being new, but it is fascinating to see what their worries are : as developers, they have particular concerns which we, gamers, are not necessarily aware of. There is some vehemence, some authenticity behind the basic banality of their words, and that's why we publish them.


Mike Diskett is the game designer of the PC game Urban Chaos, developed by Mucky Foot. And he doesn't like censorship :

"I'm very concerned for the future of video games with regard to censorship. There's a growing trend to censor games far more harshly than any other medium on the grounds that it's the interactivity that makes the game harmful. But I believe movies (good ones anyway) are far more immersive than a computer game. For example GTA has some of the crudest graphics ever to grace a computer screen, the people are collections of pixels on screen about the size of an ant, and yet the game has been censored half to death, because of the graphic violence shown to these ant like sprites. TV cartoons get away with far worse and far more realistic violence. This trend will get even worse as consoles get more powerful and the graphics more realistic. I look forward to the day when retailers are cut out of the chain, and games are downloaded directly off the internet, so there's one version that goes out world-wide, and local governments or local pressure groups can't inflict their own personal biases on computer game content".


Former columnist for the English magazine Arcade, Neil Jackson has been working in the videogame industry since the mid 80's -often in management and creative direction. Until 1999, he worked at Binary Asylum on the very promising RTS Star Trek : New Worlds, but his publisher, Interplay, made him redundant with three of his colleagues, supposedly to lower development costs -in fact for obscure reasons of bad management.

Star Trek : New Worlds

At the time we wrote this article (february 2000), Star Trek : New Worlds hadn't been released. Obviously, Neil isn't friendly with publishers. It's fairly visible in the few lines he wrote to us in December 1999 :

"Currently, I'm a little sick of the way that developers (and that includes designers, artists, coders and musicians) are perpetually being ripped off by the big publishers. It's been like that ever since I can remember, but from time to time, it gets me down, and I need to take a break from this rat-race. Hence the reason for me becoming involved with an internet project. Time to lick a few wounds, repair and rebuild, and perhaps one day, I'll get involved in another game. But it's going to be really, really hard to make another team as good as the crew at Binary Asylum -they were "shit-hot"-, and it still makes me feel very bitter to see it all smashed up by rich idiots with the creative understanding and tact of bull elephants in the rutting season. I know if Star Trek : New Worlds had been left to us, it would have been shipped by now, and I'd be looking forward to buying my family some decent Christmas presents, rather than scrabbling around for cash and having to work so hard to get financial backing for our new venture. But then, life's like that, isn't it ? I guess deep down, even though I've been screwed over by this business more times than a cheap Amsterdam whore, it's better than working in a mine, or cleaning toilets for a living. I'm lucky to have had the chance to do what I've done, let alone expect to benefit from it financially !".


Glen Dahlgren, the game designer of the sublime doom-like Wheel of time, developed by Legend entertainment, is the last unhappy person of this article :

"I'm sure that you'll hear this from others as well, but it's a shame that marketing plays such a big role in the success of a product. If the marketing doesn't create a perception that the product is huge, then it won't be".

Interviews by Pierre Gaultier (february 2000).

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"I guess deep down, even though I've been screwed over by this business more times than a cheap Amsterdam whore, it's better than working in a mine, or cleaning toilets for a living"