Opinion: this is what “indie game” means

So, it turns out there’s some guy named Craig Stern running his mouth over on Sinister Design about how to define the phrase “indie game.” You guys don’t care about indie games, right? Of course not! That’s why you’re here, on www.BigBudgetAAARPGs.com.

Here’s a snippet of the piece:

We define words for practical reasons: to be able to easily categorize things with similar qualities, and to delineate the boundaries of those categories. Defining a word is not an opportunity to be a special snowflake, or to show just how badly you want to get rid of the star-off machine. Definitions have to make useful distinctions, or else they serve no purpose.

Developers seem to have a hard time understanding the collective nature of this enterprise. We’re a group used to coding, where we sit by ourselves and name variables day in and day out. Ultimately, what we call the variables doesn’t really matter, so long as we can remember what they do. They’re just placeholders for a fixed, largely arbitrary meaning that we define on a whim according to our individual needs.

So perhaps it isn’t surprising that every developer seems to have their own, self-serving definition of “indie.” Developers with little money insist that it means “a poor developer living on Ramen noodles”; developers who work with publishers insist on a definition that conveniently leaves out “independent of publishers.” It’s time to demolish these transparently flawed definitions and move toward something that benefits the community as a whole.

You can find the full opinion piece right here.

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