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Submitted by PsyphonD 999d ago | news

Jonathan Blow: Indie devs aren’t innovative, most games are “immature” and “embarrassing”

Braid creator Jonathan Blow doesn’t see indie developers as “paragons of innovation” and thinks that most games in the videogame industry are “extremely immature” and “embarrassing.” (Industry, Jonathan Blow)

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ltachiUchiha  +   999d ago
Gosh whats up his booty? Lol angry fella but makes good games.
dedicatedtogamers  +   999d ago
He might've said it in a mean way, but he is right. How many indie platformsers with x generic twist + y generic twist have we seen? How many indies have flocked to copy Minecraft?
ltachiUchiha  +   999d ago
True but they do like creating new ideas even if it isnt mind blowing, for me a dev with new ideas is always a good thing. I tend to get bored easy especially with third party rehashes like cod games. I just love new experiences in games alot more.
hay  +   999d ago
This could be said the same about "AAA" titles. How many generic first person point-and-clicks we have seen. How many big studios wanted to have their own Call of Duty/Halo kind of money cow, as he mentioned in the interview. Jumping on "less fortunate" is... Well... You know.

Indies are limited by resources, which isn't their fault, and while making some good points, he seems to be a bit short sighted.
Braid, no matter how much I liked this game, was always simplified Mario-esque platformer with a small change for me(strongly inspired by Timeshift? Which was announced about 2 years before Braid, along with multitude of flash games?), so... Yeah, Mr Blow, but the princess is in another castle.
#1.1.2 (Edited 999d ago ) | Agree(14) | Disagree(6) | Report
decrypt  +   999d ago
He should try playing Dota 2, Warz or Portal maybe lol.
MikeMyers  +   999d ago
Well he is kind of right. We do hear about some of the success stories and breakthrough games like Minecraft, Braid, Fez, Limbo, Super Meat Boy and Bastion. But there's no doubt a lot of crap out there too.

Should there be a better standard of quality? Should the community or platform holder decide whether to greenlight a game or not? It's really hard to do. One mans treasure is another mans garbage.
SilentNegotiator  +   999d ago

While that's absolutely true, indie games tend to get free passes for being "innovative" by having a minor twist, compared to AAA games.
BISHOP-BRASIL  +   999d ago
I believe SilentNegotiator got his point right. You can have two greatly generic games with one single innovative feature each, both features are similar in how much they change the genre gameplay, but the indie one will get praised for how it's different and the high budget one will get smashed by it's similarities with other games.

But even when that's the case, as Hay have mentioned, can you really complain at people with really limited budget, that not rarely don't make a living on developing games alone, but instead hove 2 jobs just so they can fulfill a desire? I mean, many of those people are just hobbists, amateurs, they are not high specialized professionals in a bigger payroll, they just do what they can...

So I think the problem is not with indie games getting over praised, but with high budget games getting a different treatment. In an ideal world we would treat both equally, mentioning both the good qualities and faulties of either game, which actually happen to some extent with indie games, but with high value ones they are a victim of crappy gaming media as much as they are at fault for going generic. So if you are making a big budget game you either pay a lot in ads to some sites and magazines in hope their reviewers look the other way or you better have a nearly flawless game that either is completelly innovative or comes in a highly popular franchise/format, otherwise you gonna get smashed by the media, even if they just rated the similar game they keep bringing up a 10.
Donnieboi  +   999d ago | Funny
This guy sounds like a jerk. Apparently his ego was so big, that his hairline had to make room so that his head could have room for it.
wantonGamer  +   999d ago
CommonSense  +   999d ago
Speaking of generic and immature...

Have a bald joke.
Shadonic  +   999d ago
IDK after watching the indie movie he seemed kind of out there a bit, he makes great games but from what i got from the indie movie he was trying to find people who were like him through braid or something. IDK just ignore me im crazy :(
grailly  +   999d ago
calm down people. He's not talking about the indie games we love, he's mainly refering to what's on the mobile market. It's true, it's just filled with endless runners and bejewelled clones.
-Falaut-  +   999d ago you make fun of his receding hairline.

This is either some sort of high brow comment, or the other extreme being, well, you know. I smell the latter.
linkenski  +   999d ago
I bubbled you for being immature
RustedMan  +   999d ago
I agree tho on the ego part. This guy is one of those "big names" in indie games, and is so willing to exclude himself from the "crowd" because Braid became such a popular game. He hasn't "made it" yet to distance himself from the indie community so quickly. I smell hints of pretense with his comment, coupled with the smell of fecal matter....Because he's so full of sh*t.
Oh, and Braid was incredibly overrated.

Now, whoever made Limbo would have some bragging rights...
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N4G_IS_SONYS_WHORE   999d ago | Spam
He been drinking that David Cage juice again...
Mounce  +   999d ago
Maybe it's because he felt like he had to-

*puts on shades*

Blow a fuse

RmanX1000  +   999d ago
I dont think ALL of them are immature or embarrassing... But i do think the praise for indie games is a little too high at times.
Fluke_Skywalker  +   999d ago
Yup, most of them just steal ideas from old games, give it a stupid pretentious name and call it innovative.
The problem is that most gamers these days probably didn't grow up playing Atari's and Commodore's so don't notice that these "new innovative" games are just a mash up of old games from back then.
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majiebeast  +   999d ago
Why are some of these indie devs pretentious *holes?
#3 (Edited 999d ago ) | Agree(17) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
grailly  +   999d ago
they happen to have opinions which they are aloud to share, unlike developpers in bigger companies.
ShiftyLookingCow  +   999d ago
Ever since Jobs left Earth, its the latest fad. Be cool by being a pretentious ahole.

Personally I think the Sun is an immature 14 year old for shinning so much hot light in the summer.
Pozzle  +   999d ago
yewles1  +   999d ago
I wanna' Jonathan Blow and Phil Fish (Blow Fish, XD) in a steel cage match.
sway_z  +   999d ago
Proof right here ^^ of a mature gamer...
Wenis  +   999d ago
Dude no kidding, when I saw this article and saw "Blow", I also thought of Phil Fish and thought of Blow Fish and then scrolled down and saw your comment
ShiftyLookingCow  +   999d ago
Blow with a samurai sword tied with dynamites and Fish with an automatic rifle that has a grenade launcher.

Wholesome Fun for the Family!
NonApplicable  +   999d ago
Who does this guy think he is? The fact that he thinks he is entitled to statements like these is "immature and embarrassing"
Bathyj  +   999d ago
Um, everyones entitled to make statements like this. Its up to you whether you agree with it or even listen to it.
NonApplicable  +   998d ago
His statement assumes that he knows what's best for gamers. This is offensive because it undermines the people who play games simply to have fun. The sense of entitlement I was referring to is his superiority complex(the result of Braid).

Sure he can make a statement like this, but not without coming off like a pretentious knob.
PrimeGrime  +   999d ago
Want to talk about mediocre indie games... Braid is definitely up there, it looks like a child's flash game and even from an artistic stand point has no value in my eyes. It's decent I won't totally shit on it but it isn't amazing enough for this tool to be acting like he is the king of indie development.

Crap cost $20 also..

I am very open minded when it comes to art as well but nothing in Braid really speaks out loudly enough for me to give it praise. I love brain games also but again Braid is the last thing that comes to mind if someone were to ask me about what good brain strengthening games are out there or even platform games like this.
Mikefizzled  +   999d ago
Braid was hardly mediocre. Granted it had a basic art style but the rewind ability was implemented so brilliantly its safe to say its not mediocre.
Picnic  +   999d ago
Right- but that was in Blinx : The Timesweeper over 10 years ago.
Calm Down Sunshine  +   999d ago
Finally, I thought I was alone in thinking Braid sucked. Massive disappointment.

Limbo was far more fun.
grailly  +   999d ago
weird, I just couldn't stand limbo and loved braid.
UnHoly_One  +   999d ago
I'm with you guys. Braid was crap.

And this guy must just love the sound of his own voice.
coolbeans  +   999d ago
What platform did you purchase it on? I remember it starting out at $15 on XBLA.
Jovanian  +   999d ago
I had a better time bashing skulls in in hotline miami than I did with his 'super deep and mature' game braid..
grailly  +   999d ago
I don't think he dissed hotline miami in particular. how I see it, HM is innovative and not immature. the immature games are the ones that take themselves seriously while being childish.
sway_z  +   999d ago
I agree with him. Games are underdeveloped from a 'Mature' point of view.

Mature doesn't just mean 'Adult Themed or Explicit Content' it means sensible thought out writing and execution of a game.

I for one am sick of female characters having to have huge 'tits' just to sell a game.

This is why I respect David Cage of Quantic Dreams Studios. He makes games for adults who appreciate great narrative. Yes, there are nude scenes in Heavy Rain for example, but it is done with such care and maturity.

Hollywood Movies have the same problem...churning out action flicks for the dumb and dumber.


I don't expect pre-teens to agree with me....Tsk Kids!
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Jyndal  +   999d ago
Hold say mature doesn't mean mature content, then cite a game that's rated M?

Then you attempt to insult those who don't agree with you by calling them pre-teens.

Who's lacking in maturity here?
grailly  +   999d ago
I still think that while HR tried to be mature with it's madison scenes, it still wasn't quite there. I dont think madison had a single scene where she wasn't nude, having sex or being kinda raped. She was just mostly defined by her sexuality.(not that mature imo)
linkenski  +   999d ago
If you have to mention David Cage, then don't associate his writing with being mature please. Heavy Rain is emotionally manipulative in a bad way, because for one, he used the death of children as a way for the player to get emotionally invested, which i consider to be cheap. Also some of the action parts of the game are just stupid, like when Scott Shelby goes all "die hard" against the old man and his... bodyguards?
Agent_hitman  +   999d ago
Another outspoken guy on the internet.. The world is getting more crazy nowadays.
allgamespc2012  +   999d ago
am sorry why is he wrong again? this generaion is plagued with COD fanboyism which is so annoying and immature. The industry is a joke because of these people and here we are defending them? come on. lets be a little bit more serious.
linkenski  +   999d ago
The problem about indie devs is that they are like Artists or band members in the way they express themselves, or at least in this case. I think he's right, but not about his statement being true in general. He's generalizing and without facts it usually brings contradictions.
This guy can't say what he's saying without also implying that a person like Notch is not innovative, and i think that could be counterargued.
CEOSteveBallmer  +   999d ago
No matter how he said it. Its the truth!!. Not all indie developers are good like the others. fine example?? just look at all those games on android and iOS. the quality games are few compared to the majority.
ziggurcat  +   999d ago
with him being an indie dev, is he calling himself immature, and embarrassing?
Jyndal  +   999d ago
What a dick.
Personally, I look upon the indie market as the saving grace of the video game industry. Now people who grew up playing games have the ability to create their own, many times right in their own home.
supremacy  +   999d ago
Divekick is one of those games i can see falling in this category, but a games primary purpose is to be fun and enjoyable above else. To think otherwise is immuture.

Sometimes i feel like some of these devs talk more like politicians and less like a "GAME" creators its just a shame. Yes, the man is talented and yes he has a right to his opinion, but jeesh what a way to downplay every other game made by someone not jonathan blow.
SSJBen   999d ago | Immature | show
xtreampro  +   999d ago
Finally someone has said it! This is so true, they all waste their time making 2D side scrollers over and over again.

Anyone tom, dick and harry can make a 2D side scroller.
dennett316  +   999d ago
And what's wrong with more people being able to make small-scale games? That's where the next generation of talent comes from, it's getting back to the old days of bedroom programmers being able to create their own games and find an audience for them.
Yes, you will occasionally get crap, but the same is true at all levels of development and is not exclusive to the indy sector.
Also, didn't Mr Blow(hard) make a 2-D side-scroller? It had the pretension factor going for it - and the lifting of the rewind mechanic from PoP:Sands of Time - but that's about it. This guy is the definition of the pretentious creator...he tasted some early success, now his ego leads him to lash out at others following in his footsteps because, in his eyes, they aren't as artistic as he. He disappeared up his own arse some time ago.
The_KELRaTH  +   999d ago
What an ignorant comment. Most "good" devs likely started as Indie and if anything it's Indie devs that are progressive and inventive while the large publishers are stale offering much the same time after time.
Sure there are some low quality Indie games out there but most of the big franchises like C&C, BF, Civ, UT, Quake etc etc started as Indie.
It's not all about games either, some of the game mods completely changed the host game's popularity and eventual direction i.e. BF1942 >> Desert Combat mod.
Picnic  +   999d ago
He's right.

The difference between complaining about an AAA game being generic and an indie game being generic is that the indie game could have been created in a matter of mere days in some cases. And yet they may still charge £5-£10 for it making the cost / time taken to make it work out with a higher ratio in their favour.

Maybe AAA games have less reason to be so generic when they do take so long to make though.

Whatever, some indie games are great, better than some AAA games in importance. And some are terribly derivative.

But in the sweep of history what will matter most is that they had the skill and took the time to make a game. And hopefully the money and praise made from it does reflect, to some extent, how they haven't merely jumped on to a bandwagon.
TheMrMalro  +   999d ago
Saints Row 3 + 4.
isarai  +   999d ago
those are not indie games :/
TomSawyer187  +   999d ago
I'm guessing that was his point...
Mr-SellJack  +   999d ago
why are people upset it's true,those devs intend to make silly stuff that seem fun for a while just to sell.That's why i never try to buy them and buy innovative games instead
isarai  +   999d ago
Well not every indie game has to be totally serious and profound Jonathan.
MilkMan  +   999d ago
Agree with article. Most indie games are pure garbage. Very few look like more than 2 seconds was applied to design and thought.

However, when they are firing with all pistons on, the results can be magical.

I wont even get into ANY game app available on smart devices, that s a virtual minefield of ripoffs, scams, 3 color matching games, find the hidden object games and money pit games. Total ass.
Volitiel  +   999d ago
I respect Jonathan Blow as a indie game developer, but he often says things that I think are way too hypocritical. I've never tried Braid as I honestly never saw anything interesting enough about the game to buy into it. And I love indie games! I was instantly turned off by the time manipulation aspect most of all, which is a core element to the game. I like to be immersed in a world that feels real when I play a video game, and the time manipulation pulls me out from that immersion because it's not realistic. I feel it simply makes the game feel too gamey, if that makes any sense. To me, a similar game, LIMBO, got this immersion right as I felt like I was a little boy again playing that game. I saw Blow's next game, The Witness, at the Sony event and though the game looked interesting, it seemed like an open world filled with puzzles for the sake of completing puzzles. Where's the story? What's the point of these puzzles? In LIMBO, I was trying to find my little sister. This guy seems to talk a lot about everyone in the industry like they are missing something, yet I haven't seen anything exceptional from him that gives merit to such comments.
KillrateOmega  +   999d ago
He may have been a d*ck in how he said it, but his statement holds some validity.
Slade23  +   999d ago
no really i agree with Jonathan 100%, like for example the Xbox indie games are immature and embarrassing. Most of these games are mostly stupid zombie games, shooting and girls with huge boobs. LMAO, and the mobile market is just full of copy-offs and a lack of innovation
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ajax17  +   999d ago
What's this guy made again? I'm actually being serious...
kasser  +   999d ago
Guys have you even clicked on the article? He is referring to other kind of indie games such as the ones on iOS store.

He is true, lot of the games out there are copy of each other and it is hard to find something unique.
-Gespenst-  +   999d ago
You can say the very same for most AAA titles. They have a veneer of "maturity" but really they're totally immature and juvenile. Be gunning down hundreds of people or "cool" soldiers, or "cool" murderous assassins with "awesome" choreographed ways of gratuitously dispatching people, or women in tight clothes with enormous assets, or women in the games purely as sex objects, or stereotypical ethnic characters, or general displays of ineptitude when it comes to the subtlties and complexities of morals and ethics- resolving dilemmas in really ham-fisted and questionabl ways. I mean, they're mostly analogous to lowest-common denominator blockbuster films.

However vitriolic Blow sounds, he's right like 100% of the time. He's perhaps the only scholarly mind in videogames, together with the Dear Esther dudes, and we need more of them- more people who understand the complexity of life and of the world, and can produce great art from their engagement- not disengagement- with those things. Trust me you'll notice the difference and be sick at yourself for never realising.
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