Somehow, “Sympathy for The Grimmy” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…
It has been a while since someone was foolish nice enough to give me a forum to pompously pursue perfection in the art of perspicacity, so I think that a (re)introduction is in order.
Who is this “Uncle Grimmy” guy, and why does he have a column again?
While the details of my life are inconsequential, there are a few trivial items that may shed some light on who I am and why I’m writing here. First of all, I’ve been a gamer for a long, long time. I got my first TV console video game system in the mid 1970’s. In the 1980’s, I wrote software, first for the TI-99 system then moving to the IBM PC around 1985. In the 1990’s, I was a developer at Star Wars Mud and RealmsMUD. Moving into the current century, I am currently the Director of MMO Programming for Dragon*Con and was a columnist at Massively for a couple of years.
I’ve been a part of every significant gamer demographic age group
I started as a pre-teen, played throughout my teenage/college years, played some more throughout my late twenties and early thirties as a young single man with disposable income, and now I’m a married 40-something with 2 kids. I tell you this because I’ve seen the gaming industry from a lot of different perspectives. From pre-teen to 40+, from player to developer, from programmer to game designer, I have been there and done that in the gaming buisness.
I have opinions. Opinions based on knowledge and standards!
That said, I believe that the gaming business lost something when the emphasis shifted from the art of game design to the economics of the corporate bottom line. I believe that it is up to us, the gamers, to vote with our wallets and reward innovation and “good art” as opposed to “Generic Game Sequel, part 14, this time with more polygons”
When I say “good art”, I don’t mean shiny new eye-candy, although I won’t say no to a game that is really ahead of the curve with respect to visual quality, but games that take chances with style or mechanics. Games that try to do something different. Not every experiment is a success, but rather than punish those who try and fail, I would encourage more people to try.
Inform gamers, and you change the industry
To that end, to whatever small extent that I can, I want to bring things to your attention. If a studio is taking a chance with something new, I want to help make sure as many people as possible know about it and have a chance to experience it. To the extent that a studio sacrifices “art” for “the bottom line”, I want to let you know about it, not so that fans can rise up and boycott, but so that people understand how some studios do business and so that you, the gamer, can make informed decisions with you how spend your money.