June 3, 2014 9:15 AM | Staff
SUBJECT: IndieGames.com - A goodbye from John Polson
Hey all - this is going to be the last ever post from John Polson, current IndieGames.com EIC, as he's made the decision to go work on helping indies from a different angle - starting out with Indie Fund, along with consulting for a few unannounced developers. Massive congratulations to him!
IndieGames.com will continue nonetheless with its existing editors posting news regularly about the past, present and future of independent gaming - but we'll really miss John! Take it away, John...
It feels weird to have the topic on me, after talking about indies for three years, but here it goes!
To say I've been fortunate to work for Simon Carless of UBM, and those in the projects he has exposed me to, is an understatement. My identity feels almost inextricably linked to all of the awesome indie and industry initiatives he oversees. They've given me windows into the games and the lives of developers, profoundly deepening my appreciation for video games and those who have the magical talent to create them.
I have realized that I want to learn and work more closely with these amazing developers, and I feel it is right to do that with leaving IndieGames.com.
I started my position here in November 2011. Along with Simon and Bethany Coambs (and then-partner Desura), we fought the good fight with IndieRoyale, trying to bring attention to lesser-known indies, and inspiring countless bundle services to pop up in the process. UBM's part of IndieRoyale was ultimately sold to Tenshi Ventures, but I definitely had a lot of fun along the way.
Working on the biggest indie game site ever, I was honored and humbled to learn from and work with amazing curators of all things indie: including foremost, father of indie games news Tim W., Mike Rose, Cassandra Khaw, Gnome, Steve Cook, Lewie Procter, Paul Hack, Lena LeRay, and Anthony Swinnich. Just as I am going to miss talking to all the readers through this Weblog, it's going to take quite a bit of adjusting to no longer G-Chat it up with my present international crew. Who knew Japan, New York, Malyasia, and Greece could all feel so close?!
Speaking of crews, those at UBM sibling organizations Gamasutra, GDC Vault, IGF, and GDC proper all taught me so much, and they allowed me to be involved where I could. One of the last projects, which I hope to do more of, was alt.ctrl.GDC, created with Simon. It tapped into to my lifelong passion for peripherals, and it was so inspirational to see indie devs who work not only outside the box, but who go and build their own to play in.
Equally inspirational have been all the developers who have shared their stories, joyous successes and painful failures, along with their games on the Weblog. I also want to thank those developers who dared to expose themselves in their games and cover more mature themes and topics. I didn't know games could handle all these issues so tactfully.
I hope thought-provoking and inclusive games, and the number of devs who make them, continue to grow! I never knew games could be so personal and connect on so many levels until I played indie games. Your games gave me the courage and the knowledge to discuss things I otherwise never could have online or in public. To those developers who still receive ridicule for being bolder than I have ever been, I hope the day comes very soon that you get to do what you love in peace.
Thankfully, I'm still building a career around indie games, using what I learned in new ways, and maybe even making it easier for some developers to do what they love. All that helps lessen this otherwise sad goodbye. In writing this next chapter, I knew I couldn't say goodbye completely, these games have changed the fan I am for good.
As I continue to grow, I challenge indie devs and their games to grow, too. Keep exploring new mechanics, sights, sounds, and especially new topics you're not familiar with. Chances are your players aren't familiar with the subject matter, either, so they and you can learn from the games you make. You might also get new fans by including something to which they can now relate.
What's new for this game fan? I'm still going to do some public speaking and participate in jams (such as how I judged the PlayStation Mobile Game Jam and keynoted the 2014 Nordic Game Jam). I'll definitely keep following and playing games from jams, too.
I have to. Hundreds of devs from the 7DFPS have made me a believer in the untapped potential of FPSes. A bit of a tangent, but if one man made a tool called PuzzleScript, leading to an amazing breadth and depth of puzzlers, imagine what a RacingScript or insert-genre-here-Script could do for other genres. Maybe jams will help ignite the passion for other classic genres, too.
I'll also be sticking by my co-creation with Justin Woodward, The Media Indie Exchange (The MIX), which keeps expanding. Just as The MIX connects indies with the people who love them, starting this month, I am excited to begin a career in helping some amazing European indie developers reach those same audiences and more.
Their games are what make me pumped for "next-gen," and I plan to channel that energy for every new developer I consult for. In true indie style, I'll wear several hats, helping with testing, designing, localizing, marketing, community managing, and probably doing more as we work towards release and beyond.
While some developers can afford to help me make a living, other developers are in need of help themselves. Sometimes it's just one person with an idea and a passion to change what games can be, and making sure those individuals or teams can reach their full potential is incredibly important to me and to the growth of games.
That's why I am honored to also work for the Indie Fund starting this month, as part of a small team which will help find those special games needing support. While still being highly selective (Mushroom 11, Antichamber, Framed, and Dear Esther are examples), Indie Fund continues to offer the financial and experiential support I would want, if I were an indie developer.
Maybe someday I will be a developer... that's one of the greatest lessons I've learned here. I can try, and I hope some of what I've posted on IndieGames.com has left you with that impression, too.