CULTURE: The Video Games Industry – why support the smaller concepts.

Apps are the future.


Before I start, I’m not here to tell you that in the future all of our video gaming platforms will be nothing more than pocket sized smart phones, hooked up to a monitor with an ‘insert format here’ controller (although you never can tell). Recently, I’ve had the chance to talk to a games industry specialist about the future of large format console games.


In these financially hard times the arts as a whole is suffering the pinch of a national recession. This means that realistically, radical and esoteric artistic concepts are struggling to find the funding to express themselves fully (which is a shame really). The gaming industry is one part of this artistic circle. Imagine the next ultra realistic; high quality, unnecessarily gory shoot’em up is merely a speck in the imagination of one individual. How does this person find the funding for his ‘game-changing’ idea? How do I, the games fanatic, desperate to blow up a truck full of weapons grade uranium, support the conceptual storytelling of the video gaming industry?


A lot of people say its like making a film; talented individuals, all grouping together to follow a singular dream; scraping together every penny to make that dream a reality. Unless you are lucky enough to get studio funding to realise your artistic vision then you fall into the 99% of hard working artists. Gaming is no different. Unless by some shear luck you bump into the CEO of EA Games, and he loves your pitch, so he gives 10’s of thousands of pounds to make your game, your pretty much left to code in your basement for days on end. However, there is hope…


A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Board the Senior Product Leader at Brighton’s own games development company, Boss Alien. Who is Mr. Ben Board? Well Ben boasts a very healthy repertoire of games development experience. His résumé includes a plethora of institutional gaming excellence such as Bullfrog (renowned for ‘Theme Park World’), Lionhead (the Black and White series and the Fable series, of which Ben himself designed most of the first challenges) and Xbox at Microsoft. Boss Alien and Ben’s team have released a free smart phone game called ‘CSR Racing’, a visually stunning gear changing-racing app. For starters CSR Racing is excellent; it’s thoroughly entertaining and truly unique in its gameplay. If you, fancy a stunning array of cars, upgrades and sweet conceptual art to back it all up, then look no further than CSR Racing (a recommendation to download if you haven’t already).


So, Ben and his team have a nifty little game that’s free to download, now let’s talk money and progress. First, its obvious that through popularity the game itself can create revenue from advertising opportunities. Sweet, good games deserve good press. Second, everything that you do pay for with real money such as gold tokens or upgrades goes straight in the tin of the games development company; but we all already knew that. What you may not have known, is that the positive results from these small games apps is the single biggest weapon that companies like Boss Alien have in their arsenal when pitching for collaborations with Big Studio Games developers. A simple click and download from you is the first step in supporting the gaming industry of today.  A way to support veterans of gaming design like Ben, in their mission to give us one kick-ass game, that is so engaging you may pass out from all the explosions.


So what do I recommend to bring it all home? Research the aggregates that helped make your big format games. Once you find them, support their associated small games by; dropping a pound or two from your bank account, leaving comments, download the free version, give a little back to the guys just like you, who fancy having the chance to make and play a stunning game. The more chainsaws on guns, the more portals that transport you across maps, the more physic bending gravitational weapons – the better!


Written by Matthew Iredale

The Verse

The Verse Staff

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