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Poll: Do game developers need to grow up?

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"You aren't men. You are stunted adolescents."

For those of you that don't know, the Game Developers Conference happened this past week. Traditionally a gathering of game developers to mingle, network, teach, and learn from each other while journalists walk around and watch. Over the last few years the GDC has evolved into more of an industry show, but still separates itself from the pack by focusing on the development side and industry issues.

One of the ways it separates itself is with panels. Here experts, developers, publishers, journalists, whomever, are invited to speak about the industry or their own personal pet peeves.

One such panel was a journalist rant where journalists got a chance to get on a soapbox and talk about whatever they wanted.

Heather Chaplin, co-author of Smartbomb, contributor to NPR and other mainstream outlets, took the opportunity to call the industry out on its perceived immaturity. "It is you guys as game designers who are mired deeply in 'guy culture,'" and "You aren't men. You are stunted adolescents." are the two best quotes from her rant and really they say it all.

There has been some backlash, the usual overreaction from those who can't look past the words she used and look at the big picture; and those who don't see her offering a solution.

Those people miss the fact of course that no matter who is vocalizing them, these perceptions exist and they do hurt the industry.

Coverage of the rant were covered by PixelVixen707, GamePolitics.com and MTV Multiplayer.


One thing that I think bears mentioning is that games such as OneChanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, Bayonetta, and the like aren't just byproducts of the people that created them. They're targeted towards the adolescents (and stunted adolescents) that Chaplin describes. So while I'm sure there is some of that attitude within the industry, the demand for it by the gaming consumer is what I imagine is keeping it going. So maybe the audience needs to do a little growing up as well.

Circle of life

Game development is fuelled by enthusiasts chasing the dream of developing games. As a female games tutor (and previous developer) recently said to our class; "they are gamers making games that appeal to people like themselves". As suggested above, this 'boys club' culture can have it's negative affects. I naturally admire game developers, but agree with the notion that perhaps sometimes they need to grow up and start pushing this medium beyond their own creature comforts.

Since when do adults need to

Of course there is going to be backlash, what would you expect when making a statement like that. Personally, I think she made this statement just to be put into the spotlight for saying it. Let's put things into perspective. We're talking about video games. First, and foremost lets remember that these are "GAMES". I think everyone is overlooking this. I get so tired of everyone saying that gamers need are immature, and that the gaming industry needs to grow up. I am 35 years old, I have my own career, I work more hours than I'd like to admit, and when i come home at after busting my butt at work I like to sit down and play my Xbox 360. Not because I'm a "stunted adolescent", or because I need to "grow up", but because for me, this is how I relax. I guess the fact that I work 50 hours a week doesn't qualify me to be an adult according to Heather Chaplin.

I will end this by saying this. Heather Chaplin statement was an insult to all appreciate the gaming industry. It is a perfect industry?....No, of course not. There is a lot that could change, but if all she is going to do is call people names, and point fingers, then she needs to do a little growing up herself.

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