“PC Gaming should be like Punk Rock”

Rock, Paper, Shotgun posted an interviewed with Soren Johnson, lead designer of Civilization 4 and now working on Spore, today. Good stuff from RPS as usual, but this in particular stood out for me:

“For me, PC Gaming should be like Punk Rock – being able to do whatever you want. And people are forgetting that the Punk period isn’t just the Ramones and the Sex Pistols… it’s Talking Heads, Televisions, Patti Smith, Pere Ubu, Gang of Four… this huge variety of stuff because people were making it up as they were going along. It was easy enough to make music that people did what they wanted to. And that’ll always be the advantage of PCs.”

And that’s an awesome comparison. I’ve had similar thoughts, it might sound a bit weird but the punk DIY ethic just fits the pc a lot. Just think about all the open-source stuff out there, that’s friggin’ Do It Yourself in it’s purest form and it’s often a successful alternative to the commercial software.

And if you open your eyes on the internet, you can find back a lot of people just doing what they want to as well with games. A lot of indie games and mods out there are brilliant and they often wouldn’t have been commercially interesting for game-developers that aim on the mainstream. And at the same there’s an awful lot of crap too, in that way it’s also just like (punk) music.

Creating games of course takes an awful lot more time than making music of course, but the comparison stands.


~ by Alright Jack on January 10, 2008.

3 Responses to ““PC Gaming should be like Punk Rock””

  1. I was overjoyed for Soren to make the comparison, because it’s the sort of thing I always believed about it – in fact, if anyone digs out the readme files of the Amiga game I did, there’s a whole load of designer notes where I ramble in an 18 year old kid fashion saying exactly that. Well – not with the precision or the realisation WHY but the core thing.

    Something I said to Introversion when I interviewed them once about indie-development – abstractly, you could develop a game in a squat if you had electricity. Wouldn’t it be interesting is graduates decided to throw a year away, all working in a house and trying to turn a game around in the time – (i.e. Using their brains and not doing something which they’d never be able to make).

    (Of the introversion guys, two of them said no, but Delay had the look of… actually, yeah, I’d probably do it.)


  2. Exactly and that idea of working in a squat is nice.

    Funnily enough a lot of people don’t realize this all, cause at one side you got the ‘punks’ that don’t know that DIY can very well apply to other things than music(/politics) and at the other side you got all those people who naturally never heard of DIY.

    I’m actually graduating soon from a IT study and I don’t really see myself going to work 9 to 5 anytime soon. I don’t really see why I really should work and make money, especially not without a wife and kids to take care of, perhaps I’m just young and naïve though. I also thought about just doing something I enjoy together with other graduates, like working on a game, which is something a lot of people from my age probably dream of. Problem is indeed that it’s almost impossible to start on that in ‘official’ ways, just thinking of taxes and all the laws and rules. Starting a company is one thing, but getting a building for example is impossible when you have to follow all the laws.

    So working in a squat is indeed one of the few solutions to that, but I’m afraid the people I’m graduating with aren’t really likeminded in this. The typical geek programmer and squats aren’t really compatible I guess.

    I also thought that the DIY ethic applies very well to a freeform sandbox MMO like Eve Online. But that’s an entirely different discussion.

  3. […] don’t give a fuck about games. – Then there’s another link to my other blog about how “PC Gaming should be like Punk Rock” and how well the DIY ethic applies to a lot of pc-related […]

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