Narratives of Independent Production in Video Game Culture

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


The term 'independent' gaming automatically presupposes its opposite: a 'dependent', mainstream industry from which it seeks emancipation. The phenomenon is often presented as founded on a technological revolution allegedly oriented towards the democratization of the processes of game
development. Also, it appears to be based on the alleged freedom of independent developers, who overcome the restrictions imposed by the mainstream industry in order to express themselves personally. However, this discourse of emancipation does not seem to offer a legitimate definition of ‘independent gaming'. Such enthusiastic descriptions can be easily
counter-balanced by noting the difficulties and risks of independent game development, in that designers struggle frequently to raise sufficient capital and gain sufficient exposure to produce and promote their work.
The argument I want to put forward is intended to contrast with the view of independent gaming as founded merely on shifts in technological, economic, or managerial practices. I propose that independent gaming should also be understood in terms of the influences it receives and replicates, such as those coming from the creative industries and contemporary forms of immaterial labor. I do not intend to reduce the notion of independent gaming to a mere reflection of practices originating from other media, but rather to look at it from a different perspective, which could possibly support a partial redefinition of this narrative of production. I hope to shift the focus away from the individual as an agent of artistic and cultural innovation, and place more attention instead on the practices of co-operation that might emerge from a more flexible organization in the production of digital games.
ZeitschriftLoading... Journal of the Game Studies Association
Seiten (von - bis)106-121
Anzahl der Seiten16
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 2013

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