Steam Greenlight recently launched! What a great idea from a great company who made a great service! But it hit a strange snag in its first couple days and the response made the independent game developer community blow up. The fact that they're freaking out about this right now is making me a little bit sick so I had to puke up my two cents before I could get back to work making games. But first, some context:
Read Me, Game Industry Layman!
Steam is an online store for PC games. It was created and is run by a company in Bellevue, Washington called Valve, who created the service years ago to digitally distribute their own games. When that was massively successful, they opened it up to the rest of the AAA industry. When that was massively successful, they opened it up to the indies. When that was massively successful, they decided it was too difficult (even for their highly competent and dedicated staff) to filter through all of the games that were submitted every day for placement on the service. Greenlight was their solution.
As it turns out, I am 50% Mexican and 50%...random European smattering. I don't feel at all connected to my European ancestry and you will never hear me talking about it. In general, I find everything European pretty boring and thinking about that half of my genetic code is just not exciting. Sorry, Mom! I do feel a strange connection to the Mexican side of me, though. It's strange because the Ruiz family (very large extended family of Mexican American Catholics) don't exactly carry around their Mexican ancestry on their sleeve. Despite being fluent Spanish speakers, I never even hear the previous generation speak Spanish unless talking with THEIR elders, and apart from the culinary and holiday traditions, the Ruiz family I am familiar with doesn't really have their heritage on display.
I recently got into a super interesting conversation with the guy that wrote this article on the game God Hand (an entirely remarkable game experience; his write-up is fascinating and worthy of your attention). He's a brazen and intelligent mandude (we need more of these) who at some point in our very engaging conversation asked me an important question. "Why do you do this? Why design and criticize beat 'em ups?" I realized that before I could answer him I had to do a little digging and this is what I brought back up with me from the hot, wet mind-earth.