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mokkograd's manifesto and marketing blog posts

Started by droqen, May 08, 2022, 10:20:51 AM

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droqen

I'd like to start out by saying my takes on these two posts will be primarily negative, but it's not meant to be directed at these posts, specifically. I've heard similar things written in these posts in other places, and I read these posts at just the right time for my feelings to finally crystallize! With that said, let's embark on a journey.

droqen

May 08, 2022, 10:26:25 AM #2 Last Edit: May 08, 2022, 10:29:24 AM by droqen
Impossible Games Manifesto

QuoteMake Games that don't sell and sell them anyway:
  • Always let your desire to create and communicate fuel the rest of your decisions.
  • Don't let yourself be pushed into treating your own ideas as products to be sold and exploited by others.
  • Your ideas are more than whatever worth is being attached to them by a marketplace.

I am on board with all of these bullet points, but why "sell them anyway"?

1. "Always let your desire to create and communicate fuel the rest of your decisions."

Therefore, Make games (regardless of whether they sell). But why sell them? Get me there, manifesto. What does selling my games do for my creation or communication?

2. "Don't let yourself be pushed into treating your own ideas as products to be sold and exploited by others."

Therefore, Don't sell them, actually?? I could arguably parse this as "it's OK to treat your own ideas as products to be sold and exploited by you" but that really does not seem in the vibe of the manifesto.

3. "Your ideas are more than whatever worth is being attached to them by a marketplace."

So you either sell your game and see the worth that the marketplace attaches to your ideas, or you don't sell your game and don't see the worth. I can see an argument that there's value in seeing the marketplace attach worth to your ideas so that you can actively reject that valuation, but this is not an argument that's being made here well, or at all.

My argument: this uh capitalism counterculture is fuelled by the fantasy (utter fabrication) that completely rejecting money and all good money-making strategies will somehow, in the end, be rewarded with money. Or it 'should' be and therefore we 'should' act as though doing this is a good idea, financially speaking.

droqen

QuoteMake it impossible for others to ignore you.

There's no "right way of doing things", aside from the right way to maintain the status quo.

  • Following the rules set out by those in power means confirming the notion that they have power over you to begin with.
  • Seeking approval from the powerful, means destroying yourself.
  • Rejecting their rules and their approval, also means rejecting the power they have over you.
  • Never reject yourself, force others to engage with your work and do the rejection for you.

"Following the rules set out by those in power means confirming the notion that they have power over you to begin with."

This bullet point is in denial about a tautology which it sets out itself. "Those in power" literally describes those who have power. This is not a 'notion', it is the material truth. You can confirm or deny it all you want.

Also, "Make it impossible for others to ignore you" as a header kinda has nothing to do with the points underneath. I can see the connection but it's pretty thin. This is more like "Act as though it's impossible for others to ignore you even if they're ignoring you," which I think might actually be good advice, but it is definitely not the same as manifesting unignorableness. If/when this fails and you are ignored because you were just pretending you wouldn't be, then what? Do you "deny the notion that other people are ignoring you"?

droqen

Quote
  • Not having a job is not a personal flaw, it's a sign that bosses are having trouble finding ways to exploit your existence for profit.

"Not having a job is not a personal flaw" -- this is absolutely true and I agree with it 100%. But I think the following clause is kind of... linguistic trickery. Like a leading question, it comes pre-loaded with an assumption/bias, in this case that the relationship you have with money must be exploitative, combative, that the only way to have a job is to be exploitable and exploited, and that the only thing that a boss could possibly see in you is profit margins.

droqen

May 08, 2022, 10:47:52 AM #5 Last Edit: May 08, 2022, 10:50:20 AM by droqen
QuoteDemand the Impossible

  • If making impossible games is not possible, create a world where it is.

I don't know how to read this except as "If making the games you want to make is not profitable or valued, somehow figure out a way to change the world so that making the games you want to make is profitable or valued."

Why not just make the games you want to make? What's with this creating the world thing that has to come before making impossible games? We started with "Always let your desire to create and communicate fuel the rest of your decisions." & "Your ideas are more than whatever worth is being attached to them by a marketplace." but now the statement seems to be more like...

"Being allowed to express your desire to create and communicate is the end goal, but you can't do it yet, it's impossible under these conditions."

"Your ideas are actually worth exactly what is being attached to them by a marketplace, so change the marketplace first."

droqen

Marketing without fear

I won't quote anything from the second blog post; all it did was cement in my mind that this is a person who wants to sell games, who thinks a fair amount about marketing and the financial reality of trying to sell games. The "Impossible Games Manifesto" is written from the perspective of a person halfway through the process of (1) rejecting market forces while still (2) wanting/hoping/expecting to benefit from engaging with the market...

and it shows.

droqen

OK, I lied. Here are a few quotes.

Quotethe post I initially linked to keeps harping on how doomed your project is when you make the decision to make it in a genre that doesn't seem to be popular on Steam. It basically breaks down to "if you're not making a deckbuilder, or management game, you're basically set up to fail", which obviously is going to cause a lot of anxiety in people who are either inexperienced and/or are fairly deep into a project that just happens to be in a genre that isn't one of those I just mentioned.

QuoteWhat purpose does instilling a sense of despair in people serve here?

Quotea lot of the business and marketing advice for game developers out there, works really, really hard to make its readers feel inadequate and afraid

Quotethe purpose of these posts isn't really about informing people about strategies on how to sell their game (after all, just knowing that platformers might have a harder time on Steam, doesn't help anyone who tries to sell them anyway), it's about their writers trying to sell themselves as experts to an audience they manipulated into feeling inadequate and desperate.

The problem is that the popularity of a genre does, as the statistics show, have an impact on profitability. mokko acknowledges this:

QuoteI felt incredibly anxious and defensive, because well, I'm making a platformer again! And Platformers don't sell! Which I'm not disputing here, by the way.

But when mokko asks this question, "What purpose does instilling a sense of despair in people serve here?", there's the distinct possibility that a sense of despair is the correct reaction to the truth. All these other imagined motivations, that writers are doing this because they want to make a profit, they want to scare you, etc., these do not matter if what you care about is selling a platformer to an audience that doesn't exist.

QuoteWhat actual advice does this provide to people aside from "if you're making a platformer, finish it as quickly as you can and do something else"?

Sometimes a thing you want to be possible is impossible, and there's nothing you can do about it without fundamentally compromising what it is that you want.

I'm sorry. You can't ignore the truth forever.

droqen

P.S. Doing weird shit that turns out to be successful is, yes, a thing that happens, too. I'm not the authority on this, and as mentioned at the top, this is not even about this artist specifically.

But you don't learn or grow by rejecting everything that makes you feel bad about what you believe, even if you can come up with a very compelling reason why the thing that made you feel bad might be fabricated according to some ulterior motive. That's literally how we get conspiracy theories.