Some of you may have already played through Today I Die, an independent flash game that has more in common with poetry than gameplay. It is a little interactive gem with something to say, or at least something to make you feel. If you haven’t, take the 10 minutes or so you’ll need to noodle through it to completion.
If you don’t have the time or the patience here is a youtube “walkthrough.” You’ll get the drift but not the heart. Either way is better than not at all.
I recently read an interview with the creator, Daniel Benmergui, conducted after Today I Die was nominated for a Nuovo award in the 2010 Independent Games Festival. One part of the interview stood out for me as particularly insightful.
There are two good reasons to make games: you want to make a game, or you want to “make games”. The distinction is important, because large studios can only fulfill the latter. Indie is the only way if you believe the games themselves are important. I used to work on a large studio, now I choose the indie way.
There’s a simple ideology implied in that tiny distinction which I could relate to.
Not all industries are the same, of course. I have never been on a commercial, AAA videogame production team. However, I have worked on interactive projects with plenty of zeros in their budget (and plenty with very few zeroes), so I am confident that the “indie” attitude to which he speaks is not indelibly tied to budget or studio size. It is an attitude.
To broadly paraphrase Ken Watanabe’s character from The Last Samurai when he’s walking Tom Cruise’s character through the village: He says something to the effect of even the smallest gestures should be done with poetry and craft. Even simply pouring tea.
I mean, who can doubt the wisdom of a guy with a face like this?
But seriously, I do think that the distinction between “designing websites” and “designing a website” quite accurately describes how we do what we do here. The individualized attention is better for the creative team, the client, and the the ultimate success of a project.