Monday, December 19, 2005

Game 5.0

A little theory that I'm working on:

Game 1.0 is abstract videogames with minimal or no aesthetic form (or 'fiction' as Jesper Juul defines it) beyond simple representation, where the objective of the game is contest-based, and essentially overtly like real world games and sports. Examples: Tetris, Chess, Virtua Fighter 2, FIFA, Counter Strike, Battlefield 2. The largest minority of video games past and present are probably game 1.0.

Game 2.0 is where the fiction acquires a purpose. In either exploratory or led forms, the universe that the player is playing within acquires more than just functional representation, and the player may well start to make play choices that result from emotive rather than analytical concerns. Players come to love and hate characters within the game itself (if there are any), and the game does not necessarily have an overall goal (although it usually does). Examples: Ico, Elite, Grand Theft Auto 3, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Halo (single player), Resident Evil and Starcraft (single player). Game 2.0 games also make up a large minority of the video game lexicon, and between 1.0 and 2.0 we have probably over 90% of games today. Some games have aspects of both 1.0 and 2.0 like Halo's single player and deathmatch modes.

Game 3.0 sees the player affecting the fiction in a self-motivating manner, as it involves taking on the mindset of the creative and the carer. While the challenge element may still be present within game 3.0, the concept of winning or completion is much reduced or non-existent as compared to the over-arcing involvement ethic. Character empathy may still be a strong influence within the game, if the game has strong characters within it. Examples: Sim City, Animal Crossing, Startopia, Nintendogs, The Sims, The Movies.

Game 4.0 moves the player into the realm of a society. While other versions permit players to play with or against each other (teams in Counterstrike, co-op mode in Halo, item trading in Animal Crossing), game 4.0 expands the fiction to include the multiple, often many multiple, and so the fiction takes on a life of its own largely outside the creator's purview. This can also happen with game 3.0 (people coming up with novel uses of The Sims to create houses of horror spring to mind) but the difference is that game 4.0 is completely beyond the control of any one person. While creators or maintainers of the game may add to or modify the underlying structure of the game, the resulting landscape rarely comes about as predicted. Examples: Planetarion, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, EverQuest and Second Life.

So why the numbers?

Well it's as good a grouping as any, and corresponds very very vaguely to the order in which they emerged as forms. (I know that some people might start dragging out a million historical examples, such as trying to pin down when the first MUSH came about, but again, I mean it in a loose sense).

There's also a sense of progression behind the order, in the sense that the key trait that it highlights is the ever-growing development of fiction in the video game, and the stalling of the abstract and the mechanical concerns. It does not mean to imply a sense of new-killing-old however, as that would be a preposterous statement given a cursory examination of the shelves in any games store. Game 1.0 and game 2.0 rule the roost there.

No, the key point here is talking about how the fictional element of a video game has gone from an abstract representation of something to shoot at to a multi-layered player-created world, and how this fundamentally changes the relationship of player, game, goal, gameplay and so on. It highlights how the terminology and ideas that underpin one version do not necessarily hold for another.

Game 1.0 is wholly dependent on gameplay, for example, because the whole structure is an abstract simulation designed to encourage players to compete and to win (or survive as long as possible). Game 1.0 advocates therefore champion gameplay and gameplay innovation over everything else. Control, response, reaction and rules are the things that really matter in game 1.0.

Game 2.0 also relies on gameplay, but the sense of gameplay is different. In game 2.0, gameplay comes to mean the broader idea of progression, of specific threaded challenges that can be set up one after another and which might even involve rule changes of the sort that goes against the concept of game 1.0. Discovery, opening up the fiction of the game to see what's there, is what keeps game 2.0 interesting. As a result, game 2.0 can survive and prosper on entirely non-innovative gameplay as long as the fiction is interesting.

Game 3.0 relies more on interaction than gameplay in the 1.0 or 2.0 sense, in that a breadth of options and creative tools constitute the game, and while the fiction of the game is mutable and reactive, it is not so in the sense of stated kill-or-be-killed goals. The play in game 3.0 consists partially of unlocking the fiction, but more about learning how to use the fiction. Game 3.0's play is centered on creativity and maintenance as its main goal.

Game 4.0's play is almost entirely reliant on the players and the society that they create. While the rules and structures of game 4.0 might help to induce certain styles of play (like levelling up), these often give way to purely social interaction, and creative group behaviours. The furthest along type of this game are efforts like Second Life, where all pretence of the need for such rules - except for an incentivising economy - are abandoned. In Second Life, players are encouraged to just be. Evaluating game 4.0 on the basis of game 1.0's sense of gameplay is therefore completely meaningless.

There is also a huge difference in players between each of the 4 versions, which is something that often goes unrecognised. The games industry and hobby are notoriously loose with their langauge and terms that mutate depending on the speaker and the listener.

The ur-phrase of the industry, 'gamer', is one that is about as misleading and ill-understood as it gets (and the subject of endless raging miscommunications masquerading as debate on the internet). What one MMOG player means when he's talking about what gamers like, for instance, is worlds apart from an arcade freak who loves his Streetfighter 2. They may both play games, but what they even mean by the word 'game' is enormously different. As such, I think these 4 types of game describe not only four different concepts of play, they also describe 4 types of gamer.

Type I gamers are probably best called 'competitors'. They are only interested in the competition, in the abstract scores and the achievements associated with that. To the competitor, whether the space invaders are ships or apples is unimportant, whether the two teams in Counterstrike are terrorists or dancing Scotsmen isn't really relevant. And whether the opposing sides in Chess are silent or scream when taken just doesn't register as more than a momentary giggle.

Type II gamers are better called 'adventurers'. Their general motivation is exploration, discovery, and getting to the end of the game if there is one. This may or may not involve a story or some other narrative thread, but the key is that these gamers are engaged with the fiction of the game as much as the abstracts. Adventurers tend to dislike games that break the 'spell' by reminding them that they're not in a fiction, but are rather just playing with a set of virtual objects.

Type III gamers are better called 'growers'. They're playing their games because they want to play with them rather than against them, to make and do and look after the game like an organic pet or toy. They may want to defeat the challenges in the game, not to win, but so that their creation can be better.

Type IV gamers are better called 'actors'. They're playing to be a part of the game, which can mean active roleplay or (more often) as an extension of themselves via an avatar in another place. They form relationships, bonds, engage in teamwork, sometimes fight, sometimes build, and essentially just become a part of the fiction itself.

None is the true 'gamer' and none of them holds precedence over the other, though they do fight each other and call each other names out there in webland. They're all gamers, but they're as completely different as hip hop and metal fans, and each attracts its own cultural tropes, its own gender balance, its own type of media coverage and so on.

The types are also not wholly exclusive. I think I'm an adventurer for instance, but I am sometimes partial to a bit of FPS deathmatching, the odd racing game, and I used to very much enjoy a multiplayer game of Medieval Total War.

Now who wants to have a go at the fun part?
Game 5.0

PS:This is probably my last post before Christmas as I'm flying back to Dublin for some family celebrations and old-friends shenanigans. So a Happy Christmas to all!

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

John Spencer RIP

At least once every other day, my girlfriend and I sit down to watch a batch of The West Wing on DVD and experience genius. The first three and half years especially are pure gold, and even though the series did decline somewhat in the post-Aaron Sorkin/Thomas Schlamme/ Rob Lowe era into a more event-driven politics show, it has remained a firm favourite. In particular, I have always had a strong affection and affinity for Leo, the chief of staff, a father figure played by the amazing John Spencer. So I'm greatly saddened to hear that Spencer died recently.

But there's a little more to it than that for me on a personal level. I've always identified with this actor more because he reminds me of my father. There are some striking parallels. He was 58, my dad is 63. He was a recovering alcoholic as is my father. They're both actors, and they both have that post-AA way about them that can be inspiring and infuriating in equal measure. What was amazing about Spencer's portrayal of Leo was of course that he could bring so much of himself to the role (or so I believe) and in many ways the character seemed to be the most realistic portrait of a recovering alcoholic that I've ever seen.

The tragedy of it of course is that Spencer was only 58 when he died, and that frightens me for my own family. While change is inevitable and death comes to us all, we always want to think "not yet". We always want to stave off the inevitable present where things change irrevocably, but there is nothing that we can do to stop it. The challenge in change is not that it comes. We grow sick, our loved ones get killed in car crashes, our kids die of leukemia, we get AIDS, we lose a leg, we lose our financial worth. The challenge is how we deal with it.

In writing this post, I'm trying to write out my thoughts to understand what feels like an abstract loss and yet a personal one. John Spencer the actor, the man who lived in Los Angeles, meant very little to me. John Spencer the archetype who filled a heroic role in my daily life meant a lot. Mythology and story have always played that important role in our minds, and mine is no different. We relate to the media space as a mirror of ourselves, both in the news and in fiction, and this is why it matters to us so much. This is why there are outpourings of grief when symbols die (like Princess Diana).

So I've lost a symbol, and that makes me very sad. I've also felt the closeness of death in a strange way as it makes me reflect on what I have within my life, how my real-life Leo that is my father is important to me, and I don't want to lose him yet. It makes me reflect on the importance of the present (see previous post) and how this really is all that we have. In a year that has seen a lot of symbolic 'good' people die, this is a poignant and personal way for it all to end. And I do hope it is the end.

So, yes, I hope that Spencer rests in peace and found peace in his life. I hope that we can all find that sort of peace in our lives and find a means to become what we can be and what we are meant to be. I hope that we are all able to understand the challenge of change when it comes, and we can all live for today. AA teaches that living for each day is important, a faith in the wider picture is important, and the present is important.

Live in the present, my friends.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Uncreativity and Generation Zero

So I'm having an msn chat with a friend of mine all about why there are so many license movies and games these days. Specifically, I'm talking about movies like the entirely blah Narnia, and he's pimping the teaser trailers for Superman and the new X-men film. Remakes seem to be everywhere, in music, in film, in re-set comics universes and games. Licenses likewise. It seems impossible to get a new idea out of the gate these days if it is not based on something that is already known.

We hit onto the topic of creativity in general. Weirdly, given the amount of power that recognition value seems to hold over us, we live in a time when we are inundated with creative options. We have PDAs to write our novels, DV cameras to make our movies, software that can create virtually any music that we choose, programming languages to create any game we can think of. We have the broadcast means via the internet, p2p networks and so on. We are literally sitting on an embarassment of creative riches.

Our societies similarly have come to embrace openness of thought and idea in ways that were impossible for previous generations. From this modest-priced PC in my room I can access a vast library of information. I can get news from anywhere, I can find discussion groups and forums on any subject. I can order any tool that I need and the modern media is highly free thinking in any one of a dozen directions. I can read anything and I can write anything, and no subject is taboo. I have gay friends, Buddhist neighbours, an empowered vegetarian girlfriend, it's all going on.

And yet we seem to be a profoundly uncreative generation. In the games industry the hot topics of new game creation all center around product design methodologies. In film, it's focus groups and properties. Music seems built on three pillars these days: the pop cover, the dance remix and the hip-hop rip-off. It goes further than this. We seem to have lost the idea of creativity with depth, so a lot of the material that is original is corny and based not exactly in the recognisable, but close enough. Like WW2 games that seem to spend their days copping a feel of Private Ryan's nuts. Or the Incredibles.

There are even a few noble examples amongst all this. My previously cited example of the new Galactica show is good one. The X-men movies actually make a good fist of it too, and some of those dance remix/resamples are cracking tunes. The Zelda games continue to inspire. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic is basically a really cool mash-up.

Our society reflects a strange dichotomy of the possible and the old though. You will see more superhero movies, you will see Terminator 5. You have seen an exploitation of the Exorcist property and the Omen remake is around the corner. Where the film-from-a-book was often a derided practise except in Kubrick's hands (and he basically remade them from the ground up), now we are reviewing and praising these films based on how faithful they are to the source material - regardless and seemingly unaware of how bad or good the resulting movie is (usually turgid).

And here's another realisation. This past-mining trend works. It works and it works really well. Between the combined sales of DVDs, theatre tickets and merchandise tat, a known property can make an absolute fortune. We are not Generation X, we are Generation Retro. We think almost subconsciously about our entertainment in terms of whether we recognise it first and foremost. We objectivise what we see, which almost ruins the chances of good ideas making a splash, and we almost 100% predictably plum for recognition over new.

Some of this is wrapped up in sales technique, no doubt, because it's easier to make a trailer that starts with 'from the novel by' or 'from the creator of' or 'inspired by the hit show' or whatever. I don't blame the studios for buying into a trend that is palpable, because they are there to make a profit.

It seems to me that the problem lies with us ourselves. Despite our liberal outwards and our new society which values multiculturalism and our new technology that literally places the world and our talents at our fingertips, it seems we are in fact an incredibly conservative generation. This may come as no surprise to some, I guess, but it seems as though not only have we opted for safe over strange, we've done so to such an extent that we've forgotten what strange is.

Maybe the root of the uncreative problem is the embarassment of options itself. Maybe it's a profound lack of a spiritual connection that our generation seems to have tapped into robbing us of any sense of courage for the future. Maybe there's some weight to the idea that art and suffering are very deeply linked, or maybe the problem is that we are so media literate now that we only understand reference.

Ironically, if we look a bit further back into the past, we can see that this sort of thing has happened before many times. Modernism constituted a reaction against a staid late Victorian mentality. Postmodernism constituted a reaction against a conservative and violent 40s and 50s. Romanticism was a quite revolution against the intricate establishment aesthetic of its day by re-introducing natural poetry over highly knowing referential poetry before it. The creative bubble of society seems to wax and wane depending on trying to get out from under the binding and increasingly brittle precepts of the old.

Generation Retro seems to me to be the tail end of the postmodern idea. What started out as a movement to break down the intricate symbolism of the past has now resulted in a generation that reveres a set of disconnected symbols instead and has gotten to the point that self-reference is built not on witty ground, but on the ground of faithful recreation and solemnity. How ironic in and of itself that many have chosen to call this decade the 'Noughties' when they are anything but. More like the 'Zeroes'.

And yet even calling for a change of ideas and new theories is in and of itself a postmodern idea. It's objectivising the creative, no matter what level you look at it from, to say 'what we need is a new Romanticism'. In the age of everything recycled, even thinking in the terms of 'what we need is a' is already buying into self-defeat and propagation of the product design/IP idea. It's a profoundly non-new way of thinking to say that what you need is a new way of thinking. Everything becomes a new branding exercise or theoretical discussion or Wired trend. A few have tried punching through the barrier, such as the transhuman idea or the posthuman idea, or even the transmodern 'bring back spirituality' idea, but these are all still inherently postmodern notions. It's all still mash-up, it's not creative.

There's one idea in Buddhism that particularly intrigues me, which is the idea of turning the mind off. Buddhism in general fascinates me, but in particular I had always assumed that meditation was in fact the act of quietening the mind by essentially taking the time to close your eyes and let your thoughts sort themselves out. Not so. Buddhism seems intent on dissolving the conscious mind in total, or rather, allowing a kind of true consciousness to emerge rather than a mind-dependent awareness. Buddhism seems to advocate a stance that most of us are actually unaware and unconscious all the time, that our minds and our egos are so busy reasoning and rationalising everything that we have no true awareness.

I think that there's something in this idea as regards Generation Retro, because the second thing that I've picked up from this is that the main reason that the mind is so engaged is because we fear change. We like control, we like our computers that we never use, our PDAs that sit idle for months on end, our PSPs that become toys for about three months and our DV-cams that we use all of twice. We like the sense of power over our own destiny that all this capability brings, but what we don't like is change. The reason that the retro-themed marketing works so well on us is that we want it to remind us of safety. It's a scary world out there, after all.

Mostly, what I think I'm talking about here is connecting with faith and instincts here. Not so much faith in God, just faith in faith. And instincts as in learning to understand what we feel rather than what we say to ourselves that we feel. There is an expression which says "Those who know don't speak, and those who speak don't know" which is humourously relevant to me while typing all this, perhaps telling me how little I know (after all, I am quite the talker).

Does it even matter that we are an uncreative generation anyway. The world is wracked by AIDS, impending wars, oil shortages and hurricanes. Does it matter so much that Joe on the street likes to go watch Narnia and maybe think back to nicer times?

Yes, I think that it does. Quite aside from the psychological unhealthiness of the symbol of living in the past, and the flip side that the technology promise makes which constitutes living in the future, we seem desperately unable to connect with reasons to live in the present. With all manner of Office-style grind on display and an increasingly vaccuous middle ground in most areas of society, I think creativity matters very much. I think self-acknowledgement matters a whole hell of a lot too, and we're losing track of both. Depression is up, stress is up, terror from planes crashing into office blocks leaves us unable to raise a passionate and clear argument as to why torture is a bad idea. We're all off in a hundred other places other than this one.

Generation Retro is all about being elsewhere.
Generation Zero could be about being right here.

So what is it I'm saying? That we need a new way to think?

No, I'm saying that thinking is the problem. Reasoning and rationality is itself the problem. Articulating meaning and quantifying creativity is the problem. Methodical attitudes are the problem. Self-prescribed rule structures for how things are made is the problem. Reference itself is the problem. Reaching to define our new era with the tools of the old is the problem. Casting creative efforts in an IP/genre/X meets Y framework is the problem.

We need to stop being overly rational and media-aware and start becoming conscious and actually-aware. Unlike in the modernist era or the post-modernist era, the pressing need of today is not to frame our era nor understand the frame. The pressing need is to stop looking at the frame and start looking at the picture. Stop recasting ourselves in the cloaks and symbols of bygone decades and start realising that we don't live in the 20th century any more. We should be conscious of the present, centered in the present and engaging with the present and leave the past and future be for a while.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Three Rs

A revolution is a moment in history when the existing political order gets up-ended entirely, new thinking and a new sense of values, power and social order emerge, and is often preceded by violence or generally associated with same. For example, the French Revolution.

A reformation is in many ways the opposite of that idea, as a reformation is an attempt on the part of one or several segments of a society to reassert an original set of founding ideas or aesthetic and essentially re-establish what was (or what is believed to have been). Again, often violent in nature, although a restoration is a gentler form of reformation. For example, the Protestant reformation of 16th century Europe.

A renaissance is somewhere between these two extremes, and usually non-violent. A renaissance is essentially a period of rediscovery of older ideas, but also of putting those older ideas into new uses. Renaissances don't, on the whole, involve the large scale return to the old ways that reformations do, nor up-ending everything like revolutions, but rather pick and choose the best of the old and make some great new as a result. Such as, of course, the renaissance.

So which way is the video game headed?

Well, on the one hand we have the Revolution on the way (although whether it actually is a revolution or not is an open question). On the second hand, we have quite a few seriously 'old skool' indie developers trying to get us all back to the way things were, which might be classed as reformation. Lastly, we see the re-issuing of some old classics in new forms (Prince of Persia, Resident Evil 4), which might, at a push, be called renaissance games.

Is the video game heading any of these ways?

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Game City

I've been talking to a friend of mine about his job and having been in it only a short while, he thinks that he's not gong to stick it out because of the commute. For reasons that are non-negotiable, he's not able to move close to the job, but he's able to get there via car or train. This being Britain though, that basically means a 4 hour round trip. I sympathise, and I asked him whether they would allow him to distance work for some or all of the week. He doubts it.

In Britain especially, game developers and publishers have a singularly annoying tendency to locate themselves off the beaten track, preferring to set themselves up in small towns and on the edge of cities and so on right across the whole country. There are usually a combination of reasons for this. The first is the cost of renting, but the second is usually something like it's the company founders' home town (especially in smaller companies). Thirdly is the confusion that many developers and publishers seem to still experience over identity. They want to be like entertainment companies in the marketplace, but still instinctively use much of the methodology of software engineering firms without realising the enormous differences. The games industry is an entertainment business, not a technology business. It's amazing how many developers still don't accept that.

This is the sort of behaviour that is fine for young startups, but there's a real problem that the industry has to face up to, which is that development staff tend to move around between companies because of costs, but they also get older, form relationships and families, and it's unrealistic for companies to expect them to move house every year from Aberdeen to Cardiff, Cardiff to Brighton and Brighton to Birmingham any more.

At the same time, it's unreasonable for the prospective employees to look for long term (or even permanent) employment contracts with games companies any more, because of the costs issue. This is what leads to a strange scenario where games companies are on the hunt for staff who'll move across the country for 6 months. Fine enough if you're a youngster, but once you hit 30 it becomes about as attractive as scabies. It's one of the chief reasons why something like 90% of games industry workers leave the industry within 6/7 years, never to return.

It's also hugely inefficient for the companies to work this way. Hiring is an expensive and time-consuming process, and has become even more so with the proliferation of employment agencies charging their 20% cut to get the people in the door. Maintaining large office spaces is also not for the financially faint hearted, and the impact on schedules from sudden departures, staff who don't work out, and sundry other reasons is hard. Finding quality staff tends to become very expensive as a twenty-year experienced programmer will charge the Earth for his services and you'll have to pay it if you want him to move to your office in Slough or Leamington Spa or Croydon. Add in travel costs to visit publishers, problems with an inability to find very short term workers (like quality sound engineers), and the companies have painted themselves into a corner where everything costs a fortune without any flexibility. Development companies (and publishers lately) can moan about costs and industry conditions as much as they like, but it's their own strategic decisions of location that breed these problems.

In the US, Hollywood is known as the place to go if you want to work in the movies. New York is the center for the financial industry, the news industry and business in general. San Francisco is where you go if you want to work in technology development. In Britain, London is where television is at. London is also where magazine publishing largely operates out of. In fact, in many industries, especially entertainment industries, a common location is vital to the relative success of everyone, and with good reason.

A common location reduces the price of doing business by encouraging flexibility.

It makes hiring staff much easier and cheaper because they demand less and are more willing to work under shorter term contracts. This allows both developers and publishers to maintain smaller facilities and thus be more flexible if projects collapse. A common location allows for a better freelance culture to emerge, which encourages workers to stay in the industry for longer. If I, as a worker, have three four-month contracts during the year then I am much more likely to be excited by the prospect if each one is commutable from my house. If, on the other hand, the first one wants me to move to Swindon, the second one to Scunthorpe and the third one to Dundee, I'm just not going to seriously entertain the idea.

Common locations increase contactability between publishers and developers, allowing for a much more co-ordinated industry. It allows for real business networks to develop and a community of companies to establish themselves. It encourages better working practises as the reduced timeframes encourage more focused work and therefore productivity. It makes the prospect of using remote workers far more palatable and therefore reduces the inherent risk of moves like outsourcing. Mostly, it encourages both competition and collaboration on a realistic level. Development companies can collaborate on projects, for example, if they're only up the road from each other, while it also facilitates the creation of service businesses like art and animation houses, design consultancies and engine specialists. A common location would encourage PR agencies to seriously court the games industry as a set of viable clients in ways that e-mail communications never do, and also encourage a more vibrant and in-touch industry media to develop.

The best part is that all over Britain, urban regeneration projects sponsored by local councils are practically crying out for industries to set up in their area, providing all manner of discounts and tax-rebates to businesses that do choose to relocate.

The big question is where should Game City exist. Realistically, it should be a major city that has international airports. It should be a city that has representation in other media industries on whom the games industry relies for much of its licensing etc. It should have good transport connections so that staff can get to and from work with a minimum of fuss. This realistically means that the Game City should probably be London, possibly Edinburgh, or maybe Manchester at the outside. Or, if anyone feels like a trip abroad, Dublin.

London is not as scary as it sounds. While the rent in London is supposedly high, south London is less expensive and is replete with councils looking to get business to move in. Southwark, for example, is only just across the river Thames and yet the rent there is really very cheap by comparison to the rest of the city. Southwark is also 15 minutes by Tube from Soho, Shoreditch and the media capital of the UK. Or there's Lambeth, Croydon, or any one of a number of areas in East and North London.

Regardless of which city and which council, the question is whether the British industry has the sense to club together for change. There is an enormous lack of trust in the British games industry, and a deep level of organisational inertia pervades many companies that have gone too far down the route of establishing many remote studios (a costly and questionable move). There has also been an enormous level of closures and company collapses in recent years in the UK, and would-be industry-wide associations like Tiga are hugely worried about the permanent prospects for UK development yet heavily mistrusted by the companies themselves.

The key word here is 'entrenchment'. The established UK games industry is too entrenched, stuck in its old form thinking and essentially being torn apart by its own intransigence. This applies to managers and employees, publishers and developers alike. They're just too cynical perhaps to do it differently. Nonetheless, I think Game City will eventually happen. Old companies will die out, new companies with more nimble philosophies will rise in their place and they won't be so tied to the old garage days mentality. There's a younger generation of creative staff who never worked in the bedroom coder universe, and they have less qualms about trying something different.

This is why I think 5 years from now the UK games industry will rise again in a new form, a better form representing a shift in the generational mindset. As the winds of the current and next generation continue to blow their harsh message, these proto-company owners are experiencing first hand what it is to work under the current regime and they know that things can work much better if they are only given a chance. That chance will come soon.

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