Week 7 — Pitching for investment

2021-11-07

Welcome to week 7 of the module indie game startup.

A quick reflection

This reflection ties in a little bit with pitching, in that your pitch has to show that the game you’re making has its finger on the market pulse.

I’ve been thinking about the word zeigeist:

the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

(“Oxford Languages and Google - English \Textbar Oxford Languages” n.d.)

It’s up to game designers to figure out what the future zeitgeist in gaming is going to be.

Before we get to the future zeitgeist, what is the current zeitgeist? Cosy games, perhaps?

We’ve all been affected adversely by the pandemic, but cosy games were our balm:

Cozy games balmed the anxiety, isolation, and feelings of instability induced by the pandemic.

(Grossman 2021)

I’ve also spotted a few subgenres with the cozy genre: deep games which lets you deal with death and loss thoughtfull like Spiritfarer (“Spiritfarer” n.d.) or Cozy Grove (“Cozy Grove on Steam” n.d.), and photo-taking games like Alba (“Alba: a Wildlife Adventure by Ustwo Games” n.d.) and TOEM (“TOEM on Steam” n.d.).

But what about the future? How do you predict the future zeitgeist? I suppose it’s tricky to tell the future, so perhaps it’s easier to wait for the next big event to happen (like the pandemic) and then trying to think how that event will affect the populace, especially the gaming populace.

COP26 is currently in session (“UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021” n.d.), and many experts are claiming that major change has to happen right now, if we’re going to let global warming stall at 1.5 degrees Celcius (Millard 2021).

So, might concern for the environment be a zeitgeist for games? And what would that look like? Climate change isn’t new, but there’s renewed urgency.

Games dealing with climate change exist (Wu and Lee 2015). There are also a multitude of games which deal with a post-apocalyptic future with different causes, like the aftermath of nuclear fall-out (like in Fallout), or volcanic winter (like in Frostpunk (“Frostpunk” n.d.)), but I’m mostly thinking of greenhouse gases as the cause.

Or, perhaps the next shift in gaming is making games more energy efficient? GPUs consume many watts of power, and games are already being scrutinised in this regard (Conocimiento 2020). This isn’t helped by the fact that players would leave their games running (without playing) just to collect trading cards that reward long play times (“Can i Leave Games on While Not Playing to Get Trading Card Drops? :: Help and Tips” n.d.). (Perhaps us gamedevs can pay attention to detecting idle behaviour, then returning early in the main loop, or exiting the game?)

There’s a lot more to explore around climate change awareness in gaming, and much more to explore around what the next zeitgeist can be.

Suggested further reading:

Bibliography

  1. “Frostpunk.” n.d. Available at: https://www.frostpunkgame.com/ [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  2. “Oxford Languages and Google - English \Textbar Oxford Languages.” n.d. Available at: https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/ [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  3. “Cozy Grove on Steam.” n.d. Available at: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1458100/Cozy_Grove/ [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  4. “Can i Leave Games on While Not Playing to Get Trading Card Drops? :: Help and Tips.” n.d. Available at: https://steamcommunity.com/discussions/forum/1/527273983047672790/?l=brazilian [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  5. “UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021.” n.d. UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021. Available at: https://ukcop26.org/ [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  6. “Spiritfarer.” n.d. Thunder Lotus Games. Available at: https://thunderlotusgames.com/spiritfarer/ [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  7. “TOEM on Steam.” n.d. Available at: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1307580/TOEM/ [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  8. “Alba: a Wildlife Adventure by Ustwo Games.” n.d. Available at: https://www.albawildlife.com/ [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  9. CONOCIMIENTO, Ventana al. 2020. “Video Games 🎮 and Climate Change.” OpenMind. Available at: https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/technology/digital-world/prevent-video-games-from-making-climate-change-worse/ [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  10. GROSSMAN, Sophie. 2021. “Cozy Games Triumphed During the Pandemic.” Seattle Met. Available at: https://www.seattlemet.com/arts-and-culture/2021/08/cozy-games-like-animal-crossing-spiritfarer-popular-during-the-pandemic [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  11. MILLARD, Robin. 2021. “1.5 C Warming Limit ’Impossible’ without Major Action: UN.” Available at: https://phys.org/news/2021-09-limit-impossible-major-action.html [accessed 7 Nov 2021].
  12. WU, Jason S. and Joey J. LEE. 2015. “Climate Change Games as Tools for Education and Engagement.” Nature Climate Change 5(5), [online], 413–8. Available at: http://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2566 [accessed 7 Nov 2021].

This post is part of my critical reflective journal and was written during week 7 of the module indie game startup.

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