We were all noobs once


Me on a BBC Micro circa 1991

The indie community is full of many diverse perspectives, and diverse perspectives are of course what makes life so enjoyable!

However, when it generates into “us and them” mentality I think there is a problem.

Underdogs vs Successful Indies

I’ve been an indie game developer for 9 years now and in recent years I’ve seen a trend where some indies seem identify themselves as underdogs and they sometimes attack indies who are successful. These attacks take many forms but at the end of the day they are unpleasant and unnecessary.

One common attack, or perhaps I should say “misconception”, is that successful “elite” indies are only in it for themselves and don’t help other indies. This is so false it’s laughable.

I’m neither an underdog nor am I rich. I feel I sit somewhere in the middle in that I’ve managed to survive somehow all these years, and I’d love to keep on doing that! However, one of the main reasons I’ve managed to keep going all this time is because I’ve been helped out many times by successful developers.

In 2010 I co-founded up Full Indie in Vancouver so that indies could get together to help each other out and motivate each other. That group now has 1759 members!

I also now run Full Indie UK, which is a UK-based indie meetup group. I did this because I know how much I and other indies love to share their experiences and how much we all need that and can benefit from it.

Noobs R Us

Therefore, I would encourage anyone who feels like an underdog to remember that as indies we all started in the same place – as complete “noobs”. Some of us have done well financially, some of us have done well in terms of recognition, and some of us have not achieved either (yet).

Railing against those who have done well isn’t productive, better to instead to use other people’s success as a motivational tool and to look at yourself and see how you can improve – that’s what I try to do anyway.

I’ve never felt anyone who has “made it” was shitty to me; more the opposite – I’ve been offered unsolicited help many many times.

Peace Man

So please, let’s stop this talk of “indie elites/illuminati” and “underdogs” and remember that we are all in this indie adventure together.

Indies are *way* more friendly and helpful than other industries. For example, I made business software for 9 years and we had to keep everything secret from our competitors and so did they!

Also if you see someone promoting this false, hurtful divide, perhaps it’s time to call them out on it and encourage them to see the awesomeness right in front of their eyes?

Remember, we make games for a living. How amazing is that?

2 Responses to “We were all noobs once”

  1. Bram Says:

    Cool picture!
    I should see if my parents have one of me and my first computer.

    My twitter feed is also speaking of this indie chism, but no one is giving any names. So where are those anti-successful-indie statements?

    Normally if I can’t follow the indie controversy of the day, I just visit http://todaysgamingdrama.tumblr.com but this time it’s not helping.

  2. Jake Birkett Says:

    Those sort of statements crop up reasonably often in various different ways. There was a big blow up on Saturday/Sunday which prompted me to write this.