So I just got back from IndieCade. It was interesting. I was able to meet some of the creators of a few games that I had played which was neat. It was also fun to play the you-know-a-guy-I’m-friends-with game with people on the floor.

It had a pretty sparse attendance today (and maybe in general) so I do not know that it will be happening in Bellevue again. It’s a little sad since it was only 4 blocks from where I work.

Today there was a panel on “why we need innovation in games”. I really didn’t like the title because it implied and misdirection from what I think is important (see my prior post on what games need).

So I sat and listened for a while until I had an opportunity to very loudly and outspokenly present my argument toward what the attitude about innovation in games should be.

I could tell I had supporters in the group, so that was good. I’m worried that I may have offended the people running the panel, but, well, it’s their fault for having a faulty panel topic…. and frankly, any being offended is your own decision.

To help back me up on this, here’s a rant from Jonathan Blow on the topic.

To sum it up:

Stop worrying about innovation! Focus on a vision for the game! Innovation should just be a word we use to describe the byproduct of new things that happened to be developed while moving towards that vision. The value is not in the innovation, it’s in the effective execution of the vision of the game.

So why is it valuable to make this distinction? Well, focusing on “innovating” ends up missing the point of a game. It produces games with new mechanics that do not produce effective experiences. Trying to adapt an experience to an innovation means that the innovation is in charge, it becomes the ruling factor in the game. It makes for shoddy and mediocre games with little or no depth. It’s like the artist that paints a picture because it hasn’t been done like that before rather than painting one that evokes an emotion or sends a message. In a single word, SHALLOW!

Yeah, so that’s fine. While people go ahead making games that focus on innovation, I’ll go forward trying to make games with a vision for an end user experience. We’ll see which ones are more significant in the end… And in fact, end up containing more… “innovation”.