Independent Game Development as Craft
AbstractThis paper celebrates the rise of indie game making as craft in order to explicate the ways in which this activity is both empowering for those involved as well as at risk of reproducing less desirable aspects of the contemporary cultural landscape. One only has to look at independent game festivals to see how few women and other traditionally excluded groups are visible center stage in this rapidly developing sector – if we are not careful then the very same exclusionary practices that are evident in the mainstream sector will become embedded here. Craft has historically been seen as 'women's work' and my positioning of game making as craft is an intentional feminist act to claim this space and its potential to both play with and against ‘for profit’ game development. This paper blends feminist aesthetics, new craft theory and indie game culture with the intent of identifying opportunities and strategies for inclusivity for the independent games sector. It will elucidate some processes in action but also, importantly, identify routes forward for building a diverse community of independent game developers.