Indie Success with Jason Rohrer

Today’s conversation was with Jason Rohrer, the designer of Passage and a ton of other games, with his latest being One Hour, One Life.

We started talking about a year ago, I think possibly in response to some of the “indie game apocalypse” conversations that have been taking place over the past few years. Jason is an indie game apocalypse skeptic; he does pretty well with his games, and most of his friends do pretty well too (even his idea of “not doing well” seems fantastic compared to what I’ve come to expect). He has an explanation for why that is the case, which he shares in pretty good detail in this episode. Some people believe, and I think Jason is one of them, that generally speaking, good games marketed correctly succeed, and bad games or games that aren’t marketed correctly fail.

I can’t say I’m personally as convinced on that topic, but I won’t go into detail on that here. We get into the discussion somewhat in the podcast, but I think we have a lot more to talk about for a second episode at some point. One point Jason makes which I agree with is that no one should feel like they’re “owed” financial success, but I think there are different ways we could imagine the landscape and marketplaces working that could lead to a bit more of a “game development middle class”.

I really appreciate Jason’s experience, and he’s undeniably a great game designer, but I also wonder how deep our political differences go, and how that may also inform our philosophies on game design and development. Here’s Jason’s website with links to all his games. And here he is on Twitter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This podcast is not actually almost 4 hours long, it’s more like one hour and change. I don’t know why it’s showing up like that and I’ll try to fix it for next time!


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