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Reader Comments (30)

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 5:32PM jmerriex said

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But... but... my mommy says I am a rock star...

/cry

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 5:50PM Lenn said

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@jmerriex Does that mean game devs have groupies?
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Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:25PM jmerriex said

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@Lenn better groupies than herpes!
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Posted: Mar 15th 2011 5:33PM Lenn said

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Not only are game developers not rock stars, I'm not entirely sure about those creatures in the picture either.

Even rock stars aren't rock stars. Whenever you feel the need to put someone on a very high pedestal, just remember that they're human beings as well (again, not too sure about that picture, though); rock stars, movie stars, game developers, the pope... they all need a good bowel movement every day, and probably complain about the odd zit every now and again, just like everyone else.

Though I'm still not too sure about those things in that picture.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:40PM Apakal said

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@Lenn

Sure, there just like you and me. Except for that huge wealth of talent that enabled them to do the things that got them famous in the first place. Some celebrities are totally worthless and undeserving of their status, I agree. But then again, the average person isn't making Inception, recording Quadrophenia, winning an NBA Championship, or writing the next Dark Tower book.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2011 5:36PM UrkenInvader said

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I would play a game solely due to some game devs taking a picture like that!

They may not be rock stars or even helpful but they do create the games we love so much and that's worth something.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 5:36PM Dunraven said

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Actually Technically Chris Metzen was a Rock Star he fronted two bands before he became a developer (The guy actually has some talent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A37ceq_nHsY )

I do agree that developers should shy away from the the company face so to speak..as that guy always takes the heat when things go south.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 5:37PM jmerriex said

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Seriously though, I always love this column... it's like a beacon of truth in a sea of wrong. I think most people label a face to a company because it is just easier than thinking about the myriad moving parts that actually makes what we experience happen.

So the reality is this logic (not treating developers like rock stars) works both ways. It is rare one singular person destroys or builds any given idea. Generally it is a process that happens overtime and has the input of many people who are all thinking they are doing good for a project that leads to the success or failure. But again, as humans our simple little brains make it easier to blame/elevate a singular individual who represents something much bigger - whether we know it or not.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 5:45PM Saker said

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What a joy to read that article headline! I've believed this is part of the problem for years, this bizarre obnoxious urge some people have to put these people up on the pedestal! I've been in a great many alpha/betas of MMO's and noticed way back in the beginning and straight through to today this tendency of a significant number of people to be "fanbois", mindless zombie "believers" that come up with whole mythologies around their chosen game-in-development (a particular "dev", group of "devs" can do no-wrong!). One of the great persistent myths is the holy "secret patch" that will fix all problems (in a game that's obviously a train wreck), and save the day! Human beings are unfortunately at best deeply irrational creatures.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:01PM Yarr said

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How about not having any devs in the videos promoting games, please! I really don't want to see Joe Schmoe the Dev going on about their new game, let alone some marketing drone. Just show me game footage or even concept art. I'm glad you're proud of the game you're working on, but I don't want to see you (or random players like Trion's horrible video), I only care about the game.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:31PM Poordevil said

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Somebody has to be a rep for the game and company. I don't mind certain devs receiving celebrity status when they put themselves out there, it comes with the territory.

I think Blizzard handles the issue well. Here they are the most financially successful game company on the planet and there really isn't a "Mr. Blizzard" putting himself out there. A couple of the top devs or company founders are all I ever see much of, and none seem to crave celebrity attention or claim too much credit. Maybe they are really just too busy for all that.

Promotion is vital to increase awareness of the current game. A front man who handles himself well is one way to do it. But it is a demanding job that requires social saavy and talent. Not just anyone is cut out for it.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:34PM Dumac said

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Well there supposedly is one person that made the biggest visible contribution or has the biggest creative power, there should be one, and why not call the game his/hers. My personal opinion varies ... on one hand i feel its kind of egotistical, on the other its more personal to see the game as a creation of some interesting mind and person rather than something as vague as a company. I don't know. I don't even care enough to delve deeper into that.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:41PM Gildas said

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I think you're exaggerating things a bit. As far as I'm aware CliffyB isn't put on the cover of the games. As far as I'm aware he doesn't go into interviews saying "my game", always says "our game".

I don't think that you are paying enough attention to the fact that, in the end, having someone represent the game *helps the game*. These people obviously don't make the games by themselves, but they *do* tend to be in-charge of the teams to a large extent, and are responsible to insure the quality of the product. It is not wrong that they represent the product because, in a sense, they do.

On the note of them becoming celebrities or *rock stars*, if they do then more power to them and the gaming industry. Once we see devs on the "red carpet" per se, we will know that gaming as a medium is actually being taken seriously by the general public.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:45PM (Unverified) said

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You assume that the people that figurehead such projects gather like minded people around them or present a certain mindset that attracts those who believe in their philosophy. So while the projects are the product of many people working in unison the central focus is still the 'prime' designer.

It happens in many fields.

Architecture, for example, has recognizable 'names' that are supported by intensive team efforts. Many times the only contribution by the lead architect is a mockup sketch or central idea but they are given the acclaim. The Hollywood industry defines this sentiment :)

Although I will say that most people recognize the name Bioware long before they can recall certain singular developers.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:46PM Lateris said

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I actually am a sub culture rock star and very fugly

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:47PM cowboyhugbees said

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I'll bring up the elephant in the room here.

Mr. Miyamoto kind of goes against everything you mentioned.

He's quiet, stays out of the media limelight (despite being freakin' Time Most Influential Person of the Year), but he's basically a god to gamers everywhere. And while he may not be involved in every line of code, he is the heart and soul of his company.

Maybe I've played too much Mario in my day, but I think he absolutely deserves all the credit in the world for his contributions as a designer. Without him, we'd probably be playing board games right now.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 7:44PM Feend Rendor said

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@cowboyhugbees

Mr. Miyamoto certainly stands out as the exception to this rule. It's hard for me to call him a rockstar though. Even though gamers may consider him a genius and worship the ground that he walks on, Mr. Miyamoto tends to act humble about his involvement with Nintendo games. He gets excited about his ideas, not the fact that he came up with them.

To me, humility makes all the difference. It's inevitable that people will become representatives of brands. It's equally as inevitable that consumers will go overboard with their fandom. What matters is that the game developer remember his or her own humanity and remind the gamers of the many other people that contributed to the game.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2011 6:52PM Irem said

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I agree, but I think a lot of this is just human nature. The same thing happens across fandoms with people who work on comic books, people who write for TV shows, movie directors, authors, ect. When things go well, it's fun to have someone to sort of embody what we like about the things we like so that we can focus our affection somewhere. When things go wrong, human beings like to have a name and a face to assign blame to, because it makes disappointment easier to deal with.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 9:17PM CheesecakeBandit said

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I am certain there are a whole bunch of Rockstar developers, allbeit they work for Rockstar Games :P.

Joking aside, The field isn't supportive of self-important/self-destructive lifestyles that a "rockstar" would partake in. Although they do come up with some quotable quotes from time to time, just not as many as Charlie Sheen.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 9:26PM Transientmind said

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It's a bad idea to have a rockstar frontman for your game.

Tabula Rasa: Great game. I joined nine months in with the free trial, and was hooked. Polished, balanced, great levelling experience, innovative capture point/public quest idea that created hours of impromptu fun. Never wanted it to end.

Was not aware of the community bile surrounding the shoddy launch and inevitable, perpetual endgame raider whining. (Go ahead. Find me ANY game where the endgame raiders are fully, completely satisfied instead of whining for more content.) The MMO blogosphere, it seemed, had already declared it dead.

I was hugely disappointed when TR failed, and naturally I dug into it to find out why this crime against humanity was occurring. When the legal dust settled 1.5-2yrs later, it appears that NCSoft was unhappy with Garriott's involvement as running down their bottom line, and he was realizing NC was perhaps not the best horse to have hitched his cart to.

This is a case where the developer had his name on the box. The intent to make it about the personality is undeniable. And the lawsuits involving Garriott most likely condemned what might have otherwise been a salvageable IP. Facing a two-front war, NC gave up.

Garriott now makes poker and blackjack games and claims it has more gamer integrity than farmville, and is planning on revolutionizing casual gaming.
...Which is about as depressing as watching a former pro-athlete living in a cardboard box and telling any passersby who'll listen that he's starting up a new hobo-league that's going to blow the 'conventional' semi-pro minor tri-county community leagues out of the water.

Sure, buddy. Have a quarter.

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