It seems to me we’re in a weird position right now with indie games and the press. It’s never been easier for more people to get their work on a site somewhere. It’s never been easier to get your five minutes of the day as the top post on a site somewhere.

That’s really fucking good.

It also makes me sorta chuffed that there’s a few UK sites that really help get games out there to the mainstream, stand up RPS, stand up Eurogamer, stand up Edge, all of whom have widened the net even more so that games can be exposed to all manner of people.

That’s really fucking good.

I like that Indie Statik, Free Indie Games and more all exist. Sorry, I’ll be here forever listing loads.

That’s really fucking good.

But there’s something missing.

In 2008, I sent a shit game to RPS and got coverage on the back of it. Thanks to that coverage (thanks Mr Gillen!), that shit game eventually found its way to the Eurogamer Expo. Before it got to the Expo, I managed to make it a not shit game.

Thanks to that shit game getting coverage (because if something makes you laugh for 3 minutes, fuck it why not), a chain of weird events unfolded that still leave me sitting here in my pants looking ever so slightly (but happily) confused. I’d been making stuff for 6 years before, I’d had press before (In print! Remember that?) but that was a different thing, that wasn’t my own thing.

One post. That’s all it took. One post.

I don’t think today I’d be able to get that post anywhere, not like that.

In 2006, the now retired Tim (of indygamer.blogspot.com and later indiegames.com) wrote about a game called Retro II by a dev we’d both stumbled upon around a similar time whilst looking for other things. Then he posted some more. They weren’t the greatest games ever but there was something there, something a little bit “you know, this guy… there’s something there”.

We chatted a bit about it and both agreed, neat stuff, rough stuff, weird stuff, the kind of things no-one in their right mind would contact the press with and no-one in their right mind would expect press from.

A year later, that dev won a competition on TIGS and oh, that game was a good game.

Last year, he released Hotline Miami.

I don’t think he’d be able to get those early posts today, not like that.

I think he’d have gone on to make great things regardless, we sorta knew that. But I think now, it’d be the great game that would be the first you’d know about and I’m not sure that doesn’t lose something somewhere.

I brought this up on Twitter earlier to a near uniform point missing. “If a dev is good, the game will get picked up”. “Show us the games that are good that don’t get picked up”. “If it’s good, it’ll be found on Twitter or the dev will email in”.

The thing is, when Tim was first writing about Cactus, his games weren’t that good. That’s the point. They were games people generally wouldn’t write about. So we wrote about them. Tim wrote about them.

When Gillen wrote about me, my game was shit.

If we waited for the dev to mail in, if we waited for the good game, I reckon a lot of people would never have the pleasure of those amazing sketches, those fun shorts, those worrying things from Cactus and that’d be a sadder world. Like with Jwaap’s pre-Vlambeer stuff, y’know? I’m glad I had that stuff exposed to me.

This was what Tim did and alongside TIGS, it helped many devs get a kickstart.

FIG sorta covers this base but outside of Sunday’s on RPS, the battle’s a harder one now. It feels to me like it’s harder for the kids to get noticed now.

It feels like all the advantages Cactus had in 06, all the advantages I had in 08 have slipped away quietly.

Maybe it’s for good reason. I’ve seen my own mailbox, it bulges and I barely write about games these days. Maybe it’s not true and I’m just reading the tealeaves wrongly but it’s worth pondering over just in case we do lose that because sometimes, people don’t know they have something worth pushing until someone pushes it for them. And if there’s no-one pushing it for them, maybe it just stops there.

Maybe we’d lose slices of the future because we’re all focusing on the good shit we can get hold of and not the good shit that could be. There is a lot of good shit now, it’s easy done.

Maybe the quality bar is so high now we forget that there’s people who don’t know yet they can reach it and we’re too busy to give them a leg up when we spot something with a little bit of “ooh” but not so much as to scream about it from on high.

Fuck knows though but it’s something I’ve been thinking about anyway and whatever, asking for more champions can’t hurt, right?

And if you are a champion, I fucking loves you, I do. Carry on.