Essay: Rise of the Video Game Zinesters

The video game industry has long been dominated by a homogeneous group of privileged white male software engineers, leading to a lack of diversity in the games being produced and marketed to a similarly homogeneous audience. However, game designer and critic Anna Anthropy argues in her book “Rise of the Videogame Zinesters” that this can change through the decentralization of game creation and open access to the creative act for everyone.

Anthropy’s goal is to bring balance to the medium by encouraging people of all backgrounds to create games that represent traditionally marginalized groups. She explains how this can be achieved through the use of accessible game design tools such as Twine, for instance, that don’t require programming knowledge to learn. She also advocates for new, inventive ways of distributing games, moving away from mainstream platforms like Steam and Apple’s App Store.

Anthropy’s message is one of pluralism and self-validation. Creation is art, and it doesn’t need validation from outside authorities. She reminds us that the pursuit of artistic legitimacy should not be based on external validation, and that the Internet has made it easier for people to create, distribute, and play games without needing permission or approval.

While Anthropy’s call for a video game zinester revolution is inspiring, there are practical considerations to consider. Making a living as a game maker outside of the traditional publishing system can be difficult, as there may be limited opportunities for income and support. However, this is not solely a problem in the gaming industry. The Internet is drastically changing the way creative endeavors work, and finding the right balance between creative freedom and financial stability is a challenge faced by many artists and creatives.

Despite these challenges, the democratizing benefits of the video game zinester revolution cannot be ignored. One of the key themes in the book is the idea that anyone can make a game, regardless of their background or technical expertise. She argues that games can be used to tell personal stories, share experiences, and address important social and political issues.The means to make and share games have never been more accessible, providing a platform for personal and meaningful games that can bring a diversity of experiences to the medium.

To conclude, Anna Anthropy’s “Rise of the Videogame Zinesters” is a groundbreaking book that challenges the traditional understanding of video games as a purely commercial and mainstream form of entertainment. Instead, the book presents a new and inclusive vision of the video game industry that emphasizes the creative potential of this medium. Through her arguments and examples, Anthropy makes a case for video games as an artistic and expressive form that can be used to tell stories, share experiences, and explore new perspectives.

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