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In case you're wondering, I'm David Thomson. I make games, write things, make films and think out loud. I founded The Games Kitchen back in 1999, subsequently working at Slam and Denki, before starting again with Ludometrics.

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The Only Thing Worse Than Being Talked About

Ken Levine, of Bioshock fame, on raising industry profile (free registration required):

It’s not their fault. It’s our fault. As an industry we need to think of ourselves differently. We need to think of ourselves that way and present ourselves that way… We have a responsibility … to educate people who don’t think of games. Like the people booking those [chat] shows.

His point is that the games industry as a whole, isn’t that great at raising it’s own profile, or the profile of those who work within it. Unless, of course, it’s some sort of “video nasty” type story (e.g., Manhunt, Hot Coffee).

This is something I’ve been thinking about over the last week or so, triggered by a couple of shows on BBC Scotland’s Artworks Scotland strand. The first was about Scottish bands heading out to SXSW earlier this year. The second about Scotland’s comic book writers and artists. Why isn’t there a third show about Scotland’s games industry?

Anecdotally, I’ve seen and heard plenty of evidence over the last couple of years that school pupils and university students don’t have a huge awareness of where games are made in the UK, what games are made in the UK, and the fact that there’s an industry beyond EA, Activision, UbiSoft, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft or Take 2. Combine this with quality of life and workplace diversity issues (never mind the lack of creative diversity), and we have ourselves a bit of an image problem. And it’s no use talking to ourselves about it.

TIGA have done a fantastic job of raising awareness of the industry at a government level, and are rightly applauded for that. But I agree with Levine’s sentiments: it’s up to the creators of games to get out there and talk to the world, rather than just to ourselves. We can’t (and shouldn’t) rely on a trade association to do that, we can’t (and shouldn’t) rely on the media to come to us. If we don’t talk to the world about what we do, we have no right to complain about being misrepresented or misunderstood.

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