By Lance Weiler, February 22nd, 2009

This edition of TCIBR is made possible thanks to the support of IndieFlix – Jason Rohrer is an independent game designer and developer. His games Passage and Between challenge the convention of what a video game is. Instead of relaying on graphics which are a staple of AAA games, Jason is drawn to game mechanics that create a sense of emotional weight. In our discussion Jason shares his vision for game design and explains how some of the things holding back gaming may in fact be its desire to be too much like film.

His newest game Primrose is more of a puzzle game.

Primrose is currently available through the iPhone app store.
For more information on Jason visit his site.

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Posted in culture hacker interview podcast

Lance Weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects.


  • SirNewt

    I find the current indie scene a little disheartening myself. Many of the people in the indie scene are there because unlike in the 90s most of the publishers in the industry are focusing more and more on annualizing franchises. If the indie scene is burgeoning it's not because of some large sudden bubble of aspirations, it's because many people have been pushed there due to disinterest from large publishers.

    If the game timeline is analogous to that of film, game development is somewhere near 1915. Experimentation is widespread but a singular elegance like that of books and films hasn't been developed. Games throw up so many barriers in terms of hardware alone. Not to mention the problem most "non-gamers" experience with the interface.

    Further, if games are going to rise above their current state, game makers have to realize that games are NOT about story. Just as the directors of new wave determined that film is NOT about story but about cinema. What is pivotal to games as a medium is developing the language of interaction as a device for conveying thoughts and emotions. Just as cinema has a visual vocabulary, music has a tonal vocabulary, and books have of course a written vocabulary, games need a vocabulary of interaction. At this point, the game aspect of most games is irrelevant to the story and characters. All thought, ideals, and emotions are delivered in-between play using the language of film, cinematics.

  • Nice article. However if I were you I would jump to the conclusion that gaming is in a high innovative stage. All the titles you mentioned are good-old-copy of an old ideas in a new hardware. the small size indie developers are under huge pressure from main-stream big industry fishes!
    besides the willingness of these same ones to promote indie titles it eventually all bowls down to MEANS of production!
    it is completely different from the indie-movie analogy! technological advance means mostly high cost of production, in case you want to target the market of the big-ones. I see dark ages of gaming due to limited innovation and the limited access of low-budget projects to mainstream.
    i can give you countless examples...

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