Chris Crawford's talk on creativity from 1988.
Some of the examples are slightly dated, but the content of the speech is remarkably pertinent despite the ensuing 23 years.
The game industry moves in cycles. This talk occurred at the end of a period where a market for new games was shutting down and the industry for predictable and reliable commodity games was maturing. The chill of winter was in the air. Publisher were gaining additional power and the independent developer was struggling with issues like distribution, king making and innovation risk. Yet you had developers like Chris that were coming from a time of immense creative leaps forward. The bar was so high that something like Ultima 4 was laughed at for being more of the same.
Today we are at a remarkably similar point, but on the other side of the cycle. Certain classes of publisher are losing the absolute control they once held and it is again possible to be an independent developer and build a sustainable business. If Chris Crawford was giving this same talk today, he would give it at the Indie Game Summit and no one would blink. Consider this talk a message direct from the spiritual godfather of the current indie movement. What to do with spring?
With full knowledge of the history of our industry, it is perhaps obvious that the current season of openness will shut down again. As the cycle turns, it will become difficult for all but the largest companies to survive. As before, risk aversion should increase, innovation should stagnate and the gatekeepers will reap enormous profit on the backs of wage slaves. Many indies as we know them today shall be crushed by platforms and publishers that hold distribution hostage.
But for the next 2-5 years, there is a brief thaw. Platforms are fragmented, new genres are being invented every month, the costs of developing most (but not all) game designs are remarkably cheap. And now is your chance to change the world with a grand act of creativity.
Such a springtime may never occur again during your professional career. Don't waste this incredibly brief and incredibly valuable moment on being an incremental innovator. Exciting times. Much like the exciting times of years past.
Part 1: CreativityAndGameDesign1.mp4
Part 2: CreativityAndGameDesign2.mp4
Part 3: CreativityAndGameDesign3.mp4
Part 4: CreativityAndGameDesign4.mp4