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Welcome to the first installment of the BusinessWeek Arcade. Click on each image to see more details -- and play the games. Tell us what you think.
is this a desperate attempt to attract an audience? what does this have to do with covering business?
This is pretty cool. How does the list change and how can developers get their games here?
I agree with Art. What does this have to do with business? Why is BusinessWeek stooping to this sort of thing? A couple of months ago they had a blog about the best airport pickup sites and now this. Grow up and stick to the basics! If this is what I can expect from this website in the future then I'll have to reconsider my subscription.
Hi Art/Roger... Thanks for taking the time to comment. As the editor of the Innovation channel, I'd like to give you a little bit of the background behind the development of the Arcade, which is just one component of a special report which provides analysis of the state of play within the gaming industry [for more of the profiles and stories, see: http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/di_special/20080324thepowerof.htm ]
You argue that these games have nothing to do with business. I'd counter that the growing world of free, creative, independent games is having a radical -- and growing -- impact on the booming games industry at large. This space is a hotbed of creativity and ingenuity, and we wanted to provide access so that you could take a look and judge for yourselves.
Given that we're writing about developments that are taking place within the online space -- and BusinessWeek.com is also online -- it seemed logical to provide this opportunity to interact with some of the games about which we were writing. I think it's a beautiful addition to a thoughtful package of serious articles. So thanks for your comments but, respectfully, I disagree.
Some of these game creators have been making some money with their online business of selling videogames, some of them making a living out of it and some of them even becoming rich with a one person business managed from home.
From a business point of view, videogames have always been a very lucrative business, since their beggining in the seventies.
To further expound on Heather's point, the indie games scene is the zenith of experimentation in a medium that utilizes one of the most fundamental cognitive processes in the history of nervous systems: play. Consider the role play has in the development of minds, from leaning how to hunt all the way toward playing the stock market (a horribly unbalanced, yet strangely compelling game of massively multiplayer proportions. As such indie games represent the cutting edge of understanding of this very important medium.
If you believe that games are restricted to entertainment and diversion, you should be aware of the Serious Games sector, one of the fastest growing fields within the wider global game industry over the past few years. Serious Games are being used for corporate training, medical diagnosis, political and social issue dissemination, as well as hands-on education about complex systems in general. Consider that some of the most cutting edge applications in technology that involve human interaction have benefited from adaptation of game design principles to motivate and incentivize certain types of human behavior.
I think this blog is an important bridge for people who may not be familiar with games from a lifestyle vantage, so they can learn more about this powerful force shaping our collective futures.
Thanks for supporting the cause. Many of us involved take independent games very seriously. From bright students, to hobbiests, to professionals from the mainstream industry. Sidestepping the conventional wisdom of million dollar budgets, choosing instead to develop products celebrating the craft. And doing it on a shoestring budget.
We're a fast growing sector of the entertainment industry, with remarkably low barriers of entry for tech-savvy artists. So though we may not be front page material today, you'll be hearing much from us in the years to come. After all, your kids aren't just watching TV, they're playing video games. And if we've done our job right, you will be too.
Thanks again for supporting the cause.
"I'd counter that the growing world of free, creative, independent games is having a radical -- and growing -- impact on the booming games industry at large."
While I agree with this statement, it should be known that Audiosurf isn't free. The full version costs ten bucks on Steam.
Now that's business.
Other good indie games:
Rag Dol Kung Fu
Cave Story (no-brainer, how'd you miss this one BW?)
As someone who works in games, games.com to be exact, your barrier of entry into the games is going to be a difficult sell.
I understand that people need to download the games, but I think you should try and make the experience the same for every game. When I went to play one of the games and got sent off to some different site, I IMMEDIATELY did not want to play.
If you can host the downloading yourself and make the experience smoother, I think you'll provide a better experience.
Some artistically promising titles I recommend are:
Stars Over Half-moon Bay
ROM Check Fail.
I also recommend you read these blogs:
The crayon game is pretty amazing. Nice way to teach physics to kids without them knowing it. I wish you had more than just 6 different challenges.
Jayisgames is great blog for casual games. They usually focus on flash games but have weekend downloads as well. A nice alternative to unscrupulous flash portals that focus on quantity rather than quality.
Hey Bill, there is a 'deluxe' version of crayon physics that is upcoming, it recently won the grand prize at the IGF (Independent Games Festival - the "Sundance of video games")
The new version of Crayon Physics will have more levels and will give you more freedom with regards to what you can draw. But I don't think it will be freeware, you'll have to pay.
As Laurent says, downloading is a major barrier. But then again, hosting games is not BW's core.
I think it's interesting that this idea started in the innovation channel. While I don't think innovation is lacking in PC and console video games, I do think that the giants in the space tend to hog all the attention even though small independent developers tend to produce nifty innovations that very few people come by. After all, the Grand Theft Auto franchise that we know today came from a company that got traction only after it came out with a rinky-dink game called Lemmings.
Pretty busy today, but I'll be checking these out over the weekend with my son (and reading the article that Helen mentioned).
To the early detractors in comments - doesn't game theory and strategy underly most of our business interactions and experiences? Evaulate the playing field, clarify the rules/boundaries, develop team and individual skill, plan, strategy and tactics - hopefully all adding up to accomplishing a goal (high score!).
I agree that evaluating games can bring about business skills - such as evaluating user experiences of any digital product.
For this very reason, I've compiled over 300 "good experience games" at my own site - take a look.
Truly interesting special report and blog, particularly the comments/discussions. I'll have to try Crayon Physics (after work, of course). Patrick Dugan mentioned play being used for corporate training and hands-on education. I'd like to know if there's anything out there in this gaming realm specifically related to learning to be creative and innovative within a business environment, helping people think through new ways of doing what they do every day to deliver a project, for example.
This has everything to do with business.
Try this online Kakuro game.
This game is similiar to sudoku and crossword puzzles using numbers instead of letters.
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