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In his book “A People’s History of the United States,” Howard Zinn argues for an alternate (but just as valid) historical narrative that put common people at the core of its story rather than the powerful political / economic figures that “inevitably” wielded control in a historical trajectory. The truth, however, is that their power and legitimacy was disputed at every step. Much like US history, the history of game development is largely dominated by the powerful — large international publishers and industry developers dominate the conventional narrative and are its heroes. This talk will not argue whether the industry is good or evil, but the truth is always more complicated than that.
The history of the first person game genre, then, can be read as a narrative arc with three eras: a “Doom” era with lots of modder / industry symbiosis, a “console” era that forced these modders to consolidate with indies, and now an “indie FPS” era that seems poised to takeover popular discourse of the genre. Today, “modding” as we understood it 10 years ago, is now dead.
In this talk, attendees will hear about the rise and fall of the many modding city-states, several general critiques of the console military manshooter market, and a critical survey of over a dozen experimental indie FPS games you’ve probably never heard of.