Nathan Vella got a standing ovation tonight at the close of the Independent Games Festival, the awards show for indie games at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. He did so by denouncing Internet hatred.
The inspiring comments from the head of Capybara Games, an indie games developer, highlighted a terrible seven months for the industry under the shadow of Gamergate, a Twitter movement that started with a spat between lovers, morphed into a movement about games journalism ethics, and then led to the Internet harassment of many of the game industry’s outspoken female developers.
“Just as this year has exposed all that ugliness, it has also exposed a new generation of creators and activists who are fighting for video games and video game culture,” Vella said. “They are fighting for us, the independent games community. I don’t think they want our gratitude at all. I think they need our support. I think they need us as a community, to show a new way to engage with each other and play.”
He added, “So let’s all fight back against this hate the best way we know how. Through our games, our teams, through our collaborations. Let’s make sure our games aren’t embodying any stereotypes or caricatures. Let’s make sure as a community we are supportive of each other and we are welcoming as possible of any and all voices. To me, this gets to the core of what it’s about to be an independent developer. We don’t have any stock prices to fight over. We don’t have any entrenched political dogmas. We own our art. This gives us a real opportunity to be the change that we all want to see in this industry. And I think we can all change for the better, together.”
Tim Schafer, the head of Double Fine Productions and host of the Game Developers Choice Awards, which followed the IGF, took a different approach. He belittled the Gamergate movement using jokes from a sock puppet.
Amen to that.