Words fail us… although a few come to mind

We would have preferred our early blogs to be full of news on awesome games and telling you the latest happenings inside Atomicom Towers, but we couldn’t sit by and let this one slide, so here we go.

John Cridland, you sir, are an idiot of the highest order. And that’s the not first word we wrote there. How dare you attempt to insult a skillset, a career choice, an entire industry with childish playground comments that would have been out of place 20 years ago, let alone now. Someone who is supposed to represent British industry resulting to name calling and cheap stereotypes. Makes you wonder what else and who else he likes to make stereotypical comments about.

Who is this guy? John Cridland is the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry. The CBI. They lobby on the behalf of industry to get the government to help out where possible. They did jack shit when the videogames industry asked for the kind of help that was being given in other countries like Canada but, ya know, they do their best. So they tell everyone. Thankfully we had the likes of TIGA to do that job for them.

Why do we care? For far too many years the videogame industry and the people who play games have been the butt of many “spotty nerd” jokes from suit-wearing idiots who have no idea of who plays games and what it takes to make them. They are vaguely aware that some titles are useful if they want to get on TV or in the papers to give a soundbyte in a debate on whether something is too violent or too sexual but they really know nothing about them – and we’d wager they haven’t played a game more complex than Candy Crush Saga in their lives.

So imagine the horror when this responsible, mature, professional business authority comes out with this statement in a piece by The Independent today. Ready for this? Take a deep breath. “…nobody is going to play a game designed by a spotty nerd.” Go on, read it again. Infuriating isn’t it. To give this incredibly dumb comment some context, industry leader (scary  huh?) Cridland has just noticed that videogames is a growth industry, and one that the UK is leading the charge on. Finger on the pulse John, this industry has been growing for years – without any help from your lobbying organisation. Nice of you to notice. He is concerned that, and we quote, “We need extra coders – dozens and dozens of them but nobody is going to play a game designed by a spotty nerd. We need people with artistic flair.”

So there you go, if you’re an indie studio or a student learning to code – stop. You’re just a nerd and no one could possibly want to play one of your games. Go to art college, learn fine arts. That’s what people will want to play. Now brushing aside the fact this guy clearly knows nothing of the various disciplines that must be bought together to make a videogame…. Actually you know what, let’s not brush it aside. Mr Cridland, let us introduce you to what makes up the core elements of a videogames development team, even a small one. Coders, artists, designers and a whole raft of elements that need to be bought together to get these games out onto the shelves, whether they are AAA blockbuster Hollywood budget titles or a smaller game produced by a group of friends somewhere.

Spotty nerd. Which of those disciplines is that? Is it the coder who has mastered several different languages and knows more about maths and computer science that pretty much anyone in the CBI. Is it the coder, artist or designer who has spent years honing their craft, both the technical and artistic side working to create the best experiences for players. Let’s not forget the big businesses, ones we’re sure Mr Cridland is more familiar with, who are responsible for ensuring that artistry and creativity are pushed to one side to ensure that budgets and deadlines can be met.

Could this insistence that anyone interested in creating games should now run off to learn fine arts come from the man who, on the CBI’s own web site, recently stated, “… we need more young people, particularly young women, studying computing to a higher level and to plug the digital gaps we still have.” Jeez John, make up your mind.

John Cridland. We invite you to pay us a visit to understand properly what goes into making games, what these teams have to put up with day to day, the pure technical and creative talents that these people have. Come and see it for yourself and see why statements like the one you thought would be so funny to run in The Independent do nothing except show just how out of touch you and your organisation are with this cutting edge, fast growing industry. Our doors are open for you. Get in touch if you really care that much about this new-fangled videogames industry thing.

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