Email RSS Feed Twitter Facebook YouTube

BlowFish: A New Portmanteau for Arrogant, Self-Aggrandizing Indie Developers

BlowFish: A New Portmanteau for Arrogant, Self-Aggrandizing Indie Developers

Its Sunday, so lets blow off some steam! My rant this week is about indie game mouthpieces.

In a recent discussion on the brilliant cool-club-for-awesome-people (CDT Facebook group), we coined a phrase that was so perfect we couldn’t believe we came up with it. Or, more accurately, we couldn’t believe that site member Gary Hogg had come up with it.

For some context, we were discussing the two most controversial figures in indie games: Phil Fish and Jonathan Blow. Why are they so infamous?

Well, Phil Fish has run afoul of controversy and raised ire amongst gamers over the patching of his indie super-hit Fez. As well as leaving gamers with a somewhat compromised product (though some blame Microsoft’s exorbitant patching fees), he also more recently judged a whole nation’s games to be bad. His verdict on Japanese games was that they were all “bad“. More recently though, he seemed to mock the PC game community. To be fair, they did deserve it though. They wanted to play his game. The heartless bastards!

Phil Fish Fez Steam

Jonathan Blow meanwhile recently Tweeted that the gaming press should be writing about overblown art wank-fest Starseed Pilgrim (ok, its not that bad really), but instead are “writing about AC3 and Tomb.. something”. This is both stupid and wrong. Wrong because Tomb Raider is an amazing game made by a team of talented people who deserve more respect, and because many, many sites are writing about Starseed Pilgrim and none are writing about AC3 now. And stupid because who died and made Jonathan Blow the de-facto spokesperson for what games are “worthy”.

Neither Blow nor Fish came across well in Indie Game The Movie (in my opinion at least), with Blow in particular bitter about the HIGH review scores he received for Braid by games critics who didn’t score it highly for the right reasons.

The truth is these two have co-opted the good name of indie game devs. They are supposedly flying the flag for indie games, but in typical CTF style they have metaphorically run off with it, more interested in their personal success than the rest of the “team”.

Most indie devs I’ve met are amazingly talented people, who are self-effacing and constantly impress me with what they can do. Making a game is really tough, and requires hard work and ability. No matter how hard we games writers work, making a game is harder, requires more talent, vision and tenacity than a million written games reviews. The problem is that sometimes the loudest, most dissenting views are the ones that are heard. This is partly the fault of the press too. We focus on those personalities to the detriment of the quieter, more modest but often more interesting voices that are out there.

So back to my original point. We needed a name for these blowhards. These indie game personalities that make everyone else look bad. These self-aggrandizing loudmouths who court controversy and damage the reputation of games development as a whole.

And we have one now. We call them BlowFishes. Lets see if it catches on!



Leave A Reply
  1. 10/08/2014, 8:39 AM

    Very soon this site will be famous amid all blogging people, due to it’s nice content

  2. Vincent says
    09/15/2014, 11:41 PM

    Without really hearing anything about the featured games before, I’ve only recently watched IG:TM, but the name Phil Fish rang a bell…oh yeah, he’s the one who slagged off an entire country’s game industry.

    I didn’t know what to make of this guy. I suppose it’s because I’m a bit of an indie noob but until that comment at the screening I had literally never heard of him. Why the bad attitude?

    Loved the movie though.

  3. Romaine says
    09/08/2014, 3:13 AM

    I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your information. This great article has really peaked my interest.

    I am going to book marrk your site and keep checking for new informaion abouit once per week.
    I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  4. jaroslaw says
    08/08/2014, 4:05 AM

    Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Thanks a lot

  5. seo says
    12/09/2013, 7:36 AM

    Hi there, I think your website might be having browser
    compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening
    in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you
    with a quick heads up! Besides that, wonderful website!

  6. Hollie says
    05/06/2013, 12:30 PM

    Political Correct-ness gone mad bros. MAAAAAAAAAAAAAADNESSSSSSSSSS

  7. Profile photo of Aeacus
    Aeacus says
    05/06/2013, 12:22 PM

    Seriously Ashley? Apart from the fact that guys is an informal use for both sexes, did you really feel the need to nitpick a single word in an article that has nothing to do with that bugbear?

  8. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    05/06/2013, 11:04 AM

    I sincerely apologise Ashley. Of course I realise there are amazing developers of both genders. An oversight on my part, but I assure you I will be severely chastised by some of my female dev friends, and rightly so :)

  9. Aiddon says
    05/05/2013, 10:03 PM

    yeah, I can get behind calling egomaniacs in the game industry that term. They think that after ONE game they’re allowed to act however they want and that people should listen to their gospel. Criminy, if Christopher Nolan had done this after Memento or George R.R. Martin after the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire they would have been CRUCIFIED within seconds.

    We’ll see if these guys can hold up with subsequent titles. I’m guessing that if a flop comes up they’ll implode.

  10. Profile photo of
    05/05/2013, 8:58 PM

    Hi Ashley,

    Oversight on our part. I can assure you, we are very up-to-date with female developers – we make it our business to be. I have amended the article :)

  11. Ashley says
    05/05/2013, 7:58 PM

    “Most indie devs I’ve met are amazingly talented guys…”

    You’ve never met a female indie gamedev? Well, hi. I’m Ashley. Let me introduce you to some more: Rebecca Fernandez, Sarah Schoemann, Anna Anthropy, Erin Robinson, Courtney Stanton, Mattie Brice, Arpita Kapoor…

  12. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    05/05/2013, 4:34 PM

    T-shirts sounds good :)

  13. Profile photo of Mike O'Raw
    Mike O'Raw says
    05/05/2013, 3:45 PM

    We could give them a slogan too:

    BlowFish: Professional Trolls

    We should look into t-shirts too :)

Leave a Reply