The first thing I want to do in my official position as author of this blog is thank whoever first came up with the idea of using the word Indie to describe what I do. Indie developer. Indie game design. Whoever did this, you deserve the Nobel Prize in Awesomeness.
I will explain.
When I started this business in 1994, when the web barely existed and I did most of my business over AOL, CompuServe, and BBSes, what i wrote was called Shareware. From the Latin roots 'ware', meaning "Loser" and 'share', meaning "Big, Fat".
Sometimes, people would ask me what I did for a living. I said that I wrote shareware. Then one of two things happened. Either they didn't know what shareware was, in which case they looked at me with bovine incomprehension. Or they did know what shareware was, in which case they'd ask, "Ah. And what do you do for a living?" And then, in both cases, I'd say, "Actually, I squeegee car windows downtown for spare change." And this would make them nod approvingly, because it was far more plausible.
Shareware doesn't really exist anymore. Selling software by freely distributing a demo is standard operating procedure now. (Go read the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page on shareware. Doesn't that describe all software now?) And now I despise the term 'shareware,' because of the connotations of shoddiness and amateurishness the term carries. But that left me needing a new way to describe myself.
Now, when someone asks what I do, I say, "I run an Indie game company." And it is completely sweet.
Isn't that a great word? Indie! It has this aura of cutting-edge and danger about it. Like Indie rockers. Like I'm Kurt Cobain, if he never left his basement or something. Indie means I'm cool, and independent, and fighting The Man. And it even goes a long way to explain why my games look like they were made on basically a zero budget. Because they were. But it's all right. Because I'm Indie. MAN!
It's even in the header of this blog.
I suspect it sounds like I'm attaching too much importance to this, but I'm really not. If you want to do something for a long time, self-respect is important. Feeling like a bottom-feeder gets to you after a while. I'm doing something cool and difficult. I want a term that reflects that.
So, "Indie" guy? Thanks.