In this episode of Dialogue Tree, Eric Brasure interviews John Sharp, associate professor of Games & Learning at Parsons. Sharp discusses his IndieCade East keynote that drew parallels between the punk DIY philosophy and indie developers. He also goes on to discuss the problems of design in the thrall of tutorials, the realities of surviving as an indie developer and a need for more anger.


02:40 “One of the things I was most struck by, I guess, was the DIY attitude that those guys had.”

03:50 “They were having to invent everything from scratch.”

07:30 “They called it a computer toy.”

10:40 “I think that robs players of their agency, to some degree.”

12:00 “They kind of found themselves painting themselves into a corner.”

15:10 “What’s going on in the… ‘indie academic’ or ‘academic indie’ scene… is really quite vital.”

18:40 “…it’s embarrassing to me. The number of games that involve male power fantasies about shooting.”

22:20 “Punk also sort of churned through people… it was a monster that needed youth to fuel itself.”

27:10 “The thing that’s perhaps a bit of a lie from those people is that not everybody is going to be Team Meat. Not everybody is going to be Phil Fish.”

35:20 “There’s a real danger there of never actually getting to make the games you want to make and, instead, making games for toothpaste companies.”

36:50 “There’s a few too many people who grew up playing platformers and are kind of reliving that through making indie platform games themselves today.”

42:20 “I think there’s a space for anger, let’s say, inside Johann Sebastian Joust… though I don’t think that’s necessarily the kind of play experience Doug Wilson wants to happen inside that game.”

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