Accepted Paper:

Surviving the coming frost: how precarious identities are managed through game making and place by Vancouver Indie Gamers  
Benjamin Archer (Curtin University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to explore and discuss how the precarious identities' of Vancouver Indie Gamers, which are shared by individuals attuned to practices of making, endure collectively in this local space in spite of market forces that seek to suspend them.

Paper long abstract:

On more than one occasion, when speaking to game developers in Vancouver on the topic of indie gaming, and what it's like to make games locally, I was pointed to a recent blog titled the Autumn of Indie Markets. Published in 2016, this article evocatively employs the changing of the seasons to describe the ways in which indie gaming, as a process of making games, emerged and flourished before shedding it former vibrancy as consumer markets matured. In Vancouver, this sense of autumn-ness seemed interwoven throughout, infecting game developers with a degree of precarity: a tentative anxiety that underpins what it means to be "Indie". The perceived threat of a coming metaphorical winter upheaves indie identities, forcing friendly collaboration (together to survive the frost) and ruthless competition (only the most capable indies will survive). These identities are managed through the practice of game making when grounded in local experiences. As such, using ethnographic examples recorded during field work in Vancouver, this paper aims to explore and discuss how precarious identities, which are shared by individuals attuned to practices of making, endure collectively in local spaces in spite of market forces that seek to suspend them.

Cook, Daniel. 2016. "Autumn of Indie Markets," Gamasutra (blog), Nov 21, 2016. https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DanielCook/20161121/285971/Autumn_of_Indie_Game_Markets.php.

Panel P23
Feeling Capitalism