Creativity and Capitalism are direct opposites. There is no way to ensure the two of these things will ever coexist in a fashion that makes either one meaningful. With the pressures of Capitalism, the artist is truly never given the ability to thrive creatively. “Raised to believe that a select few create and the rest are just fans. Rich white people create and we suck it up. This is an extremely profitable system” is a quote that can be applied to all the creative fields. We are fed what is being produced in terms of games, music, film and literature. The rich create the status quo and convince us that it is extraordinary.
When we purchase, when we buy-in to the status quo of “creativity” and “innovation” given to us by major studios be it game, music or film, we are not directly doing a bad thing. We are not evil, capitalist scum. But we are selling ourselves short of the things we are capable of. We are selling our society short on the things we are capable of. Like the article says, we too, can create. We can destroy the capitalist inside of our own heads.
We must look to what has been built before us. Independent games have come far, but how much more independent can we go? If we look to music and to the late 70s and early 1980s we see the complete destruction of the capitalist model of big studio productions and big stages through punk music. We see the complete rejection of the dollar sign and the suits and the fame by saying “fuck you” to the middlemen. Even this punk ethos has been stolen and turned into capitalist means of making money, but there still exists in every city across the world a DIY music scene that says “fuck you” to anyone who comes knocking with a dollar to try and co-opt what they’re offering.
The band “Fugazi” led by Ian MacKaye never had a show that wasn’t an all-ages show. The band never charged more than 10 dollars for a show unless it was absolutely, one hundred percent necessary. Their final album “The Argument” sold 170,000 copies in it’s first week. It was released on Dischord Records, a label that Ian MacKaye started in the 80s in his Mother’s house. There was never a middle man, there wasn’t 15 percent given to a distributor, there was just money going to the hands of the people who made the product.
There are models of capitalism being bent and destroyed in capitalist sects of society, so why can’t gaming look to these areas for inspiration? The tools are there, but we need to create and harness. We need to stop selling ourselves out as consumers and as creatives.