Saturday, May 2, 2009

Explaining the Name

I've seen a couple of comments now about the name that I release games under, which is The Shape of Games to Come. Some people seem to think that I'm trying to assert that I'm the future of the games industry or something equally pompous, but it's much simpler than that.

The short explanation is that it's an homage to one of my favourite albums, The Shape of Punk to Come by Swedish hardcore band Refused. If you've never heard them, head on over to their Myspace page, and listen to "Summerholidays vs Punkroutine".

The long explanation goes something like this: I originally wanted to release games under the name Curmudgeon Games, but a quick Google search turned up far too many similar names, meaning there would be no good way for people to determine what was and wasn't actually released by me. I came up with probably about a dozen other names that I thought sounded interesting, but they were all already taken.

At that point I stopped and thought to myself "What is an unusual but easily remembered combination of words that probably isn't in use?" You've probably had similar thoughts yourself if you've ever tried to sign up for an e-mail address with a well established service, since pretty much anything remotely common is already taken. Because I'm a huge music geek, I just started thinking about the names of albums that I really like, and trying to figure out if I could make any of them sound like a game development studio. The Shape of Punk to Come was the first one I hit on that I could find a way to "game-ify", so that's what I went with.


  1. i really dont like that band...but i do really love the name of your game...

  2. Hey there, I just wanted to say that I tried the trial version of your game on XBLA Community and though I found the game simplistic (which is of course on purpose I'm sure) it was interesting because it reflected my own thoughts and ideas. I didn't buy it though, not because of the graphics, but becuase it didn't give me a new angle on life. Maybe that's asking a bit much, but since you've tackled this game in this manner, I think it's worth asking: what's the point? If we create our own meaning, like the meters are intended to suggest, then what meaning is found from them? Achievements or trophies aren't possible in this game, so the player doesn't get to experience that. The player is not awarded with additional content, unless I missed something spectacular by only playing thr trial version. In short, the player is not awarded with any expansion of experience within the game at this point.

    Am I wrong?

  3. Hi Vince,

    The point was to try to see what I was capable of communicating entirely through the hard-coded rule structure of a video game. The experience that I was trying to give the player was not accomplishment or progress, but an emotional resonance. Communication is the meaning of the game, to me. The idea was not to directly reward the player in the game, but to hope that players found the experience itself to be rewarding.

  4. I downloaded the game because of the interesting title. I believe you succeeded in your attempt to use games as a means to make the player think. I played it first without reading your message. It made me think of how much a waste of time video games are. This is what I thought your message was. I was walking around pressing different combinations of buttons depending on what symbol I walked into. No matter how great the graphics are, how great the game sounds, how "next gen" it is, it really is all the same. Simply pressing buttons in response to what I see on screen. Halo might have 100000000 times better graphics than your game, but I am still doing the same thing, wasting the same amount of time, pressing buttons on a plastic thing in my hands. This is what I thought you were trying to convey with your game. When I read your message, I realized I was wrong, but could definitely relate to what you were saying. Anyone with a job and daily chores should really appreciate your game. I admit I did not pay for the game, but this is the first time I have ever went online to read more about the publisher of a certain game. I had to come online to see who could have come up with such an amazing idea. I will be looking forward to your future "games"

  5. The name of the game is already intriguing. I want to see a demo of this game if at all possible. Can I get it as Download Games also? And which console is it playable/compatible at?

  6. It's an XBox Live Indie Game. You can download a demo either through the XBox 360 dashboard, or by going here: