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Monday, August 23, 2021

Gaming Media Outlet "Gamasutra" to Rebrand to "Game Developer"

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - That means the media outlet will be called “Game Developer” as opposed to them starting to develop games.

This isn't normally the kind of story KoopaTV would cover, but I find it fascinating for several reasons, so here we go: Gaming media outlet Gamasutra will be rebranding to Game Developer, after its defunct Game Developer magazine, which it was a sister site for that outlasted the print sibling. That's happening this week and they'll drop the gamasutra.com domain for gamedeveloper.com. They claim that gamasutra.com articles will properly redirect to the new site... and they better, since KoopaTV has cited them on many occasions. It's a publication meant for game developers, and there's sometimes content by game developers (like postmortems). The parent company also brings you Game Developers Conference, after all. There's often lots of very interesting information, even if the site's politics are... the usual. (Not like this site's, of course.)

Why should another website write about that website's branding change? I think their reasoning is very interesting. It's as follows:

“ That said, even with Gamasutra's reputation and editorial vision, the name was always cringey, and alienated people outside or adjacent to the game industry. The name was (and is) typically met with a "what'd you say?" or impressive side-eye. I don't blame people who reacted that way, because as much pride as I have working on Gamasutra, I've felt the same way. I and the people who work on the site have for a long time.

And the stories of sheer cringe that I've experienced or heard have made me laugh, but equally made me shudder: A developer having to cite Gamasutra in front of government representatives to obtain funding; a teacher awkwardly telling new design students to check out this article on Gamasutra; a game industry reporter spelling out Gamasutra for an inquisitive Indian-American middle-schooler, pencil and notepad in hand. (That last example was of me.) On a more serious note, reporting on rampant industry sexism when our brand clings to a late-90s "LOL SEX" connotation is beyond the pale.”


I have to confess something at this point...

Gamasutra rebrand to Game Developer
I know this would be super easy in Photoshop,
but if anyone wants to tell me how to align-centre things in Paint.NET, I could make less amateurish imagery.


...I had absolutely no idea what the name origin of Gamasutra was. I thought it was just something that sounded cool with the word “game” kind of put at the start. The first time I had any inclination it had any connotation to “LOL SEX” was today, upon reading their name change article. I had to go ask a chatroom what the connotation was. Apparently, there exists an ancient Indian tome named Kama Sutra, which is about fostering human-to-human love. Part of the text has to do with sex, though that's not the work's exclusive purpose.

I tried learning more about Kama Sutra as research for this article, but... I didn't like what I was reading (and don't think I'd ever apply any of it to my life, not even factoring that the target audience is humanity, which I'm not included in), so I scrapped that idea. Apparently, everyone out there knew about this book (or thinks they know about it) except me, and they're all focused on sexual positions despite the book apparently having lots of other (perhaps useful?) content. Something about a poor English translation.

All that written, a sutra is still just a (Hindu) philosophy text. So a Gamasutra would be an authoritative (Hindu) philosophy text about games. I dunno, I think it's cool. Game Developer doesn't sound like much in the way of branding. There's probably more of those than there are KoopaTVs. (And there's at least more than us. Or was. Don't think the other guys are still around!)

Though I did read a comment of someone thinking that such a generic title is, in fact, more prestigious. Like saying you wrote for the academic journals “Science” or “Nature”...And somehow, those brands don't have trouble with name recognition or being found on a search engine, despite being the name of the field and not a unique brand. There are (or were—most seem to be defunct by now) a few news outlets that are literally just named “The News”, so... maybe there's something to that.

The last thing I want to note is that Gamasutra's editor-in-chief is changing to Alissa McAloon, a name/person I once strongly criticised (and I stand by that criticism, by the way. It was very warranted and justified) for a piece she wrote for Game Informer six years ago. I would like to believe that—in terms of journalism skills—she has received substantial character development since then as she has progressed in her career. So... congratulations on the new role, Alissa.



The real reason that Ludwig wrote this article is because he wanted to make a safe space for people who never heard of the Kama Sutra before. He just found it so fascinating that Gamasutra had this hidden meaning this entire time that he didn't know about. If you are wondering where the name KoopaTV comes from, it's based off the late Herman Cain's commentary (and not really video-based) website named CainTV. Since Ludwig's last name is Koopa, he just swapped Cain and Koopa. Simple backstory.

2 comments :

  1. I didn’t know game company’s could ever so dirty. Scratch that, I played kirbys dreamland two

    ReplyDelete

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