Too many games

Too many games is a good Maze’s song but it’s also the truth:

14,534 new games. In a year. On ONE platform. That is univocally too much. Let’s do some quick math here.

14,534 games. Each game is at the very least a 10-person team and at least a couple years in the making. Let’s say three years.

That’s 145,340 folks working on games since 2020, and who released their game in 2023, right?

Considering how creative industries are all hit-based businesses. 99% of those games will flop. That’s an incredible amount of waste for thousands of people with tunnel vision working hard for years.

Forty years ago, there was a computer game crash. Here’s Wikipedia about it:

The crash was attributed to several factors, including market saturation in the number of video game consoles and available games, many of which were of poor quality. Waning interest in console games in favor of personal computers also played a role. Home video game revenue peaked at around $3.2 billion in 1983, then fell to around $100 million by 1985 (a drop of almost 97 percent).

Looking at all the layoffs last year in companies which are actually making money making games, entertainment competition (streaming and social media) stronger than ever and demographic changes (smaller pool of young players who play one or two games anyway), it’s not hard to see that things are not going to improve anytime soon.

Which means more dependence on whales. Which means more abuse. Oh boy.

Audio&Games Music

Music and sound are simply supreme

Lots of nostalgia happening in games right now with the new GTA announcement.

Invariably, it comes down to music. GTA III, GTA Vice City were not that great of games. But Vice City introduced good 80s music to millions of dudes and that’s all they really remember fifteen years later.

You can swap GTA for Minecraft. Or Mario. Or Halo. Music and sound design shape memories like nothing else. It makes the past look better than it was.

Everything visual blurs in our memories. Considering how much effort is poured into textures, animation and 3D models, what a waste.

A distinctive sound, or melody will unearth the most pristine snapshot of that time. And those sounds can be created in an instant. Audio is the closest thing to actual magic.

I recently recovered a one hour and half recording of a dinner with my parents, sister and grandparents from I think 1999 or 2000. I remember that I was testing the microphone quality. Well, it’s really good. I can hear everyone’s voice. Utensils on the table. The dog’s collar and its movements.

It is so powerful, I’ve only been speechless listening to it once.

Hearing my grandparents (both have passed away) talk and laugh is a million times more powerful than looking at a picture of them. Video is cool, but sound is so pure; I can reconstruct the scene in my mind with the recording. It was a winter evening. I know where I was sitting and where everyone was. Grandma tells me how I should try to go door to door to get hired and I can almost remember what I was thinking in that moment.

Sound and smell are just wired at a lower, deeper level than vision.

Unless we wildly genetically change, reading a book while listening to music will always be some of the best thing you can do, ever. ‘love that.


Cities and performance

Facepalm. In game development the equivalent to “we’ll fix it in post” is “the next hardware will run it at 4K/60fps” except that it’s not 2004. It’s not happening anymore. It’s mind blowing in a way, to work so hard on a game and take a massive gamble on the tech stack in the 2020s. It feels like if you’re trying to make a good sequel to a popular game that wasn’t very resource intensive, you should keep it not very resource intensive. LOD is a solved problem, ffs. Sigh.

But as you all know, it’s all about growth. It’s all about bigger, taller, stronger faster and also, worse.

This is also why Nintendo stays untouchable: they make their own lil engines, own small prototypes, and squeeze an ungodly amount of fun out of weak ass CPUs. They understand. And print money.


Peter Guild

Peter Molyneux has a dev blog and I picked up that picture from it:

This is a map of Guildford, UK. Those three names are game studios that Peter founded, across four decades (you can read the history of those studios, starting with Bullfrog Software via He also was born and raised in that city.

What’s so remarkable to me is that game development is the poster child of globalization. Every single game developer I know has worked in different cities, countries, different continents even. Ubisoft has spread out across the entire world since the late 90s and all publishers have studios everywhere on earth. For tax incentives, talent and taking advantage of around the clock work.

Peter stayed in his hometown his whole life, creating three different studios focused on rather experimental games. That’s fascinating!

  • Do all people in Guildford know Peter? What’s the word about his reputation?
  • How many local people did he hire?
  • How did he manage to get financing being away from big hubs like Montreal or the US West coast? (Microsoft and Electronic Arts funded some of his stuff)
  • How do you find so much inspiration living where you always have lived, in a grey town in the UK?

Good luck on your next game, Peter.


The most uncomfortable truth

I’m going through it with video games. “Let me watch some Diablo 4, oh, it’s the exact same thing as Diablo I and Torchlight from respectively 20 and 10 years ago, OK.”

Games bore me to death these days and yes, considering the important things we need to tackle and vote for or on, they are a bit of a waste of time. It is very painful to admit.

This article about Starfield makes me think about it. Yes, spending dozens of hours “exploring” pointless data on a computer, when you already have done it for hundreds of days in your life, is silly. Yes, flying over empty planets designed this way, using your super fancy GPU to display 4K textures, is a waste of energy and time. Yes, doing the exact same thing 40 years ago created the same excitement with a tenth of electric consumption. No, games being more immense than before doesn’t help in any way.

Developing games is insanely hard and being able to make something that works, that is fun and that people love, is a brilliant feeling to feel. It’s incomparable to anything, it’s impossibly joyful. I understand.

The impact of computer games on culture and society? Way fucking darker and questionable.

I struggle with this.

Audio&Games Me Myself&I

VR not

Virtual Reality is 45+ years old. In 1992, they were claiming that affordable VR would be ready in a couple years.

It is not affordable over 30 years later, nor did it take over, despite billions over billions of dollars sunk into it.


Because current engineers think that the brain is just a pair of eyes connected to a processing unit. It is not. The brain is connected to an entire body in ways that we are still learning about.

Back in the 1960s when personal computers and information technology were being formed by a team of psychologists, electrical engineers and mathematicians, they knew that computers needed physical access to themselves. They understood that as corny as it sounds, humans are One: one brain, one body. It’s all combined and intricately connected.

This is how they came up with the mouse, an input device that is still to this day the most accurate way to do well, most things on a computer. Why? Because it utilizes the wrist, a magnificent and ultra precise tool that created all the arts in the world.

What I mean is that human beings will never dissociate from their meat envelope. That is just how we’re literally wired. Full body tactile feedback will always be superior to zero tactile feedback because we’re so good at it. Thousands of years of experience on the resume.

Ever realized how incredibly fast our skins feel a change of temperature? Like, it’s basically instant. Our lives are all about tactile feedback, if you think about it: receiving a kiss, opening a door, tasting a beverage… It never stops.

This is why VR keeps failing. It disconnects us. That will not change and we won’t either.


The first computer game ever

But this digital computer was supposed to act as a flight simulator, a machine for which there was never any “answer,” just a constantly changing sequence of pilot actions and simulated aircraft responses. So Forrester and his team would have to create not a calculator but a computer that could monitor its inputs constantly, staying ready for whatever might come along; that could respond to events as fast as they occurred, without ever falling behind when things got hectic; and that could keep going until the simulation was over, however long that took. In short, they would have to create the world’s first real-time computer.

M. Mitchell Waldrop in The Dream Machine.

This is happening between 1945-1947.

Real-time computing is computer games’ heart and soul. It is the most complex type of programs and software, for it has to be solid in real time.

Today a modern computer game monitors in real-time inputs from 40 folks while simulating a 2-mile wide 3D world with real-time physics from lighting to sound to gravity (yeah we still cheat on all that, using pre-baked stuff as much as we can) simultaneously rendering all of this on 40 folks’ monitors at the rate of 60 frames per second, each frame being a grid of 2560 x 1440 pixels or more. Without crashing even if things become hectic. For as long as people play.

The complexity of something like Fortnite is beyond your comprehension (and mine).


Perfection Game

Perfection. (

It is still a great, soothing little game. Grab it.



I played Elden Ring on a PS5 this year. I played some Noita on my laptop. And then I stopped caring completely.

Too many things are not right in games.

Games are labor

Maybe you don’t work enough in your life but I do and I don’t want to do it again “for fun”. Fuck that. I don’t want to gather shit, I don’t want to level up, I don’t want to go there do that, go back there, being told what to do, go there collect that. Enough of this. The wandering in digital worlds sure, I’ve done that for decades. I’m wandering in books and cult movies these days.

The business model of games has lost its mind

Everything is about crafting abuse that can’t be seen. It is lucrative as hell, but the peer-pressure induced culture destined to make you buy more and more and more, and bet more and more and more is not right. And never will. I know, it’s everywhere now. It kind of got really efficient and scalable thanks to games. Remember how cute gamification looked in 2010 and now you can’t go grab a taco without an app, a leaderboard and some utterly meaningless “quest” to go after to collect “points”? It’s horrendously dehumanizing.

Game developers

Seeing many, many game developers that I respected and trusted come out as manipulators and abusive folks in the past few years, has been sobering. I’ve also had the most unprofessional interviews ever with game studios, by far. Again, really sobering.

The graphic treadmill

Today we have games in Real Time Ray Tracing in 4K with 1995 pathfinding. It is so jarring. Insanely realistic lighting with game states that we had when the PS2 was hot, is nonsense. It feels like nothing progressed, really. Shaders better than ever simulating clothes, hair, flames, wind, shadows all over the screen but the NPCs still can’t hear me drop from 30 feet right behind them. It’s nonsense.

The graphic treadmill is insanity and a 13 year old boy thirst trap.

The aimlessness of game design

The discipline is way too often about “me too, I can make a [trendy game design based off 90s nostalgia]”. Very few explorations. Insanely low progress in themes and worlds. For a profession that combines all other entertainment it’s quite amazing how generic games feel, consistently.

I understand! Making games and making a living off of games is extremely hard so in any design decision you tend to go for the most sound and secure approach: a first person shooter with zombies, for instance.

The issue is that game design has been doing this for twenty years on a loop, now. That’s half of video games’ existence. That’s a problem.

So yeah, time for me to go on a sabbatical about this entire thing.


So you wanna compose for games

This exact demo file was immediately rejected. In fact, Chad was part of the panel that rejected it. But he included the file on the album and listed himself as a co-artist, despite having absolutely nothing to do with it.

Oh boy. Mick Gordon, composer and sound designer talking about his great relationship with id Software.

If you want to make a living making music in this industry, don’t start.