Ancient History

Shockwave made a brief appearance (along with Flash) as the spark of the independent gaming market on WNYC’s “On the Media” last week. Hats off to writer Clive Thompson for the props as he brought it up in the beginning of this interview with host Brooke Gladstone:

BROOKE GLADSTONE: The innovative spirit that marked the early days of video game development was crushed under the weight of the high-stakes, multi-million-dollar businesses built on the appeal of consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii.

Now independent game production is again on the rise because the geeks want it, the gamers want it, and more recently, as you’ll hear, even giant producers like Microsoft want it.

Clive Thompson, who writes for Wired and The New York Times Magazine, says that innovation started to creep back into game design, after more than a decade in hiding, about seven years ago.

CLIVE THOMPSON: What happened was that it became possible to do your own game because Flash and Shockwave came along, which are like these little languages for programming something inside a browser. You know, you had tens of millions of people that could potentially play your game, and you could put it online and get it out there for free.

So lot of the young talent started going, well, I’ll have my job where I’m the assistant animator for Scooby Doo Number Four-


– you know, something completely horrible – boring to play, boring to make – and in their spare time they started saying, I’m going to try and design a little game on my own that is going to be played in Shockwave or Flash on a browser. And this was the real first boom, the first flowering in indie video games.

Good, although I’m fairly sure that not even a majority of Shockwave game developers were young or working as assistant animators. But it’s nice to know not everyone’s forgotten Shockwave.