Jason Rohrer made a big name for himself at the gamma 256 event with the release of Passage. It was a great use of the videogame medium, conveying a message and evoking emotions. It also created enough mainstream buzz to garner Jason a very interesting article in Esquire. His humble and spiritual lifestyle made him an indie darling, and no one very few people dared to say anything negative about him.
Not too many people seemed to notice that Jason wasn’t just a gentle “hippie” developer, though. For example, his article on non-randomized, “infinitely replayable” single-player games was a cold, hard look at game mechanics. The piece was almost an antithesis to the game that made him famous, showcasing his range as a designer.
In recent days, it was announced that Jason would be joining Tool, an advertising agency. At first glance, this seemed like a good fit. Jason has proven himself a very creative individual, capable of using a medium in unique and unexplored ways. Logically speaking, this makes him a potentially great fit for advertising, and kudos to Tool for recognizing it.
However, what I failed to initially grasp is that this also makes him a sellout.
“http://bit.ly/TOOLROHRER jason rohrer your parents are rich you don’t have to sell out. i’m sure TOOL will be a good fit for you though”
““i see video games not as addicting time-wasters, but…tools for communication and expression” you’re going to make ads for fucking verizon”
“jason rohrer won’t plug in a refrigerator for fear of killing chinese children but he apparently has no qualms about selling refrigerators.”
OK, let’s break down this vitriol a bit:
- First of all, glad to know some of us are not above the low-hanging fruit that is calling Jason Rohrer a sellout by referencing “TOOL,” the name of his new employer.
- How is not mooching off your parents a bad thing?
- What does Verizon have to do with Jason’s view of videogames?
- Where is it stated that Jason will be creating ads for refrigerators? Isn’t that a bit presumptuous? Also, when did he state that ridding the world of refrigerators was his life goal? Maybe he’s just someone who follows his own personal beliefs without shoving them down the throats of others?
I mean, isn’t this all just a bit silly? The guy has made a modest living off of creating small — and for the most part — freeware games. Obviously the donations he received for these titles have not kept him financially secure. Wanting to improve his monetary situation, he’s found a gig at a company that seems to value his skill-set. The details of this job are unknown, and Jason has not stated anything about the future of his games.
And yet, this is enough to crucify him?
Seriously, get off your high-horse people and stop shitting on a talented guy who’s done nothing but try to enrich the culture you hold so dear.