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It ain't easy being indieAre indie game developers the next rock stars? They certainly think so. CNET News.com's Kara Tsuboi catches up with Kyle Gabler, a developer who may have just hit the jackpot with a Nintendo WiiWare contract. But the path to get there wasn't always easy.
^M00:00:01 [ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> That's a scene from World of Goo, one of the game titles soon to be released through Nintendo's WiiWare service. >> You grab a ball, you drag and build and someone else can also build at the same time. >> And that's Kyle Gabler, the game's creator who is still marveling at his good fortune to have a major gaming contract. >> For preordering it so we can use if they believe in us and what we can make which is humbling and I can't thank them enough because it's enabled me to pay rent and buy food. >> Ah, the glamorous life of an Indie gamer who is trying to go it alone in the billion dollars video game industry. >> They are a little bit stupid or crazy because I guess you kind of have to be so that you don't notice that what you're doing is probably not financially viable. >> But let's backup. For Kyle, it wasn't always about Nintendo contracts. While earning a Master's Degree at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center in Pittsburgh, he created what's known in a gaming world over as the experimental game play project. >> The hypothesis of the experience of the game play project was that you don't have to have a complex idea or a complex analogy to make a game fun, you can have fun with squares and rectangles and circles. In fact you can make that kind of game in one week. >> The idea for World of Goo came out of one of those games then known as Tower of Goo. Also popular is the Swarm, another of Kyle's creations. [Sound effects] >> The goal of the game is to drop humans with a maximum possible splatter velocity. >> Chalen Showden [assumed spelling] was a teammate of Kyle's in the game play project and was best known for his game On a Rainy Day. >> And if you see all the games they're all style over substance, like they're all extremely polished and the main criticism that we get is that the game play is quite shallow. >> You start off with this tree made out of hands, and you collect other hands falling from the sky and then umbrellas all to protect the little paper boats that are floating by. And the more boats that you help cross to safety, the more hands and umbrellas that fall from the sky. The esthetic is so creepy and that's what makes it so much fun to play. >> Unlike Kyle, Chalen has gone on to work for a major game developer but says even his current work is influenced by that student project. >> I don't approach it from a game design perspective. I approach it from an esthetic prospective. I think about how I want it to look and how I want it to feel when you play it but I don't try to take on any game play to it. >> For any Indie game developer, the trick is to find an audience. >> The paradigm shift is going to be in the way we think about marketing the games and who we're targeting. >> It seems obvious that we should take art from Indie games which happens to be made by people who make the games feel entirely untouched and in love and rip out the art and stick it on shirts and sell it in major retailers. >> And that's how experimental game play T-shirts ended up in Target stores. The blog sphere caught on and helped field Kyle and his games to more popularity. >> Suddenly your like 100,000 people will download it within 24 hours of putting it on the Internet. >> For now, he waits the success of World of Goo on WiiWare Service. But in the meantime he'll ride the thrills. >> A game developer is kind of the new rock star for suburban kids. >> And what are the pitfalls? >> I've eaten rice everyday for the last week. >> Harving [phonetic] his Indie niche in the mass market. I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET news.com. ^M00:03:15 [ Music ] ^M00:03:21