Greg Costikyan: The Scratchware Manifesto

The Gaming Manifesto

Creator: Greg Costikyan, CEO of Manifesto Games.

Purpose: To inspire the gaming industry to being innovative and exciting and not the “morass of drudgery and imitation” it is becoming.

The Scratchware Manifesto

The machinery of gaming has run amok.

Instead of serving creative vision, it suppresses it. Instead of encouraging innovation, it represses it. Instead of taking its cue from our most imaginative minds, it takes its cue from the latest month’s PC Data list. Instead of rewarding those who succeed, it penalizes them with development budgets so high and royalties so low that there can be no reward for creators. Instead of ascribing credit to those who deserve it, it seeks to associate success with the corporate machine.

It is time for revolution.

The Manifesto defines three gaming industry problems and three missions to overcome them:

Problem 1: Driven by Moore’s Law

Mission 1: Build a viable channel for independently-created games.


Problem 2: The narrowness of the retail channel

Mission 2: To create a long tail for games, to allow a thousand different games to find their audience, to smash the iron logic that prohibits innovation.


Problem 3: Publisher cowardice.

Mission 3: To sustain the enormous ferment of creativity we’ve seen over the last three decades into the future, even as the mainstream game industry becomes tired and decayed.


There are also sections titled:

Games are Art

Creators Should Have an Upside

Gamers Rule


And the manifesto concludes with a call to…

Join the Revolution

Join us, and help build a better tomorrow. Get the word out that there’s more to games than you’ll find at Best Buy, and that Manifesto Games is the place to find the best of the rest, the products of individual vision, games created for love and not at the behest of some blinkered suit whose last job was selling Tide.

Let a thousand flowers blossom; let a thousand different games contend.

From now on, we must all strive resolutely to bring about the overthrow of the existing order.

Gameplay over glitz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *