“Inside Indie” is where we invite some of our favorite developers to talk about their lives and careers in gaming. This week’s article is by Erin Robinson.
One side effect of being an indie developer is that weird things stop seeming weird after a while. Example: With one exception, I have not in person met any of the people who are currently working for me. There are five of them.
Three and a half years into this game development thing, and I’ve gotten used to it. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you count among your friends a variety of people you don’t actually know. It’s all good. This is the future, after all.
However, not everyone seems up to speed on this phenomenon. In this case, I am using the word “everyone” to mean “my bank.” Maybe it’s just a Canadian thing, but banks seem incredibly ill-suited to the kind of things you’d think they’d be good at. Namely, taking my money and sending it to someone else.
A few weeks ago I had to make a bank transfer to one of my artists, who happens to be living in another country. I had made the exact same transfer only a few weeks earlier, but because my bank doesn’t actually keep records of who I wire money to, they had to retype all of the transfer information.
After about ten minutes of watching a perplexed bank employee type in some very foreign-sounding addresses, he cleared his throat.
“For certain countries, we need to know a reason for your transfer,” he said.
“Certain countries?” I asked. “Which certain countries?”
“Oh, you know,” he said. “Thailand…”
I expected him to continue, but he didn’t.
In fact, the country I was sending my money to was that nefarious criminal hotbed, Latvia. It’s situated between Lithuania and Estonia, and according to Wikipedia, its notable cultural branches include theatre, scenography, and classical music.
I stared in disbelief at the bank employee.
“I bought some art.” I said. “This guy does art.”
“Ah, okay,” the employee said. “I think that’ll go through.”
I have to mention that the first time I made this exact bank transfer, the woman I spoke to hadn’t even heard of the country. “Where’s Lativa?” she asked me, pronouncing it so as to rhyme with “Queen Latifah.”
“It’s in Europe,” I replied. “Do you think I could maybe talk to your manager?”
Brushes with middle management aside, I still struggle to explain my occupation. I rarely tell anyone in my parents’ generation that I’m an indie game developer; it raises too many questions. Especially, “Are you making any money with that?”
I usually just say I’m unemployed and thinking about grad school. It’s perfect. Not only is it believable, but it gives old people a chance to chime in with their opinions about the economy. And they will, you can bank on it.
Erin Robinson is the designer of Nanobots, Little Girl in Underland, and the upcoming Puzzle Bots. She was recently profiled in PC Gamer UK and has appeared here on Bytejacker. You can stay updated on all her work on her site, livelyivy.com.