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A member registered Jul 18, 2015 · View creator page →

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My bad, I've edited the post to better reflect that point.

As for the problem I'm trying to address and how this would help, as I and others have said in here, trying to find games that are trying to be commercially viable and entertaining vs games that are explicitly non-commercial and experimental is difficult. Yes I could use the artgames tag but 1) it's a vague enough term that many games that are non-commercial don't fit into it, or are on the blurry edges, and 2) it's not prominently displayed anywhere - you'd effectively need to know about it to use it, and 3) You can't negate tags in the itch search, so you can't filter out the games that do know about the tag and have decided they fit in that category if you're looking for commercial games.

By making the tags prominent and official, it makes it significantly easier for a newcomer to find a jumping off point and funnel down to the games they actually want, instead of meeting resistance when they just want a fun FPS and have to wade through a ton of 7DFPS jam games, and vice versa.

I don't imagine that tagging with both would help? Like by that standard you might as well tag your game with every genre too, or at least the popular ones. The thing is if you put yourself in the "artistic" side of things, people expect something from it, and you're theoretically "competing" with everyone else in that tag. Less of a concern for most artistic games than for commercial games. Meanwhile, good luck getting anything from tagging your artistic game as commercial. People will judge it on criteria it isn't aiming for, and at best you'll get a couple of purchases maybe? And then maybe refunds?

There are games that do both, and some successfully so. But they know what they are, they know what they're trying to do. They're not Slap Game trying to sell itself.

Thank you, that's a more eloquent and clear description of what I was trying to say.

Hyper Light Drifter, Pillars of Eternity, and Dark Souls are all commercial, what? They're made to be enjoyable, playable games that give you a certain number of hours of entertainment that you want to pay money for. Monument Valley is still more towards commercial than artistic, but it could go in both because as I've said a dozen times in this thread, it's not mutually exclusive. Flash games? Well if they're not trying to be commercial games, if they're not intending to get your attention and get you to play them for the fun of it and entertain you, then they're artistic. It's not about whether something has "artistic merit" or whatever BS arbitrary measurement someone wants to try and put on it, when it comes down to it, it's about whether a game is trying to be commercially viable or not. But I thought that would be a more confusing way to phrase things because I figured people would get less hung up on commercial vs artistic than commercial vs non-commercial.

1) Steam simply doesn't have the same breadth and depth of artistic - sorry, everyone seems to get stuck on that word so let's go with "noncommercial" - games as itch does. Everything on there is just to be sold. There's very little on there made to experiment with the genre or made just for its own sake. And what's this about games "actually working" here on itch more than Steam? There are games here that are hardly even built, and that's part of why the platform is great for creators. That's not a relevant point, and it's wrong.

2) Descriptions and screenshots help me decide what a game is. They don't help me wade through the hundreds of results and figure out from a glance whether something is made to be a fun few-hour adventure, or some experiment with tech or game design, some punk trashgame that's just meant to make a specific few people feel something. Most people do not spend a minute looking at each game, they scan.

3) I am not assuming, I am speaking from experience, from the experiences other people have conveyed to me, and from the fact that if I ever manage to convince someone to look at itch instead of Steam, they go back immediately. You are a moderator. Your personal experience of how you use the search and browse simply does not line up with newcomers. I've been using itch for a while and even my experience doesn't seem to line up with yours - I cannot easily find the games I want because of exactly the problem this whole thread is about. I'm not assuming, I'm not lying, I am telling you exactly what I have experienced.

Again, there is no "choosing". You can choose both if you really think they apply. And again, maybe "artistic" isn't the right word for how it's used right now, but if you're making a game that you want to be commercially viable you probably aren't making Mu Cartographer or Strawberry Cubes or Slap Game. It's not "Oh all these commercial games are so soulless and unartistic" but the goal of making a commercial game is in line with the status quo of how people expect to be entertained and get enjoyment, while the games that, by more traditional definitions, are being made "for the art of it" are generally so far removed from that goal, and these two things are absolutely choking each other out.

What would be the alternative? Just make a "commercial games" category and everything else is just everything else? What word would you use to describe "games that are trying to experiment with the medium, not entertain you"?

Yeah it would be nice to have a better word but there's not a whole lot of unification on what that should be. Artistic feels like it's the word I *want* to refer to this type of game, because it's kind of what the dynamic is everywhere else - something done for artistic purposes vs commercial purposes.

I mean that's the problem right now, no? I don't know how to tag my game with the tags that someone who's been convinced to give itch a go will search for, and they don't know what tags are being used to classify games other than the genres. So they click on a genre tag if they can find it, and get a jumble of games that are trying to be Video Games, half-made experiments, punk deconstructions of what a game is, and new developers' first projects, while missing any experimental things that don't really fit into the genre tags or maybe fit more into others but provide the experience they're looking for.

And again, I'm not saying there would necessarily be a big divide between These Games and Those Games, but there would be a way to signify what the game is trying to do. It would be voluntary, there's no reason a game couldn't fall under both or neither, and there's no reason the entire site would be divided into A and B. It would just be a section, or a prominently displayed tag, that neither consumers nor developers need to guess at and negotiate with each other.

Here's an example: What if I use the tag trashgame instead of artgame? What if I'm *not* making an art game, and I want to tag it as commercial? Where can I find an explanation of what artgame means if I'm new to this? Yes, it is possible for someone to come to itch for the first time and figure all of this out. It's also far easier for them to look at the front page, turn around, and buy something on sale from their steam wishlist, and that's exactly what a lot of people do.

How would someone who is only used to Steam know what "suitable criteria" is? How am I meant to know what "artgame" technically means? How would the average consumer know to search for it? I feel like I already laid out the reasons I think this is necessary in the post.

A game can be both, that's why there's no exclusivity for putting the game in those categories. In any case, it doesn't matter what I think an artistic or commercial game is, what matters is what the creator is aiming for. The context it's intended for. As Cheeseness said, "artistic" may not be the right wording, but I'm talking about the kinds of games that are not trying to be commercially viable, the kinds of games that are trying to be experimental and create a specific experience. Trashgames, altgames, artgames, whatever you want to call them. The kinds of games I usually make, the kinds of games I know a lot of people love itch for supporting and giving a space to. The kinds of games that, if you're looking for an FPS or a Visual Novel, you're not interested in. Games that often don't *really* fit into a genre.

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I love itch and have enjoyed a lot of games I've bought on here. I've found some interesting gems both on the side of artistic trashgames, and of commercial fun machines. However, I've frequently found these two particular aspirations clashing with each other in search results, making it much harder to find specifically the type of game I'm looking for. This has by far been the biggest thing preventing me from exploring itch more, and the reason most of my discoveries have been through twitter and mastodon, because these two goals are almost exclusively in opposition to each other, at least at this time.

I have two ideas that I believe would help untangle this and give both aspirations room to breathe.

One option is more heavy-handed but as a result, probably much more effective: Straight-up introduce "Commercial" and "Artistic" categories, and allow games to place themselves in whichever one they are aiming for. These wouldn't be mandatory or mutually exclusive, there can still be a general "browse" page for all games, and search can still search both categories, but there would be prominently displayed and easily accessible ways to limit browsing and searching to that particular category, in a way that stands out from tags and genres. The primary issue I can see arising is that this is fairly limiting, and in future, these categories may want to be split into more, or there may be more added, or perhaps they'll be torn down altogether, but I think at least right now, it would make the experience of finding games much more reasonable.

Another option is a much softer version of this: Official, canonical tags endorsed by itch, and presented prominently when making a game's page. The effect would be similar, but less heavy-handed. There wouldn't have to be a discovery process and a lot of networking to figure out what lingo people are using for their tags to delineate what type of game it is, just easily visible tags that can be displayed in the store to customers and creators alike. This has the advantages that it uses an existing system, and can easily be expanded to include other things in the future.

Thoughts on this? I feel pretty confident in the need for some kind of solution, and I don't believe curation nor black box algorithms are good ones.

Wow, I can't believe I forgot and never noticed! I think I just fixed it?

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I think this could do better as a personal ranking/delta, showing how far up or down you've moved, which gives you clearer information about how your reach has changed while mitigating the issues of placement manipulation and mental competition people have outlined. I don't know if limiting it to the top 10k is a tech issue, but if not it would be plenty helpful to everyone as a delta.

Ah yeah this is an issue I've only recently found out about, which I thought I had fixed. I'm looking into it.

"Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'pWindows' of undefined"

I should also note that somehow it did mostly work last night, except that my library wouldn't display any games. I suspected that was because I just bought the bundle that added 151 of them and it was overwhelmed.

This has happened at least once before, but when the app opens I only get the loading logo and the "your app is up to date" message, which then disappear and leave me with a blank grey screen. Restarting the app doesn't work, and trying to view my library or my creations from the taskbar icon doesn't work either.