Ars Technica has a long and informed article on in videogames by Michael Thompson, which calls Birmingham’s Brass Goggles

“one of the foremost authorities of the genre on the web”

Also on Ars Technica; a good summary of the current mood of the British videogame industry in the face of those newly-alluring state subsidies in France and Canada (save 30% of payroll, and an extra 7.5% bonus to make a French-language version) and the credit-crunch. It’s all the more alluring because, unlike our limping film industry which has had billions wasted on propping it up over the last 10 years, UK videogame developers have no substantial support from the taxpayer.

I suppose the broad argument goes that without taxpayer subsidy there simply would not be any British film industry, which is not the case for the thriving videogame industry. But massively subsidising film-making does rather seem to undermine the case that it would be illegal for the government to give anything at all to videogames.

After all, there’s a case to be made that if the taxpayer has to fork out, then they should be backing winning industries in order to get some real chances of return-on-investment. There’s also a case that videogame subsidy should be for recruitment and training, R&D, and to make a space for ‘art’ games and games that are more commercially-risky because they have more emotional depth and embedded storytelling than usual. To push the industry out of continually mining its own cliches, in other words.

Or what about subsidy to ‘restore’ classic British games, a la the BFI — “here’s £15m, simply re-make Elite for Vista, with modern graphics / physics / interface etc. Make it exactly like the old Elite (a blend of original, II and Frontier), just re-skinned for modern PC’s”. I’d buy that.