|A rather garage-like room that hosts the Independent Games Conference. Games are occasionally played here as well. Can you spot all the consoles?
GarageGames is immersed in the world of independent games. The
company makes the tools that are used to create games, uses those
tools to produce its own games, and publishes games made by other
independent developers—all without the help or interference of a
“I never wanted to work for a big company or live in a big city,”
says Jeff Tunnell, co-founder of GarageGames. His previous software
company, Dynamix, was bought by Sierra On-Line, which in turn was
bought by Vivendi-Universal. In contrast, GarageGames is not part
of a larger company and employs about 200 people.
After going through “corporate restructuring after corporate restructuring”
at Dynamix, Joe Maruschak decided, “I didn’t want to work on games
I didn’t believe in.”
GarageGames fosters the independent games scene with an annual
gathering for developers. The Independent Games Conference provides
a place for people to come together and think and talk about games.
Maruschak compares it to the early days of the Game Developers Conference.
GDC, which was attended by GarageGames staff this year, is a large
event that focuses much more on business issues than when it began.
A commitment to keeping IGC casual and focused on games was demonstrated
in 2006 when IGC was canceled. Maruschak described the 2005 event
as fun and relaxed but said that the next year’s became an added
stress to a company already working on many projects. Thus, Garage
Games hosted an event in 2006 called Not-IGC,
and invited the same indie crowd.
“We said to them, ‘Come, and we’ll show you a good time,’” Maruschak says.
GarageGames employees are committed to keeping IGC small with an emphasis on quality, just like their company. The name GarageGames is derived from the term “garage band”—a close group of committed artists. As Maruschak explains, “A small number of people can do amazing things.”