Return of the Independent Game Developer?
There's a strong parallel between film & TV and video games. Both have turned into huge, overblown "industries" dominated by scads of cash. But in both cases cash can be observed to have little to do with actually producing any substantive value. Is "Friends" getting less vapid and idiotic as the cost per episode vaults ever higher? Wasn't "Waterworld" a gripping flick? Is "Diablo" really that much different from, or better than Nethack?
Take the Pangea (Brian Greenstone) example - I don't necessarily love his games (they're good but generally not hugely gripping), but the lack isn't in those areas that money can contribute to. Gameplay is either there or it's not, like real emotional, intellectual or artistic value in a film. Money won't help here, and usually it hurts by raising the stakes too high and making people and projects inflexible. Classic games succeeded because they were *just games* - they didn't have stockholders to answer to.
However, the apparent dominance of big industry in movies doesn't mean there aren't lots and lots of interesting indie films being produced - there are and always have been. Moreover, the film industry pretty much recognises that it's forever creatively bankrupt and looks to indie stock for new ideas. This is even easier in games, where the cost of entry is lower. There is a baseline cost to making a film even when shot on DV, but the baseline cost of game production is just the use of computing machinery similar to that required to play the game (which shouldn't overreach anyway if you want a decent audience).
It's also not true that game innovation ever went away. Lots of games in recent years have been done in Java or Flash or otherwise made available via a browser, and some are even huge hits, though you might not recognise them (ever played Popcap's"Diamond Mine"?). They just tend to get lost in all the dross, and especially to fly under your radar if yourOf course, in film the indie players are inevitably co-opted and end up just producing more pap (again, excess of money contributes to this). Not to overstretch an analogy. ;)