It’s funny how the word ‘free’ has become almost pejorative when it comes to gaming. Haunting stories of shady tracking and flat-out player manipulation by Freemium game companies and accounts of people obsessively spending inordinate amounts in virtual marketplaces designed to feed off the easily-hooked have done a good job of filling in the picture of how these games twist the meaning of ‘free’ to still fit their monetization strategies.
The one part of gaming that can lay claim to true, untarnished ‘freeness’ is the open-source world, where other incentives besides profit drive creativity. This niche is rarely discussed in mainstream media as many of these games are rudimentary code-sketches, with art and gameplay light-years behind their commercial counterparts. Their relative obscurity hides a game-making model that is completely unique in how it blurs the line between playing a game and developing it, fosters long-lasting communities and does it all without a lick of profit in the crosshairs. While making quality products according to this model might sound utopian, there is at least one game out there that has proved this is possible.