We’ve noticed about humans that: what we love, we support.

ACCESSIBILITY

More people can play our games.

OUR HOME

Responding to our local economy.

FIND A WAY

Taking action on a better future.

OUR GIFT-BASED SYSTEM

Our games are a gift to you

As we release a game and you’re ready to try it out we will ask for all the standard information that would go with a “transaction” with one important difference. The amount in the “price” box is entirely up to you. Will you start a choose-your-own-adventure quest at the download page?

This is what we call our gift-based system, where our invitation is one of caring reciprocity between you and us. The key difference this has from ‘trade’ is uncoupling what is given from what is received; what we give to you does not require you to give something equal or fair to us.

We’re about to explore gifting systems in depth – the adventure begins! We’ll start with our philosophy on gifting.

A HISTORIC BASIS

Giving and receiving

The core concept is to uncouple the act of giving from that of receiving culturally and economically, as opposed to trade where you must give something to get something.

A motivation for this kind of experimentation is rooted in beliefs about human history, and our nature. At times throughout history, we believe gifting has been a more fundamental part of some human societies and communities.

In our nature

Humans are born in complete surrender to those who give us what we need, and an inherent trust that it will happen, think babies.

Young people growing up in the dominant western culture are taught the ways in which this kind of trust does not apply, such as paying rent, and getting food from the grocery store.

Gifting in society never goes away, it is reduced to specific cultural ceremonies: Christmas, birthdays, etc..

A DIFFERENT CREATIVE POWER

Learn to uncouple giving from receiving

Together with people around the world we have been learning how to shift to gift-based systems. 

We learned that people everywhere are feeling growing pressure to address issues such as climate change, resource disparity, misuse of power structures, and individual empowerment. We learned that people (who we believe are smarter than us) see struggles in society and culture rooted in our human history as common themes of these global challenges. 


We learned that when people develop a shared sense of these global challenges they become motivated to change their lives and find ways to address them together. 


When people uncouple giving from receiving they change their relationship with themselves, reinforcing self worth, because you must relearn to ask for what you need. Experiencing this paradigm shift changes how we care for ourselves, speak to one another, and navigate life. 

Unleash trust and creative power

Collaboration is possible when there are trusting relationships. When there is trust, people are willing to take risks. The more people there are in a group who are willing to take risks, the larger the basis of creativity is at the group’s disposal. 

Think more “international space programs” and less, “Mount Everest”.

To get beyond individual and survival-based decision making, trusting groups may leverage each person’s strengths for the benefit of everyone. When we overcome the idea that “I need to get what I want before you can get what you want”, we can instead ask “how can we all get what we need?”.

The creativity and imagination that grow from collective risk-taking distributes agency to those involved, and encourages those who encounter it.


IN OUR COMPANY

“What the heck? How does this work for a company?”

A question we had to ask ourselves that you might be wondering too! We’ve set out to figure out how to make this work logistically and operationally.

Building this kind of collaboration requires transparency, vulnerability, and feedback (so you know how things are going). Here’s how we do it.

The way we’re structured

Crows nest: We set and announce annual goals along with the funding and support needed to reach them. We announce our goals on our landmark page, The Crows Nest.

Town crier: When we reach goals or the expectations we set change we release this news in our announcements throughout the year. Sign up to receive our announcements here.

Roger the owl: We release a yearly report on our finances, money we’ve received, and what we have spent. Ask Roger what’s up here.

Annual hurrah! Each year we celebrate our wins and our learning in our annual live-streamed (or in person) forum in February. Find out about upcoming events.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

By using the means of our times, we believe it’s entirely possible to create systems that allow us to have giving and receiving happen separately.

Means, privilege and access

A major reason we are driven to make our games available in this way is that there is great economic disparity across the planet.

As first world creators, we recognize that there are people living in many places with drastically different means who would not be able to play our games if we stuck to a mainstream business strategy. It’s our beef with capitalism.

It is motivating to imagine a group of friends printing our games and playing them in neighborhoods across the world. Friends like you. With an inventive use of technology it is now possible, and we wholeheartedly encourage it.  

Our concerns and what’s at stake

The entertainment industry is the only industry unaffected by market fluctuations in the last three years. It keeps growing, and a large part of that is games. 

Seeing our small town struggle with economic hardship, we’ve become invested in creating a game company as a way of bringing wealth into our community. Since we’re just starting out, why not try something crazy?!

On a more personal and selfish note, there is the obvious concern which is that we won’t be able to pay the bills, and because of it, we won’t be able to invest the kind of time we want to into making all the games we are dreaming of.

SOME WHO HAVE COME BEFORE US

Inspiration for our experiment

Throughout history and even in today’s world we see many examples of gift-based systems. Fascinating perspectives on gift-based systems that we’ve found helpful include works by Genevieve Vaughn, Dominic Barter, Miki Kashtan, and many more, including the Wikipedia article which summarizes a wide perspective and history of the concepts.

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Foundation is a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world.

GNU Project

The GNU Project: “Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

Apache Software Foundation

Apache Software Foundation: “$22B+ worth of Apache Open Source software products are made available to the public-at-large at 100% no cost, and benefit billions of users around the world.”

Human Genome Project

Every part of the genome sequenced by the Human Genome Project was made public immediately, and new information about the genome is posted almost every day in freely accessible databases or published in scientific journals (which may or may not be freely available to the public).

Mozilla Foundation

The Mozilla Foundation works to ensure the internet remains a public resource that is open and accessible to us all.

Unsplash

Unsplash is a platform powered by an amazing community that has gifted hundreds of thousands of their own photos to fuel creativity around the world. 

LottieFile

LottieFiles has the world’s largest collection of free-to-use animations, and an open source editor for animators

Open Bioinformatics F.

The Open Bioinformatics Foundation promotes open source software development and Open Science within the biological research community.

You’ve gotten this far, thank you!

We’ve said a lot and though your head may be spinning, thank you for considering everything we’ve said. If we could, we would give you a token for a discount on one of our games, yet since you can already offer the price you like there wouldn’t be much point to that!

There’s plenty to think about. It may take some time for any of this to make sense. It’s important to make new mistakes; we’re willing to be wrong, what if we’re not?

In the meantime play our games while you find out. 

A SWEET GAME COMPANY LLC

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