There is a book by Carola Hicks called ‘Girl in a Green Gown’, the subtitle then explains the concept of the book – isn’t that always the case? – being that it is about ‘The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait’ alas, as somebody interested almost exclusively ‘in the mystery’, the reviews I’ve read have suggested it is not for me.
However, it does appear to have the most fascinating history. That is only possible because it is unique. It goes from one famed figure to another. That is not a usual situation for painting, unique or not. But it is something that is essentially impossible for computer games, even indies.
Or is it? The best comparison to enlighten us of this issue is not painting, but books and novels after the invention of the printing press. In books, a work of enough interest, will go through many print runs and a work of even more and prolonged interest will create an interest in first-runs. These are usually more than one book long, but that’s not relevant.
These first editions have a certain feeling of import than the later prints. Could, therefore, this be the way for that Great Indie Game be such an interesting creature of anecdote? No. Digital media is so much more fragile than paper. It is less transferrable than paper. Ultimately, it needs to be constantly copied.
Could that be the basis of a status games where things are more worthy the less removed they are from the original? Perhaps. Is that unique? No.