Attack of the Fanboy

Nintendo’s Indie Game Manager Has Left After Nine Years

by Kyle Hanson


Dan Adelman, the Head of Digital Content and Development, has left Nintendo after nine years with the company. Adelman was a key proponent in Nintendo’s indie game department, pushing for more games from smaller developers on Nintendo platforms. In his position he handled outreach and support for indie developers. Two of his greatest successes were World of Goo and Cave Story, a couple of classic indie games that performed extremely well with their Nintendo versions.

Happy to announce I reached an arrangement w/ Nintendo whereby I can tweet again. Arrangement includes my not working there anymore.

It seems like the split is fairly amicable, but with a little tension surrounding Adelman’s outspoken nature. Many time in the past he has criticized Nintendo for their policy decisions, or somehow went against the company’s message. One example of which was when he sympathized with a fan via Twitter over region-locking of Nintendo systems. Adelman also spoke against Nintendo’s decision to ban The Binding of Isaac from its platforms due to it containing “religious content”.

After these incidents Nintendo supposedly banned Adelman from using Twitter. In an interview with Kotaku Adelman explained “I had been strongly encouraged to stay off of Twitter—or at least say only things that were clearly safe—so after the region-locking comment they just said I needed to stop completely,” Adelman said. “When people started complaining that I wasn’t active on Twitter anymore, it was suggested that a PR person could just post in my name. I thought that was about the worst idea I’d ever heard, so I left it as is and let the silence speak for itself.”

Adelman announced his return to Twitter and his departure from Nintendo in a slightly humorous tweet. “Happy to announce I reached an arrangement w/ @NintendoAmerica whereby I can tweet again. Arrangement includes my not working there anymore.”

A lot of other interesting tidbits are revealed in the interview with Kotaku, such as a couple of policies that Adelman helped to change. When Nintendo first started working with independent developers they had a policy that the company had to work out of an office, and not someone’s house as many smaller developers do. “It was crazy. There were people whose job it was to look up addresses in Google maps to see if the business address was a home or an office building” explained Adelman. “And if it looked a little residential, they’d ask for photos. There would be e-mail threads with literally a few dozen back and forth exchanges about whether the couch in someone’s office was really used for business purposes or did someone really live there? That policy, thankfully, is gone.”

With Adelman’s departure there is obvious concern that Nintendo might stop pursuing indie games as effectively as before, or they might fall back into their older policies. However, Adelman has assured fans that the company will continue courting new and interesting independent games for Wii U and 3DS even without him there. “I know there are going to be a bunch of forum comments and editorials saying, “OMG Nintendo is doomed!” but the truth is that Nintendo’s indie program is in good hands. It was never really just me. There is a large group of people working on helping developers through the process and they’re going to continue doing that.

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