I finally decided to look up what Shovelware actually meant. (Huh. Spellcheck has Shovelware as a word)
It’s actually even worse than I thought.
Shovelware means shoddy video games designed to make a quick buck. The name comes from the idea of shoveling cheap, buggy ware onto a disk. It’s the lowest common denominator of digital gaming.
And I heard the voices of some of my gaming snob friends ask me if that was any different than the quirky PnP prototypes that I look at all the time.
And the answer is that PnP prototypes are actually the complete opposite of Shovelware.
Shovelwares are cheap, lazy efforts at making a quick buck. No one is making a prototype to make a quick buck. Someone is actually taking time and effort, possibly passion and love, into making them. They might be quirky and flawed but someone wanted them to be real.
More than that, one of the defining characteristics of shovelware is that there pretty much nothing new to them. I’m not saying every prototype is trying to create something new but it’s definitely a part of the idea.
The world of PnP is not a dingy bargain bin of rubbish product. It’s a mad artists community.