Jason Rohrer

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Project(s): Cultivation, Transcend, Passage, Gravitation, Between, Primrose, Sleep Is Death
Used license(s): Public domain, GPL
Jason Rohrer

Jason Rohrer is a developer of a number of free games, as well as other free software. He currently resides in Potsdam, New York, USA. He is best known for his work on Passage. Outside video games, he is probably most well known for the project, Mute, an anonymous filesharing software.[1]


Jason Rohrer produced an essay related to free distribution post-copyright.[2]


He lives with his spouse and his two sons. With his family, he lives a simple and inexpensive lifestyle that allows his family to live under the budget of $10,000 year.[3]

Jason Rohrer madeNOT OBVIOUS FROM THE LINK his living by relying on recurring donations from users of his software. Thus allowing him in some capacity to continue to write software, such as games.[4] He is also supported by one generous patron, Jeff Roberts along with sales of his software on the iphone market.[5]

He has been sued by the village for not following a law concerning the mowing of lawns, but he was later determined as not guilty. His court case made the local news.[6]

His life and his work is profiled by Esquire magazine.


Almost all of his games are released in the public domain, with the exception of Transcend, which was licensed under the GPL.

  • Cultivation - This game explores the relationship between gardeners' conflict for land and the damage to the environment it causes.
  • Transcend - Transcend is Rohrer's first game. It is an abstract 2d shooter.
  • Passage - Passage is the Rohrer's first autobiographical game and the most famous game of his career.
  • Gravitation - It is his second autobiographical game. It concerns itself with creativity.
  • Between - This game is about about consciousness and isolation. Hosted by Esquire magazine.[7]
  • Primrose - A puzzle game.[8]
  • Sleep Is Death - A two-player storytelling game.

He also writes about game design for The Escapist game magazine, and creates game prototypes for his articles there, but despite their license they are not really free, because the “source code” is binary, and require a proprietary Windows-only tool to compile and run.[9]

See also


  1. CNET News covering Mute and similar software projects in February 24, 2004
  2. Free Distribution
  3. simple lifestyle page
  4. Support my Work Page
  5. IGN's Jason Rohrer interview
  6. Jason Rohrer's announcement of victory in his court case about being required to mow his lawn
  7. Between: A New Video Game (posted on 2008-11-13, accessed on 2008-11-17)
  8. http://www.zmogo.com/video-games/preview-jason-rohrers-primrose/
  9. Escapist Magazine profile

External Pages