Indie Gaming: Welcome to a Whole New World
Have you ever gone to your local video game store (or online video game source) just hoping to find a game? You don’t have a specific game in mind you just want something new that you haven’t played before. Your hope of hopes is to find something new and brilliant. Alas all you are able to find is 900 versions of the same type of game that you have played so many times that you are bored to tears. Just as you are about to lose all hope there it is an oasis to your video game drought. With it’s artistically drawn cover and title the confirms a real plot you would recognize this as the mark of an Indie video game.
A common misconception is that Indie video games are PC only. There may be more indie video games for PC but that is simply because for years it was easier to be the backers to fund a PC game because typically the cost would be cheaper. With companies like Steam it made getting an indie game to the right audience an easier process. In recent years however you have started to see in influx of indie gaming companies turning to crowdfunding sources such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo in order to create games and bring them to the console market. In the modern era bringing a game to the console market can take you from being an indie developer who nobody has heard of to being the indie developer other aspire to be like. One of the best way to find test indie games is at gaming conventions such as PAX South. These conventions have thousands of game developers there with games that have either been developed or are still in development. Many of the developers are looking for feedback from people just like you.
Indie games also spend more time in production and to provide a better gaming experience. There are several games that have been so amazing people didn’t even realize they were created by an indie studio. One such game is Alice: Madness Returns, while the creator American McGee got his game development experience working for larger game creators, in order to get his Sequel to the ground breaking American McGee’s Alice he started Spicy Horse in 2007. Even now they are funding the 3rd Installment of the Alice Franchise through Patreon.
Not all indie games stay with their indie roots. An example of that is We Happy Few by Compulsion Games. After an outpouring of support for the game through Kickstarter in 2015 the game became downloadable for both consoles and PC in 2016. Early releases of the game shows some very unique mechanics as well as a great story to help guide you through the game. Unfortunately, there were still some parts that were lacking as far as development which meant the game was constantly going through patches and prevented the game from getting out of its Beta stage. These patches would cause the player to have to start over from the beginning (I can almost quote the opening sequence verbatim). During E3 2018 it was announced that Gear Box (the same people who brought us Borderlands) would be picking up We Happy Few as one of its new titles in order to complete the game.
No matter what path a game takes to its creation indie games are a vital part of keeping the video game market fresh and new. There will always be a game model that becomes popular in it’s time that game developers know will sell and be their cash cows. Indie game developers will always be there to challenge the status quo. They think outside the box, they chose stories and subject matter that is oftentimes difficult to face or unpleasant to talk about, they spend years developing intriguing artwork and fun challenging game play.
You can spend hours just mindlessly grinding out levels in games. But if you want a truly test your skill as a gamer, play a game from an indie developer. These gems will give you a new approach to gaming and problem solving that you can’t get from mainstream gaming. The next time you are looking for a game a suggest taking a chance on something that you may have never heard before; you just might be amazed at the gaming experience it will give you.