The area around you is dark. Trees stand, mountains above you. You hear chirps, cracks, and whispers in the woods. Alone and ALWAYS moving right. Being a little boy in unfamiliar territories, you come across obstacles where you must use not only your physical strength but also requires a lot of thinking and problem solving. In another scenario you drop into a vast world in a world full of blocks, monsters, and villagers with only a map in hand. As you explore you begin to find out that if you can create items with the materials you break down. You turn trees into homes. Rocks into castles. Diamonds into armor. You begin a new adventure to explore this world full of what seems to be an infinite amount of blocks slaying anything from chickens to four legged green monsters that act as suicide bombers when you get to close to them. These games may sound like AAA blockbuster hits for games but in reality they were created by small close niche teams in small studios.
Minecraft got its start just by a single individual Markus Persson aka Notch and now has support through Mojang Studios even though it is now owned by Microsoft it originally built its foundation as a indie game. The first game mentioned is from Limbo which was created by Arnt Jensen and Dino Christian Patti who formed Playdead studios. Both of these games were among the few that set huge milestones within the indie gaming scene. What is it that draws individual off the AAA path of gaming? Why is there such a love for these games? How could a game that was developed by only a couple individuals be a contender for game of the year when it is contending with games that were on a multi-million dollar budget?
What draws me to indie games? There is a lot of dedication behind these games. The people that build these style of games are pouring their hearts into it. Although there is the drive of getting good sales for their creation, you can tell that they are more concerned with the project itself and the final outcome, the game they create is their “baby”. They are delivering a personal message to the community in the form of a game and if the game gets negative results, the impact of those results doesn’t fall back on a team of 100+ individuals. It reflects back to the few people that dedicated their time and money to this project and that could be detrimental. Their life is dedicated to making this creation. For other individuals it could be the fact that indie games typically are less expensive than your AAA video game. Also there is the fact that an indie game may not be this 40+ hour game that you know you will never see the end of. Rather most of the games I played Inside, Bastion, or currently What Remains of Edith Finch can be played in only a couple sittings. To anyone that has a busy schedule a 5 to 10 hour game can seem appealing and you still get the same rewarding feeling of completing a game.
Why are these games so loved? The indie gaming scene has a strong following. This was not always the case but today Indie games are flooding the market. We now see indie gaming cons happening all over the country. Again I think it is because the people that play these games can see the dedication that goes into making them. Also from personal experience I’ve noticed that the devs are more responsive on social media. It’s easier to get a reply on twitter by someone associated with Supergiant than it is with someone from EA. I know that I am more attentive to someone who has a project they are currently working on when they are communicating with me on a personal level. I appreciate that and when that happens I want to know more about their project. I want to know more about their company and their previous projects. That rapport to me is very important.
Supergiant Team from left to right Amir Rao, Darren Korb, Greg Kasavin, Jen Zee, Logan Cunningham, Gavin Simon, and Andrew Wang.
Indie games have inspired the industry. Motivated other developers to create new projects and I am not talking about motivating other indie games. These games have inspired AAA games in areas of puzzle solving and story-telling. If you look at the previous year in 2016 INSIDE was a contender for game of the year within the majority of game reviewing sites. Other honorable mentions that ran for other achievements in the community are Thumper, Firewatch, and Oxenfree. Telltale has made huge milestones by having the game of the year in 2012 under their belt and has added additional titles such as Back to the Future, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Minecraft Story Mode since then.
At Real Dudes Podcast we are shifting our focus onto indie games. While we still might discuss mainstream gaming, we would like to extend our hand to those small developers who are putting their blood, sweat and tears into their games. We love these games. We love the devotion that goes into creating them. We want to help those within the indie community to be heard. Please email us at email@example.com games we should keep an eye out. We will discuss them on the podcast. If you have contributed to the creation of a game email us or contact us on Real Dudes Twitter we would love to interview you. We want your games to be heard!
Written By Kyle Federline