The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
Those of you who remember my four and five page (and
sometimes longer) blogs might be happy to know that I have somehow successfully
managed to train myself to limit my blogs to about 1,000 words, which loosely
translates to a bit more than a page and a bit less than two pages. Anyway, I
had so many ideas for a blog today and finally settled on my outlook for 2014
and what I will probably find myself playing a lot of.
The past couple of months, my gaming interests and habits
have changed significantly...for a number of different reasons I'm sure. I once
was a completionist - so much so that I had to finish any game I started
whether I was actually enjoying it or not. I also used to focus on one, maybe
two, but no more than three games at any one time. I played a lot of new
releases, most of which were big name titles.
All of that has pretty much changed and the opposites are
(Draw a Stickman: Epic is...well, er...epic!)
Perhaps one of the biggest shifts in my gaming interests has
been my new found appreciation of indie games. Now, I've always supported the
little guys and girls and have played handfuls of indie titles the past couple
of years. Some of you may recall how much I gushed over Limbo when it was
released. I still really like that game. But there is a difference between just
supporting the indie movement and having a true appreciation for their
I'm finally understanding that difference and the reasons
Many gamers will tell you indie games are a great
alternative to the blockbuster titles because they are cheaper but still
provide a fulfilling gaming experience. I used to think like this too, but
realized this was part of me just supporting the game and indie movement, but
not really appreciating it. Now that I truly appreciate indie games, I still
enjoy their low cost but almost feel guilty for paying so little and getting so
much. A perfect example is Mark of the Ninja. Such a spectacular game -
stunning art, perfect voice and audio tracks, tense game play, compelling story
- it has it all...it is the complete package...and a package weighing in at only a few bucks.
When I purchased it on Steam it was only $7.50, but a few days ago I was
flabbergasted to see it available for $2.99. My only hope is it sells so many
copies the developers are still able to make bucket loads of money off of it.
They deserve to, that's for sure.
Here are the main reasons why I truly appreciate the indie games...
Debating the existence of originality is a discussion that
could span pages upon pages. And while I think it is becoming more challenging
to create something uniquely original, I have found indie games tend to exhibit
more originality in their design, story and presentation than top tier games. I
don't fault the big name titles and their many numbered sequels. I happen to be
big fan of Call of Duty and the others, but I pretty much know every one I buy is going to
practically be the same as the one before it.
Creativity is similar to originality but different enough to
warrant mentioning it separately. In many instances, the core game might not be
all that original but the creative direction the developers used still make it
a masterpiece. In one particular game I am playing now, you draw an actual
stick figure and then play the game as your drawing. I don't know if every
aspect of the game is original, but it is certainly creative. And a lot more
fun than I ever thought it would be.
When I say personality, I don't necessarily mean indie games
have personality - but their developers do. It's been my experience and maybe
yours to...indie developers tend to be more accessible and available to discuss
their game. There are so many people involved with developing and producing the
top tier games, you could spend half an hour watching the credits and still not
make it to the end. In defense of the big studios and developers, many of them
try to make themselves available as much as they can - but there is only so
much time and so many people who follow their games that want to ask questions
and conduct interviews, it's hard for them to reach out and touch everybody.
I've had the pleasure of talking with a number of indie developers and they are
just as passionate and every bit as proud of their games as the big studios
are. I admire them for chasing their dreams and making the games they
want to make, and I enjoy sharing in that experience by playing their games.
(Image is property of Klei Entertainment, my favorite indie game developer)
I don't know if 2014 is going to be the year where we try to
define or re-define what it means to be a game, but certainly we are seeing
what might be the early stages of some sort of transformation from the
traditional video game to this new generation of multimedia experience (just don't mention this to the hosts of the Jacked Up Indie & Mojo show). And I'm
okay with that. I like playing a shorter game whose sole purpose is to subject
me to an intended and very specific experience and then it ends. For the same
reason you are more likely to find me reading a comic book than a 1,000 page
novel, I don't always have the time to sit and play a game for 30+ hours to
reach the ending but I still want to experience the ending. Indie games are
normally shorter lived but often tell just as powerful of a story...and I appreciate that.
I've been building my own gaming computers for the better
part of 20 years and still enjoy tinkering...swapping hardware in and out
and testing different software configurations. But I'm finding I play more games on my laptop as a matter of convenience, which is okay for most
indie games, but seldom works for any of the top tier games due to their steep
hardware requirements. Maybe it is my age starting to show a little, but I'm
often surprised with the required hard drive space needed by some new games.
And although I understand it and am thankful hard drives no longer cost what
they once did, I'm always pleased when I can download a new indie game title in
a matter of minutes, have it installed and playing in no time, and am still
treated to a unique and entertaining experience.
(Keeping my eye on these guys!)
While I enjoy a good indie game and appreciate them for the
reasons mentioned above, I'm not planning to give up on the big names anytime
soon, but I am enjoying a break from their hefty price tags and annual
releases. I do recognize the time, energy and resources it takes to produce the
triple A titles we are treated to each month and am thankful the industry
supports this kind of commitment.
At the end of the day I suppose it really comes down to what
entertains you the most, what you're willing to pay and what you get out of the
experience. I'm looking forward to 2014 and figuring out what that might be...and whether the indie game movement is going to continue the charge or be crushed by the giants in the business.