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Shorter, Cheaper Games Are Often Better Games

Let me start this off by mentioning that I play and love triple “A” titles alongside my massive indie game collection. Fallout 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Batman Arkham City are all games that I bought on day one, and they are all games that I care deeply about. With that said, I want to talk about indie/downloadable games and their importance to gaming at this point in time.

Some gamers don't like indie games. I don't blame them. I mean, indie games can easily be looked at as short, cheap games that have below-standard graphics, and they only offer the player a few things to do. Those same reasons are why I love indie games so much. I feel that a more concise experience grants the player a much more memorable experience. It's also great that PSN, XBLA, and Steam offers such great games between $1-$20 for the average indie game. So, indie games are cheaper and shorter. Those two things pretty much cancel each other out...right? Absolutely not. Let me explain.

Shorter Games

I love playing RPGs. Specifically I like RPGs that I can get lost in for hours, days, or years. Skyrim anyone? Skyrim is a perfect example of a great game that has been entertaining players since its release. There is one thing that I dislike about Skyrim alongside most popular triple “A” titles. That is the sense of repetition. Now, I know, Skyrim does not seem like a repetitious game since it is open world, and the player can do whatever they want within the game. However, that just means that the game isn't linear, and there are still plenty of things that make Skyrim repetitive. For example, most exploration is done inside of generic looking caves, dragon fights are the only epic random-event, and most of the quests are fetch quests or killing quests. There is nothing wrong with those aspects of Skyrim, but it really makes me think about indie games and how they contrast games like Skyrim.

Indie games are usually forged by a very small team who has a vision of a game. That game is often meant to convey a message or purpose to the player, but that is it. They are not meant to keep the player coming back for hundreds of hours. In a game like Braid, one of the most popular indie titles of all time, the player solves challenging puzzles to put together the fragmented story. Braid is very interesting though. There are quite a few levels, but the way each puzzle is solved is 100% different than the last. There are actually subtle tricks used to solve puzzles in Braid that will only be used once. On top of that, each world in the game offers a new mechanic to work around. Even though Braid can be beaten in less than five hours, there is so much variety within the gameplay. The same concept applies to Super Meat Boy. There are certain mechanics are only used a few times throughout the entire game. The developer really want to make every level feel fresh and unlike all of the others before it. This variety is what makes indie/downloadable games worth it. A few other games with the same variety or The Unfinished Swan, Journey, The Binding of Isaac, LIMBO, and Qube. Sure the games are shorter, but they pack so much more in to the game for the time spent. Braid might give you less than five hours, and Skyrim can give you five-hundred hours, but in Skyrim you will find yourself re-doing many things in the world. In games like Braid, each and every level is fresh and exciting.

Cheaper Games

If games are shorter, shouldn't we pay less then?. Of course! Indie games are generally way cheaper than big blockbuster games. This just makes them even more worth the money. You could get Braid, Super Meat boy, and FEZ together for less than a game like Remember Me. Plus, all of those indie games have better critic ratings, and together give you more gameplay time than Remember Me. It's also nice to be able to buy a game leisurely rather than worrying about money. Everyone cares about their money, and it isn't easy to run out and buy a $60 game and not feel some sort of loss. Indie games soften that blow quite a bit. As much as I love paying $60 for a video game, indie games often win me over by temptation with their low prices.

Castle Crashers: Another great indie game

This is all just something to think about. I am not saying that indie games should be the only games to exist, because that would be hell too. Just remember that these “smaller” titles that some gamers look at as “lesser” are often great experiences that will save you some money.

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