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jfrost
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The year of indie gaming

by jfrost Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:00 pm

I don't know if it's just my impression because I started really paying attention to them this year, but 2010 to me was the year of indie gaming. Does it seem so to anyone else?


If you want to read my long-winded thoughts, keep on going.

Just by looking at this year's best indie offerings compared to big budget titles, I can't really say I regard them as worse or less important than those.

I mean, look at Super Meat Boy, that by all means is giving lessons of level design to the big companies. Or VVVVVV, another very well-designed game. You may argue that if we're talking platforming, we had Super Mario Galaxy 2, keeping the crown of the big companies, but, really, I would argue that, if we're comparing polish and good design, they're on a par.

I'm not saying that indie games just popped up this year, but that this was their most expressive one. They've been certainly growing in the last few years, as a result of more widespread adoption of digital distribution services, perhaps.

We can't even say anymore that indie games don't have mass appeal, just look at Minecraft.

We can't say that the genres indie games cover are limited either, just look at games such as Joe Danger or the Bit.TRIP series.

I don't think we can really say that all these games try to be are artsy crap; there are certainly a lot of artsy titles, but some have learned to combine that qualities with the strong points of games - see, for example, Limbo (though I think there's something to be said about the artistry of the level design of Super Meat Boy).

To sum up, I think this was the year when people generally (or maybe it was just me, but hey) stopped thinking about indie games are little more than a curiosity, or something to entertain for only a few minutes, or even something undeserving of our money, and started to regard them with a little more respect. Respect that was, in my opinion, more than paid off, considering the quality of the games released.

Only out of curiosity, I looked up the names of indie games that made the rounds this year, some not actually published for the first time this year, but re-published on other platforms or for some reason got more publicity recently (some even got to many GOTY lists):

Minecraft
Super Meat Boy
Limbo
VVVVVV
Joe Danger
Shank
Bit.TRIP Runner
Plants vs. Zombies
Recettear
Zeno Clash
DeathSpank
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Shatter
Max & the Magic Marker
Machinarium
... there are certainly more obvious ones that I'm forgetting.
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jfrost
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by jfrost Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:27 pm

Oh, and another thing I thought today might be an indirect cause of the growth of indie developers: the decline of Japanese development.

With less Japan on the shelves, we get less weirdness and quirk. Indie games then become the home of the odd and quirky.
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yomomma1
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by yomomma1 Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:46 pm

1. Minecraft isn't done yet, as of (hopefully) The 20th of December 2010 it is only in Beta.
2. If a game is published by a major video game company it isn't indie. Also, Oh we employ 200 people but we are indie, yea right.
3. I hate Machinarium, no point to be made, I hate it.
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jfrost
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by jfrost Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:47 pm

Oh. Okay?
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equalsign
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by equalsign Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:11 am

I would agree that while indie gaming hit pretty hard last year, this is the year it's really started to get mainstream. Probably the face of things to come.
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REPO Man
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by REPO Man Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:27 am

Since I got broadband again several months ago, I've been checking out the selection of Indie Games on Xbox Live.

And here's some of my faves, not necessarily those released in 2010:

* Arkedo Series! - 01 JUMP!, 02 SWAP!, 03 PIXEL! (3's my fave)
* Breath of Death 7
* City Rain
* Crate Expectations
* Decay (first one was kinda short, but each part's only a buck)
* Epic Dungeon (cool-looking roguelike with an 8-bit aesthetic)
* Frequency (kinda like Mega Man)
* Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess
* Platformance
* Soulcaster (and shoutout to its sequel)
* Tempura of the Dead

Also, I tried this PSP mini called "Hysteria Project", which is an FMV game. Not bad, but kinda far from good.
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jfe2
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by jfe2 Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:28 am

Great post man. I've been thinking about this same topic lately. It just seems that most of the quality indie titles that are coming out are being developed by people who love games, and it shows. It's just nice to see so many refreshing ideas come to fruition.
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dsheinem
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by dsheinem Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:30 am

I thought indie gaming was bigger and better last year, personally.
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Cronson
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by Cronson Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:49 am

REPO Man wrote:Since I got broadband again several months ago, I've been checking out the selection of Indie Games on Xbox Live.

And here's some of my faves, not necessarily those released in 2010:

* Arkedo Series! - 01 JUMP!, 02 SWAP!, 03 PIXEL! (3's my fave)
* Breath of Death 7
* City Rain
* Crate Expectations
* Decay (first one was kinda short, but each part's only a buck)
* Epic Dungeon (cool-looking roguelike with an 8-bit aesthetic)
* Frequency (kinda like Mega Man)
* Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess
* Platformance
* Soulcaster (and shoutout to its sequel)
* Tempura of the Dead

Also, I tried this PSP mini called "Hysteria Project", which is an FMV game. Not bad, but kinda far from good.


Breath of Death VII is so good. Also, Tempura of the Dead is very cool. Check out Shoot 1up, another really good indie game.
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J T
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Re: The year of indie gaming

by J T Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:18 am

Things were really good in 2008/2009 as well with games like Braid, Audiosurf, World of Goo, Crayon Physics, among others, but YEAH, 2010 has been a really good year for indie titles. I have played and enjoyed most all of the games you mentioned. You left out the obvious game of the year though.

2011 is already shaping up to be a good year as well. Here are a few upcoming titles to keep your eye on:

Tiny and Big- This is today's game in my racketboy advent calendar (stay tuned there for more great indie games). Tiny & Big is just a prototype now, but the gameplay mechanic has real promise for being an exciting first person puzzle game along the lines of Portal. Plus the graphics are sweet.

The Spire- Just watch the video. The graphics seem a bit too good for an indie game. It's pretty. It looks like there will be some interesting gameplay as well with a Gravitygun-style glove. I always felt like the gravity gun was a great idea that wasn't fully realized.
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