I’ve been playing video games for decades. My sisters asked
for dolls, I asked for video games. This fascination with pixels and the
enchanting worlds it could create grew with me into adulthood. No other medium
was able to captivate, challenge or cause an immersion as completely as video
games were able to.
That was until a fateful day in December last year when the
I’ve had my fill of the same formula being repeated year
after year. The only aspects that changed were better graphics and physics. The
stories were fundamentally the same, the challenges hardly exceptional. I just couldn’t
connect to games anymore. The problem was that the medium didn’t grow with its audience. Developers improved on
game mechanics but failed to explore a wider spectrum of the human experience.
As any internet junkie would do in times of desperation, I
googled my sorrow away, and the internet did not disappoint. I read about an
Indie game called To the Moon, and for lack
of anything better to do, I played it. The graphics were horribly wrong, there
were no guns, and hardly any decisions to make. It felt more like an
interactive story than a game, and I loved every second of it. This game
touched me on a deeply personal level. It defiantly bypassed all I’ve come to
know about “good gaming” and instead took me on a road less travelled.
And I discovered Indie games. I firmly believe that Indie games are the womb that births the
new experience gamers are desperately seeking for.
AAA titles are audience driven, whereas Indie titles are essentially
a digital self portrait of the developer, or at least a window into the mind
and soul of the developer. In Indie
Game: The Movie, Jonathan Blow says this about creating the Indie hit Braid, one of the highest-rated games of
all time. “Making it was about me taking
my deepest flaws and vulnerabilities and putting that into a game.” Just
think about that a minute. How would playing a game that is at its core a
deeply personal and intimate story of another individual, impact the player? You
have to play an Indie game and experience this, to be able to understand its
significance in a market that is oversaturated with faceless, generic titles. In
order for video games to evolve and mature, we desperately need them to be
about something more than bigger guns, higher resolution explosions and
mindless killing. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good shoot ‘em up, but I also
want games that can be a catalyst for reflection and change. I’m also not
saying every Indie game will be a deeply emotional journey, but that Indie
developers have the autonomy to create games where the end product delivers the
intention of its creator, as opposed to what the wider audience want. Should
they choose to do so, Indie developers can leave big chunks of whom they are
embedded in their games, and this enables players to latch onto and identify
with the game in a unique way. Indie games are able to deliver an interactive experience
on multiple levels; be it a reflection on loss (Dear Esther), a journey of solitude and
beauty (Journey) or a celebration
of ingenuity (Minecraft).
“…even though it’s a game that people are supposed to buy, it’s not a
game I made for people. I made it for myself. Ed and I made it as a reflection of ourselves and we tried to make
it as fun and as accessible as possible. Tommy Refenes, Super Meat Boy programmer.
Indie games will not replace AAA titles; it just gives
gamers a wider selection to choose from. It has the potential to tap into more
of the human psyche and provide an interactive experience that surpasses the
rattle of gunfire. Please share with us your thoughts about the Indie games you’ve
Check out this teaser trailer from Indie studio, White Paper
Games' first title, Ether.
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