One genre of gaming that is gaining more and more popularity on just about every gaming platform is indie gaming. However, many times people will simply overlook indie games due to a perceived lack of value since many indie games can cost a small fraction of a big name title. Another reason that many people seem to think that indie games are not worth their time is because the games do not have the same level of presentation and polish that many triple A titles have. Unfortunately, these gamers are greatly missing out on what is arguably one of the most entertaining and innovative areas in gaming at the moment.
Since indie developers are not really able to compete with the big publishers and developers in the industry in terms of budget, they can’t really do much to match the production values of the larger releases. As a result, the indie developers have to find other ways to compete, and they often do so by being quite a bit more creative than their larger counterparts.
These developers often take idea that gameplay is king to heart, which is really quite heartening in an industry that is becoming increasingly dominated by annual releases that show very little improvement aside from better visuals. For example, take Minecraft, which was originally an indie title before Microsoft purchased Mojang. This game took what are admittedly very weak visuals and created a game that had an innovative hook in that you could shape the world and build almost anything that you can imagine, a hook that has caused millions to become hopelessly addicted to it.
Another reason that more people should respect indie games and their impact on the industry is because they make a great entry point into gaming. This is because indie games typically do not require a very powerful gaming rig to run, a lot of money, or a steep learning curve. In most cases, these games are simple enough that most people, even people that are completely new to gaming, can jump right in and start enjoying what could very well be their new lifelong hobby. This accessibility can only be good for gamers as a whole because the more gamers there are, the more profitable the industry will be, which will lead to more developers jumping into the game and giving everyone more great gaming experiences.
Finally, indie games are a great way to enjoy gaming because they can offer a great deal of entertainment for a low price. Think about the last big name release you purchased and how much that cost. Did you really feel like you got your money’s worth out of that game? In my case, I often find myself lamenting the lack of content in a brand-new $60 release that may have only lasted 10 hours or less.
With an indie game, I can typically pay far less and enjoy games that can offer anywhere from 4 or 5 hours of gameplay in the case of a shooter or puzzle game, to well over 40 hours for a strategy game or RPG. The fact that I can then buy multiple games for the price of a single triple A release is just icing on the cake.
What are some of your favorite indie games or developers? Which upcoming indie games have you most excited? Share them in the comments below, I am always on the lookout for a fun, new indie game!