If you take a moment to look over this website you’ll see that I’m a big supporter of the Humble Bundle, which promotes indie computer games using a pay-what-you-want system, and recently a promoter of ebooks as well, using the same system.
I’m a big supporter of the indie game scene in general, where you have small independent game developers and publishers creating and publishing their games directly to the public through the Internet, using services like Kickstarter to raise money or simply selling directly through their own website. This allows them to create games that large game publishers, with their slow development cycles and stagnant ideas, would never green light.
A perfect example of this is Wasteland 2, a sequel to the acclaimed computer role-playing game Wasteland from the 80s. Brian Fargo went to many of the large publishers asking for the funding to make Wasteland 2. None of them were interested, thinking that no one would be interested in a game like that. So instead, he turned to Kickstarter. The goal was to raise $900,000 to fund the project. Instead, they raised over $2 million, proving that there really was a desire for such games, and also proving that you don’t have to go through a big publisher and play by their rules to get a game published.
This of course holds many parallels to the ebook industry and authors being able to publish their ebooks directly, but that’s a subject for another post.
So, I’ve been thinking about what indie games mean to me. I don’t expect them to have the most advanced graphics… after all, they tend to be dealing with smaller budgets… but I do expect the gameplay to be interesting. They often have very nice soundtracks. Most importantly, however, I expect them to have good stories. When I play an indie game, that’s what I’m looking for. A story that’s deeper, more compelling, and perhaps even more daring than what you’d get out of a main-stream game.
So for me, what I expect from an indie game, and what indie games mean to me, can be summed up in one word: Story.