As you may be able to tell, I, Tagros, am going to be taking over for Zoeker on this week’s Let’s Rap. He is currently in the process of moving, and with all of the parts that go with moving, he asked me to cover for him and I gladly accepted. While I was racking my brain for what I wanted to write on, I kept coming back to the same question, which was “What exactly makes a game classified as “indie”? Now the obvious answer is that an indie game is usually released by a company that may not be as big as say an EA or an Ubisoft, but when I really started trying to answer this question, I realized that the answer is quite a bit different, in my eyes. When you really boil it down to its most key components, I believe that the two things that make a game classified “indie” or not are a) the story, and b) the visuals or graphics that the company decides to use. The reason for this, I believe, is that through the use of engaging story and unique visuals, small games can stand out and garner attention in a world full of AAA titles such as Call of Duty or Diablo III. If they can make a mark with the reviewers, then it will boost review scores (obviously), and in turn boost sales of the game, which makes the company money, hurrah!
Let’s take a fairly popular example in the Summer of Arcade gem, Limbo. For those who do not know, Limbo was released by a small developer based out of Denmark called Playdead Studios. Even if you haven’t played the game (which if you haven’t, I recommend very highly), you can probably tell that it is not really like anything else on the market. Now it certainly didn’t hurt that the game itself was mechanically sound and the platforming element was very tight, but the gist of the game was that it was capitalizing on something that had never really been seen before. In a day of full 3D in people’s living rooms, Limbo stripped away all of the unnecessary elements and gave a game, nothing more, and nothing less. Yet because it was so different visuals wise, people flocked to it, and Playdead became known as a very strong studio. This is the same thing with Bastion, the most recent Summer of Arcade hit. When you combine the very unique world composition of bastion with the narrative element, you get an experience that is unable to be found anywhere else.
I got a bit off track, but the point that I am trying to make is that many of the “indie” titles of today capitalize on what is missing from the current gaming sphere, while also delivering stories that, although simple, are very personal and real. I myself am a very big fan of these titles, and if you ever want any recommendations for games that I really enjoyed, feel free to ask me in the comments section. Another thing is that I would really like to hear your feedback, in whether or not you like indie games, and if you agree or disagree with the points that I have been trying to make in this post. Well, such ends my tirade, and I promise to have Let’s Rap back in Zoekers hands next week!