Indie Games

Ben Gift

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Indie Games

There’s a trend sweeping the nation and you’re taking part in it. It’s the push away from all the huge monolithic corporate creations (think about our AAA movies that get released each year with identical plots and zero creativity or risk) and the push toward spending our money in smaller, more ballsy endeavors. I’m talking of course about how small indie game companies have swept across our society and have planted their foot firmly in our lives. What changes will this cause and is it a good thing?

Do you purchase apps from the app store? Do you buy highly reviewed indie films despite having no advertizing? You probably do one of those, but the relation between the two is strikingly similar. Take for instance the highly marketed game called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It had an enourmous ad campaign and pumped in huge amounts of money into it’s production to make it something that would be as shiney and polished as a blockbuster movie. It succeeded in making a net profit up in the ranks of Avatar, at almost a billion, but it was far less inspired.

Now take for instance the tiny studio of Mojang, run by one man and a team of 2 (now more), which made the hit title minecraft. This title had zero advertizing and purely through word of mouth has netted well into the tens of millions (citing the forum in-the-knows as a reference), with the owner (Notch) claiming in a statement that he’s making so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it all. This is the dawning of the age of the creative class, and a step toward the word of mouth and online review world.

Take another example of the indie games on the iPhone and andriod stores. Games like angry birds and other small time creations have netted engorguous sums of money with little to no advertizing. Perhaps Lasn didn’t take into account the internet’s ability to connect people and their good ideas. Withing the next ten years I hope that the indie game scene has continued it’s growth into a being where anyone with a good idea can outrank the highest company in profit.

The switch to a digital only medium of selling media is another plus for this indipendently driven future. Small companies like the one who just released Swords and Sorcery for IOS are able to release their games for around a dollar, and as the hype builds, raise the price at will, creating a whole new type of marketing catering toward word of mouth growth. This is the future of quality and it’s a welcomed change.

Change aside, games have always been pushed as being a place where an artist can express his or herself, and that is only too true today. Games like Flower and The Last Guardian for PS3 have tried to push art and creativity into their games in a way that speaks as strongly as the crawling lilies of Monet. With the advent of indie gaming, if you’re willing to wade through the rough to find the gems, there’s a whole mess of creativity and art to be found.

If you have ever played a game like Angry Birds or League of Evil on your iPhone, or and sort of low priced digital gaming, then you’ve put your dollar toward a future of small studios creating whatever they can dream up. Someday perhaps soon, the gems like minecraft will win over the populace at large into spending their money on supporting the little guy.

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