Brandon Boyer

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Gamasutra is running a nice piece from former IGF grand prize finalist Andy Schatz looking at how the “indie” landscape has evolved, tracing its route initially from the doors opened by casual hits like Diner Dash and Zuma to teams creating portal alternatives for games that didn’t fit that casual mold.

But Schatz says, rightly, that the past two years have seen indie gaming hit critical mass, and that the category is now less about economics and more about the experience:

Gamers and customers now see indie games as the poetry, the short stories of the gaming world. They are different, they are thoughtful, and they make you appreciate nuance.

As 2D Boy’s (World of Goo) Kyle Gabler said in his recent Global Game Jam keynote, the best games made in game jams “introduce one new concept to gaming as fast and as clear as possible.” This is largely true for all of indie games as well. The finalists in this year’s IGF competition also tend towards this concept.

Why is this important? Because in the past, indie games didn’t mean anything to customers. We, the developers, knew what it meant — it was important to us because it meant that we were unfettered. But customers didn’t have expectations about what an indie game was.

Customers do have expectations now. Indie games are games that, by definition, don’t fit into any other box. They cost from $0 to $30. They are “cool” — knowing about them is “cool.”

Hit the link for the full evolution and where Schatz sees indie gaming going in years to come.

Opinion: The Evolution Of Indie [Gamasutra]

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