Let’s face it, video gaming in general is in some dire straits. I don’t know if it is necessarily at its worst… But we are certainly not in a place that we need to be right now when it comes to those games we love to play. As Triple A developers and publishers continue to grow and spend unnecessary amounts of money in order to create the same schlock over and over again, the Independent Developing companies are looked to find a little variety within the monotony… So basically they are becoming the new age film industry. Well I guess this is what we can come to expect now. But as the big business of video games continues to inflate on its own ego to its inevitable collapse, we as gamers cannot be deterred from playing some of our favorite past times. So needless to say if Triple A keeps getting bigger, well Indie gaming quickly becomes where we as a community should flock to. So without further ado, I give to you the Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Only Play Independently Developed Video Games!
Keep in mind before we get started that this is my own list based on my opinion. This opinion has been generated by my observations on the video game industry and the video game community. I welcome all debate and disagreements, that is part of the fun of having this website in the first place.
EA gets a lot of flack for their games on this front, in particular their sports video game series, myself included. The criticism usually goes that they release the same $60 title every year and the only difference is updated rosters, slightly improved graphics, and maybe a new mini game or story mode session here and there. The criticism is definitely deserved. But I want us all to think for a second not only of video game franchises but also to video games in general. Let’s look at a series that is typically praised by critics and fans alike (myself included) The Uncharted series. As much as I think that the second installment is one of the best games I have ever played, their still is not much of a difference between the three Uncharted games. They have similar graphics, tell a similar story, have similar battle mechanics, and have similar quick time events and set pieces. The difference comes usually in the story than anything else which once again, is very similar each time. Nathan Drake goes from point A to point B, makes some snarky comments, gets his love interest, has some witty conversations with Sully, end scene. Now granted when you come from the same developer and the same series, you are going to get some similarities so I’m not going to harp it too much. Just making the statement that if these sports games look the same, so do a lot of franchises who release a new game with slightly improved graphics and maybe some new formulas.
But let’s look at video games in general. It seems the trend fits with movies that once something kind of original succeeds, then the plan is to spam it relentlessly until the trend is worn out. Just look at most MMORPGs. Blizzard set the standard for World of Warcraft causing several developers to just copy the system almost to the letter because it was familiar, thus squashing most creativity in the genre. A trend that is riding the last of the wave is the ‘bad trip high’ level of most video games. After Batman Arkham Asylum had a level in which the Scarecrow gasses Batman, forcing him to go through some sort of strange world that would give most acid tripping kids in the 1970s nightmares several Triple A games started spamming the bad drug trip which became almost as needed for a video game franchise then the water level in just about ever video game during the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis days.
Triple A video games are hamstringed by a lot, mostly publishers who have rarely played a video game that are looking at charts and say ‘people like this, give them this’ and thus no risks are taken or they are such calculated risks that they might as well not be. Thus when you have all the publishers saying the same thing, you have a lot of games that just flat-out look like carbon copies of one another which leads to a very safe and uncompetitive market.
Which leads to the fact that in order for Indie games to compete, they naturally take a lot more risks and these risks tend to pay off. Let’s look at two of the best games to come out in the past two years The Stanley Parable and Papers, Please. Both of these games would never be green lit by major studios. They would take one look at both of them and say. This game isn’t polished, the graphics look bad, people want explosions, people want ‘deep’ stories, people want their gruff manbody action heroes, they don’t want to think, they don’t want to be a paper pushing bureaucrat. They want to be Duke Nukem or Chris Redfield. This game will never sale… Sure enough it does. Why? Because charts and graphs do not know what people want because a lot of the times people do not know what they want.
Papers, Please is one of the most immersive games that I have ever played. I certainly felt more invested in Papers, Please then I did in Beyond Two Souls. I had more fun messing around and listening to the witty banter of the narrator in The Stanley Parable then I did sifting through the copy and paste Walking Dead clone garbage that was Dead Rising 3 and the funny part is that I would have never have known that until I actually played the game for myself. Indie games like Thomas Was Alone and Journey can offer some wonderful things if given the opportunity, things that you will never see from large Triple A business who are too afraid to crawl out of the comfort zone fort they built for themselves.
3. They Are Cheaper
Bottom line… Indie games are just plain cheaper. You can gain the same level of enjoyment from an indie game then you would a Triple A title. Just think about it before you slash prices, before you get your steam sales. A Triple A title released is $60 at GameStop and that price is only going to go up in the up and coming years. Now look at the base price of most indie games on Steam. $15-$25 and that is before you start slashing prices. That is over half if not more of the cost for a big flashy game that you have played over and over again then a game that you could play and enjoy for the same value. Even math is on the side of indie gamers.
I will (*) this with the fact that this does not mean every indie game is better than Triple A titles, I’m not saying that. I would play BioShock Infinite infinitely more times than Broken Age. I’m not saying this as a blanket term, what I am saying is on the whole… Indie Games are becoming much more popularly received among critics and gamers. As time has gone on, a lot of us have realized that these Triple A titles are becoming the same thing as the price for them has gone up and the creativity has gone down. For indie games, the price to create remains relatively low, the money made is not as much as a Triple A title, but turns out a bigger profit margin than the Triple A Titles, and the games creative and much more enjoyable. It is the classic struggle. Do you spend $200 million dollars to make a $300 million on a game or do you spend $1 million to make $90 million on a game.
We should be champions of the indie games because they have the better frame of mind. They make a lot of money off of these indie titles and they give us a much better product in return for our patronage.
1. It Will Force the Triple A Developers to Give Us What We Want
What this all really boils down to is the fact that we as gamers still love our classic titles. As much as I hate where the franchise has gone, I still love Resident Evil. I enjoy the work Naughty Dog does with Uncharted and The Last of Us. I do like them, we all like them. But if we keep buying mediocrity then they will keep making mediocrity. Why improve your product when you know you will make the money regardless of what you do?
I enjoy games, we all enjoy games, and I enjoy Triple A titles as much as Indie Games. But if Triple A titles will not improve their product then it is time to switch emphasis to another side so we as an entity can force these developers to give us more creativity and less of the things we have already seen time and time again. In a way, it is almost a win win for gamers. We play awesome indie games and then force our Triple A friends to give us what we really want. All in all, it is in my opinions a gamers way of handing some tough love to the big guys and saying that enough is enough.
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. Look for a new retrospective to start Tuesday as well as a new movie review on Thursday. Until then, thank you for reading.