Do You Actually Like Old-School Indy Games?
I don’t mean to sound facetious, nor do I intend to be sarcastic. It’s an honest question!
To be clear, I’m talking about the indy titles with old school, grainy, 2-D sprites or games not too far off from that. Yesterday, Ben wrote an article wondering how happy everyone was with PlaystationPlus. Based on the discussion, it seems like most of you are largely happy with it. But since so many of the free titles are indy titles like what I just described, it’s brought that question to the forefront of my mind:
Do you... Does anyone... honestly dig old-school indy games?
In principle, I like what indy titles do for us. They give us new and interesting design concepts from a much larger variety of developers who otherwise would never be able to publish or bring AAA products to the table. We are invited to explore unique stories, new worlds, and creative alternatives to what we’ve become used to over the years. Others would highlight that it’s also allowed smaller developers to get past PC only releases on Steam or other services; it allows new gaming businesses to take off, which can be nothing other than a good thing.
As a result of all this, I find myself really wanting to embrace and support the indy market. Without them, I can't help but feel that the big box brands will attempt to be overly generic in hopes of reaching as large an audience as possible, revisit already existing, albeit excellent, games, or pigeonhold us to yet another sequel, like 2035’s Final Fantasy XIII-H8: Snow’s Revenge.
Occasionally, we get the kinds of experiences that are hard to ignore like Journey, or more recently, The Witness. These kinds of titles get enough attention that they probably help push the entire industry forward. This only greater enforces my desire to support the indy scene.
But what about other 2D titles, even good ones, like Braid or throwbacks to classics that can do no wrong like the Megaman Collection on PSN? You know... the majority of indy titles. Do you value the indy scene beyond philisophical support enough to open up the ol' dusty wallet?
Me? Well, I never finish them, if I’m honest. I used to love Mega Man on NES when I was growing up. Now, I can’t play for more than 30 minutes before wondering if my time might be better spent watching paint dry. And games like Braid, while fun and beautiful, can only be finished in small doses. Is it because compared to other visual accomplishments of larger games I can’t justify a visually “inferior” product? Star Wars: Battlefront is arguably less substantial in content with much weaker creative vision than many indy titles, yet despite my inevitable boredom with it, I gave it much more attention.
The unfortunate fact I must reluctantly accept now is that for me, I now have a library of indy games I’ve rarely or never touched. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t buy new ones because…. hey…. backlog… From a critical standpoint, I like these games, and I appreciate what they do. But I just can’t seem to get into them.
So what about you? Do you dabble? Are an indy game aficianado? Or do you find them too inferior to be worth your valuable time?
2/8/2016 Chris Howlett