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Opinion

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Indie games are on the rise, but why? What makes indie games so special compared to games worked on by hundreds of people? To find out, let us think about the indie games that have come out in the past few years.

A few examples of indie games would be the new cult classic UndertaleHarvest Moon-esque Stardew Valley, the gritty sci-fi game Transistor (a personal favorite), and the hilarious The Stanley Parable. Why are games like these so popular? What’s the appeal of non-AAA games? I’ve got a few answers.

Price

First off, everybody likes a bargain. As a college student, I like them even more. It is hard to justify paying $60 for one game, but $5 or $10 is an incredible deal in comparison. Most indie games are under $20, even less if you get them in a bundle or when they are on sale. When you can still get a quality game for a lower price, it makes the indie genre more appealing. You can justify it even if there is a chance it may not be a game you like. Who cares if it was sub-par or not what you were looking for because It only cost $5 anyway. This means more people will at least try indie games, even if they are unsure about them. If the price is right, indie games are likely to, at least for some gamers, be curious enough to try.

Originality

How often do you see AAA games having interesting mechanics and taking risks by doing something strange? It is not very often. AAA games are made for the masses, meaning that those developers are less likely to make any sort of innovations or risks in their games. An example of an indie game that takes risks and has interesting mechanics is Undertale. For instance, this game allows you to go the whole game without fighting a single battle. Sure, a lot of big games have more passive options, but the entire game? Who in the game industry would pitch, “Let us have a game where you have the option to just walk through the world, die a lot, and fight no one if you want to get the happy ending. It will have names with bad puns, dogs whose heads go to the moon, an evil flower, and even a celebrity robot.”

Maybe someone would take it—someone took on Pac-Man after all and that had to be a strange pitch—but big companies are more concerned with making lots of money.  Larger developers often choose the same mechanics over and over again because they still work, and they know they can milk it. Indie developers, more often then not, choose to be risky.  The Stanley Parable is basically a walking simulator, but it works at keeping people coming back for the strange and interesting story and because it is not complicated.

Photo courtesy of “https://gamersrant.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/game-review-transistor/”

Relatability

When you think of companies like EA or Nintendo, who do you imagine working there? Many likely imagine big-shot CEOs out to make money, even if the game quality has to take a hit. Now, imagine the kind of person working on an indie game. They are a regular person who is passionate about games. They care about their fans and take pride in their games. It is a whole lot easier to relate to an indie developer and even give them a bit more leeway in the process. If, for example, there is a glitch on level 3 on some indie game, you are more likely to feel like reporting the issue. It might still take awhile to fix some glitch for a small team, but it is more likely that it will be addressed. You might even feel like harmless glitches add character to the game.

On the other hand, you expect big-shot game companies to get it right, and if they don’t respond immediately, it feels like they just do not care. Aren’t these AAA developers supposed to have the greatest resources? Being able to relate to indie developers means you and I might still like their game better despite glitches and other problems. We understand that it can happen. Big companies do not get that kind of leeway.

Now you can see why indie games are growing in popularity right now, and I see them being popular for a long time. With the ability for developers to purchase game engines and even VR equipment for a decent price, it makes it possible for indie developers to keep finding ways to make games interesting. I look forward to the next batch of indies that 2017 will bring.

Know any other reasons why indie games are so popular? Do not hesitate to mention it in the comments below!

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Watch out for that bomb!

Imagine that you are a wonderful husband with a wonderful life. It’s a wonderful day in your wonderful house with your wonderful wife and 2 wonderful children. Then all of a sudden, an alarm sounds and suddenly your wonderful life just turned upside down. Wonderful! You have just enough time to pack up the family and some supplies to take to your emergency shelter before an atomic bomb makes contact with your home. How much time do you have? 60 seconds. That’s right, 60 seconds to get everything you need. Be very quick if you want to get enough to survive. And don’t forget your family!

Surving in a Shelter With You

Alright. You’ve made it into the shelter with (hopefully) all of your family members and supplies needed to survive for who knows how long. Let’s do checklist, shall we? You have your map, radio, flashlight, gun, axe, cards, board game, suitcase, a lock, your med kit, etc., but most importantly you have water and tomato soup! Yummy! Tomato soup is what you will be enjoying throughout this entire survival period. Isn’t that great?! Once you enter the shelter, you must make decisions based on what supplies you have brought with you to continue to survive until help arrives (or you perish). Ration food, look for supplies up top, keep the kids from driving you insane, try to stay sane, keep everyone healthy, and most important – TRUST NO ONE (except those willing to help)!

Good Luck Surviving!

60 Seconds is an interesting point and click survival based game that can be incredibly challenging, but fun. The art style is a mixture of 2D/3D perspectives giving the iconic aesthetic choices of the 50’s. The styles coincide with one other which I think is pretty cool. 60 Seconds compels you to keep trying to survive longer every time until you beat it. I have yet to, but maybe you guys can.

Watch my playthrough as I try my luck. Good luck out there!

used games

It’s that time again Loading Screen fans, we are back with a new episode for you to kick off the new year! The cobwebs were real as we recorded a spectacular conversation only to find out it wasn’t recording at all. After disbelief and a few laughs, we decided to push on and keep the conversation going. We share our used games stories including Erica’s horrible exchange rate for her copy of Titanfall, as well as how we feel about ESRB ratings, the Oculus Rift, and where the future is headed in gaming.

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For Christmas, I got a neat little game, The Jackbox Party Pack on the PS4. I turned on the game and was immediately brought to the menu which boasted five games. Word Spud, Fibbage, You Don’t Know Jack, Drawful, and Lie Swatter. I clicked on a game, and a lobby was brought up on the screen. A code was displayed, and I was prompted to go to jackbox.tv with an internet enabled device to join the game. That’s right. No controllers were necessary to actually play the game with friends. This is the most unique feature of the Jackbox Party Pack. You can play with up to 100 players (most games range from 4-8 though) as long as each have a device that can connect to the internet. The questions will appear on the television or computer screen that you start the game up on, so you can’t really play with people who aren’t in the same room as you. (There are ways of course, you could stream or share the game screen if you’re on the pc. But, on PS4 the best bet is to point the webcam towards the screen so that the other players can see what’s happening). Your phone is used to input the answers so that others around you can’t see them, because what fun would it be playing a guessing game if you can see my answer? The Jackbox site allows you to enter the game code and a unique nickname. Both are disposable for each game and time that you play.

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If there’s one thing I’ve noticed nowadays, its that people LOVE IT when games give you a choice. I mean, who wouldn’t? Media narratives such as movies and TV traditionally are told to you; you have no real say in the matter. But then games come along and suddenly you can change the entire ending just by doing a few things differently than you did last time! It’s why they can be so addictive and so beloved by many, because it feels like you have control over an outcome. You feel as though you are participating in the narrative.

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Compulsion Games have come up with quite an interesting adventure. I recently got my hands on Contrast, and it is an fascinating puzzle game with a dreamy noir twist. You play as a mysterious girl by the name of Dawn as you help out your best friend Didi, the main protagonist of this story. You both venture through a mysterious yet magical town inhabited by what seem like mostly shadows. Although it’s almost like a ghost town, it’s lively enough in its own ways.