How do you spot an indie game in a crowd? 2D, “8-bit” graphics, side-scroller. Sadly this is a common perspective from those outside of the indie community. Yes, there are quite a few games that fall into these set categories. Yes, there seems to be more of these similar types that scream the loudest than any others. But why?
I will admit from my failed attempts at developing, that it appears to be the easiest, most attractive game to create. Static images, simple mechanics, it makes sense really. Yet there are others that stand out from the pack. Titles like Limbo, Braid, and Pid seem to take the framework of a traditional 2D platformer and do something wonderful with it.
I believe that the genre has yet to see its full extent. Much like hardware for consoles, usually the games that come out towards the end of a system’s lifespan are the most technologically astounding. Wario’s Woods for the NES, Shantae for Gameboy Color, MotoRodeo for the Atari 2600 (well, I think it’s a marvel). This can also be true about genres, but more in a paradigm shift.
With titles like Limbo and Braid, developers have taken a tried and true style of video games (platformers) and have taking it a step farther that no other AAA developer would have imagine. These types of games exist outside their mold because they don’t have investors or board members breathing down their necks to create sales. They have time to create. Taking the same structures and restraints to create something new that’s beautiful and awe inspiring.
It shows that one genre is never dead. Anything can be rekindled and made anew again that can bring a new audience. So where’s my Gladiator arcade rebirth? That game was total kick ass.
Looking for in-depth reviews for the games I mentioned above? Check out the links below.