Guide to Independent Gaming.


Derek Yu over at The Independent Gaming Source has put together this list of independent games, partly as a reaction to other lists that he disliked.

This list is solid.  So if you are new to independent games, go take a look.  And if you’re not, take a look anyway; you probably missed some of the games on there.

He says he’ll expand the guide to parts Three and Four, eventually.

5 thoughts on “Guide to Independent Gaming.”

  1. It’s kind of funny how much tastes vary, though.

    Of the top 10, I’ve played 5, and of those, I enjoyed 1 (and it was totally a mindless enjoyment). Some of those I played may have been kind of interesting in an experimental sense, but I did not derive value as a player from playing them. (That includes games like Flow and Warning Forever.)

    So it doesn’t really motivate me to try many other things from the list.

  2. Yeah, I hear ya. I am not quite sure why Cave Story is so universally-loved, but it is, so I respect all those peoples’ opinions.

    I thought KoL was a really funny game to play for a couple of weeks, but I seem to remember none of you guys liking it.

    Aside from that I would say I got player value out of:

    Immortal Defense, Mr. Robot, Chalk, Galatea, Oasis, Echoes, Death Worm, Outpost Kaloki, Dwarf Fortress, and Mount & Blade. Maybe a little bit from The Shivah. Varying degrees of value for each of them of course.

    So yeah, I guess I wouldn’t recommend this as “a bunch of indie games that you will love!!!!” But it is a pretty broad survey of the kind of stuff that’s out there.

  3. I actually played KoL for quite a while, and donated, but naturally it got tired eventually. And indeed there are others on the later pages I’ve played and enjoyed, but the overall hit rate is pretty abysmal. Ah well, I’ll poke around a little.

  4. Gotta love Derek’s ability to extend a metaphor for ten paragraphs. At least he didn’t start talking about pants.

    It’s a good list, better than the one it was a reaction to, for sure. My one nitpick is the lack of Gamma Bros, though any list will leave out something somebody likes, I guess.

    But, yeah, Cave Story. I just played through it after much recommendation and found it thoroughly enjoyable so I’m interested in your take on it. It seemed like an exceptionally well crafted, personal little game that basically recombined familiar elements in a unique and expressive way. I get a similar feeling playing it as I do from Everyday Shooter. That is, I feel like it’s a direct reflection of the creator’s personality and interests. A result of that, I think, is that the game does a lot of interesting little things right, such as the amount of damage it takes to destroy various enemies, the feel of the enemies ‘popping’ as they’re destroyed, the interesting visuals of all the little triangles popping out, the ‘floating’ mechanic using the powered-up machine gun, and the whole gun system of three power levels that go up and down often. All of these little things which on their own aren’t much to write home about really add up to something special and unique. For me at least. A great, great synergy of mechanics, visuals, sounds, feel, and rules. It’s amazing how much effect something as simple as arbitrarily giving guns three power levels and having them powered up by a resource you get from enemies and downgraded by damage can have. You take the time to power up all the weapons and often switch between them strategically to save or bolster a certain weapon. Even if some of the weapons aren’t super useful, you use them all. Reminds me a lot of board game design, where tiny systemic changes magnify into far-reaching consequences in the social landscape of the game.

    I was also much more interested in the characters and their interactions than I have been about game characters in a long time. It was almost in spite of myself, really. I never got into Final Fantasy or any of the games that people seem to ‘really connect to the characters’ but for some reason I really got into some of the Cave Story characters, especially King and Balrog. King’s sacrifice was pretty excellent, and the build up to it (including the moral quandry of putting Totoko in the cage) was pretty excellent. I think the reason I got into it was immediacy. The story points happened at just the right interval to keep me engaged. If it’s too much story all the time, I tune right out (Metal Gear Solid 2) and if there’s too much time/tedium between story bits the story loses cohesion (as in pretty much every RPG, for me at least.) So, yeah, that’d be my stab at why people seem to really like the game.

    …and that became a pretty extended rant pretty quickly. Sorry for sullying your blog :).

  5. Gamma Bros. was on the list, #50 i believe, but was booted in favour of something more deserving. which i agree with, as i thought the game was absolutely dreadful. it is very funny how tastes differ, though, and amazing you could only (mindlessly) enjoy one game on the top 10. i’d say that would be a very unique taste. also, i’m very late.

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