We’re challenged to go and try 1% of 10,000 new indie games in a year. That’s a “mere” 100 games a year, says Krikket.
Eesh, says I. That sounds scary. Terrifying in terms of time and monetary consumption. That’s trying a new game every 3-4 days for 365 days.
Me, I can’t even keep a monthly habit or completion project going before my “oooh shiny” ways will have me meandering off to something else. A yearly commitment seems bonkers.
But hey, if someone else can do it, hurrah! Because downer people who say things like:
No. Nobody does. If you tried, you would surrender in despair within a month.
with absolute certainty need to be shown up. Just to prove that not everybody is like how they think the world is. Depressing.
If you make it, they will come. Possibly not as many as you expected, but some will. Why not do it for them? Since you wanted to make it for yourself to begin with, I’m presuming. Anybody else is a bonus. And some will like it. There’s lots of people in this world. You won’t reach all of them. But you will hit a few.
Gee, kinda sounds like blogging, doesn’t it? Or any kind of creative act, really.
Speaking of which, the personal update is that the air conditioner is temporarily fixed – in that the repair people pumped it full of coolant, and it’s anybody’s guess as to when it will run out. Could be weeks or months. Keep fingers crossed, I suppose. Leak identification would take a lot more work and time that we’re not up for right now, so that’s a “later” plan.
Bad news is, I’m really out of the blogging habit, so I’m unlikely to post as frequently either. The good news is that I have been playing games. All the games! And reading books. And still hooked on the Wandering Inn (so much for me thinking LitRPG was weird.) And watching all the Youtube videos (Cats! Food! Coffee! Games!). And Netflix (Arcane, whee!) And Amazon Prime (The Legend of Vox Machina!)
The current Jan 2022 obsessions are Minecraft: Oceanblock and Dark Souls Remastered on Switch, with a hopeful soon(TM) side of Monster Hunter because I suddenly am craving to hit things with a longsword/katana. Plus some miscellaneous tapas game trials on the side.
I was procrastinating on blogging so badly that my 2021 retrospective got put off since the beginning of the year. Till now.
Because Krikket’s challenge has suddenly provided the perfect format and sufficient impetus to beat the list of games and played time durations from ManicTime into submission, and get them in some semblance of order.
We won’t be talking any impressions of the games I played on this post. Mostly because it’ll take too long for me to write and no one will read it in the end.
Instead, I thought, why don’t I actually try to figure out which of the games I played last year were “indie” and count how many of them are there?
Maybe I’d hit a healthy amount (obviously not 100, but maybe half, two thirds?) of indie games taste tested last year, without actually trying? Enough to say, hey, not really trying for the challenge here, but I do play a healthy amount of indie games, so there?!
Caveat: There is this following deviation from the challenge. They are not all “new release” games. I am a patient gamer. I do not understand this “new release” phrase. I am also cheap and miserly.
Instead, I buy a shitton of games on sale and bundled, many of them indie, and play them at my own time, pace and choosing. So they may not be 2021 new releases, but many are “new” to me. Even if they are three or more years old.
I am part of the long tail, and if you are a game developer, you will just have to deal. I do have 2015 (no, not a typo – I guess I’m going to exceed the current year in games this year) games in my Steam library right now, so it’s not like I’m -not- supporting indie games here. Not as much as you’d hope to earn, perhaps, but well, supply and demand. It is very much a gamer’s market right now. And my wallet is far from limitless.
The glut in indie games may not be great for individual game developer profit, I’ll grant. But hey, the point is that if -some-* people want to keep making them, -some-* people will play them.
* exact numbers of -some- may vary
So, let’s have a look at what I was up to last year:
“Indie” was defined completely non-scientifically by typing in “is (Game Name) indie” and seeing if the first page of hits contained:
- Someone else (e.g. a reviewer or journalist or Wikipedia) calling it an indie game
- An “indie” or “independent” adjective attached to the name of the studio that developed the game in some website description or other
Also, if the game was made by one person, I shoved it into indie by default, usually without bothering to Google it further.
“New” means it’s new to me that year. It’s the first time I played the game. It ranges from 30min taste-testing to ooh, new shiny, suddenly obsessed for months.
“Revisited” means a game I’ve played before and suddenly feel like revisiting. Could be nostalgia or just checking it out briefly, stopped halfway through and giving it another go, or another full playthrough or run, endless games, that sort of thing.
I did still end up with some hair-pulling regarding borderline or questionably “indie” cases.
The obvious example is Minecraft. It -used- to be indie, starting out with one developer, before more glommed on and everything blew up in popularity to the point where Microsoft buys the game and takes over, at which point we can quite confidently say, it’s not indie any longer. But then, if you’re mostly still playing with the Java version and fan-created modpacks, that’s pretty durned indie-style gameplay, isn’t it?
Then there’s Klei Entertainment, which -was- an indie video game developer from Canada… Then Don’t Starve took it into the limelight, with a whole bunch of other games following, until now they’re owned by Tencent, which is about as big corporation as it gets.
But then you have Hot Lava, the passion project of a single person, before he was hired by Klei and given support to take it further. Surely that’s pretty damn indie. (Google agrees, by the way, since it is tagged “indie game” in its Genre classification.)
Cooking Tycoons 2 is a cheesy casual mobile-ish cooking game that I picked up on the Switch Store at steep discount, because I’m a sucker for simplistic cooking games with pretty food pictures. For all intents and purposes, it certainly feels like an indie game – it’s simple, casual, focused on one main gameplay schtick. It’s certainly not mainstream triple AAA open world. But my first page Google definition lacks any description of it as indie, nor do the developers call themselves an indie studio, so…. guess they’re not? Or they don’t want to be associated with the word?
Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 is another hair-puller. The first game is unquestionably indie. Then it blew up. And the studio got bigger. But it’s still fronted by creator David “chubigans” Galindo and it’s still technically a small team and independent studio. But it fails my front page “is it indie” Google test. But Steam still tags it as in the indie genre. Oh, I am so confused. Maybe? Probably?
For sheer entertainment value, try “is death stranding indie” and go down the Google rabbit hole for that one. Ha.
In fairness, mostly due to its ridiculous production values and open world map, mainstream buzz and Sony backing, I’ll say “no” for this count. For pure auteurness of concept and unique vision, I’d personally say “yep” but y’know, let’s be fair to the single person created games for this post. There’s no way they’re on the same level.
Yea well. Whatever. Ultimately, define your own “indie”; it probably doesn’t match mine.
Final results, if I tallied this up correctly, is about 75 green “definitely indie” games + 10 orange “kinda sorta indie” games.
Plus minus a handful for “do you call this indie or not.”
For a grand total of 85 games last year that I have time-tracking for (not inclusive of a few console games that I don’t, but certainly remember playing and can approximate how long it took).
In addition, I bought these 16 Choice of Games text adventure games on Steam last year (so sayeth the Steam purchase records). I play them on iPad though, after getting them registered to my CoG account, so time-tracking is a little iffy on that front.
All of them were at least played through to the demo chapters for sure, since that’s how I judge whether they’re worth buying. In brackets is what I vaguely recall of my progress through the games.
- Wayhaven Chronicles: Book One (Completed)
- Wayhaven Chronicles: Book Two (Midway)
- Fallen Hero: Rebirth (Completed)
- Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale (Midway)
- Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven (Midway)
- Evertree Inn (Demo)
- Sordwin: The Evertree Saga (Demo)
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Night Road (Completed – Multiple Times)
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Out for Blood (Midway)
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Parliament of Knives (Completed)
- Werewolves: Haven Rising (Completed)
- Werewolves 2: Pack Mentality (Completed)
- Wraiths of SENTINEL (Completed)
- Keeper of the Sun and Moon (Completed)
- Keeper of the Day and Night (Demo)
- Ironheart (Midway)
And in 2022, I picked up Pyre, Silicon Dreams, Liberated, Griftlands and Inscryption. All five of which are kinda indie.
Of which, I’ve finished Pyre, and played the demo of Silicon Dreams and gotten a little further past the demo bit of Inscryption.
Liberated and Griftlands still in queue for now, so I guess I can add 3 to the final count.
That makes 104 indie-ish games from Jan 2021 to Jan 2022 – 13 months or so.
No challenge or scary time commitment needed. This is apparently just how I game.
P.S. If you want me to play 100 “new release” games, ‘cos this is cheating, please buy them for me. #broke