Here’s the real kicker in this whole situation. The reason why either market is flooded by a certain game type is not because of greedy corporations or corrupt developers or even designers who can’t come up with an interesting idea. It’s because of us. They are just trying to satisfy a market, and that market is calling out for 2D platformers. It’s also calling out for retro sprite aesthetics, time and space mechanics, and emotional storytelling through minimalist gameplay. In a sense, because we are such predictable animals of habit, gaming has become shallow to satisfy those habits.
At PAX East last year, a few panels joked about “indie game tennis,” which was a surefire way to come up with an interesting gameplay formula for an indie game. Just take a genre, usually a 2D platformer, add a twist mechanic, and set it to some sort of dark theme, and then, BOOM, you have indie game success. Examples include concepts such as “it’s a 2D platformer with stages that change as you move, and it’s about trying to find meaning in your life” or “it’s a 2D platformer, but time runs backward, and it’s about the Iraq war.” The goal was to go back and forth until someone gets stumped and can’t provide an indie game concept. Surely no gaming market that can be boiled down to a game of verbal tennis can be truly innovative.
What do you think? Are indie games changing the world of gaming, or are they just doing the same thing AAA titles are doing in another genre? Let us know in the comments, and pitch us a few of your own indie-game-tennis suggestions as well!
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: September 30, 2013
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*