Indy games -- the gaming world's answer to the Oscar Bait problem?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by FAST6191, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. FAST6191
    OP

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23,519
    9,351
    Nov 21, 2005
    We get to come at this from various directions but stick with it for a while and most of my reasoning should become apparent.

    Whenever various game awards shows turn into a debacle and whenever the issue of "originality" comes up we get people saying "if only there was something like the Oscars but for games". There may or may not be some truth to this but here it will be held that such a thing is at best a forest for the trees affair more likely that the Oscars are an effect and not a cause.

    For those not familiar with the arrangement when it comes to films there is one awards ceremony that eclipses all others known informally as the Oscars. Many or indeed most of the winners are comprised of the more interesting films which are typically shot at a far lower budget than what most people think of when they talk of Hollywood films industry. Film studios have long backed such projects too (and though some might like to believe profitability is in question it is not such a clear cut issue). Some might argue it is a case of entertainers entertaining their ilk (see also jam sessions (music and the likes of skateboarding), trick shots, the aristocrats and so forth) but for the purposes of this it will be held as largely immaterial. Such arrangements are also great feeders for those on the way up (Troma films and Roger Corman being great examples).

    The definition of Indy games might also want to come up. It is quite fluid but more importantly one of the more accepted definitions of games made in basements and fueled by [insert local equivalent of ramen noodles, pot noodles, hot pot, nasi goreng....] might be as wrong as saying B movies are like that and for the exact same reasons (budgets still somewhat north of a year's salary, teams of many and sales in line with many others).

    Variously every single game company has courted these sorts of developers over the last few years (Sony's recent e3 showing being one of the more memorable, a lot of what Microsoft did on the 360 with XBLA, Nintendo having the DS for it* and to a lesser extent people holding up the Wii as a system for it) and at least as far as the UK Amiga era games industry it was that in a microcosm.

    *and with that base of developers evaporating/not committing as much as Android and co rise up it leaves some feeling a bit uneasy.

    To that end indy games, as they are presently defined/defined somewhat up above, are they the equivalent of Oscar bait?
     
  2. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

    Member
    10,254
    17,403
    Aug 5, 2011
    United States
    New Jersey
    Independent productions in both gaming and film are something of a double edged sword. On the one hand, they're an excellent source of innovation and experimentation. Without much oversight and without having to worry about recouping millions upon millions of dollars, these games and films don't have to worry about appealing to as many people as possible. They can forge their own path, try new things for the sake of the artform, etc. Even the financial limitations are something of a plus - they provide a challenge to the creators that a normal studio environment likely wouldn't provide, and some of the best art comes through adversity.

    That being said, that same freedom means there's less safety nets involved. Indie projects are much more likely to completely fall apart and collapse. The experimentation is something of a double-edged sword - not all experiments are successful, after all. Indie projects can produce some of the best and some of the absolute worst games. Finally, the indie culture just breeds pretentiousness - take Indie Game: The Movie, where most of the subjects are insufferably smug about their products ("Super Meat Boy is about deep things. Like, everyone has their own Bandage Girl." - The joke is that I'm barely paraphrasing here).

    So yeah. Indie productions are good for the industry as a whole, but they aren't the be all, end all.