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Published on December 13th, 2011 | by Bob

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Guest Article – Indie Games: PC’s Re-Awakening

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Editor’s note: this article is courtesy of my friend Jonathan, aka Hexidecimal you can follow him on twitter and check out his tumblr -Bob

Is this thing on? Yes? It’s working? Okay… Hello KBMOD readers! I am Jonathan Beck, I have been lucky enough to have Bob let me do a little writing for the site, so here we go! I’m opening up with a piece on Indie Games, which is fitting with the release of the new Humble Bundle today. I’ve been playing games for the past 15 years, all the way back to the Atari 2600 & NES. I spend more money than is socially acceptable on computer parts & games to go with them. I may also be clinically addicted to the Internet, though I’ve never been tested. Without further ado, here is my first entry into KBMOD Legend. Enjoy.

Indie Games: PC Gaming’s Re-Awakening

PC Gaming is dead, long live PC Gaming. You hear it in every corner of the Internet, PC gaming is on the verge of dying, or worse, has already died. Sometimes it’s easy to look around and assume it’s true. We get slap dash console ports, intrusive DRM schemes, delay after delay for game releases, and often little support once the game has hit market. Major publishers speak out about piracy of titles hurting sales, thus making the PC a last choice platform.

Gaming is at a weird state right now. Development costs grow larger every year, and we are relegated to sequel after sequel because they’re a safe bet. This console cycle has lasted longer than any previous generation, and PC games have stood still as a result. The PC I built over a year ago still takes anything I throw at it because developers code to the lowest common denominator. They aren’t going to write a game that an Xbox 360 or a PS3 can’t handle, so there has been little in the way of break through graphics or taxing PC games. While we’re still getting good games, few of them are new experiences. A new group is emerging to fill the void, The Indie Developer.

Indie games are bigger than ever and they’re delivering experiences unlike any of the AAA titles on the market right now. The best part? They’re doing it all without the support of big name publishers. Basement coders are taking back PC gaming in a huge way. Let’s be honest, if you went to EA 2 years ago and said “I want to make a procedurally generated, infinite world made completely of voxel blocks the player can endlessly manipulate and create with, and I want it to look like something an NES threw up after a long night of binge drinking.” They would have laughed you out of their office. So that’s what Markus Persson did, on his own. That is until it caught on like cocaine on 1980’s Wall St. Now Mr. Persson aka Notch has started his own company and made millions of dollars on a game no sane publisher would have ever picked up.

Minecraft has infatuated an entire sect of PC gamers. You type Minecraft into YouTube and look at the nonsense these people are creating! No seriously, go do it, I can wait…… Okay did you see that? That is a game that 6 dudes in a tiny office cranked out. Then over 4 million people picked it up and ran with it. They just had their first Minecon convention and released build 1.0.0. proving that you don’t need big names to make a blockbuster game, quite literally.

I can think of 5 games total that have their own dedicated convention. Call of Duty, Blizzcon counts for Warcraft, Starcraft & Diablo, and Minecraft. Notice the staggering difference there? 4 of those games are cornerstones of gaming, through multiple iterations and sequels, with multimillion-dollar ad campaigns and enough developers to occupy a small country. Blizzard Games series have roots back to the foundations of PC games. The other is a game that came out of one guy’s basement.

If Minecraft isn’t enough proof, and honestly I could write a thesis on Minecraft and its culture, it was just the first shot fired in the AAA vs. Indie Dev war. With its success we’ve seen a plethora of new, compelling experiences come out of small development outfits. Team Meat has given us the superb Super Meat Boy, which brought back the days of 2D “Nintendo Hard” platformers. A Game so brutally difficult it has an entire world called “Hell”, and it is appropriately named. If you don’t break a controller, or rage quit at least once playing this game, you may want to seek counseling because you are seriously repressing something.

Maybe platforming isn’t your deal. Maybe you want a strategy game unlike any other on the market? You should check out Frozen Synapse. An indie strategy game that just passed the 300k sold mark all about creating an assault plan in randomly generated office like terrain. It’s CS:Source for J-RPG fans. The level of depth in combat and different strategies you can use to complete a mission are vast and varied and there is truly no other experience like it.

Even if you just want to check out a new RPG, because you have somehow finished Skyrim already, Bastion is calling to you. A hit on both Xbox Live & the PC, it’s an anime themed top down Action-RPG, where your goal is to rebuild The Bastion Stronghold, having your journey narrated along the way. Now it’s getting ready to hit Chrome as a game you can play in your web browser. Showing you can have full-fledged, compelling experiences in games just about anywhere.

What’s even better about these indie experiences is that often times you can turn to the Humble Indie Bundle to experience several of them at a low cost. The developers of these games are offering them at a “pay what you want” model and giving part of the proceeds to charity. Not only can you have amazing gaming experiences, you can have them for as little as a few dollars. The Humble Bundles have raised a combined 4.1 million dollars for developers and charities like Child’s Play.

There are so many other amazing Indie games available right now it would take days to list them all, and even longer to play through them. This is just the tip of the indie iceberg. The point is, while some say PC gaming is dying, I would argue we’re about to see a new golden age of PC games. We’ll still always have big name titles, but we’re also going to be treated to experiences no other platform is privy to, just like we always have.

UPDATE (again!):

Courtesy of @ReallyCoolStu@TheGingerBomb, and @nickkbmod on twitter, we have the opportunity to give away THREE humble bundles.  In the comments below, let us know what your favorite indie title is – make sure to include your twitter handle and follow@kbmodgaming in order to receive the link via direct message.

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bpost

BobBob

One of the founding fathers of KBMOD, and an unfortunate casualty of real life responsibilities. An IT professional by trade, and an elitist by choice.


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  • Pepper

    My favourite is by far Limbo. Great game.
    @Pepper853

  • My favorite indie game that I can think of right now would have to be Bastion. That game was just really enchanting and it was definitely one of those games that felt like a labor of love from the developers at Supergiant Games. I loved when one of the people from Supergiant was accepting an award at the IGAs and he said that they made Bastion to give something back to something that had given so much to them because that really feels like what that game was meant to be. It was unique, it was interesting, and it was just downright fun. I’m really happy that it’s been getting so many awards lately – it deserves every one of them.

    • Oh, and my Twitter is @SkyJW

  • rogorman9

    My favorite indie game is without a doubt Minecraft. The thing about it that gets me is that, no matter how much I play it, I don’t get bored. Ever. There’s way to much that you can do with it (especially when you get into mods and custom maps) for it to ever stop being fun. Sandbox games are great like that; there’s no end.
    @rogorman9

  • Super Meat Boy, I love sidescrollers, also hard games.
    @_Viinyl

  • DuderMcBrohan

    Binding of isaac has to be my favorite indie this year. It was cheap and was a pretty good spin on a roguelike. My biggest issue with roguelikes is the perspective. I love that fact that isaac has a zelda 1 perspective.

  • I’d have to say Terraria, it’s so constantly updated. When I first saw it I thought it was a rip off of Minecraft but boy was I wrong.

    @Murlocjonny

  • Johnboy9950

    It has to be minecraft, possibly the only indie game that beats out blockbusters,

    • Johnboy9950

      @Redimp96

  • SlantyLAD

    Terraria, luckily I store the files on my SSD as it decreases my ping.
    KB+MOD @ImEthan__

  • nojesseknows

    Minecraft was good but Bastion’s narrator and soundtrack blew me away.

  • TPolly

    You know at first I was going to say Bastion, bought it in the Steam Sales for under £5 – great game, epic storyline and THAT narrative voice!

    However I’ve just spent the past 5 hours playing Terraria, also bought for under a fiver, with some mates and can honestly say I’d play 5 more straight hours; even if I’ve got work for tommorow. It just takes the cake and imo beats out Minecraft with more mobs, bosses and a much better multiplayer experience, Truly massive.

    @TPolly

  • It would have to be minecraft. Just the amount of freedom that the player has and if you ever get bored you can just download a challenge map or mod and its like a new game.
    @davidleacy

  • Dark Zero

    My favourite would have to be Terraria. I love that game to death, especially after the 1.1 patch. I’m studying how to undertake a serious re-building of my underground manion/hotel/house/thingy in the near future. It’s great with friends and a teamspeak as well.

    • Dark Zero

      Gah. I forgot my twitter. @D2ultima it be.

  • The Binding Of Isaac is by far my favorite Indie game seeing how I’ve logged 50+ hours on it. @HyTechJarsh

  • chad1312

    Limbo, it is so simple but amazing.
    @chad1312

  • wh6p

    Frozen Synapse, it’s one of my favourite games ever, it deserves so much more exposure than it gets.
    @wh6p

  • iGotUrNose

    favorite would have to be minecraft, mainly because I could care less about the game, its fun sure, but it represents a triumph of capitalism unlike really anything else in gaming now.

    @iGotUrNoseHD

  • OGAgent

    I would say probably Bastion, I’ve never truly delved into PC games since being a serious gamer, but I played Bastion at a friends and absolutely loved it. It was a great play.

    @OGAgent

  • Definitely Minecraft. I’m pretty low on money (gaming on a laptop, 640×480 FTW) so that’s all I can really afford. I’ve played it so much and I’ve had a ton of fun with it. @Syr3x

  • ASoggySandal

    Does it really need saying? Minecraft of course!!
    Though Bastian and Terraria are pretty damn boss. I do wish I had more exposure to indie games actually. Really like the idea of the Humble bundles, get great games and the money goes exactly where you want it to!
    Oh and @ASoggySandal

  • PaddeeBear

    Gotta say Bastion, really amazing game. The music was fantastic and the story was beautiful.
    @PaddeeBear

  • Merri

    I really liked machinarium, the puzzles were super hard and the music was exhilarating throughout the game. The art style was the best bit though, I really like steampunk style games.
    @MerriUK

  • LyricalStylist

    Bastion…simply because. Epic amounts of awesome sauce all up in there brah.
    @LyricalStylist

  • Nicklolz

    Super meat boy looks so rage inducing…challengeaccepted.jpg twitter is @nicklolrofl69

  • Semiregular

    super meat boy…just look at him…
    Pure Awesomeness !
    Twitter: Cavazzno

  • 1InchofPleasure

    My personal favourite is minecraft I think. The constant updates and fixing of errors for a low price. Notch is too much of a boss to deny him of my favourite indie title @1InchofPleasure

  • Without a doubt. It’s (intro voice.) Super Meatboy. That can be be soo frustrating, but I never regretted playing it for a second; It was just soo damn fun & challenging. I loved the challenging aspect of game, it took a completely different route to the majority of games now, where the developer figuratively holds you hand through the game, never really running into a particularly hard to complete scene. Anyone who has gotten to the “He’ll” chapter in Super Meatboy knows what it’s like to truly rage at a game. Twitter – Sen0nes

  • tigerman151

    My favorite indie of all time has to be Terraria. I’ll admit that I was someone who, when I saw the game, said it was a Minecraft rip off. After playing it for just an hour I took that back and said it was a much harder game than Minecraft, in fact it should not even be compared to Minecraft. Terraria is a very fun adventure game, and after the recent update, it is one of the best Indie games out there. I would recommend people to try the game, in fact I got four of my friends into the game!

    What makes Terraria so good in my opinion is the reward for venturing out and around. After a long hard journey downward or to the east/west you feel like you accomplished something, because of the items you come back with. I don’t know what else to say other than that I love Terraria because of the adventure aspect to the game.

    Twitter – Darktiger151

  • All gift code links have been DM’ed to the winners, selected via random.org:
    @Darktiger151 @TPolly @chad1312 @Syr3x and @MerriUK

    A special thanks to @nickkbmod @ReallyCoolStu and @TheGingerbomb for being kind enough to gift the codes to our community!

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