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Author Topic: What's wrong with indie games NOW?  (Read 1379 times)

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James Edward Smith

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What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« on: April 24, 2010, 08:24:18 AM »

I'm getting a little tired of the indie game scene spitting out game after game that are just Super Mario Brothers, Zelda or a Rogue-like with exactly one gimmick added and I mean GIMMICK, not idea, GIMMICK.

I'm especially tired of this Gimmick ALWAYS BEING THE SAME ONE: Making clones of yourself.

Seriously, I looked at the indiegamesblog today and two of the games on the front page are offenders of this and they are posted one right after an other. It's hilarious. Yeah, Braid had this mechanic, and it also had a lot of other ones.

Didn't the guys who made that Raptor Safari game already make a self cloning game about donkeys? Isn' there that totally unfun looking game with cool graphics cloning game P.B. Winterbottom or whatever coming out on the Wii soon?

Heh, Clone game clones, I just realized the irony.

Please stop making puzzle platforming games! Stop making yet an other Roguelike.

Desktop dungeons is cool. Why? Because he didn't make a totally generic Roguelike and then add one gimmick to it. Instead he came up with the IDEA that it would be cool to have a roguelike that was more like a puzzle game where you just had one level to clear out and every single step you made was important to winning and you had to take in the big picture all the time.

See that, that is called an IDEA not a gimmick.You can tell it's an idea because it makes his whole game totally unique to any other roguelike almost to the point that you can't call it a roguelike anymore.

Like, I don't want to toot my own horn, and Pike & Shot is a ways from being anything worth talking about, but if I get it done I think it'll be a cool game. Did I try to come up with a totally cool way to turn an existing genre on its head like make a game like super mario except when you jump on a goomba's head the goomba eats you!? No, because I am not some fag making stupid gimmicky games that are a waste of everyone's time.

I said hey, it would be cool to have a game where you controlled a little formation of guys but instead of being a big serious strategy game, it played like a cute little shooter and your guys moved around and engaged things in a very automatic, low input necessary manner that made the situation controllable. This is not super clever, it's not something that's gonna make anyone go "Wow, Geo is so smart he totally turned video games on their head with this one." But it is an IDEA that is original and I hope fun and fresh rather than gimmicky and forgetable.
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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2010, 09:28:52 AM »

Instead of making your game fun, why don't you try cramming some symbolism in it? When I play I game, I hate when the developer makes his game fun instead of attempting to be deep.
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Mothra

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2010, 09:34:50 AM »

See also: Every Doug TenNapel project since Earthworm Jim
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James Edward Smith

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2010, 10:04:30 AM »

Instead of making your game fun, why don't you try cramming some symbolism in it? When I play I game, I hate when the developer makes his game fun instead of attempting to be deep.

Well now hold on, I don't really like it when people harsh on "art games" for not being fun. It's not fair.

For one thing, art games are not trying to be "games" as I think we normally think of them. All art games are trying to be are these little interactive simulations where certain aspects interact with eachother according to a certain developer designed system of rules that that is visually and audially presented to you on your PC.

They want to express something to you through allowing you to experience that system and "play" with it. I guess they are still trying to entertain, but they are more just trying to express a message, an emotion, or whatever and I think that is perfectly valid.

Are there a lot of crappy art games? Yes. But I think it takes a very small person of very small vision to say that all games have to be the equivalent of thrilling blockbusters to be worth making and that people trying to make games that aren't "fun" are fags.

Will I ever make an art game? Probably not, my games will probably always be the equivalent of actiony, genre flicks. I think my best hope is to be sort of a Tarantino-esque developer to continue with the cinema analogy.
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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2010, 10:21:46 AM »

Okay, there can be good art games, but a lot of them don't even try. Some are like "MOVE RIGHT JUMP ON PLATFORMS" and then vomit whatever the fuck kind of message the author intended to give. Those kinds of games could have been a blog entry instead of a game that I got tricked into downloading. The only artsy game I can recall liking was I Can Hold My Breath Forever. The only reason being that it's the only one I can remember aside from All Of Our Friends Are Dead.

I was just trying to make a snarky comment to add to your unoriginal indie games rant.
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James Edward Smith

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2010, 10:25:56 AM »

Hey, that rant was born from seeing way too many damn make clones of yourself inorder to reach the macguffin games.

Call it unoriginal if you want, but I've never heard anyone complain about it before and I honestly found the need to do so.

Point taken that there are a lot of shitty "art games" though.
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Catloaf

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2010, 10:40:41 AM »

As a hopefully one day maker of a head-up-his-own-ass art game, I think that while an art game doesn't have to be fun, it does have to do something to either keep the player interested and playing or instill an emotion in them so strong that the emotion is the reason they quit.  Like rage/frustration leading to people quitting IWBTG*.

Also, art games don't have to be indie games.  ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are definitely more artsy type games and they're from a big 'ol studio, and they're fun too.

And there's good reason for the constant rehashing of the same old shit:  Because it's what the professionals do.  Sure, it's not the good ones, but most developers just keep making the same game with a new story/gimmick.  Just look at FPSs, and third-person cover-based shooters.  Besides a slightly different array of weapons, what is the difference between them in terms of gameplay?

Sure, we could go back to the days of the unspoken rule of the old arcades, where no one could make a similar game to any existing ones.  But in the end, that just stifles creativity.

We need to be more creative.  We can borrow elements from other games, but game makers need to learn that one gimmick is not enough.  At the very least, you need three.  One to tack on arbitrarily, another to further distance yourself from the plagiarized material, and a third to make it seem like you actually tried.  This, however is the bare minimum of effort one should be willing to make.



*Despite possible lack of intention, I hereby declare it an art game because I've read way too far into it and pulled out that (probably) wasn't there in the first place; an act that can only be done to works of art.
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Kayin

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2010, 10:47:01 AM »

I thought that game explored the mechanism pretty well, but I don't play a lot of flash games -- mostly because they tend to disappoint me or piss me off, so I can understand where you're coming from. Rehashing ideas (or gimmicks) is totally fine. It's really how games have developed over the years "Yeah, Doom is cool, but we can do better now". Still, most of these knock offs don't really do anything better or new at all, but I can't conceptually be opposed to their existence. People are so caught up on singular gimmicks these days thanks to stuff like Braid or portal or whatever. Have one clever idea = ART AND SUCCESS AND LOVE WOO.

Only not really. Narbucular Drop isn't a classic. Portal, or Braid, or whatever get their respect by being great, polished games that make their idea shine. Really, gimmicks are just neglected, uncooked ideas that people think are ready. As for art games, I hate them from the same reason you were hating on gimmick games. These aren't ART. They're pale impersonations of art. Not because games can't be art or anything dumb like that, but practically none of these motherfuckers try and they all circle jerk themselves about how clever they are.

A lot of conversations I've had about art and games have lead to IWBTG being 'art'. I find this funny but I also sort of accept the possibility at this point. I think people look at art in regards to games wrong. Patito said something crazy the other day when hanging out with me. "La-Mulana is art, but Braid isn't". Digging deeper into that, Braid WRAPS ITS SELF UP like art. Oh, painted backgrounds, classical music, lots of text. It dolls it's self up as a work of art, but it's artistic value isn't any of that.  La-Mulana is about video games. It is about the medium. It is clever and sophisticated and masterfully executed (Braid does have masterful execution too, but thats not why people look at it as art). If I were to pick out the games I considered the most "HIGH ART" it would probably be Super Metroid and Mario 64. These games are probably the most masterfully designed games ever. They create emotions (SM: Loneliness, fear. M64: Awe and wonderful and 'fun'), have sophistication (the rules of the game and their worlds have a lot to dig into) and are also significant in the context they were created in. Sounds like every piece of high art to me. I mean, if you look at DeVinci or Michaelangelo, what do you see? ILLUSTRATORS. They are famous both through context and through the mastery of their craft. Not by invoking images of racism or teaching life metaphors. So videogames are there already. As games have more 'movements' of sorts, we'll see more and more styles of what can be art.
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James Edward Smith

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2010, 12:04:55 PM »

If I were to pick out the games I considered the most "HIGH ART" it would probably be Super Metroid and Mario 64.

I totally agree with this statement.

I feel that both of them are a little trapped in the cliches and tropes of their predecessors and that hampers them a little bit, but I think it's fair to allow them that. I mean, they were both made by NINTENDO for heaven's sake, so what do you really expect.

But I love these games because they express not an idea, or a message or an emotion, they express an experience.

Now for games to be greater than these games as works of art in the furture, that is what I think they have to expand on. They don't need more text or Kojima-esque cutscenes, or godamn piano music. They need to express an experience, they need to create a situation, a world that a player can explore and explore in ways that they choose to upon being faced with that world. The consequences of what they choose to do, the resulting experience the game's systems return to the player based on their interactions with aspects of the game, there in lies the potential art of games. It is a potential that I think games and games alone can deliver on and it is what will raise the respect the medium commands to that of older mediums when it is finally tapped.
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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2010, 12:07:37 PM »

clones are the new physics

James Edward Smith

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2010, 12:13:14 PM »

BINGO!
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Brentai

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2010, 01:34:39 PM »

It's not like mainstream games never see a mechanic and all jump to copy it too.  It's basically a symptom of something being cool; in the indie case, it's just a lot of different people becoming enamored with a mechanic and trying to put their own spin on it at once; in the mainstream case, it's a race to milk the cash cow.

But yeah unless it seriously becomes so ingrained that it crowds out everything else then it's just a problem of figuring out what's actually worth your time and what's not.  When you can't play a shooter without having to stop to stack boxes, or load up a platformer without the knowledge that the designer is going to try and torture you, then you start to have problems.
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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2010, 08:08:46 PM »

See also: Every Doug TenNapel project since Earthworm Jim

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2010, 08:18:15 PM »

Didn't the guys who made that Raptor Safari game already make a self cloning game about donkeys?

Apropos of nothing, but I can actually hit the Flashbang office with a rock from here.

I have just told everybody my cross-streets.  Let's see how hilariously off Demo is the NEXT time he posts an aerial view of my house.
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Niku

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Re: What's wrong with indie games NOW?
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2010, 08:32:25 PM »



hi, thad
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