How I Went From Dismissing Indie Games to Loving Them

The story of goofy graphics, clunky controls, and a newfound love for passion projects

How I Went From Dismissing Indie Games to Loving Them
Fall Guys. Source: Press Kit.

When I got my PS3 Slim in middle school, my only goal was to have the coolest games I could have for it. I wanted the best-looking ones that lined up with my naturally, as a boy in middle school, I gravitated towards Call of Duty, the Batman Arkhamverse games, Mortal Kombat, and Skate 2, among others.

At the time, these graphics were mind-blowing and I felt like a game wasn't worth playing if it didn't look as good as those. When scrolling through PlayStation Store, I would come across indie games, which, of course, were lower priced and sometimes had cover art that was eyebrow-raising or dull in my eyes. Because I had not seen these games at GameStop or Target, I dismissed them as "boring" or labeled them with the dreaded "nobody plays these".

How foolish I was.

Gang Beasts. Source: Press Kit.

Fast forward to me playing on PS4, and now Ps5, and this mindset has completely changed. Some of my most fun memories have been from indie games and with Game Catalog now being a thing, I can check out even more of them.

One of the first indie games I played was Gang Beasts on PS4. It's one of those games that's 100x more fun with friends, so that's exactly how I played it 95% of the time. The game's graphics would have made 14-year-old me turn my nose up in disapproval, but current me thinks it works great for the game's objective: Throw your opponent off the map. It's something so simple yet difficult due to the game's easy but hilariously wonky controls and input delay. Plus, the customisation lines up perfectly with the game's tone.

Other multiplayer indie games I greatly enjoy are Fall Guys and Knockout City. The bright and fun color palette of these games paired with the simple and super fun gameplay, and the consistent updates make it an excellent showcase of the right way to do a free-to-play game. Like Gang Beasts, both of them are much more fun with friends but I regularly play them on my own with the randoms of the world too. Going through the battle passes, unlocking cosmetics, and seeing new maps/elements regularly make for a fun experience every time and a certain satisfaction that I don't always get from bigger games.

Knockout City. Source: Press Kit.

In terms of single-player-based titles, I liked Concrete Genie and just finished The Artful Escape which was visually amazing. Again, I'll take a unique and visually stimulating visual experience over the most realistic graphics easily now.

Because of the small size of the studios, they can truly employ all of their resources and time into making the best possible experience. They know people who play it are truly interested in it for their own personal enjoyment and not just to make "content". With an indie game, you typically find out it even exists through a list of some sort or a platform that regularly covers them. Unless they happen to blow up because of their concept or accessibility (like Stray), their popularity remains confined to the communities dedicated to them. And this is a wonderful thing.

With this, the devs can communicate directly with their communities, often implementing requested changes into the game weeks after they receive them instead of ignoring them for months. Their games often cost less than half the price of a AAA title and you know the money is going to people who deserve it.

Middle school me completely dismissed indie games while current me has an ever-expanding list of indie games I want to try out. Like (most of) our music tastes, it evolves the older we get. With music and games being two of my favorite things in the world, it's only right my mindset about both evolved.

Stray. Source: PC Gamer.

As an adult and gamer, I have gained the utmost respect for indie games. Having like-minded individuals come together to create something they love despite whatever the world is focused on is a business mindset that can be attributed to...well everything. If you love something, do it - chances are there are other people who will love it too.


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