Why Are Indie Games Popular? – The Truth

First of all, indie games are my favorite “genre.” I think this is an important cultural phenomenon–and also a fun one–but for argument, let’s scrutinize it. So, Indie games usually have fewer details, less polished graphics, and are often focused on the simpler things, so why are indie games popular? And additionally, I might even ask, are they? I’ve been playing and writing about indie games for a couple of years now and I have seen so many genres and concepts that make the games I used to play seem unnecessarily photorealistic and expensive. Knowing what goes into game development actually helped me realize the simple joys of low-scale projects scattered across Steam and the bizarrely creative ItchIO platforms. I’m going to answer this question, because well, I need to, and it’s an important question.

Reason #1 of Why are Indie Games Popular: They’re Cheaper (Well, they are)

Why Are Indie Games Popular?
Celeste

When I was younger, before Steam and all of that kind of thing, there weren’t even really such things as indie games. You either bought the available Nintendo or Sega games at the store, rented it from Blockbuster or Family Video, or got lucky with a hand-me-down or sometimes demos. These days, you can get 1,000s of games not only cheap but totally free–on every platform! That certainly fuels the desire of many gamers. Because if you are like me, those old days of playing one or two games on repeat, while blissful back then, seem totally dreadful to me now.

The cheapness of indie games does give credit to small developers, but it also gives communities a voice that is getting louder. Trends and fashions come and go, but subcultures and artistic aesthetics take grip in a fiercely creative new generation. These days, owning an indie game, even one that you downloaded, can almost seem symbolic with all kinds of social media outlets to share it–or dare I even say, cool! (That’s right, cool AND affordable.)

But this is all kind of abstract.

Reason #2 of Why Indie Games Are Popular: They’re New

Why Are Indie Games Popular?
Viruaverse

The pandemic took a lot of people into new hobbies and even careers involving new things to spend time at home with. This culturally generated shift has prompted what some content creation historians might consider the last great shift in digital individualism.

You can start a podcast, a blog like this, make a movie, music (without any instruments), or more relevantly, video games. When you play an indie game you’re playing something from a real person or small group of people that you can hop on Twitter with and literally talk to like a next-door neighbor in your DMs. I marvel at such transparency, personally.

Indie games also are prolific in saturating the game market. There are so many new games on a regular basis now that you can be a pixel art warrior in the morning and a digital ski-baller at night, both with a spin on current events and not breaking the bank once again.

Reason #3 of Why Indie Games Are Popular: They’re Unique! Perhaps Even Quirky

Why Are Indie Games Popular?
Donut County

So, yeah, obviously this is the #3 on the list, but number one on the books. Indie games can be totally super-duper weird, and get away with it because there are no board meetings or stocks to trade, it’s all in the mind of the dev. Those of us who are fluent in Reddit speak and general geek-speak know there are some pretty wild subcultures out there, and we’re all for it.

Indie games allow for the type of free speech that free speech is intended for. Not the weird abusive anger you see in the headlines, but the kind where somebody who could never produce a TV show suddenly makes a game about that crazy idea they’ve had for years but couldn’t quite share within the limits of their social network.

Reason #4: They’re just cool, and some additional thoughts

Monster Pub Cheers
Monster Pub

Basically, indie games are just cool. Good art is like that. Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling by himself and it’s regarded as perhaps one of the most beautiful masterpieces in history. As such, I really like playing funny games with weird graphics. Not the same at all, but good things can come from the rogue midnight-oil coders of the ambitions of a day-time waitress or a stay-at-home-dad. I have played many great indie games out there, and here are a few:

  1. Celeste
  2. Cryptid Crush
  3. Stardew Valley
  4. Cosmo’s Quickstop
  5. Hades
  6. Hoa

Thanks for reading

These are just some general thoughts I had after spending many days playing indie games and wondering what they had in store for me. It really is a great way to play games and it helped me escape from the lofty polish of more popular games. Games are fun but try something different when you choose your next game, you might like it. If you’re already doing so, keep on playing those indies!

This article was written for MrDavePizza.com by Dave Pizza. Thanks for reading!

Star Wars Episode I: Racer (A Re-released N64 Classic!)

Look no further, ’tis I Jedi Master Mr. Dave Pizza with an encoded message from the Tatooine system where there is sand everywhere. I’ve been wanting to do a piece on Star Wars for ages now. When the Skywalker Saga concluded last year, I felt like a muted voice in an ocean of opinions. This blog didn’t even exist then, but everybody was all “”MEH” STARMWARMS, WAT!” The tide is falling back though, and I want to take a moment to talk to you about Star Wars Episode I: Pod Racer and how Star Wars has affected me over the years. Sometimes a really simple game is a really simple solution for something we can’t quite put our finger on.

Okay, 1st This Game

I’ve been doing all this waffling around with what my first Star Wars review would be like. I was bedazzled when I saw some of the gameplay for Star Wars Rogue: Squadrons. So… I downloaded it? My Gaming Machine is starting to deprecate with outdated equipment I am afraid. It still is a beast, but I never got the game to run so I returned it to Steam. It does look fun though and it is compatible with most VR Sets, a light on the horizon sort of equipment luxury for me. I wasn’t too discouraged though.

Okay, here’s the main juice. I had eyed this Star Wars pod racer game I’m reviewing on the Nintendo eShop a while ago. It came out in June of 2020, and I just thought it to be a moneygrab port. I need to start realizing that not every game is a moneygrab, but sorry, I’ve been burned.

Anyway, I just decided to look it up, and wow, people LOVE this, somewhat chintzy, sort of obscure, low res texture, port from Nintendo 64. And then I started to realize I had played when I was a kid when it was originally on N64. A download and a trial run later, I realized not only did I play this game but I LOVED it. What the heck happened to those memories, and why are they back? I don’t know. Even more, I think Phantom Menace was my very first Star Wars experience before it became Mr. Dave Pizza lore. I had a best friend from school who had some pretty sweet toys and stuff from his parents as we were kids. He knew everything about Star Wars and had many toys confirming this. Further were his books and a graphic encyclopedia of Star Wars that exposed me to the sheer macrocosmic universe these stories belonged in. I still don’t really understand who writes down and illustrates every detail in the quantum universe about BB-8 (I love BB-8) or some obscure space junk barge in Star Wars, but you can get really really deep.

Gameplay

I was thinking for a second of explaining the plot of Star Wars for anybody who didn’t know it. And then I thought about that again, and again, and here we are. Okay, so there’s this one movie that everybody on the planet has seen… I kid. But if you want an insta-spoiler which will pretty much never matter: Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. That basically sums it up. Now lets race some pods.

The best way to approach this game is the same way you would approach any racer game. You’ve got a button that accelerates, one that brakes, maybe a drifter, and some thumb-sticks. If you’ve ever played Mario Kart, you’re prepared. It’s not psycho high graphics like CyberDunk 2050 is but it’s not downright ugly either. Its design has more to do with the technology around during its release in 1999. Besides, if you really want to see some eyepopping graphics just watch the movie! You are usually racing so fast that the textures just look like they’re blurring with speed. It doesn’t need to look like the best graphics ever to speed 1,000 miles per hour through it.

Some of it is quite good though too as you see above, however, these are higher quality cutscenes in the game.

For Sake of Comparison: Pod Racing VS Mario Kart

I’ve tried so many racing games out there and they are often so difficult to steer into their operation that they’re practically unplayable. I really don’t appreciate starting a game where I have to drive or fly and immediately crashing and burning in the first obstacle in the game. That’s so stupid, why not just stop trying to impose realism on the game and make it actually playable. I keep saying this but it’s true, players like fun games but they also like EASY games. A little challenge is good, but you’re not training a race of cyborgs, just make left go left and right go right. I don’t have to wonder if I’m living up to the games expectations of me, I just played it. Oh, did I mention? This game is pretty much totally non-violent, so I wouldn’t feel hesitant about anybody trying it out.

If that rant was a bit too much, I only said it so that I could come to say that racing in this game is actually a delight. You can crash, but it’s no big deal. Actually there’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to in this game. You can run the tournaments on different planets and upgrade your vehicle, or you can just race any of your unlocked maps and blast through a mountainous canyon in a relaxing yet efficient way. It’s also got multiplayer. Maybe even immerse yourself for some Phantom Menace nostalgia.

Final Thoughts

Well, I don’t want this to be my last Star Wars review I realized. Daniel Radcliffe recently made a comment about how being obsessed with a group of books or movies is actually a pretty good thing obsessed about. There is SO much Star Wars stuff. I could spend some times on Knights of the Old Republic or The Old Republic or The Force Awakened, these games might not fit in here, but they are quite good. The one I really am looking forward to is the LEGO Skywalker Saga. That may possibly be one of the best LEGO games out there, and I trust those games to uphold a family friendly vibe.

A group of people in recent times have identified themselves as Jedi’s. It’s silly, but I kind of like this. There is rich culture and mentality in Star Wars. There are books, movies, tv shows, games, art, clothes, toys, a thriving collectors scene, blue milk. Ew, blue milk? A rich culture though really. I have often observed that the description of “the force” is a metaphor for something deep too. I also want a lightsaber. So who knows. There is no shame in being nostalgic about Star Wars. It’s got a little something for everybody.

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza, please have a look around!