Research

Published on October 26th, 2012 | by Nidde

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What is the Indie 500 project?

Meat Boy

While sitting there, playing some games and consuming some videos I was struck by how impressive the indie scene has become. At a glance it’s viewed as a stage where passion and ideas are shown with less focus on presentation, where the message or experience takes the upper hand over technical prowess. But it’s grown far beyond that. It’s now a place where solutions to restrictions often lead to genius design and game mechanics that rival the biggest budgets. So that’s when a thought hit me: “Would it be possible to replace the AAA-catalog with only indie games?”

Today there are big indie games for all genres of games. There’s Natural Selection 2 for Team Fortress 2, League of Legends for Warcraft III, Limbo for Super Mario Bros., Xenonauts for X-COM: Enemy Unknown. They also have a whole new range of platforms to display themselves on. It used to be that such games were limited to the PC and web browsers, but the boom started with Microsoft opening XBLA, XBOX Live Arcade – which today has its own section for indie games – which was supposed to be for smaller games that didn’t really require a disc. It continued with Apple and the iPhone, where the App Store got over-saturated with small, single-serving games, along with some standouts as well. On the PC-market the indie scene found new traction with services such as Steam sharing the spotlight more and more with the indie titles, a spotlight that used to be reserved for corporate games with big budget. But Valve learned that great games and great deals, big entertainment for small dollars, was worth more than pushing out the latest, mediocre AAA-title.

“Would it be possible to replace the AAA-catalog with only indie games?”

And while all this has led to a great deal of small, crappy titles being pushed out it seems to be a golden age for quality, indie entertainment. So the question stated evolved into more of a hypothesis: “One can most likely survive on indie titles alone for a sustained amount of time without feeling the need to play other, non-indie games”. To test the theory a timeline was drawn up for one year, but during the planning phase of the project it was concluded that the experiment would run for 500 days; just for the pun. At first it was proposed as a sub-section for a bigger gaming site, assuring an audience and readers/viewership, but mid-discussion the obvious solution was reached: This project should, naturally, be run as an indie site, in honor of the scene it’s observing.

So here we are, January 1st, 2013, will be the starting-point for the Indie 500 project and will last for 500 days, until May 16th, 2014. Before that there’s at least one big Steam sale planned, which should add a game or two to the library. There’s also some preliminary work that needs to be done and research to be made. Like, for instance,  what exactly is an indie game?

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About the Author

For 500 days, from January 1st, 2013, until May 16th, 2014, Nidde will set aside all AAA-titles and only play indie games to find out if the indie scene can replace the big budget landscape.



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