Like the countless musicians shunning major labels to maintain creative freedom, a new class of video game designers is shirking the mass market in favor of individual experimentation. With this rise in the production of independent video games
, showcases for indie games are emerging across the gaming landscape. We’ve identified some of the top players in this swelling segment of Geekdom.
Though not all Gen Ys are old enough to remember a time when a fistful of quarters was enough to subsidize a killer Saturday afternoon, many are still waxing nostalgic for old school arcades. For them, newfangled indie arcades are a compelling attraction, not to mention a viable venue for DIY coders to show off their works. Functioning almost as a gallery, NYC’s roving indie arcade Babycastles
offers space for enthusiasts and passersby alike to play home-coded games in a communal environment while also enjoying art displays and live music performances. Produced in partnership with biweekly all-ages show publication Showpaper (and partially funded by IGN
is currently situated in midtown Manhattan through year-end.
Indie Gaming Festivals:
Riffing off of the explosive cultural influence of Comic-Con
, a number of indie gaming festivals are serving as aspiring launch platforms for independent games. One of the most notable is LA’s IndieCade
, which features not only traditional shooter and walk around games, but also concepts like activist games with a political agenda
. This year, one of the festival’s standouts was Continuity
, a basic platform game married with a slide puzzle—the next Tetris
, perhaps? Toronto is also home to an indie gaming festival, Gamercamp
. Held this past weekend, the roster included a host of impressive presentations, a retro gaming lounge and...uh, cupcakes. Yes, cupcakes.
Up-and-Coming Indie Games:
Navigating the indie gaming world can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have access to the types of arcades and festivals mentioned above. We’re here to help. If you’re into the more accessible types of games, you may want to check out B.U.T.T.O.N.
(Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now). Coming soon for PC and Xbox 360, the four-player title requires competitors to do all they can to keep their opponents away from their respective controller buttons. Who needs Wii Fit
when you’re pulling your roommate across the living room floor? Then there’s Minecraft
, where you not only create a city block by block, but must protect it from destructive skeletons. Sounds like an apt alternative to ZombieFit
for couch potatoes.