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Okay, we're all tired of the arthouse indie game, right?

Seems like an appropriate discussion for this time of year, as credibility hounds in media tell us about all the games they truly loved ("But more, like, appreciated?") this year that we, the plebs, have never heard of. I hate to paint with a broad brush, but you all know what I'm talking about.

Which brings me to the overall point: how many more indie, arthouse games about grief, loss, mental illness, and social isolation do we really need? I understand that indie devs are limited in budget and so have to make games that can try to achieve greatness some other way, but we need more Hades(es), and fewer side-scrolling, painterly, tender games featuring an art style and essentially no gameplay.

I used to be very charmed by these games, and now I find myself dismissing them out of hand, for the same reason movies have begun to bore me - how much more can they actually do that hasn't been done to death?
 

BPX

Gold Member
 

nani17

Member
What else is there when big triple A titles are launching an absolute buggy mess or getting delayed. Only a small few titles are good and not everyone might be interested in the ones that work. If it's not that we get early access titles which last multiple years with small updates here and there.

Also any game that does well gets ultimately milked to death. Not ever company has millions of dollars to make games simple as
 

Fare thee well

Neophyte
I guess if they fulfill a demand people have and they actually make the developers a profit, it doesn't harm me. I personally can't watch depressing things, the news, and extreme violence anymore. I need to live locally, in peace, and in my own world now. I do my part to help people with these things in my life so I get it. Maybe the messages are not intended for people who already empathize.

To be fair, I feel the same way about most Triple A titles too. But I get you. The way life works is depressing enough sometimes. We don't need to drown ourselves in constant reminders.
 

Hinedorf

Banned
I think they're fantastic and also make for a great alternative from the cookie cutter triple a games. I always try out a few that look interesting, just going to list a few I enjoyed and would recommend


Raji
Sable
Moonglow Bay
Eastward
Ender Lilies
-My personal favorite would be Raji, the art style is just utterly amazing and I really feel like they have everything that would make other than the story/dialogue which is a little too repetitive on accent-heavy lines for my taste but IMO could see an amazing game with same gameplay/art style depicting stories of the Hindu gods
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Lots of indie games seem interesting.

Too bad almost all of them look like shit. Too cartoony, cheap looking or that bubbly retro look like it's a NES game in modern day high resolution and colour palette.

I googled random indie images and found this game as an example. Whatever it is, probably half the indie games you see will kind of look like this junk. If more games looked like Darkest Dungeon or Disco Elysium, Hades or Bastion, that's the kind of production values which are great.

 

DZ_b_EZ

Member
Unless an indie game REALLY peaks my interest (Deaths Door, SkateBird, Little Devil Inside), I pretty much dismiss most of them. I wish they had bigger budgets and better tools to add more to their projects but what can you do? I can only hope the Triple-A publishers will learn gradually from their recent mistakes and just get back to making really good games with no bullshit schemes.
 
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Shai-Tan

Banned
If you don't like a game dont play it. Most of the good indie games people talk about do also have good gameplay. There are few games that could be carried solely on narrative. I think it says more about you and your hangups than the games that are out there. I could make a similar topic crying about all the open world blah blah AAA games but clearly there is a huge variety of games looking at what sells on Steam and elsewhere
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
No, I like indie games and there is still original stuff coming out, but every time one of them manages to cross over into the mainstream 100 more have to rip it off. Like Journey is great. The 1000 journey knock offs that followed? Not do much. Same for Undertale, Gone Home, Limbo, etc.
 

bender

Candy Corn Aficionado
No, I like indie games and there is still original stuff coming out, but every time one of them manages to cross over into the mainstream 100 more have to rip it off. Like Journey is great. The 1000 journey knock offs that followed? Not do much. Same for Undertale, Gone Home, Limbo, etc.

Dear Esther says "hello".

...and "Kidney Stones really hurt".
 
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SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Journey was not an indie game lol.
There are three meanings of that word. One, is about independent financing, which obviously journey is not. The second is just a game that has a small budget and a small team, which Journey certainly did. The third, is indie as style and affect, which also very much applies to Journey too, and is the meaning probably most relevant to this conversation which includes the caveat "arthouse."
 

Bragr

Member
Absolutely, playing some of these indie games where hobby writers try to tackle mental problems or existentialism is painfully absurd. Like a hippo trying to paint. Half of today's indie games lack any sort of self-awareness.

You are more likely to end up with a mental illness trying to play narrative-heavy indie games than learning anything.
 

coffinbirth

Member
There are three meanings of that word. One, is about independent financing, which obviously journey is not. The second is just a game that has a small budget and a small team, which Journey certainly did. The third, is indie as style and affect, which also very much applies to Journey too, and is the meaning probably most relevant to this conversation which includes the caveat "arthouse."
Uh, no?
 

TLZ

Member
Arthouse farthouse.

Some are good. Some are meh. Some are bad. The ones with no fun gameplay I don't play.
 
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kyliethicc

Member
There are three meanings of that word. One, is about independent financing, which obviously journey is not. The second is just a game that has a small budget and a small team, which Journey certainly did. The third, is indie as style and affect, which also very much applies to Journey too, and is the meaning probably most relevant to this conversation which includes the caveat "arthouse."
Journey had a budget of over 5 million in 2010-2012 and was full financed by Sony. Not really a small budget compared to most real indies And over 100 people worked on it.

Austin Wintory, the composer of Journey, says he judges people's understanding of the games industry on whether they think Journey is an indie game or not. (Spoiler - its not.)
 

mortal

Member
Much like AAA, smaller indie spaces are not immune from being oversaturated with lesser derivatives and imitations.
If anything it's arguably more common than in the AAA sector because the barrier of entry is considerably lower.

I just accept it as part of any form entrainment. If you want those gems, you have to be willing to do some digging.
 
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I am playing artful escape because people raved about it. It is basically run right hold x. The game isn’t good, and I don’t know why people loved it.
If someone said "it's a good game" there's a lot of expectation on gameplay that the Artful Escape would not hold up to. What IS good about it is mostly everything else. Whether or not 'everything else' is interesting is subjective and whether or not being interesting is good enough to make a good game, the popular answer is probably "no, it is not enough."

Some people play games for specific feelings of accomplishment and adventure but some games focus more about other feelings and while I might enjoy some of those arthouse indies, I wouldn't recommend any to anyone because they rely on personal experiences.
 

Buggy Loop

Member
Most fun I’ve had in general in the past few years came from indie games. Inscryption as of recently which is blowing my mind and is easily a GOTY contender?

The real question is how much more samey truHhhPpLe aaAYyyYyy games where publishers treat you like a brain dead worm and feeds the GPS solutions to you and paints the fucking climbable walls in yellow/white to be sure that even during your coma you can assuredly finish it?
 
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Punished Miku

Gold Member
I'm actually warming up to them more and more. I think smaller games like these thrive in the Gamepass model, because they can be fun for short periods, are often short games, and are often games I wouldn't buy. Recently played The Artful Escape to completion and it was pretty fantastic in terms of visual art. I recommend everyone play it if they can.

Not exactly indie, but I played the Radiohead art piece all the way through a couple days ago. Has some of the most interesting art I've ever seen in a game. It's basically a large interactive museum. Highly recommended if you are open minded about a non-gaming experience showcasing interesting visuals.

I'm not short on the type of games I like at all, so it's fine for me to throw in some of these games off Gamepass basically for free. Otherwise I would probably just be skipping 99% of them. As the sub model grows I think you'll see more of these types of games, not less. Netflix getting into gaming will probably have more stuff like this. A lot of them are basically just 6 hour movies.
 
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SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Journey had a budget of over 5 million in 2010-2012 and was full financed by Sony. Not really a small budget compared to most real indies And over 100 people worked on it.

Austin Wintory, the composer of Journey, says he judges people's understanding of the games industry on whether they think Journey is an indie game or not. (Spoiler - its not.)
It's still the game that spawned a million try hard indie clones, though, because its minimalist style and brief length are things indie games can easily imitate.

And the Journey team was like 12 people. If we count every QA tester, marketing person, tool developer, and orchestra member in the credits that might look like a lot of people but that feels like missing the point.
 
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kyliethicc

Member
And the Journey team was like 12 people. If we count every QA tester, marketing person, tool developer, and orchestra member in the credits that might look like a lot of people but that feels like missing the point.
No its quite relevant because most real indies can't afford to hire big orchestras. They don't have the entire Sony PD support network helping them make the game. And they might have 1 or 2 people at most doing QA / marketing, not like 20.

As one of the devs who made Journey said - "it was not a small game." It took over 3 years and the budget more than doubled during development. Some of the same Sony people who worked on the audio & music for God of War 3, and The Order 1886, also worked on Journey.

That's not an indie game lol. Of course the game's style or aesthetic is similar to many actual indie games, but its not actually one itself.
 
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mcjmetroid

Member
Well it's like this. Games like Hallow knight and Hades are better than most full price releases, they offer as much value and are as replayable. Those are the high end of the indie scale.

Outer wilds is one of the more original games out there now as well.

It's just about having the balls to try something different. Most people don't want to try different things and it's why you have reboots/remakes/sequels to everything these days.
 

TheInfamousKira

Reseterror Resettler
11/10 - IGN Review for Indie Hit you missed this year, Tunneler: Schizophrenia

In this age of pandemic driven, violent, politically unjust corporate America (let's be honest, bad stuff only happens in the US, except for the unpaid migrant workers of Whereverstan forced to put their two year olds in an assembly line to make PS5s and even then none of our readers can find one, l-o-l) it's easy to forget our humanity. In a world of excitement over Horizon, God of War, Senua, etc, and the memetic legacy of Craig, it's easy for some cesspools of free thinkers to just get on with their gaming lives like regular people. But we at IGN (a company that employs a record low of white men) have finally found a title that we enjoy, far and away our GotY (unless Druckman stealth drops a director's cut to The Last of Us, Part II) TUNNELER: SCHIZOPHRENIA, a charming (and family friendly) story about a transgendered, black, lesbian quadruple amputee earth worm with schizophrenia. This game really let's the player experience the struggles of mental illness and the perceptions the ignorant cracker public has about it, lessons all wrapped up in colorful, eye popping hand drawn story sequences and gameplay involving the life of the worm: digging holes, shitting, not drowning during rain, and the search for equality, all while remembering to take your meds.

Yeah, fuck these kinds of games.
 

Claus Grimhildyr

Vincit qui se vincit
Seems like an appropriate discussion for this time of year, as credibility hounds in media tell us about all the games they truly loved ("But more, like, appreciated?") this year that we, the plebs, have never heard of. I hate to paint with a broad brush, but you all know what I'm talking about.

Which brings me to the overall point: how many more indie, arthouse games about grief, loss, mental illness, and social isolation do we really need? I understand that indie devs are limited in budget and so have to make games that can try to achieve greatness some other way, but we need more Hades(es), and fewer side-scrolling, painterly, tender games featuring an art style and essentially no gameplay.

I used to be very charmed by these games, and now I find myself dismissing them out of hand, for the same reason movies have begun to bore me - how much more can they actually do that hasn't been done to death?

I am glad there are games like these. Let them continue to come out, even if they don't interest me.

The issue is when you have cultists come out of the woodwork saying they are amazing, transcendent, and the "best thing ever in gaming" but can never actively explain why. Y'know, like those retards that come out every month or so to make another 2-3 threads on a game nobody gives a shit about anymore.
 

MrFunSocks

Banned
Have you seen the developers of these games?
Have you seen most of the player base for video games too? Haha it’s no wonder there are so many of these type of games, it’s “representation”.

On the topic, it doesn’t bother me how many games I’ll never play or have any interest in exist. It does get a bit tiresome reading about how emotional and amazing these games that most of the time don’t even qualify as games to me are though, but I find myself basically never visiting game sites anymore because they’re nothing more than PR and media releases for the big companies that pay the bills of the sites indirectly (and directly sometimes).

I played that unpacking game when I saw it for free and had heard literally nothing about it, and threw the towel in after the first box was unpacked because that was the entire game. Pick things up and put them somewhere. I honestly don’t believe it could be anyones “game of the year” other than to try and make a statement by doing so. It’d be like an ad for Coke winning the Oscar for best picture.

I just looked up this “inscryption” that I’ve seen lots of people mention as being amazing and see it’s a card game? 😂
 
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