THE ADVENT CALENDER – 17TH DECEMBER

Terraria a new generation of indie game supremacy?

With games like Minecraft, Terraria, Rez, Starbound and many more all coming from ‘indie’ houses we find ourselves in an interesting new time with regards to game production. The indie houses are resisting the pull of the dollar of large scale software houses and going it alone to make games we want to play.

This started perhaps with Minecraft as that entire game was such a runaway success it took the industry a little by surprise. Never before had such a game come out that surprised so many with how good it was yet was so simple in its production.

Terraria followed on swiftly with the concept and made a 2d platform survival game that lended heavily from Minecraft in terms of its operation and purpose. What Terraria then went onto do was expand the premise to an extreme level. Multiple biomes, hundreds of items, bosses, enemies all were included as the engine and core of the game were so simple, it was possible to expand the scale and scope of the game by incredible levels.

The modding community for many of these indie games also are central to its success, adding new content and making the game a success by almost ‘crowd developing’ the game alongside the developer proper.

One only has to now take a look at Steam to see that the indie game is front and centre with regards the game industry. AAA games fight for marketing space alongside smaller mom and pop made games that potentially could make their creators millionaires overnight.

Social networking has much to do with this success of the indie explosion, YouTube specifically has embraced the ‘lets play’ concept with many of these indie games and brought the game to an audience that even a AAA game could only dream of. One has to only search in YouTube for ‘Minecraft’ to find millions of videos now. That alone is the best marketing any company could hope for and frankly is central to the success of the indie games.

Many indie games attempt to draw you tubers into the video series also now (before it was the other way around) and look to push the pseudo celeb channels into making loud squealing cries of joy that get them millions of views, all the while the game producers rub their hands in glee at a marketing machine they don’t have to pay for. Sure one can argue, who has the power in this relationship but when everyone is profiting from this situation, few look to rock the boat.