Saturday 20 February 2010

Why Indie, Why Now?

There is something at the core of all human beings that is satisfied when we are playing games. Evolution has ensured the compulsion to play is threaded throughout our very make-up: play, win, survive. I'm a fool for games, and we have entered a renaissance period for the art form. A powerful trifecta has driven us into this time of creative plenty: motive, means, and opportunity.

I see design as an extension of play. When you are conceptualising a new game, you must think through the rules, playing them in your mind. The number of games you can play this way is only constrained by the limits of your imagination. I started designing games shortly after I found my passion for playing them. Always having a pen and paper to hand, I have built up an ecologically irresposible collection of design notes. It's difficult to contain the desire to create games from everyday situations. For me, a rainy day and a deck of cards is like the proverbial curry to a pisshead. I've got oodles of designs queued up, nagging me to bring them into form. Indie culture is recognised for rapid development and innovative design. Standing astride these two pillars with Stargazy Studios, I'll take my design dough and bake it into delicious gaming morsels.

The democratisation of games development came about with the creation of digital distribution platforms. As disruptive a technology as the MP3 format was for music, digital distribution has ushered in a new era of gaming. Demand for new gameplay can be addressed by anyone with a computer, the ability to code and a great idea. Social networks and blogs allow us to instantly commend our favourite games to friends and followers. Word of mouth has the power to highlight the exemplary, bringing their merits to the attention of a wider audience.

A critically large population hunger for progressive games. We have grown up with videogames, and our vocabulary extends to the full breadth of what's been offered so far. We want games that present us with new problems to solve, and broaden what we think of as play. There are already enough enthusiasts craving innovation to support successes such as Defcon, Braid, and World of Goo. Our ranks are swelling as more gamers search for something fresh and exciting to play. It is thrilling that we find what we're looking for in independent games.

Vive la Revolution.

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