VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 4/24/2011
?People say that the era of the little guy is done with. As video games become increasingly important, leapfrogging things like film and music, and selling an insane amount of units with each new huge event, the industry has found itself gravitating towards a sort of blockbuster mentality. Grand Theft Auto Takes a Long Time to Make To find once again the stunning experiences and 40 hours worth of incredible gameplay inside a game like Grand Theft Auto 4, groups of tons of game designers are obligatory. Budgets are huge, and profits are expected to be just as massive. While games like GTAIV are wonderful and memorable, they take a strangely large percentage of the market, as Hollywood blockbusters do, and they normally shift the rest of the industry in unexpected ways. Films are a good think to look at here, because it boils down to the same thing: a top film is a top movie, quite separate from budget, and the same goes for games. There are thousands of small masterpieces out there that fundamentally don't have a way into the right distribution channels. And how many useless films or useless videogames - from big studios - have you seen or bought recently? Indie Films and Indie Games are Often Amazing One of the fundamental problems with publishing games on the blockbuster model is that a useful concept of good, quality gameplay gets obscured under all the other obligations that have to go into a big title - just like the narrative of a big event film can often be obscured under layers of special effects. With a small development team, this doesn't happen - it's all about the game alone, the quality of it all - whether or not it's enjoyable to play, well made, and gives its users a reason to come back is fundamentally all that matters. The truth is that just because it's extensively hyped up in the store doesn't automatically imply it's great. And so the question is: how do we get to those little games, those mid-sized game creators creating great, classic games that aren't being hyped up on television or continuously chattered about? Is There a Place for Indie Games Online? The net is still the best option. You can find distributors selling great games that are created on real values: like good gameplay that keeps you coming back again and again. Lacking the massive budgetary pressure, official trademarks, and big development teams that the big companies possess, small publishers are making titles that don't have the privilege of exciting you through flashy visuals alone: they need to be enjoyable to play above everything else. While a select few big publishers have seen the light, and have started encouraging small development teams to go wild with their wildest notions, most of the best, small, enjoyable games are being sent out into the market by designers you've never seen before. Classic Distribution Still Works While everyone chatters on new ways of sending out material, the ones that are already set-up are still completely useful: many of the best, most passed over small films can still be found sitting at your neighborhood DVD shop, and many of the most enjoyable, independent games can be tracked down online, available to you at amazingly low prices - you get all the benefits of a box, a manual, something aesthetic to hold, but you aren't shelling out insane prices. Next time you're hunting down a memorable game experience, don't just go to the same old places. Remember that the big conglomerates churn out their fair share of expensive junk, and that little developer you've never heard of might have just made your next all-time favorite videogame.
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