As a PC player I’ve come to love indie games. I’ve grown older and so has my taste of games. I am leaning more about independent games than typical big budget games, not because they’re bad by default, it’s because they so vehemently stick to the same pattern and formula. Rarely does a big title try to do anything else, instead they focus on pushing out the same game year after year. It’s almost impressive, dredging shit together and forcing it into consumers like some Machiavellian reverse-enema. I laud the audacity these studios have. It’s fucking impeccably shameless, between brazen gimmicks and the ever-growing DLC markets, paid updates, and broken launches I’ve just given up hope for big games bouncing back. Occasionally a title comes around that makes my desk jump from the throbbing erection, but that’s neither here nor there.
In such a grim landscape I’ve pondered whether I’ve “outgrown” gaming, or simply I’ve found nothing to play. It turns out it’s the latter, and as I’ve delved into the PC Indie scene it’s been clear to me. I just needed something different, something else. Whether or not the game is even good is hardly a problem for me. I take them at face value and nothing more or less (unless the developer promises things that goads me into purchasing it and I end up regretting it.) I’m pretty thorough as a critic of big titles, so why do I give these titles more slack? Because I know what I’m getting into with them. I expect bugs, glitches and the like. I’m not expecting fit and finish to be proper. I simply hold the developers to what they say, and that works for this type of game.
Some titles are just boring in concept but turn out to be challenging and fun. A great example of that is “Papers, Please.” In Papers, Please you work in a border-crossing of a made-up totally-not-Soviet-Union country and check papers to make sure people are valid to enter or not. It can be heart-wrenching and tough to make some of those decisions. A husband and wife are immigrating from a wartorn country, but only the husband’s papers are valid. What do you do? It’s fun and simple and it works. I didn’t expect it to do my taxes for me. Recently, I finished “Refunct”. It was one of those games I did not know I had, but checked it out, downloaded it, and beat it in less than an hour. It was enjoyable and pretty to zone out to for the time being, and I recommend it for someone looking for a free-roaming fun game with no loose conditions. Just explore and collect stuff in a relaxing and pretty environment. Are you catching the pattern? They’re not promising the world, they simply state what they are and prove it in the gameplay.
Big studios break promises to consumers so consistently I’m stunned there’s not a proper verb for it. (I vote for “Molyneuxing” after Peter Molyneux, one of the worst offenders.) Call of Duty has been pumping out virtually the same game for years. You’d think for $60 they’d at least try to make you feel pretty before they just rob you blind and leave you in an alleyway. These games can’t be held to an “anything goes” grading scale when they charge at the premium price point. If you go to an average grill-out you’re not expecting perfect steak, and that should satisfy you. However if you’re going to a steak-house known for quality meats, you expect that extra effort. It’s how things go. At this point it’s gotten so out-of-hand that I can’t enjoy any big release without doing a media blackout on it. What’s worse is even when I do manage to avoid the inevitable hype-train I still can’t enjoy the games, primarily as they are just run-of-the-mill in terms of story. There’s some exceptions in the last few years as there always will be, but more and more I find myself distrusting of big games more than ever.
After introspection I’ve come down from my wavering love of video games. I do not hate them, I do not dislike them, I simply dislike having reverse-enemas offered to me by grinning Capitalists that want my wallet. If you want my money, earn it. It’s just that simple. Until then I’ll continue supporting small-scale developer teams that actually give a fuck about what their consumers say.
AyYoAugury is a pudgy fuckboy with bad taste in music and long hair. Fucking degenerate. Reach out to him on twitter @AyYoAugury.