Game Informer is a major gaming magazine that is apparently written by assholes. Now, the reason I receive it is because my wife got the Powerup rewards card at Gamestop. This was when she got our 3DS ‘s and Pokemon X and Y. I pick it up and peruse it whenever it comes in, and it often shows me some surprisingly good indie games I hadn’t yet heard about. But this month was different. This month I got to pages 28-29 of the July 2014 issue and was met with this woven monstrosity called “The Indie Game Flowchart”. I would tell you that IndieDevs are the sole reason for true ingenuity and without those with the balls to run free in the capitalist wilds, there would never be any innovation or progress in gaming at all. We would all be playing COD and WOW rip-offs. This is a rage article of crotchety proportions, so if you don’t like it, fuck off. Game Informer needs to sit down and shut the fuck up.
This article, written by some mimsy tart named Joe Juba, has this text blurb to start you off:
If you want to make an indie game, you need to be driven by passion. Maybe you want to tell a personal story, or experiment with a never-before-seen genre. Realizing this dream might require years of work and your life savings, but it could be worth the struggle. What is your reward at the end of the journey? Follow our flowchart to find out. You might earn instant credibility, vast wealth, or cheap statuettes from an indusrty awards show.
– Joe Jube, Game Informer, Issue July 2014, Page 28
You might think “O, that’s not so bad! He just gave the indie devs some credit for drive and passion. Not to mention experimenting with genres and some other things!” Honestly, sure, he does, but then he cheapens it with a giant flowchart that mocks the entirety of Indie Developers and what the real goal is as an IndieDev. While the article is a comedy-rag with sarcasm dripping from its pages, one should keep in mind that comedy is a form of philosophy where they cause you to laugh by showing you the truth (in this case Juba’s perception of the truth) and making you see it in an entertaining light. Just watch Louie C.K. or George Karlin. Hell, nearly every comic uses elements of real-life in their shows, and that makes them artists in a way. This is just flat-out mockery of a people who have no real centralized way of responding.
At start is says “So you want to be an indie. What is the first priority?” Move on to the first offense, “Fun, good gameplay“. The next box after that just says “wrong” and directs you to the other option out of the gate “A cool art style.” Now stop right there you fucking pricks. Did you just see that? With a quick flick of the goddamn wrist, this slimy little fuck says that indie games as a whole do not have fun, good gameplay and rely on art style. FUCK NO! I can name plenty of games off the top of my head in varying genres that have great gameplay with great art all the way to shit art and fabulous gameplay. Minecraft, for instance, has arguably simplistic art. Most Super Nintendo titles had more advanced textures. The gameplay is the redeeming part of this game, and spawned several genres. THAT was the work of one fucking guy in a goddamn basement, NOT the result of the industry’s method-at-large, which is typically “who fucking cares how mindless the gameplay is, just art it up with pretty graphics and fantastic visuals so that no on notices.” Want another? Sure. Hard Reset. That is a game with some pretty graphics, great ambiance and an artistic method of doing cut-scenes in a comic book style. The gameplay, however, is a ton of fun, allowing you to blow shit up and use a variety of weapons with the same two “guns” and elminating the question of where you keep that bazooka. Sure, the story is a little confusing at times, but Half-life 2 had as much story as a mass-murderer does. Shit, Call of Fucking Duty has less story, but that is punching the retarded kid there. I don’t know where Joe Juba thinks he gets carte blanche to say what he wants about the indie culture, but he is writing for a major fucking magazine. That, along side his little opening to this masterpiece of douche-baggery, automatically takes away any credibility he truly has with the indie culture. But he goes on, so, too, must I.
From that box you also see “it needs…” You can go to “blocks like minecraft” and that takes you to the minecraft clones. This path ends in the Copy-cat award, success by association. That is a bit funny, but the devs in those games are getting a little short-changed. Often, the best way to get to new shades of genres are to take the major genre elements of something successful and apply them to other facets and ideas not explored by the majorly referenced work. This is done all the time with fantasy, with Lord of the Rings as a start, and brings you to people like George R.R. Martin writing dark fantasy worlds that owe their lives and allegiance to Tolkien. The next major issue I have with this article of short-selling +9000 is “first-person..” leads to “shooter” which leads to the David and Goliath Award, Call of Duty will destroy you. STOP RIGHT THERE YOU SHITTY LITTLE FUCKFACE! So, you’re telling me all first-person shooters are in direct competition with COD? Your taste in games obviously has a diversity comparable to Iceland’s gene pool. One massive collection of similar-looking people with a few sharply-contrasted elements floating around to emphasize the main body. Hard Reset and ZenoClash are two indie FPS’s that are nothing like COD and thank god for it! These titles add elements of diversity to a stagnant pool of genre degeneracy that is characterized by vastly acclaimed titles like Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, Black Ops, Battlefield… Seeing some similarities? And the best part is, the moment that this genre drifts away from the Call of Douchebags FPS standard of “kill da bad guy soljers” it drops in funding, quality and standards. Don’t believe me? Thief. As if I needed to expound further this guy does a way better job at explaining the game’s shortcomings than I could here. And he tries to defend it with lengthy diatribes of legitimately interesting discussion about how the game could have been better. Genre diversity is a must, and indie FPS’s offer way more in this respect.
Another off-shoot from that “cool art style” box leads you to “A living painting. Like Braid, but with…” and this section leading to the ‘Too Indie, What about gameplay?’ endpoint that dominates the center of the first page. This placement is no fucking accident. This is the way that mainstream gaming stereotypes the indie gaming culture. I do appreciate their implication that this is the home of the extremist indie games, and thereby not the bulk of them, but this still puts a smear on the community as a whole. These are apparently the representative items of indie culture that the most people will understand and, thus, it is in a plce that the most people will read, with the bulk of readers giggling a bit here then moving on to their Culla’ Doodie circle jerks. In this section they include Braid, and a number of weird modifiers. They also catch these outliers by having First-Person also lead to “Pretentious Interactive Narrative Experience“, which is arguably a way of saying “artistic game experience”. But another place first-person takes you is were you bought by Valve, in which case you end up at the “Gamer darling Award, Please stop saying the cake is a lie” or elsewhere. If you say no, it moves on to the next page and “years later”. This implies that every indie title will take years to complete. This brings you to “Perfect! You project has the green light! When will it release?” Two options after: One year, which leads to a delay show at PAX then the second selection, which is two years. Then another delay show at PAX, and then four years. This means, fuck you, even if you think that your game will release in a year, after years and not getting bought by Valve, you’ll actually take four years and tons of personal delays to make your game. That is degraging. Sure, it may happen to some, but this seems to imply that indie developers cannot adequately structure time schedules. Because the major industry has ben SOOOOOO fucking good at doing that! Right? By the way, what was the release date of Half-life 3 again? Whatever, just play Duke Nukem Forever and you’ll start to get an idea. In fact, just read this fucking Cracked article. That should tell you.
But let me skip over to another point of contention. Following side-scrolling games takes you to the inevitability of “Wait a minute… are you already a major developer?” One option (No, then keep at it!) takes you to the aforementioned “years later” situation. The other 2 are “Does Double-Fine count?” and “Yes”. Yea, you see where I am going with this now. This gets you to Nice Try, Decades of experience isn’t indie. FUCK YOU! You sit there and say that to me?! I wanted to just type a string of random angry characters but quivered with rage for a few moments instead. Where do you get off saying that indie developers cannot have decades of experience? Do you realize that Sword of the Stars was made by people from Rockstar? Just because they have been around for a while, doesn’t mean they are not indie. My understanding is the Double-Fine got to mainstream game dev and backed out because they wanted, I don’t know, some GODDAMN FREEDOM!
Moving right along, there is this other endpoint of Indie Foul! That’s not how this works. Among the things that lead here are third-person roguelikes with crop-farming and carefully crafted dungeons and collectible creatures. That takes you to “Look, I don’t know what “roguelike” means” There are also apparently Third-person roguelikes with spaceships and no permadeath, which also leads here. Fuck you. Now we need perma-death in spaceship games to be good? Fuck you. My angriest path here leads through the thoroughly convoluted “third-person zombie survival games funded by independent modders who have a well-organized business plan”. This is apparently no one, as this goes to Indie Foul. fuck you. again. The option aside a well-organized business plan is apparently “who get massive community support” and this just has to be a joke. Having these as separate options basically states that crowd-funding is not part of a well-organized business plan. Honestly, asking the gaming community to fund your project isn’t the most sure-fire way to get it done, but Kickstarter is for gamedevs that have great ideas and none of the money required. So I also suggest that, yes, crowd-funding can be a good element of a well-organized business plan. Other ways to indie foul include an old-school RPG inspired by some N64 RPG’s with retro sprites that was considered as an Ouya exclusive. There is also a mainstream audience that leads to Indie Foul, but that tells me that this guy thinks the main element of “indie” gaming is that only a couple assholes like it. This is even more heavily implied by the statement that aiming precise challenges at a few dozen masochists will be enough to get your project the green light. I am not sure which planet this Joe Juba asshole comes from, but it is one where “indie” means “pretentious dicks that think they know better” rather than, you know, independent. Indie games can be aimed at mainstream audiences. The retro style that many take on these days are made to appeal to what a lot of us older gamers played as children. Oh, I am sorry, not every spoiled-rotten little rat bastard was able to buy games when I was a kid. In fact, when I was your age, playing games made you the socially awkward nerd that got beat on. On last path that takes you to Indie Foul! is Border Control Simulator. I would say this is a jab at all those weird simulator like Rock Simulator, Streetsweeper Simulator and Papers, Please, but those games are a new genre that deals with allowing you to literally live different aspects of real-life.
So now your game is finished. There are now three results for you left, having dodged the sweeping two-page morass outlined by some ass. The only thing left is the name. Three options: First, you can go with something slimy and geometric, like “Gooptahedron”. The next thing is “that’s free to play, isn’t it?“. The only selection is yes, or hell yes. This leads you to the Zero Credibility Award, Money (is not equal to) Quality, which is the only place Joe Juba deserves to be classified. Granted, he starts off with that whole gooptahedron crack, but this is the only location on the indie flowchart that features free-to-play games. I can think of a couple really good free-to-play games. Immediately I am reminded of Gear Up, a multi-player tank-shooter. So, tell me, you relentless shit, are you saying that all F2P indie games have zero credibility as indie games? Fuck you, again, indie is not about money, it is about independence. The other two options out of game-finishing are a weird sentence fragement and a single vague word. Your game is then a success. Either you say Fuck it, I quit, where you earn the Something Fishy Award, Don’t forget to cancel the sequel and the most insulting thing on this shit-sheet: “beg for money on Kickstarter and try again.” Yup. BEG for money you worthless little worms! Then you can go back to start to begin again. O, and you remember how, apparently, it takes four years after previous years of delaying to get it done? Yea, that path leads here, too.
Now, if you read all the way to the end of this article, I give you a lot of credit. This is a long wall-of-rage-text article with few visual stops. The point I am making is as follows: This convoluted two-page spread is just an insidious mockery that attempts to rob the indie gaming and indie developer community of its main source of undeniable respect. Indie Devs want freedom. Freedom from major developers to develop as they please, without the back-burner rejection that these types of games would receive from mainstream companies entrenched in the FPS standard, or whatever standard they prefer. Indie means independent, and that scares the mainstream companies and their little turd-sniffing employees, such as Joe Juba. Not because they think we want to be like them and want the money that comes with it, but because we want nothing to do with them, we want to do what we want, and accept the money that comes with it. This is where indie developers get their real power. Alongside the fact that indie games are the testing ground for new and interesting concepts that push the industry forward and bend the boundaries of virtual experience like minecraft, which spawned crafting games and survival games like Rust. For this reason, Indie Gaming is the source of true gaming diversity. We don’t want our options to be between WoW, CoD and Assassin’s Creed without recourse. We’re not a bunch of pretentious dorks sitting in a corner of a lunchroom wearing goofy glasses and handlebar mustaches making fun of the “cool COD kids”. We are a collection of like-minded individuals that are tired of the same old horse shit that mainstream gaming presents. We are tired of graphically fluorescent games with shit story lines or inept game-play. We are ready to take gaming into our own hands. And that scares the ever-loving shit out of them. If I ever needed physical proof that mainstream gaming resents the indie community to the level that you might call it hate, this is it.