Saturday, January 15, 2005

Whenever you get more than one indie game developer together they will talk about how one of the reasons indie games are better than mainstream retail games is that they have more innovation.
It kinda makes sense, after all there is precious little innovation in mainstream gaming. The same gameplay mechanics and stereotypes appear again and again. The same IP is endlessly exploited, FPS games still have switches, locked doors, crates, ventilation ducts and health powerups.
But the innovation argument doesn't just imply a lack of innovation in retail, it implies some innovation among indie games.
And its not true.
To be honest there are SOME innovative indie games. Gish is one and Dr Blobs Organism is another. Bridge builder is a third. But for every game like this there are a dozen ganes that don't innovate at all.
I'm not criticising the games themselves, but heres a few examples (no offence intended)

Ricochet : Breakout clone
Hamsterball : Super monkey ball with hamsters
Derelict: Gauntlet in space
Lux: Risk
Pax Galaxia : Risk in space
Starship Tycoon : Transport tycoon in space

See I'm guilty too. I'm not adopting a holier-than-thou stance here, we are all failing in our aim to bring innovation to games. If we (with our low budget and zero consequence of failure, zero need for publisher approval) can't innovate, how can we ever expect retail developers to do so?
Am I being too harsh here? I'm not saying these games are bad, the are great, My fave online game is call of duty, which is a clone of medal of honour which is a clone of RTCW, Quake, Doom etc.
I just wish there was more innovation in the indie scene. REAL innovation... risky stuff!

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