Trying to find the diamonds in the rough
Gaming is excellent these days. There are more gamers now than ever. This means that the gaming industry is experiencing rapid growth, and we’re seeing more games. I spent a lot of time downloading trial versions on the Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace recently. Truth be told, that service has a lot of quality games. Games like Platformance: Castle Pain and Arkedo Series – 03 PIXEL! are wonderful experiences. There are a lot of hidden gems on Xbox Live Indie Games, and they’re well worth your money.
The issue is that these gems are hidden under a bunch of crap.
I literally had a nightmare from part of my experience. While the concept of playing as a gothic lolita-style woman is enough to wake up even the most hardened anime fan from his deep slumber, the content of this game wasn’t what bothered me. What I dreamed about wasn’t the style, the characters, or the sound. My subconscious decided to scare me by reminding me of the sticky, boring, and unresponsive gameplay.
I’ll admit that I’ve always judged people who talked about loving movies that are “so bad they’re good!” I’ll probably continue to judge that notion a bit, but after some of the games I came across during my hunt were just awful, and I insisted on not stopping until the trial expired. I didn’t enjoy those games because they were “so bad they’re good”–there was nothing for me to enjoy. So many times I played a bad game longer than I should have, purely because I was convinced that those games had to get better. I nearly payed for a few of them, just to play through the entire game and see if it was really that bad. Then it occurred to me that this may have been the intention of the developer, so I passed.
This is nothing against those indie developers. They put themselves out there, made a game, and released it. That’s a lot more than most prospective developers can say for themselves. I hope some of those who have released bad games take the time to learn from their mistakes and try again. It’s never bad for the fans to have too many games to choose from. The problem that arises is when developers (indie or otherwise) rush the final product. Many of the trial versions I played could have been perfectly enjoyable had there been just a bit more polish in certain areas.
I love indie games, and I love the constant stream of indie games even more. It just bothers me to have to dig through piles of rough gaming to find the hidden gems. Some indie games get lucky enough to land first-party support or get a major third party to back them up (such as Bastion and Warner Bros.). Unfortunately, these games don’t even get affiliated with the Xbox Live Indie Marketplace. This leaves the rest to compete in the trenches. The Xbox Live Indie Marketplace is a great idea as it gets developers recognition they otherwise wouldn’t. I feel as if the system needs some sort of reform, however. With so many games available, there shouldn’t be any reason to have to go through ten to twenty games before finding something playable.