Why do people write indie games?

Few people can think of something so thankless, financially unrewarding, and likely to end up on the indie scrapheap of broken images we leave behind us, as writing an indie game or interactive work of fiction.

Scrapheap-Indie-Games-Charles-Parkes-developer

For me indie games promote the one thing I value more than anything – choice – the ability to experience life the way you want to. Some do it through design, others do it through contributing to a much larger pool of experiences that give gamers today the ability to try anything.

“no one knows who you are and no one cares!”

Designer Sarah Woodrow writing in Gamasutra hits the nail on the proverbial – most indie developers are starting out from nothing.

Maybe they’re fans of the medium, or fans of a genre. Before I finally kicked the habit on video-gaming, my absolute favourite indie video game was The Long Dark. Just linking to it makes me salivate and want to dive back in to the heady world of sandbox survivalism.

But in the end, as with so many of my favourites, it just didn’t go far enough. I always want ‘more’ sandbox, and ‘more’ freedom. Enter choicescript. Here was a medium where a single author could seriously be capable of one-man-banding, developing an interactive indie text game or novel, and accessing true narrative freedom.

For their readers perhaps, that freedom was less realised, (all the potential before the words hit the e-paper is hard to translate into actual sandboxiness in an interactive novel). But it does explain why I think the medium of interactive literature has legs, despite the low, low, low financial rewards.

If you try out the amazing things that IF authors are experimenting with. . . if you can enjoy Teo Kuusela‘s Lords of Aswick and its barony mechanic, or Lucid‘s Life of a Wizard  you’ll see. Indie game and interactive story authors drool over their work’s potential. And good ones pass those potentialities on to the reader.

 

 

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