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Feb 08 2014
By: tross88 Fender Bender 3979 posts
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Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

12 replies 4625 views Edited Feb 8, 2014
This particular topic of debate appears to have derailed a number of threads lately, so I figured I would provide a venue to debate the merits and downside to both. I'm actually more or less neutral on the subject, but I suppose I should start with the merits of mainstream gaming. Without big name companies, we wouldn't have titles that push the envelope in terms of graphics and the technical side of things. The big name companies have been largely responsible for laying down the foundation of the videogame industry, and steering it in whichever direction they see fit. Without these companies to set the standard for various genres, videogames wouldn't have progressed the way they have. However, at their $60 price point, and more high profile releases, more is expected out of these games. Mainstream, or "AAA" games, as they're often called, have been criticized at times for their lack of creativity, and the devs behind them often seem to care more about sales than their fanbase, which especially angers those who have supported certain franchises for years.

On the flip side, we have the recent rise of the indie gaming scene. These titles often push the envelope in a different way. The companies, groups, or even individuals behind them aren't restricted by corporate nonsense, and are more free to be able to make the games they want to make. The result has been titles that are often much more creative than their contemporary counterparts, and it may be my imagination, but I think even mainstream devs have started to put more creativity into their games in the last year or so. The downside to indie games, of course, is that they don't have the budget behind them that "AAA" games have, so they tend not to look as good from a graphical standpoint, and they tend to be more simple, and small in terms of the size and scale of games. Thankfully, they're usually priced lower than mainstream games.

I don't belong to either camp, but I think both have their merits. Mainstream games are nice to look at, and benefit from cinematic cutscenes. They are usually more complex, and are the games people look to for showcasing the latest hardware. They tend to follow market trends more closely, which is a good or bad thing, depending on one's genre preferences. Prior to the indie wave, I spent a lot more time retro gaming than modern gaming, and didn't care much for the way the industry was heading. Then, indie games entered the market, which were considerably more satisfying to those who crave more creativity in games. By coincidence, I've noticed there has been a wave of "AAA" games with more creativity put into them in the last year or so than the previous few years combined. The big Japanese companies haven't changed much, but other devs and publishers have stepped up to fill the void. Regardless of whether there's a correlation between the indie wave, and more out of the box mainstream games is debatable, but regardless, I think the future is bright for gamers of all kinds.

Now, I leave it up to you to continue the discussion. Please be respectful, and mindful of other viewpoints. I will provide a few possible questions as conversation starters, but it's up to you if you want to use them:

Where do you stand on the seemingly endless debate of indie vs. mainstream gaming? Why?
Do you think the recent indie wave has been beneficial to the gaming industry, do you think it has been detrimental, or are you neutral? Why?
What are some of your favorite indie and mainstream games?
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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

Feb 8, 2014

Very beneficial, as it'll bring in new IPs, new ideas and new talent. I've been impressed with a lot the indie scene has done over the years. 

Plus a game is a game, if it's fun, no matter who made it, it's a winner to me.

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First Son
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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

Feb 8, 2014

Indie games lack too much content and the qulity that comes from a bigger budget. I did not pay $400 to play an indie game. They are a nice addition to full games though. No indie game has delivered the experience as a game like The Last of Us or any other mainstream game.

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Lombax Warrior
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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

Feb 8, 2014

Mainstream games, I've noticed, are starting to get more variety. Action, adventure, shooters, etc, but the indie games are also rising. They're especially fun when they bring something rare or unique. An example is Outlast, not many horror games that actually scare you.

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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

Feb 9, 2014

 Good thread Tross, I guess Im getting to know some of the indie gaming. I think all mainstream started as an indie. I do believe that it can be beneficial to the gaming industry. If not new games alone, possibly new ideas.

 

 indies i own; dragon book, escape plan,jetpack joyride

 

 mainstream; AC4, BF4, RockSmith

 

  Jetpack Joyride is very addicting. lol

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Welcoming Committee
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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

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Feb 9, 2014

I was actually having this conversation with my brother a few nights ago. I love both AAA and indie games. I think there is room for both to exist on today's consoles.

 

While I love that some AAA titles push the graphics barrier (and even tell some great stories along the way), I have to say that most of the indie titles of late have gotten me more excited to turn on my PS3, PS4, and/or Vita. In fact, my brother has been giving the "Starbound" beta on his PC more attention than any other game on his brand new PS4. (Another indie that will be making its way to PS4.)

 

Indie devs take more risks than AAA devs. They are not afraid to try new things (or bring back some retro styles) that mainstream developers / publishers would never take a chance on.

 

Some of my favorite indies of late:

Rainbow Moon

Hotline Miami

Lone Survivor

Dragon Fantasy

Outlast

 

Some indie titles I'm looking forward to:

Rainbow Skies

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Big Fest

Rime

Starbound

Rogue Legecy

Secret Ponchos

Ray's the Dead

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

"You must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared."


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Fender Bender
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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

Feb 9, 2014

a games a game a game a games.

guitar guru 2012
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Last Guardian
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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

Feb 9, 2014

Smaller studio games can be just as important and welcome as games comprised of the makings from a much larger studio. Between the two, both methods have proven themselves just as they have faulted once or a number of times. I'm not an expert on the indie scene, and for some I'm not even certain about what some of the games out there can be regarded as. Some of the better indies or smaller team-based games that I'm aware of though has included everything from the PixelJunk series, Sound Shapes and Everyday Shooter, Flower and Journey, Costume Quest, to Bit. Trip Presents: Runner 2 Future Legend of Rhythm Alien.

 

There have of course been other games that came from these same studios that I didn't think all that much of, or wasn't impressed with a range of other titles out there. This can include everything from Shank 2, Psychonauts, Eufloria, to Burn, Zombie, Burn! Major retail games have a similar effect. There are both welcome and adverse editions out there in the world, whether you're comparing Beyond: Two Souls with Sleeping Dogs, whether it's LocoRoco against Daxter, or whether you have the latest Call of Duty competing with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. Some games are instant classics forever while other series degrade over time... even the best ones.

 

There's still creativity in gaming no matter where you look. However, on the horizon the games I'm looking forward to most right now is that of stuff such as Ray's the Dead, The Witness, and Hohokum just to name a few. Major releases such as Tearaway, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and even Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon have shown quite a bit of innovation in the last year and are some of the top titles that managed to surprise me in recent memory. I'm hopeful we'll see some excellent quality coming by way of both sides. But really, just because you don't have the strength or resources coming from a major spender doesn't mean you can't turn a good idea into something fantastic. Likewise, the same goes for those with top billing. No matter the studio's situation, make your games playable, unforgettable, and as awesome as they deserve to be.


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Wastelander
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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

Feb 9, 2014
Indie games tend to be far more creative and innovative than "AAA" games.
Some AAA games are just graphical updates- CoD1-1.000.000
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Fender Bender
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Re: Mainstream vs. Indie Gaming

Feb 9, 2014
Well said Gray. I agree 100%. @HorrorGod: I think it's possible that the teams behind some AAA games are restricted by corporate regulations. The way bigger companies work is that they often have teams working on different games, but they're probably on some kind of leash. It's highly possible these teams have certain things they're able to get away with, and certain things they can't, but that probably varies from . I imagine there's more freedom for the teams at Naughty Dog or Quantic Dream than the teams at Activision or Square Enix. Indie devs just don't have those kinds of regulations. They may not have the big budgets to put up big blockbusters, but they can make whatever kind of game they want. Thinking outside the box is definitely not frowned down upon in their studios or groups. I do think there's plenty of room for both types of games in the industry.

Many people dislike indie games, because they don't invest in the latest hardware for games that don't show off that particular hardware. I can see that side of things. Graphics alone is not why I invest in new systems, but I can see that being the main draw for many. I don't invest in new systems for indie games in particular, mostly because indie games are more under the radar, and I can't have a particular game in mind if I haven't heard of it. That said, I buy new systems for the latest games, regardless of how they look, and looking back, my favorite games for any system I've ever owned are never the games I purchased the system for. Indie games are among those games that I pick up because I may as well, but often end up liking more than I thought I would, or which are announced after I invested in the system(which, in the case of the ps4, will be 99.99% of its library, since I'm an early adopter).
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