A Guide to Independent Games: Parts 1 and 2

By: Derek Yu

On: August 8th, 2007

Indie Guide Logo

I ranted and raved about Game Tunnel’s Top 100 Indie Games, but it was a Top 27 Indie [Art] Games list that put me over the edge and finally convinced me to put together the first parts of this guide right here. Basically, those two lists took the two sides of independent gaming that make me gag – money-lovin’ casual gaming and pseudo- intellectual “arthouse” gaming – and presented them as if they were, in fact, what it’s all about.

Well, you know what – the gaming-for-love-of-gaming “elitists” need their own list, too. ;)

Anyway, Part One is an introduction I penned that’s essentially a love poem to independent gaming and analogies, but I hope gets the point across successfully.

Part Two is a compilation of good independent games (not ranked) that was pared down from a list that TIGForums members put together. The main goal was twofold: to list great games and also to show the diversity and strength of independent developers. It runs the gamut, from text-based IF games to tech-pushing affairs like Penumbra: Overture; from hardcore shoot ‘em ups like Warning Forever to fun, well-made casual games like Outpost Kaloki and Aveyond… and beyond. I think you’d be hard-pressed not to find at least a handful of games you really, really liked in this list.

Parts 3 and 4… well, I have plans for them, but it could go a lot of ways, depending on what people think of the first two parts. One idea was to have Part 3 be an introduction to making your own game, and have Part 4 be a collection of short writings from various people in the community about indie games, with the general theme being the future. Let me know your thoughts!

And I hope you enjoy the article! If you do, spread it around a bit! If you don’t, feel free to let us know why. Open discourse is the only way to go.

  • http://leakypig.neverlietofascists.com/ Raincoatduck

    Well, he was also seeing Freeware on the side and Independent Gaming would get jealous if he mentioned Freeware.

    Freeware’s not bitter that she hasn’t heard from him though. She’s always around, always open, always waiting on the street corner when one needs a quick lay.

  • skaldicpoet9

    simply beautiful:)lol

  • Honkey Deluxe

    You’ve got one hell of an ulterior motive, don’t you Derek? Censor all you want but the truth will surface. Thus says the MilkMan.

  • Slurbo

    Ocular Ink!! You forgot Ocular Ink!!!

  • Nillo

    I enjoyed playing Eternal Daughter, but it could’ve been better. The artwork and music (especially the forest theme) was fantastic and the story was okay, but the combat system was too fast and relied too heavily on button mashing. I would also have liked more interesting special attacks, not just Castlevania-esque “throw knives until the counter reaches zero”. Also, a slightly higher resolution would’ve been nice.

    I’d rather see Lyle in Cube Sector on the list, but I think it’s got enough platformers already.

  • Hondo

    That was a great read so far. I can’t wait for more. I would love a section on how to go about making your own game since I would love to do that. I just lack program know how. I can draw and pixel with the best of them. Heck! I already work at a game studio. But what I would really love is to know how to make my own games.


    Again. A great read and lot of great games mentioned in section 2. I’ll have to try and play as many as I can.

  • Derek

    Sweet, guys! Thanks for the feedback. I’m really happy to hear that people are getting good things out of it. I think if the list was ranked people would have spent much more time arguing over which game was better than which, instead of appreciating them all for what they are. Rankings are arbitrary and meaningless in that regard (although fun to think about, I admit).

    And it’s very insightful to read the discussions about the list, also! :)

  • Derek


    @Sergio: Heck naw, ED and the other freeware I made are as precious to me as Aquaria is. I love all my babies equally.

    @Honkey: Wait, really?

    @Hondo: There seems to be enough people wanting a section on how to start making your own games that I am thinking it would be a good section to have. :)

  • hi
  • Nillo

    Cool, a top X lists list. How long before someone makes a top top X lists lists list?

  • http://www.caravelgames.com Merus

    I think it’s been done before. What I’d really like to see is a top x reasons for making a top x list.

    The first time I read the list I thought, “Hang on, if DROD’s one of the best and underrated indy puzzle games around, how come it’s number 43 on the lis– oh, underrated, I see.”

  • Derek

    That’s certainly one way to think about it, but the other way (which I prefer) would be “Hey, I’m really happy that DROD was included in a list of 50 great indie games where the numbering system doesn’t reflect upon the inherent worth of the games.”

    In other words, it wasn’t even in the list to begin with, so be happy that it’s there now, surrounded by 9 other games that are also really good. ;)

  • Merus

    It was the first thought – normally numbered lists are ranked – so I hadn’t yet read that it was an unranked list and was essentially randomly distributed. I just liked the joke and wanted to share, is all.

  • Sergio

    I would like to see LiCS too… but I dunno, really. Who else feels it belongs?

  • MattC

    Swanky list, but where are the affiliate links???

    Also: I know it’s not “complete” yet but you may want to update your features page and the “latest feature” image in the sidebar. Maybe.