TIGdb – The Indie Game Database

By: Derek Yu

On: March 24th, 2008


Hey, guys, I’m happy to announce a new addition to the TIGSource family: TIGdb, the indie game database! It’s a searchable, sortable compendium of independent games and independent developers.

Jeff and I have been talking about this for a while, and this weekend we finally got together and just set the damn thing up. 14 hours of video game music, disgusting energy drinks, and designing/hacking later, we came up with what you see here!

One thing that’s pretty cool is that we have a rating system. Anyone can sign up for an account and start rating games (out of five stars). Eventually, these accounts will let you do more, like keep track of your favorite games or submit games to the database. The task of populating the database is a monumental one, so it’d be great to crowd-source this… but until we have some controls in place, me and Terry (and perhaps a few other people) will be adding the games. I will, however, take submissions/suggestions very seriously! See this thread for details.

So yeah, this is a very early version of the site, but it’s a great start, I think. Once the site levels up a bit, there are a lot of things we could do with it. In an earlier post, we briefly discussed the idea of alternative business models for indies… well, once we have them all organized and sorted in one place, I’m sure there’s a lot you could do to that end…

But for now – sign up, rate games, and excuse any errors, unfinished bits. It was kind of a mad rush today to get the current 40 games/26 developers up so we could make the site public. I hope you like it!

  • Grawl

    Ooooo nice.

  • deadeye

    Pretty good for 14 hours work. I can’t wait to see how this pans out.

    Though I think I noticed a typo in my email as I was registering, but thankfully it let me register anyway. I guess it’s good that it didn’t require me to receive a confirmation email because I’d have been boned.

    On the other hand though, it’d be pretty easy for schmucks to just sign up with any old email and start vote-spamming 1’s. Or 5’s.

    And I assume there’s an account settings feature planned for the future so I can eventually correct it?

  • http://www.sophiehoulden.com GirlFlash

    looking very awesome indeed, I’d like a few more browsing options though, and a better search perhaps (a search for ‘RPG’ just turned up nothing =p)

    but very promising indeed. I see myself browsing it very frequently soon :D

  • Lim-Dul

    Wow! This is a GREAT start for the DB. I’ve been waiting for something like this FOR YEARS. =)

  • namuol

    I knew it was only a matter of time.

    I’d suggest modeling the entry submission after IMDB, but I’m not really familiar with how the system functions, but it evidently gets the job done well.

  • Munin

    So where do you draw the line? What constitues as Indie and what doesn’t? I would say that’s difficult to judge at times…are all freeware games indie games? Will you thus include every freeware game? It’s a nice idea, but I’m not sure how it’s supposed to work out in the long term…

  • Bad Sector

    I think its acceptable to call “Indie” any game that didn’t had any kind of publisher support for its development

  • PHeMoX

    It’s going to be the mother of all databases, right? YES!! That’s awesome!

  • http://gnomeslair.blogspot.com/ gnome

    Excellent! I’ll blog it asap and try to help as much as possible!

  • MrBig

    This is great.


    I think every “completed” freeware title should be listed… eventually. I mean, why not. It’s going to be a database right?

    @Bad Sector,

    If that was the case then it would disqualify all titles currently being offered on Steam. I’m not a fan of Steam anyway, but, there are a lot of people who use Steam because they either don’t know where to find these games otherwise (don’t know how to utilize the internet ;P) or aren’t hardcore gamers like the rest of us.

    Final Thought:

    I said it before, this is great. I was actually browsing around trying to find out when newer XBLA games would be coming out and too my very big surprise and disappointment, the XBLA title that’s being released this week is a friggin Collapse / Super Collapse clone. Amazing how some fanboys have the nerve to call the Nintendo Wii a casual gaming console when Microsoft releases this crap on their service at regular intervals (90% of the stuff up for grabs), and Nintendo offers up all of the original games that turned people into hardcore gamers in the first place. That’s irony in the face of those MS fanboys.

    In conclusion, this database will help me forget this kinda crap by allowing me to browse through dozens (eventually hundreds and maybe thousands) of fun freeware (and some not) games that have been released! Too many games and not enough time oh my!

    What’a Rant ;-P

  • http://www.elchiguireliterario.com Chigüire

    Kudos to you… I think it’s a great idea, and I wish you all success with this!

    (Registering right now…)

  • Bad Sector

    Those games didn’t receive fund from Valve for their *development*.

  • ZeHa

    Yeah great, I hope it will grow and grow, becoming THE standard online database for cool games. It should replace every “…on MobyGames”-link on Wikipedia, at least for independent games :)

    I like the very good design, it’s so clear. But I agree, there should be better browsing options, so that you’re able to find lots of new games.

  • Pyabo

    Derek, can you write up some rating guidelines, so that folks will generally rate games on the same criteria? Something like:

    5 stars: A classic. A game you can replay over and over again. Hailed as the paradigm which other games should aspire to.

    4 stars: A great game. Excellent play mechanics and graphics, but has some fatal flaw or missing element to make it 5-star worthy.

    3 stars: ???

    Does 2-stars means a bad game? Or does it mean the game is good, but only deserving of 2 stars… ?

  • Mailman

    Nice! This is very useful!

  • Cas

    Star ratings: irrelevant.

  • http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/tantrums.html Cas Fan


  • Cas


  • Nu

    Cool idea. I some an issue with rating these games though. They’re all so great in their own way…I hate to see some put below others because of a rating system. I would much rather see a system where people can put up reviews of these games…and the reviews could be tagged with qualities such as positive, neutral, or negative. Something like that. This way people can read about what is good and bad about the game. A 1-5 scale for these games just doesn’t seem right to me.

  • gustav

    boner :o

  • Lim-Dul

    I like the star rating system because it is exactly the same scale I have to use in one of the magazines I’m writing for.

    Basically my guidelines are as follows:

    5 stars: excellent game
    4 stars: good game
    3 stars: average game
    2 stars: bad game
    1 star: abysmal game

    I don’t mind if there was an additional rating system like Nu proposed but I don’t have anything against the stars. A 1-5 scale is enough to rate a game as I outlined above and complicated pros and cons are not what the average user will be looking for. We have to keep in mind that ANY public rating system usually is completely useless but can at least lead people to the more popular titles. =)

  • http://26k.org/dev/zero lowpoly

    cross integrate/promote with indiefaqs somehow? Seems like there’s some overlap there, in a good way.

    Also, the stars thing is kinda weird. I’d like to see something more like a ‘recommend’ button rather than a ratings system.

    either way good work and hopefully this will catch on!

  • Derek

    Hey, thanks for the feedback!

    The stars ratings are kind of a baseline recommendation system. Later on, it’d be nice to make them more personal, and perhaps skew them for each user based on a number of criteria. And we’ll likely have “favorites,” “friends,” and things like that.

    For now, I think it’s most useful for people new to the indie scene, because the games that float to the top via this system will generally be the ones that are most popular, and therefore most accessible.

    It’s also just fun to have. :)

  • Cas

    I dunno, star ratings are just so subjective they never really end up meaning much to anyone other than who rated them. And one has to question what the point is of rating the games anyway? What is the purpose of the DB – to have a place where people can find games, or a place where people can arbitrarily rate games? And what is the point of leading people to more popular titles – they’re already popular!

    The favourites / friends thing would be a much better idea.

  • http://www.farbs.org Farbs

    I quite like the up/down/piggie rating system from Pouet. It might be a tiny bit harder to implement, but I find it very helpful.


  • PHeMoX

    @Cas: That depends… as long as a lot more than just say… ten people will vote it will usually be representative in some way.

    Look at the gamespot user ratings, just because of the sheer amount it tends to be relatively “accurate”.

    There will always be people that won’t rate honestly or just give bad scores out of envy… there’s no way around them I think.

    I hear you on the ‘popular games are already popular enough’ point though… but that’s why we definitely need something of a category like ‘promising game’ or ‘my favorites’ or something similar that could potentially boost unknown games into popularity… I think Derek already plans to do this in time.

  • Derek

    Sorry, Cas, it’s hard to take your opinions seriously when I know you’ve got a huge chip on your shoulder against TIGSource.

    But, to put it simply, the purpose of the site is to have a place where people can find games and search them by a number of criteria, the ratings being one of those many criteria.

    Once the proper controls are in place, the ratings will become more personalized for each user. But the infrastructure has to be in place in a basic form, first.

    There’s really no difference, in the end, between “stars” and “recommendations” or what have you, and almost every crowd-sourced site runs on similar principles. And statistically, it works and is not “arbitrary” at all.

  • Lim-Dul

    *The favourites / friends thing would be a much better idea.*

    One thing does not exclude the other.

    What do you have against the ratings? Are indie games that independent that they escape human judgement? Everything gets ratings all the time, including games. I think that the project isn’t supposed to be a pure “Wiki” or “just a database” but also a site to promote indie gaming. I’d rather someone began his/her adventure with indie games with something that appeals to a broader audience so that he/she isn’t taken aback by something that might be good but very “hermetic” and ratings usually reflect that very well.

  • Lim-Dul

    Ah – as to the popularity of certain games. C’mon – they are popular among the indie community but the average gamer doesn’t know anything about them (which will hopefully change).

    It took me several months to convince my editors in chief that indie games deserve some attention in a magazine that focuses on mainstream gaming (Derek got my article =).

    TIGSource and the IndieGames Weblog are nice portals for indie game news but I’d rather have a place where I can point people to and where they could find good games without any insider knowledge. “Want to play some nice indie games?” “Click on the “Top” link in the TIGdb.”

    That’s how I see it.

  • Cas

    Derek, you people really do have a problem with criticism – I’ve got no chip on my shoulder at all with TIGSource. Feel free to pop a few links in a reply to show the world at large where I might have possibly upset everyone by having the balls to stand up to it all.

    Actually mate, it’s just you I’ve got an issue with.

    I’ll save you the effort and paste some links for you:


    I know it’s shameful to rise to ad hominem attacks but y’know, they just begin to irk after a while, especially after nice big public posts which from moderators which one is unable to reply to.

  • qnp

    I want moar games! :D

    Good work guys.
    Be cool for future additions if you could search by genre and developer.

    How is it going to be for adding games? If only you staff are going to add games, won’t that just take for ever with such a large pool of games?

    Great addition to the site.

  • qnp

    Eeek double post :( but I forgot to add that I’m really happy that it says what game engine the games were made on… something that I’m always interested in.

  • Derek

    Cool! Right now it’s just me and Terry, but eventually, we’ll let users submit games. It’s a pretty big task currently, though. :)

  • mio


  • Jeff Lindsay

    Sounds like better browsing should be the next feature to add…

  • Paul Eres

    I don’t have a problem with TIGSource at all, it’s one of the best forums I’ve ever been to, but I agree with Cas, I don’t like the star ratings. Remember when a lot of TIGSource commenters were making fun of Game Tunnel for using numerical ratings? What changed since then?

    It’s not a deal breaker for me, as I can easily ignore the ratings and just use it as a nice resource, but it really feels out of place. If you’re dead set on it, fine, but you should at least treat objections to it seriously and consider its cons as well as its pros.

  • MrBig

    I agree that a rating system should only be used as a promotional tool or for reference. In this case it’s kinda ridiculous to have ratings unless you can somehow prevent developers from rating their own and other peoples games. This database really doesn’t need a rating system, it’s kinda redundant. At the same time, it doesn’t really matter to me because I’ll be browsing the games anyway. However, a database isn’t very useful on the web if it can’t answer a persons simple query such as: “Hey what’s the name of that developer again? Did they make more than one game? Which games came out in 200X???” These are all obvious examples, but until the db includes all of the obvious examples and are included in the search engine it’s not really a database. A rating system is actually the last thing that needs to be put in place, if at all.

    So, instead of a rating system I say just allow people to rate the game and even have a small comment about it but make them provide a legitimate email address that can be listed to the public so that the rest of us can flame the hell out of them when we don’t agree with their opinion… it’s only fair. ;-P

  • Lim-Dul

    Well – you can only rate a game if you’re logged in and registered, so that system kinda is in place.

    As to making e-mail addresses public – even if that comment was ironic I wouldn’t go that far. =)

    Aha – if the rating system is the last thing that needs to be implemented, then it still needs to be implemented. Since it’s already there Derek and Jeff can focus on other things.

    For me ratings are just like any other search criterion. If you’ll be able to search the DB by author and other stuff (from the unfinished link-placeholders and Derek’s posts I can see that this will be the case) then why not ratings? =)

    By the way, Paul, if one has to consider the cons and pros of a rating system can you outline what its downsides are? I haven’t seen a single solid argument against the system, yet.

    That devs can rate their own games? So what? If the DB really becomes popular one vote won’t matter and since only registered users can vote mass-voting would be really tiresome and could be easily noticed if there were e.g. comments below the games. Personally I don’t think that ANY public ratings indicate the quality of the given “thing” (like, many people vote on dumb blockbuster movies even if there are better ones out there) but I don’t see a reason why someone should ban people from expressing their opinion.

  • Derek

    Paul, I’m taking the objections very seriously (although it’s more difficult for me when I know the objector has something personal against me and/or the site).

    _Remember when a lot of TIGSource commenters were making fun of Game Tunnel for using numerical ratings? What changed since then?_

    The difference, which is pretty big, imo, is that on TIGdb the community collectively rates the games. It’s not left to just a single person.

    _If you’re dead set on it, fine, but you should at least treat objections to it seriously and consider its cons as well as its pros._

    I’m not dead set on it, but we have a lot of ideas that will make the ratings more relevant and personal, and I don’t want to abandon them until they’ve been properly tested. I’m also uncertain what the cons are (and I don’t believe that ratings are that subjective when they’re averaged across the community).

    Basically any site that aggregates information uses some form of ranking system, whether it’s a binary system (like Digg) or not. With that kind of numerical data you can do a lot of cool stuff. (It’s also fun to look at.)

    But yeah, comments duly noted – if the system is not working later down the road, we’ll consider abandoning it. But until then, I’d rather focus on other things.

  • Sigvatr

    I bet if the IndieGames blog made their own DB with the same exact entries, the resulting scores would be terribly different.

  • Mr. Medium

    True, sig, true.

    But would you still jump down their throats for not liking the early demo video of Beserker?

  • ZeppMan217

    Cool! Great! SUPAR! :D

  • Sigvatr

    If you mean jump down their throats by sticking a chainsaw down their throat and raping the cavity, then yes.

  • http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/tantrums.html Sig Fan


  • notderek

    i agree with cas. this place has really become cliquey and
    “who-knows-who” kinda of a place.

  • Alec

    Actually, its kind of the opposite. Look at the number of new folks signing up for the competitions. (Some people who have never made a game before, etc) That’s because the community is really welcoming and open to new people, and its based on the idea that its fun to make and play games.

    I think its odd to target a group of people who are enjoying themselves, and who are welcoming others to come join the party and say: “fuck you for having a good time at your exclusive club”… when instead, you could just come hang out with us.

  • xerus

    I disagree. This place is awesome and filled with a great bunch of guys.

    And this database thing is off to a great start. I’m sure its going to evolve into something amazing in a short period of time.

  • smallfry

    Wow!! This is just so flipping cool! Thanks guys!

  • Farmergnome

    Gr8 idea hey, make sure to push a small like few sentance “review” when someone goes to add a star, stars are not very personal, infact they kind of miss the point sometimes.

    Whys there hate against Tigs? Best indie gamedev spot on the interwebs.

  • Gainsworth

    I am all upons.