The B-Team Podcast
Episode “The Ball Gaggies 2013”
Does the so-called next-gen of gaming got you down? You’re not alone. 2014 doesn’t look much better if you’re only looking at Triple A titles and gaming consoles. Hey, you know it’s true! We’re just seeing more of the same old (with slightly prettier graphics and better performance) in this generation of consoles.
Fortunately, there’s the PC and the indie gaming scene to save the day. Now, I know some people love to take a proverbial dump on indie games. I recall Derrick Hopkins agreeing with some AllGames.com chatters that indie games needs to stop meaning “cheap, crappy games with retro graphics” and be more about quality games that aren’t from a big studio.
I reckon indie games are already there, though we arguably back to the days of the NES; that is, it’s so easy to develop and distribute video games nowadays (thank you, Steam, RPG Maker, Blender, Physx, Unity, etc.) that there are tons of crappy releases cluttering the marketplace. It’s unavoidable that we’ll run into games that should not even exist. There are also those that are more tech demos and experiments than anything else, but there are far more unique titles coming from small, virtually unknown studios than there are from the major studios.
In one of the first episodes of 2014 for The B-Team Podcast, everyone shared their favorite games of 2013 in a special call called the “Ball Gaggies”. I joined for a bit before kicking off HorsePLAY! LIVE for the evening and it was great fun. The different categories that were covered were interesting. What was more interesting is how lots of indie games popped up in non-indie categories.
The B-Team’s Ball Gaggies were entertaining and very enlightening. I’ve noticed that we are seeing indie games permeating more mainstream spaces and that’s not going to change any time soon. Crowdsourcing seed money and influence via social media – that’s what has made this all possible. Thank goodness, too, because the mega-publishers are too scared to take risks and try out fresh new ideas. As such, everything that is being released is utter rubbish.
My picks for 2013 are games that have been released in the past four to six years yet are still fun today. As you may have already learned, a good game in my book is one that has high replay value, social/online features, and/or deep immersion. Amongst my favorite games of 2013 were X-Com: Enemy Unknown, Steam Marines, SolForge, Scrolls, League of Legends, DotA 2, Space Hulk, Risk of Rain, Rogue Legacy, and Skullgirls. Many of these games could be considered indie or at least follow an indie spirit. Quite a few of these were Kickstarter projects or funded through unusual methods.
Of particular note is Rogue Legacy (as depicted in the featured image), a game that will instantly remind you of Metroid, Castlevania, or, to a greater extent, Ghouls N’ Goblins. This is a game that I felt was just a hipster favorite due to the retro graphics and nostalgia, but I soon found out it was so much more. Rogue Legacy is amazing in my book because it is a single-player game that I actually want to keep coming back to (I’m more of a multiplayer gamer) <u>AND</u> it manages to make you feel fully-invested in the experience, something most roguelikes inherently have an issue with.
Another game worth mentioning is Steam Marines. I think this one may fall under the radar, which would be a great shame considering that the tactics space is lacking. If you enjoy XCOM, Final Fantasy Tactics, FTL: Faster Than Light, or anything of the sort, this game may have something for you. In simple terms, it is a sci-fi tactics games where you are marines in space killing stuff.. But there is surprising depth in this simple little package. Best of all, every playthrough is completely randomized so there’s always a challenge to be had!
I won’t get too into these games because, really, they deserve their own review.. but this just speaks to the innovation we see in the indie industry. It was nice to see the Ball Gaggies embrace some of these titles because, really, the mainstream stuff is becoming quite repetitive, amirite?
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