Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

What’s Clogging the Crap-Filters This Year?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 2, 2016

I picked up a game on Steam over the weekend that billed itself as a 3D roguelike. I won’t name the game. I try to avoid dumping on indie games here, even when they really deserve it.

And man, this game deserves it.

What makes the game terrible? It came across as a Game Jam project crammed with nothing but off-the-shelf assets, thrown together with minimal design, and with half the features missing and the rest implemented poorly or broken. There are big gaping holes where features were obviously intended, yet it doesn’t bear an “early access” label. Instead, it’s being pawned off as a very low-priced complete game.

Which, I guess, if you have zero pride and don’t care about games or your customers, makes perfect economic sense as a developer in this day and age. Throw something together in a few days in an already stable engine, dump it on the market for pennies, and repeat. A good came takes 100x longer to make and will only sell for 5x to 10x of your price. You can generate lots of sales by being super-cheap and then running sales and throwing your game into bundles.

This may be the reality of the “race to the bottom” and the “indiepocalypse.” The filters are clogged with crap, so you can either make the risky move of taking the time and effort and money to make sure your title stands out above its peers and gets noticed by enough people to hit critical mass… or you simply dump more crap into the pipeline figuring some of it’s going to make it through by sheer overwhelming numbers.

And of course, with the Internet being the way it is, the game that aspires to greatness but falls somewhat short is entitled to only slightly less scathing criticism than the flaming turd dumped into the marketplace. Although this may be entirely due to the fact that it is almost completely ignored.

Such is our modern era of video games, I guess. It’s not new. I’ve talked about it before. And it’s not even unique to video games.

Can anything be done?!?!?!?

At this point, all I can ask is that people please, please try to be kinder or at least attentive to the lesser, forgotten, flawed gems. Review them. Talk about them. Recommend them, if you feel so inclined — with whatever caveats or reservations you feel necessary to make. Help them get noticed, so that the really lowly crap will sink to the bottom.

Filed Under: Biz, Indie Evangelism - Comments: 6 Comments to Read

  • OttoMoBiehl said,

    I’m trying to figure out how this stuff gets voted through Green Light. Also, it’s games like these that help perpetuate the “race to the bottom” attitude with price.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    It has licensed quality assets (and a ton of it) that it has jammed into the game with little thought. So it has a couple of cool screenshots and looks good on paper with lots of … stuff.

  • Andy_Panthro said,

    It is so hard to sort through the vast number of games available now, and things like Greenlight do very little to help.

    There always seem to be those one or two indies that get the big spotlight shone on them every week/month, across multiple websites. Are they just the ones with the right contacts, or the right marketing ideas, or perhaps they just get lucky?

    I’d love to see an article from various indie devs (of various levels of success) to see if they can shed some light on the process of trying to get your game seen in amongst the sea of others.

    Sometimes I wonder if it just comes down to having some interesting screenshots/artwork, or some sort of gimmick. Just enough to catch the attention of the media, and via them the general public.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    One issue is that the more well-known any technique becomes to “become visible,” the less useful it becomes because EVERYONE starts using it and it ceases to be valuable. Kinda one of those marketing quandaries… there’s a law of diminishing returns for each method.

  • Andy_Panthro said,

    A marketing arms race, I suppose. Which is even more difficult for indies, since they can’t usually afford the time or money for such things.

  • Mr Horse said,

    Don’t be so hard on yourself man 😛