Reply To: Activision Drops The Hammer

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Great! Direct2Drive and Steam are both running indie promotions right now.  Here are your first indie assignments:

Direct2Drive – 10 games for $30.  I can personally vouch for World of Goo, Braid, Aaaaa!, Machinarium, and Crayon Physics Deluxe.  Heck, just those games by themselves would be worth $30.

Steam – 7 games for $10.  Haven’t played these yet, but for $10 how can you go wrong?

I forgot to mention Machinarium in my list of Indie games in my last post.  It was put together by a Czech studio, but is language independent.  Character backgrounds and plot elements are cleverly conveyed through the animated thought bubbles of the robots.  Puzzles are relatively intuitive, and the sound and artwork are top notch.  The game was a bit short IMHO but it’s definitely worth a play by anyone who considers themselves a Sierra fan.  The game engine is Adobe Flash.  Is there nothing it can’t do?

I’m not sure there will be a video game crash, per se.  Maybe a shakeup if enough people revolt, but I doubt that.  The big difference between now and the 80s is that a much, much wider demographic plays video games and there are many powerful platforms to release to.  Also consider that Sierra’s vision has come to pass – Much of their efforts were dedicated to pushing technology to the state where an interactive movie could be made and being able to bring it to a large audience that weren’t necessarily computer enthusiasts.  They single handedly pushed advances like sound, graphics, motion cap, and video cap into the gaming world.  And as tech has advanced, so have budgets.  Hundreds of millions of dollars can be poured into a game development project and a successful franchise can easily get to the billion dollar mark.  With that said, if you’re going to spend that kind of money, it has to be a sure thing.  Cranking out formulaic twitchfests like Battlefield or COD doesn’t hurt EA or Activision any more than Larry the Cable Guy or Will Ferrell hurts Paramount or Sony.  People show up in droves to watch such brain-melting fare and push that dreck to #1 to make a lot of people a lot of money.  What’s the obvious follow-up? Rinse and repeat.  Games have become more like movies in more ways than anyone could have imagined.  Be careful what you wish for, eh?

And yes, I like indie movies, too.