The Indie-Doctrination, Or Why AAA Games Aren’t The Problem

cliff

Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll continue running around in ever-decreasing circles until I disappear up my own self-righteous arsehole. It’s as if every time I muster the energy to string together a few disjointed thoughts in the form of modern day prose, all I’m managing to do is contradict myself and arrive gradually closer to the sobering realisation that I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. I’d run away and join the circus, but, quite frankly, clowns piss me off and punting midgets aside whilst pretending I’m Godzilla would probably get old very quickly.

But, alas, history repeats itself once again today. The more woebegone flids among you might remember that, just a little while ago, I condemned the cage-rattlingly patronising “indie darling” label that the pseudo-acquiescent dildos in the media throw around so liberally, and that’s an argument I stand pig-headedly by like an urban looter next to befouled electronics shop. Now, however, I’m going to cover the other side of the debate because I’m a slatternly little hypocrite.

Rule 101 of online bitching is to cover one’s bases by laying down a solid preface to dispel anyone’s doubts, lest I wish to take an enfuriated commenter’s pipe cleaner up the cock-hole again. So here it is: I like indie games. In fact, alongside professional wrestling, televised science-fiction and ex-child stars’ autobiographies, they’re pretty much my favourite things to masturbate to. With that in mind, let it not be said that I’m in any way trying to bite the hand that feeds me, nor am I wishing to pour scorn on an increasingly pertinent sector of a rapidly expanding industry. Got it?

AAA-rrgggghhhhhhh

Minecraft HD

OK, here’s the thing. I’m admittedly a relatively keen follower of the independent gaming scene, but I’ve noticed a worrying trend that seems to have bubbled to the surface among its most fervent followers. They’re protective of their chosen hobby, you see, but that’s not where they draw the line. Far from it. So eager they are to dispel the incoming threat of the mainstream dismissal of the indie products that they, in a fit of self-consciously induced rage, become almost antonymous with, yet eerily similar to, the very thing they’re fighting against. They become haters of the AAA development model.

“If a game vies to make genuine strides towards originality, don’t automatically assume the involvement of a third-party backer will drag it down into the bowels of processed, spacktard-friendly purgatory.”

Aliens: Colonial MarinesNow, first and foremost, “AAA” is a bit of a bleach-chuggingly stupid term to begin with. It’s a slapdash label that’s either stapled brashly onto a decadent-looking blockbuster sequel by a corporate big gun in the eternal high street dick-waving contest, or it’s a derogatory exercise in playground name-calling lathered onto any publisher-funded title by the rising legions of indie freedom fighter factions. And while both scenarios are enough to pique my cynicism meter, it’s the latter that ironically comes across as the most smug and narrow-minded.

I’m sure you’ve all seen it in motion. If you, like many other contemporary internet browsers, have taken to Twitter in the aftermath of the annual Call of Duty announcement, you’ll be fully accustomed to all the embittered, antipathetic baggage that comes with it in the form of asinine hashtags and monosyllabic rebuttals. “Am I the only one who doesn’t give a toss about COD?” asks Joey McDouchenstein in a fit of inspired innovation. “Am I alone in my opposition to such recycled virtual effluence?” Keep fighting the good fight, Joey, you dynamic trailblazer, you.

But that’s just one game, one might contend. Fair enough. How about this for a suggestion, then? The next time E3 rolls around in all its wanton splendour, keep an eye on the Twitterverse and watch your IQ plummet as the minutes drift by and the quips splooge in. Dead Space 3 as a co-op game? Ludicrous! Splinter Cell’s affiliating itself with that foul Kinect contraption? The audacity! Why, I don’t even know why anyone bothers with this tripe! I care so little for it that I feel compelled to spend the next few hours articulating my profound apathy in a 140-character format!

Two Tribes Come To Adore

Call it the work of hipsters, revolutionaries or smarmy sadsacks with too much time on their hands, but the end result is always the same. It’s annoying. It’s exactly the kind of separatist behaviour that its perpetrators so often claim to be so vehemently opposed, yet it has that slightly more enervating ‘holier-than-thou’ edge that only a truly insecure evangelist can strive to replicate. These aforementioned concepts might end up making for reasonable jollity when all’s said and done. They might not. The point is that we don’t know, and no amount of presumptuous whining can give us any more of a claim towards the art of clairvoyance.

Indie Game MemeAnd what of the dreaded converse? What if it’s a small-fry indie title that’s greeted with mockery before it’s even had a chance to strut its stuff? We get offended, and rightly so. We saddle our high horses and wax poetic about our dreams that, one day, video games will be universally judged not on the size of its budget, but on the size of its heart.

With that said, here’s a quick news flash: acceptance works both ways. If a game vies to make genuine strides towards originality, don’t automatically assume the involvement of a third-party backer will drag it down into the bowels of processed, spacktard-friendly purgatory. At the same time, don’t postulate that a generic-looking indie product will be an interactive marvel just because it was created from scratch by a part-time carpet salesman in a Hartlepool outhouse. Simply put, a game is a game is a game, folks. It’s all about balance or something.

Obviously, I might just be jaded because I have no real friends and thus have to resort to hanging around with pretentious shlongjockeys, in which case you’ll have to forgive my warped perceptions of the surrounding world. Either way, I’m not here to inhibit your right to express your opinions in whichever manner you see fit, nor am I about to tell you what to spend your hard-earned money on. Just try not to be a dick about it, OK? Great. Now head over to the Comments section and tell me to lodge my miserable face into the nearest meat-slicer.

  • Garrett

    I enjoyed this article.

    “A game is a game is a game, folks. It’s all about balance or something.” Ha good words.

    Yeah I’m not looking for indie games or AAA games I’m just looking for good games.