Earlier this week I posed a question at the Boxcar Nation G+ community that I feel warrants wider discussion. The question was; What defines a game as an indie game? The moniker “indie” is widely used through the RPG community. Games are generally classified as either Indie or Trad (traditional) games, but what does indie really mean?
How do I define indie games? To me, indie games are Avant Garde in nature. They bend or break long-held or established rules or design theories. In their time, games like Inspectre and Fiasco were indie games, but the things that made them uniquely different and Avant Garde then no longer apply as they have become more commonplace.
Some gamers have proposed that the size of the company implies if a game is indie or not. While others have argued that the number of people (designers) working on a game are an indicator if the game is indie or not. While other says that if the company producing the game is a small or hobbyist publisher than it’s an indie game and if it published by a professional publisher than it is not indie. With the commonality of self publishing, is there really such a thing as independent publishing as the name “indie” might imply; as it once did in the music industry. As you can see ideas and theories are all over the place.
Let’s have an open discussion about what is and was is not an indie game. We may never reach a consensus, but hopefully we’ll all walk away with a better understanding of what this genre of games is and how to classify games.