On E3 and this Refreshing Community of Indies

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This E3 was the first one I payed any mind to in recent years. I remember noting moments from when the current generation of consoles was released, as well as G4 coverage of E3 a decade or so ago, but it has never been on my radar. Call me a hipster, or an elitist, or an asshole, but I tend to take large scale hype fests of any media; or tangible item for that matter, with a heavy sharp grain of salt. This isn’t because of the hype generated by the studios to sell games, but rather the insipid pseudo-religious praise and childlike reaction of gamers to these announcements. In my opinion it is due to a lackluster attempt from developers to develop good games, fueled by the ever increasing bottom line it takes to produce such large titles, leaving gamers wanting more quality, but getting quantity.

Everyone has a game from their childhood that they loved. Waking up a little early before school or work, popping in that cartage or disk, and getting through that next level before real life has to actually start for the day was only dwarfed by the unbridled joy of coming home and playing that same day. This visceral, addicting fun is what started many gamers on a lifetime of video games, and is something that every gamer looks for in the next big release from their favorite developer. The unfortunate nature of this following is that millions of units of bad games will be sold, and many will not learn from that. I’m not talking about subjectively bad games. I’m talking about dumbed-down, slow running, regurgitation of games.

Regardless of how many voices tell people not to preorder games, avoid collectors editions, and wait for un-biased reviews, masses of people will still be blinded by the name and boasted reputation of a developer, AAA or Indie; thus perpetuating the cycle of drivel that has been oozing out of the video game industry since almost yearly releases became the norm.

If you have stayed here this long without writing an angry, dismissive comment, you can probably imagine my disdain for the response of this year’s E3. This heavy, depressing anger that prefaced my almost unwavering feeling of dread for what could possibly be the next ‘1983 video game crash’ was overwhelming me. Even indies, the supposed saving grace of video games, as a whole were falling into the “Mo Money, Mo Problems” cycle of fail. I turned off my phone, stepped away from social media, and played some games to stop this spiral of anger and cynicism that can easily get the best of a person.

However, what made me feel genuinely hopeful through the this fog of negativity was the community that Indie Game Riot had not only exposed me to, but created around itself. All of the developers that Josh, Rev, and I have talked to over the last year, the myriad of live interviews from conventions across the country, and even casual Twitter conversations with devs, shows that even in the face of disaster, people who love games are making them, and making them well. The developers living on a shoestring budget, continuing after failed crowd funding, and fighting the ever fickle gaming audience are looking into the eyes of the monster called failure and defeat, saying “Fuck off, I’m making my game”. These developers do not only help build the community, they embody it. Although there will be cash grabbers, thieves, naysayers, and copy cats, there will always be these passionate men and women who will stop at nothing for what they believe in. You are the hope that shines through the darkness of gaming fueled by the gamers who are willing to experience the new, the fun, or the absurd. To the community of gamers, developers, and my co-hosts, thank you for being an amazing force to be reckoned with on the the front lines of gaming.

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