The summer of 2008 was a memorable one for me; I was gifted a PlayStation 3 for my birthday from a few friends who worked with me at Toys”R”Us. As a poor college student, I never would’ve been able to cough up the $600 for the console, nor pay for accessories and games, but I had amazing friends. My first game was the Bioshock demo and Metal Gear Solid 4 on the system, but what I didn’t realize, is that I would find my love for indies while enjoying this console.
In 2009, I bought a game called Flower, a whimsical adventure that allowed the player to control the wind using the motion of the controller to manipulate the on-screen objects. Throughout the game, it tells a sad but hopeful story, and gives the players much to ponder upon. Looking deeper into this game, I found that it was created by That Game Company, which was a small studio founded in California in 2006, which is also the year the first game they developed, Flow, came out on PS3. So, of course I bought Flow and enjoyed it as well. Fast-forward to 2012, and the third game made by the studio, Journey, had arrived; I was ecstatic to participate in that journey.
As time went on, I had bought a Wii U, and hoped that That Game Company would make a game for Nintendo’s platform, or at least have a port of previous titles, though Sony may have had the exclusive rights to them. I even sent them a tweet about getting the games ported. But who knew it would take 15 years to finally see a game from them on a Nintendo product in the form of Sky: Children of Light.
This of course, is only part of the journey, and I also wanted to mention some other indie titles that have shaped what I thought about games, and what I had never imagined experiencing before. These are titles that are ingrained in my mind and hope to see future games in the series or at least new games from the studios that developed them.
Sony PlayStation 3:
- Deathspank (2010) Developed by Hothead Games and published by Electronic Arts.
So there are two other titles in the Deathspank series:
- Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue (2010)
- The Baconing: (2011)
These games were all action Role-Playing titles that followed the main character Deathspank around on his hilarious and zany adventures. I had also played this game out of order and started with the sequel then played the first one, which made for a little story confusion, but the reason I played it was the addictive mechanics, powerups, and comedic narrative.
Microsoft Xbox 360:
- Plants vs Zombies (2009) Developed by PopCap Games and published by Electronic Arts.
What a fun tower defense game, it was very addictive and had such unique upgrades and story. A fun fact about this game for me personally is that after playing this at a friends house day one when it came out on the Xbox 360, my wife and I decided to go buy an Xbox 360 specifically to play this game. Though at the time it made sense, it ended up coming to so many platforms, but it was nice to be able to play some Microsoft exclusive titles because of the purchase.
Other series that PopCap Games have made are:
- Bejeweled (2001 – 2016) with 5 games in the series.
- Peggle (2007-2013) with 3 games in the series.
- World of Goo (2008) Developed by 2D Boy and published by Tomorrow Corporation.
This physics-based puzzle game was such a unique concept, while the levels were both rewarding and challenging. The concept was simple, build bridges made of goo to help other goo blobs reach the goal. A solid foundation for any game.
Other fun and interesting titles from Tomorrow Corporation include:
- Little Inferno (2012)
- Human Resource Machine (2015)
- 7 Billion Humans (2018)
- SteamWorld Dig (2013) Developed and published by Image & Form.
If you haven’t play this action-adventure platformer, please go and try it out. The concept is simple, dig, but the journey is challenging and fun. The upgrading, gem collecting, and solid story line is what really makes this game shine and it defiantly would not be considered shovelware based on its high quality as an indie.
Other games by Image & Reform incude.
- SteamWorld Tower Defense (2010)
- Anthill (2011)
- SteamWorld Heist (2015)
- SteamWorld Dig 2 (2017)
- SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech (2019)
- The Gunk (TBA)
- Firewatch (2016) Developed by Campo Santo and published by Panic.
One of my favorite entries on this list is Firewatch. I consider this game an adventure genre. but some would also consider it a walking simulation game. Firewatch launched me into a whole new love for indie games, as well as similar types of games in this genre. Campo Santo did an amazing job submersing me into the experience and I wanted more and still do. Though they have moved on to a different project, this game always will be imbedded in my mind. When you read the title, you think of fighting fires, but Firewatch is so much more than that, and I hope you will take the time to play this phenomenal story.
The current project the Campo Santo team is working on is slated to come to PC, MacOS and Linux:
- In the Valley of Gods (TBA)
We don’t know much about In the Valley of Gods, but hope to receive some more information soon.
Like most journeys, you never know where you may be going, or what will surprise or disappoint you, or where you may end up, but the fun of it is you never know until you take your first step. My wife made me an anniversary gift one year with this quote from J.R.R. Tolkien that makes me think of the path I’m on.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”J.R.R. Tolkien
Keep an eye on where your stepping and the journey will be that much better.
Shane Kelley is a Staff writer for Boss Rush Network, as well as a writer for Another Zelda Podcast. His favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can find him on Twitter to talk video games, Marvel, and axe throwing.
Featured Image: Techgirl