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Staying Indie

Written by Mike Holmes on the 3rd of April 2014 at 14:48

You can read a variety of different opinions on the matter by heading here:

http://www.gamereactor.eu/articles/116494/Indie+Games%3A+He
re+to+Stay+or+Gone+Tomorrow%3F/

But I thought I'd articulate myself a little more definitively in this blog.

Indies are here to stay. I get what Molyneux is saying; that life's a series of circles/phases, and that things come and things go, but to suggest that indie games are going away assumes one thing that I think makes his point invalid: Indie games are not in themselves a genre. 'Indie' is just a cover-all phrase used to describe independently made games, generally with a low/lower production value to those that are made by triple-A studios. These games - passion projects, boutique experiences, genre throwbacks - they're going to continue to get made. And, importantly, thanks to the rise and rise of digital distribution, these experiences are more readily available than they've ever been before.

While I'm sure there's types of games, whole genres, that'll become obsolete in years to come, indie games themselves are here to stay. As far as I'm concerned that's a good thing, because while I love Halo and Mass Effect and Skyrim and games of that ilk, they're just a small slice of the industry. If anything, I can see indie games becoming MORE important, and MORE popular. Every niche will be filled, every minority represented. Games for everyone, made by increasingly diverse voices. That's the future that I see, and I really, really hope I've not got that horribly wrong.

Now excuse me while I go play some FTL.

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A wonderful (perma)death

Written by Mike Holmes on the 4th of March 2014 at 00:08

Last night I was blasting my way through a few missions in the rather excellent Xcom expansion, Enemy Within, and I was hit by a wonderful yet painful moment. It was the last mission before I wrapped things up for bed. My two highest ranking officers were on the board. We were escorting a VIP to the extraction point at the other side of the map. Two enemies dropped in, and in attempting to send my troops through the building underneath the point they landed, I inadvertently sent my best sniper to join them on the rooftop. Then I made my second epic mistake; instead of running back the way I'd come, I opened fire on the nearest target. Of course I scored a hit, but it wasn't enough for the kill shot, giving both my opponents a free blast at my coverless officer. Bang. Bang. Dead.

And thanks to the wonder of permadeath (and the fact that I'm playing Ironman), my Russian sniper is gone for good. She's no more. She's dead. She's an ex-Xcom agent.

I (rightly) feel like an idiot. I'm a little bit gutted. But I'm also more in love with the game than I was before, because it's made me feel something. It affected me. Permadeath might be a cruel, cruel thing, but it's also a brilliant feature, and when used properly it can turn a good game into a great one.

A wonderful (perma)death

Indie Seen

Written by Mike Holmes on the 7th of February 2014 at 22:54

In these quieter months, away from the hustle and bustle of the Triple-A minefield that is the run up to Xmas, we've decided this is the perfect opportunity to sample some of the indie games that have caught our collective eye in recent weeks/months.

Over the next few weeks we'll be playing a variety of different indie games, either through Steam Early Access, or via codes sent us by the developers themselves, and offering our thoughts with you here on Gamereactor.

The question is, are there any games that you'd like us to take a look at? Drop any names in the comments section below and we'll look into it.

The Long Wait

Written by Mike Holmes on the 10th of December 2013 at 12:32

What will we be playing in the months ahead...?

You got your next gen console in time for Xmas? I did, along with a couple of games. I picked my choicest titles from the launch line-ups, and I'm now preparing for the long wait before games start releasing next year.

I've got Killzone and Battlefield which should keep me busy online, and the addictive score chasing of Resogun to keep me entertained (and the free-to-play titles), as well as Forza and Killer Instinct on Xbox One. Maybe I'll find some money down the back of the sofa, and might pick up something else, but likely not (we are in the age of austerity after all).

Next-gen impressions were mixed, but many of the games reviewed well. The ultimate test comes from how well these games stand up to the test of time and extended play. Well, we're about to find out on both fronts...

Ready for Launch Night

Written by Mike Holmes on the 27th of November 2013 at 16:01

I just got back from my local specialist retailer, with a receipt in hand for my pre-paid PlayStation 4. They're taking money now to speed up the process on Thursday/Friday, with thousands of gamers expected to turn up and grab their new consoles at midnight tomorrow night.

I don't normally bother with midnight launches (unless they're Halo-related), but this time it's different. It's exciting that the next-gen is now almost fully out in the wild. With the Xbox One coming last week, followed by PlayStation 4 this, there's never been a more exciting - or expensive - time to be a dedicated gamer than right now. I'm grabbing Battlefield 4 and Killzone: Shadowfall (I know in a previous blog I mentioned I couldn't choose between the two - in the end I didn't, I chose both), and look forward to shooting some of you in the early hours of Friday morning.