Why Indie Games?

This article might start off a little bit… differently, but please! Bare with me here!

Do you remember the last time you felt awe playing a game? Campaigns that make you feel alive and refreshed are far and few these days. Half the time I play games I can predict exactly what’s going to happen. For the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I played a Call of Duty game that stimulated my narrative needs. Back in 2015, my gaming life consisted of multiplayer first-person shooters on an endless loop. From COD to Battlefield to Halo, over and over and over again. My whole gaming diet was lacking that sustenance. The slice of cake rich with plot twists, character designs, and emotional attachments. And then I found what I was looking for (which I’m going to assume you know from the title): Indie games.

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Games that weren’t there to pander to massive demographics and had more to show than cleaner graphics compared to the previous year’s edition. Indie games envelop you. The titles, although sometimes unheard of, are unique and crafted by small teams, many times starting from nothing. I’ve just been going on and on about how indie games give a whole new life to gaming, but let me give you a more personal example.

For those who’ve played OneShot by Little Cat Feet, you know exactly where this is going. For those who haven’t enjoyed the game themselves, I implore you to go check out our review, here, and possibly pick up a copy, then continue reading. There will be spoilers ahead!

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OneShot gave me something I haven’t felt from a game in a very long time. It gave me a connection. From the moment I entered the dimly lit, pixelated world, I knew something was going to be different about this game. The soundtrack from the moment I entered this game made my chest swell with excitement. If that wasn’t good enough, something refreshing happened that I was definitely not expecting. We were NOT the main character. In OneShot, the beautiful minds behind the game decided to have you play “God”. You were the influencer. While you did walk around and control Niko, all your interactions with him were between you and Niko. Two completely different entities.

We went the whole game watching and bonding with Niko. We explored the world with Niko. We met every individual we could spot with Niko. Helped countless people with Niko. And in the end, what does the game do? It presents you with a choice of two wrong answers. You can sacrifice Niko to save the world or you could sacrifice the world to save Niko. Reading this without playing the game might not do you much good, being that you didn’t grow that connection that felt eternal with Niko. Me myself, I didn’t know what to do. I won’t lie, it brought tears to my eyes. This poor innocent boy who’s done no wrong is faced with an ethical dilemma and turns to you, his God, for help. I couldn’t take it. I shut off the game then and there.

Too many thoughts clouded my mind, I returned the next day, ready to make a decision. The only choice that would be right was saving the world at Niko’s expense. But, when I finally hit clarity, the game threw a curve-ball that hit me in the gut as hard as a truck. I opened the game and saw this:

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Indie games are your favorite stories mixed with your best friends. So, why indie games? Because they’re the closest thing to true, real games.

Steam Indie Game Recap – Week of the 21st

Indie games come out every day. Sadly though, many of the incredible titles released never gain the publicity they deserve. Here are three games released this week on steam that deserved to be checked out!


1. Witchkin


“You are being stalked by evil dolls in an old black-and-white film”

Witchkin is a first person ‘hide-and-sneak’ survival horror game in the vein of Slender or Five Nights at Freddie’s.

The player takes the role of a child attempting to find his abducted little sister in an abandoned Texas farmhouse in the 1920’s. This house is home to the Witchkin–a family of terrifying toys, the children of a deranged woman known as the Candy Lady. Using her “children” she will do everything in her power to keep all who enter the house from ever leaving.

The base play mechanics of Witchkin are primarily stealth. Sneaking, hiding, staying quiet and aware of the toys and your surroundings are skills required throughout the game. Witchkin boasts a very strong and unique art style reminiscent of early silent movies, painted in the eerie sepia tones of postmortem photos and the murky shadows of nightmares.

Witchkin is a one-man show, only one person created the game: art, music, voice (with a little help from family members), and programming.

Check out Witchkin on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/682170/Witchkin/

2. Damsel

Cause some distress in this fast-paced arcade platformer. Speed through each arena taking on vampires, rescuing hostages, disarming bombs, hacking servers and much more. Super tight and responsive controls let you take on the darkness with precision and style. Balance frenetic action with split-second choices, and watch your back – you never know what direction the next vamp will come from! Armed with her powerful ultraviolet shotgun, Ra, make the undead see the light; or get in close and personal with devastating melee attacks. Or maybe, save up your shots and use Damsel’s powerful (and deadly) dash.

String together attacks and movement while collecting the mysterious arcane skulls that litter each environment. Challenge yourself to pull off combos and special moves and wear your high score as a badge of honor! Experiment in each mission to discover that perfect sequence of moves and shots that maximise your effectiveness. Damsel is a ballet, and you’re the choreographer.

– Super fast, frantic gameplay with that “just one more go!” feel.
– Quick, nimble platforming in over a dozen beautiful environments.
– Bite-sized missions, for those with busy schedules.
– Use your enemies and environment to your advantage. Temp your foes into taking each other out, then go in and clean up the rest.
– Rack up massive scores and hit the top of the leaderboard by completing bonus challenges and performing tricky moves.
– Play through the game in campaign mode, where you can hone your skills, or arcade mode, a classic challenge that sorts the women from the girls.
– Coffin loads of extra challenges and bonuses to extend your play time.
– Awesome original soundtrack.

Check out Damsel on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/452410/Damsel/

3. Scrap Attack (VR)

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– Dive into virtual reality and blast away waves of evil robots in an immersive arcade style shooter.
– Defend the crystal from the 5 ruthless enemy types with awesome sci-fi weaponry.
– Three different arenas of varying difficulties for you to master.
– Compete in online and local leaderboards for the top score.

How far will you push yourself to protect the crystal from the robot onslaught?

Check out Scrap Attack on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/774401/Scrap_Attack_VR/

Indie Game of the Week – Summoners Fate

A fast and fun turn-based adventure where you use top-down tactical combat and collectible card mechanics to master your strategy. Summoners Fate is a top-down adventure that combines exploration, card collecting and tactical combat. You control the fate of your Summoner and command an ever-changing band of companions. Defeat monstrous hordes and reap the rewards of treasures, allies, and powerful spells as you advance deeper into unknown lands. Are these chance encounters or do they connect to a greater meaning? Combat in Summoners Fate is turn-based, quick and gratifying. Hide behind trees or play a card that brings them to life. Douse your enemies in oil and ignite them with a fireball. Set a trap with a gravity spell to pull an enemy into your clutches. The possibilities are endless.

Support Summoners Fate, here!

Monster Tower Defense – Unleash Review

Unleash has a simple premise: build towers to defend your base and spawn monsters to attack your adversaries. The mechanics are easy to learn but hard to master, and with the sheer amount of variation for towers, walls, and monsters, it can be remarkably easy to find yourself knee deep in plans and combos, wondering where the time went. Hordes of monsters, strategy, epic base-building – these elements work in tandem to deliver a game greater than the sum of its parts.

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Sprawling campaigns might not be a thing in Unleash, but it’s bolstered by multiple game modes and maps to keep you occupied for a good amount of time. If battling a single bot seems too meagre an offering, don’t fret, because the game allows players to duke it out with up to seven Bots simultaneously. Those craving multiplayer experiences will also have their itch scratched as the game allows you to play with anywhere between one to seven friends. However you choose to play, either option is guaranteed to deliver an intense, competitive experience.

Unleash is a game where minutes can stretch into hours due to the ruthlessness of the AI. The road to victory is a rocky one, and even easy Bots can give you trouble if you’re unprepared. The more challenging ones could serve you on a silver platter, complete with rosy apple and curled tail. Beginners and veteran players can expect themselves to be thoroughly challenged.

My first match saw me going up against a bot, and I was confident I could win without effort. It had the word ‘easy’ tacked on at end of its name, so my expectations were low. I randomly inserted towers or walls into the grid-based map and hunkered down to await the horde.

The first wave wasn’t hard to defend against, but as the minutes ticked by and the number of waves climbed into double digits, monsters began to blitz past my walls, rendering my defence moot. I’d also neglected to build anything past the first few lines – convinced I wouldn’t need them – resulting in a panicked scramble to finish off those that got past. I restarted the match when the stragglers ended up biting off a decent amount of my health.

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Despite how difficult things can get, the game remains surprisingly fun. Being walked all over didn’t feel trying or upsetting, quite the opposite in fact. Losing just made me come back for more.

The game offers no tutorial but one can learn a fair bit from exchanging blows with Bots. It’s startling how often I’d get thrown for a loop. For example, I had no idea I could chain tesla coils until I saw my opponent doing just that. Placing two tesla coils opposite of each other produces a deadly chain of lightning between them. The bot’s base was structured in a manner that forced my monster spawns to walk from one end to another, and by putting three evenly spaced tesla coils, the effect it had on my horde was tremendous. They never reached the other end.

Sending monster spawns that require certain weapons to damage them is another thing the Bot did. It would spawn Snowrippers to attack when my base had no flamethrowers. Snowrippers need to be doused in fire before machine guns could hurt them, and I found myself scrambling once again to unlock the specified weapon.

Monsters can also be evolved, resulting in veritable tanks. Doing this early in a match produces spectacular results. It’s cathartic to see your horde waltz through an opponent’s defences without as much as a scratch. I really like how Unleash provides numerous opportunities for you to devise strategies and turn the tide in your favour. It can make a world of difference to familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of each monster, or tower.

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Pair a diesel shooter with a flamethrower to maximize damage. Send a Snowripper to attract gunfire while an acid spewing monster takes down walls. The possibilities are just waiting to be discovered.

The origin of events in Unleash are an intriguing read, but it never comes into play. Knowing X and Y happened is cool, but it doesn’t affect the player if they go into the game without knowledge of it. There is potential in its setting, it just isn’t fully grasped yet. Players wanting deep, engaging lore will be disappointed.

The story, as of now, is also non-existent. I enjoy the gameplay immensely but fighting faceless enemies can get old, I’d be more invested if the Bots have some manner of personality or backstory. DeSync studios seem to be in for the long haul, though, so things might change with future updates.

Overall, Unleash is a great game, well-worth your attention and support. It’s not the best looking title, but with such solid and addictive gameplay, I’d be a fool to dismiss it.

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/621940/Unleash/

AGDQ 2018 – Last Day! (Closing Thoughts)

Yume here from the last day of AGDQ 2018.

Let’s talk about what I think about AGDQ 2018 a bit.

Honestly speaking, after the big batch of tournaments was over, I got a bit “hungover” of the event. The tournaments kind of kept me personally going, entertained, and got me to meet new people of the different communities, especially with the puzzle game tournaments.

It was nonetheless a nice experience and a lot of fun meeting all these people. But in fact, I also kind of felt out of place if I wasn’t around my puzzle community as the not well-known streamer I am right now.

There are a lot of real big fishes around, which was a thing I liked a lot more about the European Speedrunner Assembly 2017. ESA was packed with a lot of smaller streamers. You talked to each other just casually, whereas AGDQ felt like a sales market where big streamers meet big streamers and small streamers meet small streamers to hang out with each other.

Of course, I’m exaggerating here a bit. I also saw people that are well known around the likes of puzzle streamers like me. But, that was a hand full and they knew each other from former GDQ events where people participated and had friends with them. I think it’s also because I’m a first timer at a GDQ that didn’t know how things are at such a big event.

To get to the point: In the end, I have very mixed feelings about how things are at GDQ compared to smaller events, where you have a good time with whoever you are in the same room with at any given moment. Communities kind of do their thing. There are some strays that hop from community to community. But yeah, if you don’t know people and if you are not part of a community, you’re in a bad spot to actually get to know new people. I’m sure it also has a bit to do with my own personality and such things, but mainly it seems like it is a much more introverted event compared to others where people are outgoing, watch you play games, sit next to you, and just start a conversation with you out of the blue.

So from a personal view, I’d recommend going for smaller events like NASA or ESA if you want to have a more easy-going atmosphere around an event or if you just want to meet streamers you know and hang out with them, be it if you are a streamer yourself or just a big fan of them.

Even though this might sound very negative, I’m really happy I got to go to AGDQ and see some of my friends in the communities I’m apart of that I most likely won’t get to see at other events.

Also, I promised some more badges at the start of the week, here they are.

Here’s the badge of the Wario’s Woods runner Peteyboo.

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And here’s the badge of a PuzzleGeneral member that volunteered.

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I think that’s it for this AGDQ. I don’t know which event I’ll cover for a next blog, but you’ll get an update for that in hindsight.

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed the journey!

Have a good day!

Medieval Combat Done Right – Mordhau Trailer and Overview

Mordhau, planned for release sometime early this year, is a first-person medieval combat game which has recently been gaining a lot of traction.

While much is yet to be revealed, what we do know is that you play as a knight boasting a sword, slashing at the other players as they charge at you with their weapons.

The combat system is based around mouse-dragging, moving it from side to side to make the sword swing in different ways, at any angle. For example, you could be going up against someone trying to poke at you with their sword, while you come in and in 1 quick swoop take off his head. The system is largely based on Chivalry: Medieval Combat, however, it is said to get rid of the many exploits C:MC had.

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(Yes, this is an actual screenshot from the game)

The graphics in Mordhau are absolutely stunning! The game looks almost photo-realistic, with shimmering chain-mail all the way to the deep red blood. They put so much effort into the looks of every single aspect of the game. So much so that some screenshots almost look like they’re from real life! It’s a shame we can’t play it for ourselves yet.

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If you want to see more, you can go to their official website or their Twitter account.

Mordhau’s Gameplay Trailer:

AGDQ 2018 – Day Five!

Yume here, and we already got to day 5 of this years AGDQ.

As I had a non-existent amount of sleep, the coverage on tournaments will cut a bit short for once, but we’ll still talk puzzles for a bit.

But yeah, there’s a reason why the night was short and I had to sleep into the day. It was time for Awful Games Done Quick.

It is a kind of tradition where games with controls that are close to unplayable, or just really silly games, are shown in this block. It’s been a standing tradition over the last few GDQ events.

This year, the Awful GDQ could also be called “Animal Games Done Quick”, except for some games like Superman 64. Yeah, there are people that speedrun Superman 64.

Let’s go over some of the games though. And if you want to have a really silly and fun time with bad games, you should certainly watch and even play them at some point. The crowd is a big part of this as well. If you want to go over and watch the videos, the block started with Superman 64.

The first game I witnessed in the streaming room was the end portion of Arabian Nights. All I can say about this title is that it’s not really Rated-E and the dialogues are really silly.

After that, was the first game I saw entirely, Enviro-Bear 2000. Five speedrunners were chosen by the people that donate to the cause. The game’s graphics were made in MS Paint, and I’m not talking about the good version of it. You’re a bear that drives a car and has to eat fish and berries in a given amount of time to survive through the winter and enter your cave. “Eat the fish” and “To the cave” chants went through the crowd at appropriate times and made it a spectacle for everybody in the room. The atmosphere was awesome.

Following that, Dog’s Life was on stream. Standard setup: you’re a dog and your girlfriend was kidnapped by a cat lady to be processed into cat food. To be fair, this happens to me at least once a week. The game is rated E (3 years and older) but the dialogues and some cutscenes in the game are, well, questionable (for that rating to say the least). And as the first skip didn’t work as fast as expected, the dog we played was washed enough times so that fur and hide would have been gone. Also a great time and the runner made it a real blast to watch.

The last run I saw at the venue was Animorphs: Shattered Reality. It is a platformer with some kind of battle interaction that mainly consists of running into your enemy to deal damage and trying to not run into their attacks. The controls of the platforming sections were described by the runner Keizaron as this: “Take a Crash Bandicoot game and strip it off everything Crash Bandicoot does well and you have this game”. As a viewer, I have to say it couldn’t be more precise by what I saw. I also had a great time with watching this run, and it certainly deserved to be in this blog.

Next up, we head to the tournaments. Sadly, I slept in for the Puyo Puyo Tetris Swap tourney, where I saw a chance to be somewhat decent in. I caught some of the final rounds and the competition wasn’t really bad. But as a more or less all-rounder, this would have been my best shot at scoring a good placement today. For the ones who don’t know much about Puyo Puyo Tetris, Swap mode is where you play both games, Tetris and Puyo, in the same game. You have specific playing fields for each game and you play for 25 seconds on one game and change to the other until a winner is decided. The finals had some twist to it, PiePusher11 won the tournament. I’ll cover the twist in tomorrow’s article.

Right after that, the dedicated Puyo Puyo tourney took place where we played only Puyo from PPT. I kinda had bad luck with the bracket and got to play FFRPro21 right off the bat, and gave him a run for the money, but still couldn’t defeat him. In the losers bracket, I played against the organiser of the Puyo only tournament, HarpoonCanon, and tried to get around him with good tactics as I don’t hold a candle to him skill-wise. I can say I won 1 out of 5 games against him and gave him some problems, but I never stood a chance to win.

Also shoutouts to the Puyo Puyo Tetris community as a whole. They are a really nice and welcoming people. Be it speedrunners or online players of the game. Mainly, the respectful attitude towards others like me that are likely not the best players, but still give some top players a hard time.

And then I made the worst decision of this AGDQ, tournament-wise. I skipped the Rocket League tourney and instead tried out the Yoshi’s Cookie for SNES one. NEVER…EVER…AGAIN. I want to say I’m decent at the stage clear mode, but versus is not something up my alley. Heck, I tend to be a loud person and curse sometimes, and I could keep it together even in the Pokémon Puzzle League tournament, but this game has the potential to make me lose myself within 5 minutes of Versus mode. I have to admit that the players I lost against had more skill and more knowledge about the versus mode than I had, so there’s simply no need to go further into specifics or hate the game at all.

Well, that’s it for the tournaments that I had an eye on for today.

As for closing words. some communities hold workshops to teach other people some games or techniques to help them get better at designated games. And even I got some private lessons from a person I look up to:

Blinzer, the winner of the Pokemon Puzzle League versus tournament, taught me some techniques and it fried my brain and thumbs. His playstyle and the marathon mode (High score game) were too much for me. The training was a really nice treat from him though and is very much appreciated. In a mere hour, I learned a lot about the basic skills that I still lack as a player that’s only been playing for a year. I could double my speed for inputs in this short time to get it consistently, over what I’m used to. Hence, my thumbs didn’t appreciate it as much as I did.

This is also one of the reasons why these meetups are a very nice event to attend. People help each other understand the games better and show them skills they don’t have right now. It is good to see that people inside a community care for each other and try to help them in person when they finally meet.

Guess I’m signing off for today to get some decent amount of sleep again. A Link to the Past randomizer race coming up tomorrow with a short interview with one of the participants, as I won’t take part in it myself.

Have a great day!

Heres Day Six with some closing costs!

It’s Not All Fun & Games – Game Development

“I want to be a game developer!” 15-year-old Timmy proclaimed triumphantly, planting a foot down and standing proudly to let the world know that he’d be the greatest dev there ever was.

A game developer you say? You wish to make games for a living? I should warn you, Timmy, that development at any level, from the little league modders to the world champ triple-A’s, is a notoriously grueling process; it is oftentimes a fight on multiple fronts.

“I don’t care!” shouts Timmy stubbornly. “I have been playing video games all my life. I love them more than anything and want to make them for a living.”

Well Timmy, that’s admirable, but know that many a Timmy before you have worn this path down beyond reason with the weathering of their own gruesome treks.

If you still want to be a game dev, Timmy, then here are some things to consider:


  1. Nobody cares about your unique idea.
  • Do not expect to get into a dev studio simply because you have an interesting idea for a game. As is often said, there is no room for a specialized “idea guy” in the video game industry. Everyone in a game development studio is an idea guy in their own right. They just have skills which allow them to make those ideas into a reality through some kind of creative medium. Which leads to our next point…

2. You need to have an actual skill.

There are a lot of disciplines to choose from, but you need to be good at one of them. Can you write a gripping story with few words that won’t be made into a victim of the game’s mechanics? Figure your way around a string of code? Model and animate cool characters, items, and worlds? Write a complete GDD with a feasible scope and make it into something with an engine like Unity or Game Maker Studio 2? If not, now’s the time to start learning. You don’t have to be the greatest, but you should be able to make yourself marketable.

“But I could be a playtester, couldn’t I? I could be someone who plays the games and gives feedback to the designers! It’d be just like what I did in my childhood.” Timmy said, giddy as ever.

Well, you can be a playtester, Timmy. Just know that you’ll be playing the same level over and over again until your eyes grow red and watery, and that you’ll only be searching for bugs; generally speaking, no feedback will be given to the designers. Oh, and the programmers will hate you.

3. You have to be good in teams.

Get ready to work with people you love and people you hate. Get ready to watch your precious ideas get shot down in broad daylight and left to bleed out by your cheery-faced team lead or project director. There are always people like Toby Fox, but it’s rare that anything quality ever gets made if it’s not a part of a collaborative effort. Professionalism, good character, and cooperation is paramount–just like in other fields.

4. Hurry up and wait.

It took over 100 developers roughly 4 years to make Skyrim. Development takes time–a LOT of time–and not just on the programmers’ ends. Get ready to stare at a screen for 12 hours straight and work well into the night–toiling away on a computer in some dark corner in the back of the room.

“I thought it was only the playtesters that had to worry about their eyes,” Timmy said, distraught.

If only that were true, Timmy. If only that were true.

5. It helps to know about game design.

There’s a reason why aspiring developers can take college courses on this stuff. While a sound engineer or a concept artist doesn’t need to know as much about a game narrative as the head designer, a knowledge of psychology behind games will do wonders for you as a dev. Whether it’s about keeping players glued to their screens like Valve has done for years with Team Fortress 2, or forcing out a ragequit like in Cat Mario, being able to dissect a game for its finer components helps–no matter what area you work in on a development team.

6. You need to be able to speak English.

This isn’t a problem for all, but a grasp of the English language will serve you well here. As time progresses, English grows increasingly mandatory in many fields in the mysterious realms of not-game development. If your career as a dev doesn’t work out, then be happy knowing that you’ll still have this universally marketable skill.

“I still want to be a game developer though!” Timmy cried, a fire in his eyes. “Games are my passion!”

Well, Timmy–stubborn or determined–know that I’m not here to (entirely) crush your dreams, because…

7. If you really want to develop video games, then you should totally go for it.

Just make sure you’re realistic. Don’t expect to make a living off of it and don’t expect all your plans to succeed. Start small, look to those of experience, and practice, practice, practice. Whether you’re a modder, a fan dev, or a blockbuster triple-A, you’re bound to have your ups and downs, just like you would at any other job. A life of game development is as equally rewarding as it is a life of hardship. If this is really what you want to do and you feel you’ve got the skills for it, then get out there and make it happen.

As a wise friend of mine liked to say: “Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you. Kick opportunity’s door down and fucking kidnap him.”

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Mighty Number Fail – Indie vs AAA (3)

Although there are innumerable times where AAA has defeated indie games in the rat race, there was one particular time where the failure was so great, it caught the eye of countless among the gaming community. Any retro gamer will tell you about Mega Man, released in 1987, and a great majority will tell you which one is their favorite, whether it be part of the original series of games or part of the Mega Man X series. Both parts of the franchise were legendary among gamers.

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Mega Man 2 is very popularly known as the favorite among the original series, while the first Mega Man X is held as the king of the second. Whatever side of the franchise they stand on, both factions will tell you that they were wholly disappointed by the crowd-funded passion project known as Mighty No. 9. Keiji Inafune had worked on the original Mega Man, and since Capcom hadn’t released a new Mega Man for several years (due to extreme franchise fatigue), he decided to take it upon himself to create what he called a spiritual successor.

The game was fully funded within just a couple of days and, by the end, it had reached around three million dollars, several times more than it was expected to reach. This is where a great deal of mystery enters into the fray. Despite infinitely more money than they could have ever needed, the scene became quite bleak. Though fans were still on the hype train with beautiful gameplay still frames, promising Kickstarter prizes and a game mirroring the greatness of the blue bot himself, they curbed their doubts. However, for reasons unknown, the game was met with numerous delays. Many questioned how they could be losing so much time with all of the budget they could ever want and plenty of time between the start of its production to its intended release. Still! They thundered ahead and readied themselves for the release!

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The fans were stomped with absolute disappointment. The graphics were not nearly as good as they initially looked in the original press release, the gameplay had very questionable extra, unneeded content, the voice acting rivalled Mega Man 8 for how terrible and stilted it was, and the story intermixed with constant interrupting character dialog was so very frustrating when you were trying to concentrate on playing the game!

Questions began flying at Inafune at a horribly extensive rate! His gross mismanagement of the game’s content and quality was called into question multiple times and their reaction to these questions boiled down to “At least you got a game.” Needless to say, contributors to the funding were not happy, and those old-school Mega Man fans were less than impressed with the game’s content. Mighty Number 9 reached the status as one of the Worst Games of 2016 across the internet.

Now, let’s be honest. It really was not a terrible game when you stand back and look at the forest for the trees. It worked, it was challenging, and the level design wasn’t terrible. Sure, some of the bosses were cheap and cringe-inducing in their tactics and while the story is abysmal, it still served its purpose for the most part. The reason the game failed in a massive cloud of hatred was because it tried to build itself as a return of a beloved franchise in the form of a fan requested game. It had all of the makings of a great game, but for one reason or another completely missed the mark.

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AAA titles have had their failures in the past, and many of them failed harder than Mega Man’s would-be successor. This should serve as a lesson on par with Icarus and the burned wings, but let’s face it, if they can build you up to their hype, development companies are going to do it. Inafune could have won big with this title but failed to pull it off in the end.

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However, once again, at least we have our silver lining. Evidently, Capcom caught onto Mighty Number 9’s Kickstarter success and decided that they would release their own game and do it properly this time. Mega Man 11 is set to release later in the year 2018 and it already looks smooth! Inafune may have spent multiple millions of dollars on failure, but at least his failure managed to cause another AAA win.

 

Wait, what am I saying?

The Sonic Spectrum – Indie vs AAA (2)

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To be frank, Sonic has had it pretty rough in the past decade or so. Ever since his massive success on the Sega Genesis in three massively beloved titles, he has been the victim of some very bad luck. While many would attest that it all began with Sonic the Hedgehog on the Xbox 360 (commonly referred to as Sonic ‘06), it actually started further back than that. Sonic ‘06 is just when it really became noticeable. Going back and forth in quality from the decent success of Sonic Generations to the abysmal failure of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, the Sega Mascot has had a dual failure/success rate of gigantic proportions.

One clear example of this is the very recent fanmade super game headed by Christian Whitehead, Sonic Mania. One could say that Sonic Mania is the most success the little blue hedgehog has seen in literally over a decade. That’s not to say there aren’t good recent Sonic games by major developers, but Sonic Mania has seen success that is unparalleled by the likes of Sonic’s most recent game, Sonic Forces. Talk about a quality difference of day and night, Sonic Mania has enjoyed the highest ratings, even by some of the most sceptical gaming reviewers, while Sonic Forces has been left in it’s super speeding dust.

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Even with the dream game mechanic of original character creation, Sonic Forces had very little else to offer. With poor level design, questionable controls, and the fact that you play as Sonic through most of the game anyway, onlookers were scratching their heads asking “Why create a character in the first place??” Sonic Mania blew all of it out of the water and turned that nostalgia dial to eleven. We were gifted with familiar gameplay and level design with a nice little twist here and there to brighten it up for the new generation of gamers, while leaving plenty for older gamers to ogle. Even the seemingly outdated graphics are updated and beautiful in a way that does not impede on the old-style 16-bit look.

The overall outlook is starting to become pretty clear on what Sonic games should have been doing the entire time. There have been successful titles that go outside the fast-running platforming of his original games, but those have been so few and far in between. Now we have two that are mapped out and marketed very near one another for a comparison that paints a very clear picture. Sonic fans are now hoping and praying that Nintendo takes some serious notes of this outcome because it’s clear that even true blue Sonic fans are getting fed up with the treatment that he has been getting as of late.

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It was a one-hit knockout. This contrast really goes to show you that innovation and imagination can create some serious greatness compared to just throwing money at a problem in hopes that it improves. AAA Gaming has been under some serious fire for lack of ideas in the ways of Sonic franchise fatigue, cash grab titles, and using nostalgia as a way to lure old school gamers into spending their money for games that have little to no effort put into them. This fan game may have been distributed by Sega, but let’s face it, it’s an indie game through and through. Now Sonic fans are hoping that the Sonic Team can learn from this experience, but at the same time, given his very questionable past treatment, there is really no telling what they have in store for our blue radical dude. All we can really do is stay tuned and drink water.

Check out part one of this series, here! In part one, we introduce the series as well as take a look at a horror concept that both Indie and AAA developers had no clue how to implement.

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