I’ve been playing games for a long time, and have seen a series of changes as time has gone by.

The first half of the ’80’s brought games based on every conceivable (and some not expected) subject possible. The latter half of the decade was all about platformers.

The ’90’s were fighter crazy, as well as the advent of 3D, well, everything. Even games that didn’t need to be 3D were made 3D.

This decade has brought a lot of FPS games and MMORPGS, and have now evolved into largely mini game and party game compilations, and pet sims.

There’s been other genres and fads, of course, but these are the first thoughts that come to mind when I look back on these eras. For me it was more of the following: Arcade, platformers, RPGs, fighters, music games… and now?

Indie games.

These days, downloadable content is bringing a whole new way of playing to the gamer, and is coming from people more like you and me, instead of the ultra-mega corporations that absorb every tiny company that they come across. XBLA and WiiWare (which has finally started coming into its own) have been wonderful in bringing the gamer original content with fresh ideas, instead of the churned out twice a year update, and countless clones of the same idea. For a while I feared that the game companies were running out of ideas, and perhaps that really is the case, but there are a few upstarts that are keeping my passion in gaming alive.

A small sampling of these games? Castle Crashers, Braid, World of Goo, Penny Arcade Adventures, Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People… and even titles like Cave Story and the upcoming Owlboy. Sure, many of these are based on previous genres, but they’re bringing new ideas to the mix, or are reintroducing specific genres (point and click adventures, beat-em-ups, 2D platformers) that have become a bit of a dying breed. It brings back fond memories for older gamers, but introduces new gamers to genres that aren’t currently glutted on the market.

Here’s another good example of these “indie games”. Take a look at Crayon Physics:

(The song is called “Lullaby” by Ghost. It drove me nuts as well in trying to find it, so I’ll spare you the pain).

The real question is: Why aren’t we seeing more games like this out on the market? Games that look like they were made by someone who actually loves video games, instead of games that are a dime a dozen. I could go the rest of my life without seeing another disgruntled space marine or horse grooming simulator. It seems like the biggest publishers have been the biggest culprits in losing touch with their user base, and more certainly original, creative ideas.

So that’s where I am: More interested in games that you can download from home than what you can find on the store shelves. Gaming is starting to feel a bit stagnant, and seeing these games that actually attempt to try something new becomes a genuine breath of fresh air.

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