The Hopelessly Compromised: Independent Games as a Movement against Mainstream AAA Video Games

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The last 10-15 years have seen the rise of a loosely defined independent games movement, often promoted as a more authentic type of video game than mainstream big budget video games (Juul 2014). For example, developer Dan Cook claims that “Indie games let me be a fan who is cheering on someone authentic and deserving” (Cook 2010).
This paper argues that while the label independent games nominally refers to the economic independence of the developer, it is just as important to consider the way independent games are positioned in a negative sense, by developers and reviewers, as a rejection of the design and values of mainstream video games. As such, mainstream video games play the role of the morally and aesthetically compromised other, an other from which video games must be saved; an other that independent games are assumed to be rebelling against. In this paper I will analyze independent games as a number of specific (and sometimes contradictory) rejections of particular aspects of mainstream video game design. I am examining the game design of selected high-profile independent games, as well as game reviews and developer statement about their games.
Here I am presenting general results, but the final presentation describes the empirical material in detail.
Publikationsdato21 jan. 2016
StatusUdgivet - 21 jan. 2016
BegivenhedConcerns about Video Games and the Video Games of Concern - IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Danmark
Varighed: 21 jan. 201623 jan. 2017


KonferenceConcerns about Video Games and the Video Games of Concern
LokationIT University of Copenhagen

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