Earlier in the week I sat down on my couch and switched on my Xbox, I was tired and bored from a day of drudgery and hard work and wanted to unwind with a old fashioned gaming session.
The game of choice, the new Call of Duty game: Black Ops which my flat mate and I had played every waking hour since I forked over the pennies to buy it.
Now, not to say that I am bored with such a successful franchise as Call of duty, as I am new to the series (Starting with Call of Duty Modern warfare 2, purists of the series forgive me) …. Its just … that modern games bore me.
I know right? I hear your surprise and annoyance, “ron, how can you be bored with games like Modern Warfare 2 or Black Ops two excellent titles with great reviews ??”.
My answer is that, well I just am, hence this odd feeling.
What do I play then?
It was at this time I noticed a demo of Castle Crashers, an indie game by the creator of the well know flash game site, Newgrounds, which I had downloaded from the Xbox live arcade months earlier,
Seeing that I decided, what the hell, it would kill a few minutes while I decided what to play.
After buying the full game and all the download content associated with it several minutes later, I did not utter a word for another 5 hours, until my flat mate arrived back, I simply stated “.. I’m hooked”.
A simple scrolling beat ‘em up/RPG, the premise is to play one of four knights whom must save the princesses and if they have the time, the day.
The graphics are a simple yet quirky style that is iconic of the lead designer Tom Phulp and complemented by the HD nature of the Xbox 360. But what truly makes this game is its game play and multiplayer aspect.
Now I can go into exact details of the excellent levelling and combat system or vast amount of unlock able content in this game or the unique and additive multiplayer aspect which works quite seamlessly with offline play or the surprise I felt in finding this gem.
No, what I want to talk about is the fact I had bought such a great Indie title for a fraction of the cost which I had paid for Black Ops and yet, received the same amount of content with, if I dare say it, better gameplay.
Thinking further I found that as fun as Black Ops was…. It lacked the originality and gameplay that I expected from such major titles, where as Castle crashers had only needed solid game play and a catchy theme tune to hook me.
Looking at another game I seemed to spend my time playing is the infamous Minecraft, a building/survival sandbox game by the Majhong specifications, which has had a fairy tale run of success shocking and surprising the gaming industry.
You see it does the unthinkable and sacrifices big budget action and graphics to provide a excellent core game play experience while actually doing something which even the most popular games have failed to do as of late, it is unique.
Many different arguments rage about the unoriginal style of games coming from the gaming industry at the moment .
An industry where developers aim to pander to the casual gaming market by dumbing down gaming elements (Cover systems, regenerating health and quick time events I’m staring at you) and focusing on graphics and plot over gamplay.
So in a casual gamer orientated industry, is Indie gaming the beginning of a gaming renaissance in stagnated market of similar and unoriginal games?
I didn’t have time to answer my own question , as my flat mate then arrive home and kicked me off the Xbox in favour of Call to duty. What I do know is I still wanted to play Castle Crashers…..