Going it Alone

Indie games and the pioneers making a go of it without the backing of major players.

Going it Alone

"A Sidhe is an earthen mound where mythical beings live. It's also an independent New Zealand videogame company that's moved away from the hill-dwelling fairy thing to release six titles in the last five years. I've known about them for a long while: Like fantasy films, Antarctic storms and flaccid politicians, Sidhe has become part of the Kiwi landscape. But I'd never gotten near the source code, the how, why and what-the-hell of growing your very own game development ecosystem at the bottom of the South Pacific. So I called them up, begged my way in and spent a week learning the secret. Here it is, in seven easy steps, complete with magic beans and beer."

Going it Alone

"Harris is one of an increasing number of mainstream video game veterans who have abandoned big-budget, big-business game development and 'gone rogue' as small, self-funded, often self-published independent game developers, or 'indies.' Some see indie development as an entry point into a career in the majors. But for some jaded professionals who love gaming but are dissatisfied with the mainstream industry, indie development offers an escape - and a unique opportunity."

Going it Alone

"The job was supposed to be easy. All I had to do was find some missing art supplies. That was, until I found myself being attacked by a goblin barbecue team. Next thing I know, I'm getting a severe tong-lashing (not a typo) from the chef.

"Realizing how dangerous goblins with access to hot coals are, I did the only thing I could. I bashed them in the face with my trusty disco ball. But that's all in a day's work for an enterprising Disco Bandit, on a quest to save the strange and puzzling world that is Kingdom of Loathing, a browser-based, multiplayer RPG."

Going it Alone

"The epiphany hit me a few months ago when my girlfriend and I visited her cousins' Long Island home. Their 14-year-old son and his friends were playing Guitar Hero III, and most of the group lacked skill. As the in-game crowd booed another wannabe rocker off the stage, my girlfriend's cousin delivered the stinging words:

"'You died.'"

"Either the audience was particularly bloodthirsty that night, or this 14-year-old kid just pointed out how often death is synonymous with failure in videogames."

Going it Alone

"There are lots of independent game developers trying to make a living off of their craft - I'm occasionally one of them - but there's a growing number of people who create free games simply to make their voices heard. These are people for whom game development is not a primary profession; whose background is not in computer science or 3-D modeling; who build games in their spare time out of a curiosity and love for the medium and a desire to make the games that no one else will. Hobbyist game developers, self-published authors. Videogame zinesters."