The Indie gaming scene is pretty big right now on PC, as anyone with any semblance of knowledge of the gaming community is probably aware of. Indie gaming is an interesting endeavor, due to its need of unique or original game-play/hooks to enthrall the player in a hypnotic trance that gets them to buy the game. Not all are great, but I do like how the market has a tendency of ferreting those out while praising the great ones.
Hey, wasn't this supposed to be about the Vita's salvation, or some other random thought bubble? Well yep. It is. See the biggest issue one finds with the Vita is that issue all of us Vita owners are painfully aware of: that moment when you boot up the system, and go "huh, guess there's nothing to really play on here" and throw it back into its lonely little position, waiting for something substantial to come out. Yet the release flow has been slow, and many lament the systems lack of games as a major factor of why people don't get to use it as much as they want. Its a gorgeous machine, but it needs games to feed it, and keep us playing between the blockbuster hits that may or may not hit it out of the park, with some being spectacular failures. So how do these two ideas link together?
Indie games on Vita. This hasn't really been too big before now, but many indie games are migrating to the platform, and this represents the Vita's best hope for a better gaming library. Not only that, but it also represents an opportunity to get indie games into the hands of those who don't really PC game, and that will win Sony tremendous favor if they can keep up this indie support. And based on Jonathon Blows presence at the PS4 unveiling, I believe that's what we will be getting.
Limbo. Retro City Rampage. Thomas was Alone. Guacamelee. Hotline Miami. Mutant Blobs attack. All of these games are Indie, all are pretty well acclaimed or at least generating excitement in the case of Guacamelee, and all are coming to Vita. Already we have these great games coming to a system desperately in need of them and we see that Indie support is a master stroke if Sony can truly ride the wave and keep it up. While Xbox Lives archaic rules and regulations are seen more and more as a barrier to entry and, more dangerously for small studios, money, Sony has courted these developers and offers them more freedom and an easier system to get their games out and make money. Many developers have complained of this Microsoft attitude, Ala team meat and Retro City Rampage, as well as Valves issues getting free DLC to its customers. This is a terrible move by Microsoft, but in the end, who cares? They still have Halo, they still have Gears of War, they are going to still have blockbusters, alongside those Indie developers who choose to stay, like the twisted Pixel. Yet, so does Sony, yet this move helps them seem as the champion of the small developer, even while Sony's big franchise pull in major cash. But you know what lacks majorly acclaimed games and a larger library?
The Vita. The system and indie gaming, should the relationship flourish, can help the Vita grow stronger, become the go to platform for those looking for portable Indie games, and an easier way for Indies to find commercial success beyond the PC. And the Vita can have more games to play, and hopefully bring up the sales numbers or at least reward the faithful for their patience for bigger games, though even those may be eclipsed by the Indie successes. And as all of us with Vita's know, that's something we desperately want-and hopefully will soon have, wherever we choose to play.