: Sunday Meditation: Lack Of The Clones

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Sunday Meditation: Lack Of The Clones

Do indie games absolutely have to be so original and innovative?

I think it is important to establish from the get go that I'm not lodging any kind of complaint. Since the last generation got rolling there has been a steady stream of incredibly innovative budget titles from small independent studios. They are often quite amazing in that they do so much with so little while hitting all the right nostalgic buttons.

When I read about them, play some of them, and see them on the store I notice that so many of them are actually a whole new take on classic gameplay styles. Whether it is the side scroller, the platformer, the shootemup, the 8-bit RPG, or the top-down dungeon crawler, these games tend to have a few things in common. They either A: put a heavy new twist on things that pay homage to the past, or B: heavily parody the genre they borrow from.

They don't feel like honest to God attempts at recreating the greatness of the genres they come from. I'm not advocating the blatant rip off of classic gameplay, characters, or genre standard-bearers. I'm not saying I want to see "Super Marzio Bros" on the store or anything. To a certain degree I'm just surprised at the lack of, for lack of a better word, clones. Frankly I'd like to see some; I know I'd buy them.

The quality of the games of yesteryear are now something that small studios and Kickstarter funded programmers can accomplish. Maybe developers feel they have to bring some kind of new twist to the old genres in order to sell copies. Perhaps that's true but I'm not so sure it has to be the case every time. Perhaps I'm in a minority but I feel like if I started seeing games from independent studios that took serious swipes at being the next classic Final Fantasy, Crash Bandicoot, Resident Evil, old school Tomb Raider, 2D Castlevania, Virtua Fighter, or Metal Gear Solid I would give them more than the passing glance I typically do.

With breakthroughs like the Unity engine and very indie-friendly publishing opportunities one would think that a few programmers out there would want to faithfully recreate past glory, but with their own plots, memorable characters, and gameplay touches of course. I know I'd be more interested in a seriously plotted original RPG that looks and plays similar to Final Fantasy VI than I would whatever kind of monstrosity is cooking in the head of Square Enix's latest company director turned president.

So long as there is a base of gamers over 30 who appreciate the old days there will be a built-in audience for games that remind us of past greatness. I just don't think they always have to be parodies and wild new twists. If the success of indie games has taught us anything it is that graphics and gameplay modernization don't matter nearly as much as people like to think they do.

1/18/2014 David D. Nelson

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Comments (13 posts)

Temjin001
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 12:48:03 AM
Reply

Runner 2 has a good nostalgic feel. It feels it's own too.

Try that one World, if you haven't already.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/19/2014 12:48:23 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 8:25:51 AM

I'll give it a look.

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___________
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 2:31:40 AM
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oh but there is!
crash bandicoot a perfect example theres been quite a few projects to try revive the series, they just never came out because most of them were done by a very small amount of students who underestimated how hard it would be.
the HD remake of the original crash bandicoot which was suppose to be a crysis mod for instance, was really looking forward to that till it was put on hold, than supposedly revived even though they havent said boo since may last year!
or even crystal wrath which is suppose to be a reboot of the series, a totally new story while encompassing a more open world.
wish they wouldnt do open world though, crash is suppose to be a 2D side scrolling platformer!
they just dont work in 3D, i mean can you imagine earthworm jim in 3D?
wish they would give us the style of 3 warped, by far the best crash game!

or even Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta, while a crap game, was a indie clone of the uncharted series.
modern combats a indie clone of the COD series, and actually a really good game!
N.O.V.A is another indie clone of not a specific game, but the missing SCIFI shooter genre and again a really good one!
or leps world a little too much a obvious clone of super mario bros, but hey nintys never going to let that on mobiles, and its the perfect game for it, so its about f*cking time someone brought that over!
now only if they would do a galaxy ripoff.........

theres tons of indie developers doing clones of big AAA franchises!
if anything theres more indies out there cloning the big boys than there is indies trying to do their namesake, ie creating new ideas.


Last edited by ___________ on 1/19/2014 2:39:24 AM

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Beamboom
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 6:07:43 AM
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It's an interesting editorial you write here David, I really like the calm and "quiet" tone of the sunday meditations. You got yourself a fan in me. :)

But I don't fully agree in your underlying assumption here. I believe there are several indie games that are pure and complete retro productions, taking the old days fully seriously and recreating the stuff that was done back then. Sometimes with upgraded graphics and sound, but with the same sincerity and core gameplay as back then.

Now, I must do one disclaimer: I have no idea how many of the indie releases I have in mind here that have reached the PS3. I stopped using my PS3 well over a year ago so I base my entire comment here on my experience with games distributed on Steam.
But nonetheless, there *are* indie devs out there who do what you call for, and with Sonys new focus on the indie scene I say we should fully expect this to also reach PSN.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/19/2014 6:10:15 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 8:26:03 AM

Thanks Beam.

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mid10smaradoarg
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 7:56:24 AM
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I would like to see at least a word about H-HOUR on this site.
But i guess you guys dont talk about no respawn games.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 8:22:14 AM

I wasn't aware of such a game.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 10:23:34 AM

I don't even get the second sentence.

And I've never heard of it, either.

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Beamboom
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 11:02:32 AM

I had to look it up too. And according to Wikipedia it's "a spiritual successor to SOCOM. It is a Hybrid third-person and First-person shooter for PC and PlayStation 4. After a successful Kickstarter campaign ended on July 17, 2013, the game went into production with a planned release of January 2015."

But yeah, totally new for me as well. Interestingly enough it's planned for PC and PS4 only (not Xbone).

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Killa Tequilla
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 12:33:53 PM

I've mentioned H-Hour before. A youtuber has great influence over the game. BlackWido88. For the latest details, he's your guy.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 12:50:09 PM

Well see maybe a few here and there will happen. The point is I'm less interested in novelty and more in substance. The point is NOT that there's nothing substantial out there at all.

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Kryten1029a
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 5:29:06 PM
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One of the reasons that I've been so pleased with the growth of indie gaming over the last few years is their willingness to tackle new themes and innovate. Look at "Papers, Please" as an example. No one has really done anything like it in the past and no major publisher would pursue a project like that. If anything, the majors are too cautious which is why we wind up with so many "Call of Battlefield Honor" type games. Reviving dead genres or iterating on established themes is all well and good but I'd like to see people pushing the boundaries and experimenting. Evolution is a good thing.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 5:40:30 PM

It is good, but personally I find them to be little more than novelties.

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