The video game industry has been a large source of culture for the western world for many decades now, staring in the 1970s and continuing today. From Pong to God of war these games have evolved and become more complex as time goes by. With every leap games become closer to reality and also more diverse. Although the biggest market for video games in the past has been predominantly young white boys there is a shift that is starting to happen within the industry as more people begin to join the video game scene. Technically the adult female population outnumbers this young boy population of gamers but this doesn’t separate the different types of gamers. A lot of the research done doesn’t denote the difference between those who play games on their phone versus those that play on consoles and computers, slightly skewing the statistics slightly. Women more typically play phone games or Facebook games, like Candy Crush or Farmville respectively, and would be considered casual gamers. While on the other side men are more typically the ones who play console and p.c. games, making up the majority of core and hardcore gamer demographics. This is also present in gaming advertisement which is focused mostly on this white male demographic because this is where the expected profit will be made for large companies. These ads do include women but they are more often then not an observer and not the player. This leaves the female and ethnic core gamers in a zone of non-representation. what can be help these left out groups? That is where indie games can come in and help these underrepresented groups.
Indie games have the ability to market themselves to niche markets, allowing them to include groups that have been underrepresented or ignored by the majority of game companies over the years. From dungeon crawlers to puzzle games, the indie market allows all types of games meant for all kinds of gamers to be brought forth to the gaming populace. Places like indiegogo, Kickstarter, and Steam can bring these games to the masses thus allowing a more specialized experiences for those who’s taste doesn’t align with the mainstream or targeted gaming audience. This also allows the casual gaming masses to have more diversity in the amount of games they can play and with women making up the majority of casual gamers allows them to be more represented as true gamers. Games such as Stardew Valley take that which makes Facebook games fun and turns it into a full experience, initiating the casual gamer into the core gamer group.
Another reason why indie games matter in a time like this is that they allow for more self expression than triple A titles may allow. With the birth of the internet came the ability to send out one’s opinions out into the either and spread their message to anyone in the world that is connected. No longer was their the need for the mixtape to share the music one likes to each other. Now both sound and video could be sent to one another, why not games as well? Similar to how a mixtape was a cut of one’s favorite songs or parts of songs, sharing games and mods can be seen as an evolution of of the mixtape mentality. Modding and spreading these mods actually has lead to the creation of entire games themselves. Titles like Garry’s Mod and DayZ started off their life as mods shared by friends that eventually became full games themselves. Similar to that content in games can be shared now in a similar manner and some of the best for sharing are indie games. Games like Minecraft or Simple Planes are built on creating new worlds or objects and sharing them with friends and strangers on the internet. They allow for a self expression that can’t be done in games that are more mainstream or generic for the masses. Many more indie games have features like this, where the player can share their creations with each other. Another layer to this is that games in general can be used now to create machinimas. Machinimas came into being in the beginning days of YouTube and are still just as popular as they were back in those days. Indie games can be used to create a unique machinimas that can be shared through YouTube, allowing them to stand out from those that use more well known games such as Red Vs Blue using the Halo franchise or Freeman’s Mind using the Half Life games.