Dividing the Mainstream from the Indies

Boing Boing Offworld is Boing Boing's entry into gamesis led by Brandon Boyer, a former editor of Gamasutra. Gamasutra is the gaming news blog set up by the publishers of Game Developer Magazine, which is sort of the industry publication for game developers; in each issue is columns and articles from insiders in the business of creating games. While Gamasutra does publish the content from the articles of GDM, the blogging on Gamasutra reads more like press releases which lack editorial opinion given the site's need for advertising revenue from the game developers (who take out ads for employment or to advertise their next game). Boing Boing Offworld currently reads like a less gutsy, but a little more indie minded Kotaku.

Now, the problem with most gaming blogs is simply that they either focus on the business of games (which game has just released, what the sales figures are) or one a particular subset of the genre (i.e. the various WoW fansites out there, Massively for MMOGs, etc). Offworld is attempting to cover the "indie" scene but yet they have a post about Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead, two titles, which I would not classify as being indie, but rather mainstream. Fallout 3 is a licensed sequel bought from the failed Interplay, and Left 4 Dead comes from Valve, which is indie in the sense that they are not owned by EA, Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony, but mainstream in that everyone knows who they are. Indie to me, lies more along the axis of developing offbeat independent games with a small team of developers that mainstream audiences tend to find little interest in because they are unpolished and raw, yet subtly quirky enough to attract the interests of the everyday gamer. Three Rings, for instance, is the perfect example of an indie game developer -- they develop and publish quirky casual games that appeal to a limited audience, and aren't on any of the major game consoles; their games' appeal spread by word of mouth, and by the creativity of their game design.

For Offworld to become successful, it needs to echo the Boing Boing formula of linking to interesting content, and I think in the current game blog universe, especially in the field of indie games that it will be a struggle to not turn into all the rest.

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