Independent games were born and raised on the PC. Our platform has always been friendly to the new, the small, and the weird. Today we're excited to redouble our focus on a vibrant and important area of gaming with a channel dedicated to them: PC Gamer Indie. We’re new too, we’ll be small at first, and we might also be weird. Indie games have been an inseparable part of PC Gamer’s coverage for years but this channel will help us make those stories more frequent, deeper, and wider-ranging. But why now?
, and itch.io overflows with games ready to take bites out of the wounded beast we call free time. I just saw a retro game you can only get on. There are two totally different, XCOM-inspired strategy games with "Phantom" in the title. Indie games are everywhere, rampaging, and will not stop. And thank God for that! But if you need guidance through that storm, we're here to help.
# of new games on Steam over years. pic.twitter.com/ugGkvqgMpTSeptember 14, 2017
That's not the only reason we're here. The first Humble Indie Bundle was seven years ago. Derek Yu put the freeware version of Spelunky up nine years ago. Cave Story and Gish both appeared online 13 years ago. We were playing Flash games on Newgrounds 19 years ago. In some countries is old enough to drink. Now's the time to look back as well as forward before these moments are forgotten.
Over the next week you'll see a piece by Richard Cobbett about the rise of indie games going back even further, beginning with their roots in the '80s and '90s. You'll also see stories on the Giger-esque art of Scorn, an open-source engine you can use to make your own ARPG called Solarus, co-op monster tamer Re:Legend, how smaller teams handle Steam launches, our argument-starting list of the best indie games, a guide on where to go after Stardew Valley, and an exclusive look at the new game from the minds behind FTL, Into the Breach. We'll also have an article on how games like Hellblade blur the line between indie and "AAA."
I think that gives a good idea of how broad PC Gamer Indie will be. There's never been greater parity between the work of independent creators like Klei, Devolver, Facepunch, Squad, and the bigger-budget studios that make up the industry. One of our early supporters of the channel is Square Enix Collective, which is making some of this work possible. Square Enix Collective helps indie developers pitch their games, get community feedback, and publishes promising projects like Tokyo Dark.
The first game I professionally reviewed was Audiosurf, for a music magazine I worked on in 2008. I've been writing for PC Gamer since 2015 and I'm the guy who keeps voting for text adventure Spider & Web in our list of the . I've written about , , and .
I live in Australia and my dog's name is Mika. You can find me on Twitter: @jodymacgregor
Indie games don't exist separate from the other stuff we play, but this channel will help us better showcase the projects we think are likely to be special. I'll be doing that every day on pcgamer.com/indie, where I'll be joined by news writer Austin Wood (you may remember him from this story on Ark's price hike, or our look at Return of the Obra Dinn). Austin has been writing features for us since late 2016, but his background is actually in news, so he's a natural fit. Contributors like Lauren Morton, Leif Johnson, Jessica Famularo, Luke Winkie and others will be presenting features and reviews alongside us.
If you want to help support this work, you can subscribe to the PC Gamer Club and receive some great stuff from us each month, including game keys. And you can join our Discord community, where we'll be talking about the games and stories from this channel.
We'd like you to be part of that conversation. Indie games are often personal things, undiluted statements direct from their creators, and we'll reflect that with the style of the stories we create. We want your memories, reactions, and recommendations. We want to have good conversations so I'll point you to our commenting rules and guidelines, but beyond that the most important rule, and the thing I'd like to leave you with, is the advice of philosophers Bill & Ted: “Be excellent to each other.”