It would typically begin with a piece of paper handed out in class or a phone call when we got home. The fervor would pace through my lungs, and I’d walk somewhat quicker to my front entryway. Once inside, two brief phrases:
- pass and login
- We would all collectively put our hands on the keys and log in, much like a modern Ouija board. The bulletin board system (BBS)’s straightforward text would come to life and move up the screen. For me, BBS games were a good way to get started in independent gaming. We were actually able to alter the music we played, so this wasn’t just a package to open and plug in. make up what we needed.
Legend of the Red Dragon (LORD) is still one of the most played BBS games. LORD is a kind of role-playing game that came out in the early 1990s as an “add-on” or “door” for dial-up BBSs. The game was actually made by creator Seth Abel Robinson to keep people signing up for his BBS. Ruler expected gamers to play something like one time each day, which kept them returning reliably. This simple idea to pass the time turned into a huge underground gaming hit without any promotion or advertising, and gamers are to thank for its success.
Sadly for BBS administrators, another, a lot bigger web-based local area started to develop the web. This didn’t, in any case, mean certain doom for Master or other comparative BBS works of art like Usurper. LORD is the oldest multi-player game currently in existence thanks to its nostalgic appeal and excellent gameplay, making it one of the first independent games. LORD has appeared in a variety of forms throughout the course of the BBS community’s existence.
Inner game modules (IGM), on the other hand, were what made games like LORD the true forerunners of indie gaming. The humble beginnings of the mod (gaming) culture can be traced back to anything resembling 1960s pop culture. Users of IGMs were able to alter the already-existing game to include more play options.
You enter a LORD forest on foot. When you first started playing, a talking tree gave you a snail and let you talk to fish. If you add at least 50 IGMs, the possibilities get even stranger. When the underlying game was depleted, gamers started to jab their fingers around to see what they could achieve.
The unsanctioned tampering with the game’s code was actually readily accepted by the developers. It was seen as sort of research and development, and it made the game last forever.
The first mod was a Smurf remix of the original Apple 2 Castle Wolfenstein game in which Smurfs took the place of Nazi soldiers. When Wolfenstein 3D was released around the same time as LORD, there were mods for the sound effects, levels, and characters. These mods completely changed how the games felt. In order to make the process of modding easier, gamers even started creating their own editors for other players.
Soon, game designers realized that allowing such alterations, which were inevitable, actually increased the game’s longevity. Gamers were encouraged to modify and analyze Doom in any way they could when it was released.
Even though worlds like Wolf3D and Doom are a world away from indie gaming, the fact that common gamers could break them apart and reassemble them sparked a lot of interest in doing so on their own. The concept of making a DIY game no longer seemed like something that could only be done by a fictitious programmer. Myfanwy Ashmore, a local Toronto artist, hacked a Super Mario Bros. Rom in 2000, removing all of the game’s structures, enemies, and power-ups. The creation was called “mario_battle_no1,” and it allowed Mario to become “the users’ avatar, walking seemingly aimlessly… a solitary mission without any obvious goal,” as Ashmore describes it.
Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns, the creators of “N,” which won an award at the Independent Games Festival in 2005, share this indie gamer’s desire to break and make your own. Raigan stated in an interview with Jim Munroe that the appeal of making indie games is that “we can decide right there ‘OK, we’re going to change the game.'” This is in contrast to the larger corporate model, in which each individual is just a piece that adds to a larger piece.
The success of the independent gaming community is due to this attitude. Like LORD, N’s success was dependent on player recommendations (or, I suppose, text). In an interview with Gamasutra, Jonathan Mak, creator of Queasy Games and the amazing Everyday Shooter, says that independent games do not face the problem of the corporate gaming model because “the only concern is the idea, or more specifically, your idea.” The hindrances that once existed for hopeful independent gamers have in short order disintegrated down. Even for people who don’t have a lot of experience with technology, various gaming engines like Multimedia Fusion and Game Maker make it possible for members of the gaming community’s concepts to come to life.
Presently the independent gaming world starts to move a ton like the non mainstream movie world. The point and nature of the games move this way and that. Some games, like Jim Mcginley’s Jugglin, are so much fun that only the DIY crowd should play them. Darwinia, the winner of the Independent Games Festival in 2006, undoubtedly has higher goals. Stories similar to the exhausting creation of the Evil Dead franchise emerge when such projects are funded. However, as Mak stated, the concept that any subsequent financial success is entirely coincidental is what initially exists in indie gaming. The line between when and where a game can remain independent is not always drawn in the same way.