The Impact of Indie Games


Written by Zoey Foss, A & E editor

It’s only fitting that America, a country built on the notion of independence, has a heavy indie gaming community. Indie games get their name because they’re created by developers independent of a larger parent company, and the difference between them and “manufactured” games is stark. Oftentimes it’s just one person or a very small group of people who create indie games, as opposed to the mega corporations that design games solely for the market. With indie games, someone takes their passion and turns it into something (virtually) tangible. They design the graphics, story, characters, and music from their own basement. No one is paying them for their effort, and everything is created from dedicated devotion. It’s refreshing to play a game with so much love put into it. 

So, what exactly have these games done for the world? For starters, they’ve created various subcultures where people interact and have fun. You’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard of Minecraft. It was developed originally by a Swedish pair under the names of Notch and Jeb. Nowadays, it’s likely the most successful console game in America, if not the world. There are YouTubers who post videos of their online adventures, bloggers who make tutorials, and authors who write novellas and guides. The reach Minecraft has had would be unbelievable just a few decades ago. 

Games like this have cemented indies’ footprint in the gaming world. Besides their social impact, they’ve also kept the market competitive. Indie developers put love into their games, and the players give it back. It’s not the same with games that are built for money–there’s less interaction, creativity, and diversity. CEOs don’t have the same world experience as creators who have experienced poverty or bullying. They have less to pour into their work of art. But, independent games are filled with vibrance and color, complexity and depth. It’s impossible to compare something as sophisticated as Stardew Valley to singular-goaled games like Fortnite. 

Even beyond all that are the reverberations these games have on mental health. Indie games have been a lifesaver for me and many others. There’s nothing as calming as building a pixelated farm and raising chickens, or journeying across a painted desert landscape with a caravan. Each game inspires critical thinking about organization or the world around you. For example, one of my favorite games was about a headliner’s political impact on their city. It reflected real world problems, but gave the player a safe environment to make choices and face the consequences. And if it doesn’t go well, there’s always the option to start over.

With indie games, anything can happen. You’ve just got to find your style, and indies offer a million different options. There’s always something new to try out in the independent gaming community.

Listed below are some of the most creative and engaging indie games I’ve played in the past few years. Take a look and see if any of them strike your interest!


  • Stardew Valley: A pixelated farming sim in which the player plants crops, forages, mines, fights monsters, builds relationships, and restores the town. None of these are necessary, making the gameplay highly unique each time.
  • Headliner: Novi News: The player is the newly recruited headliner at the most influential newspaper in the country of Novistan. Within the span of two weeks, the choices made at your job drastically change the city around you,
  • Yes, Your Grace: This game is set in a struggling medieval kingdom where the player is the king. Due to financial and upcoming war struggles, you must make difficult decisions to keep your family and people safe. 
  • Signs of the Sojourner: In order to make ends meet, the player becomes part of a traveling caravan, collecting goods from towns across the desert. Using card matching strategy, you can either forge powerful connections or lose everything. 
  • Spiritfarer: Charon is passing on, and it’s time for a new ferryman of the dead. Stella builds up her own ship and collects ghosts from around the map, completing tasks for them before releasing them to the great beyond.

Coffee Talk: This game requires very little work, but the visual novel aspect is captivating. As the barista of a fantastical cafe, you’ll meet fairy authors, tech-savvy mermaids, and dwarven police officers. Brew their coffee and collect their stories in this cozy game.