Hello there! It has been a while (*it’s been a whiiile* 🎵) my blogging friends. How have you been these past few months? I’ve been okay. The CBT I was trying didn’t work out and I lost all energy and motivation to write for a while, and read, for that matter. I found my way back to gaming again and started my streams back up on Twitch, I managed to pick my reading back up and have been quietly reading a few different things. That’s mostly all, I’m still struggling with my health on the sleep and fatigue front but I deal with it. So that’s a brief update!
Today I actually wanted to talk about something video game-related. I do have a few bookish topics I want to bring up shortly but please bear with me, writing is still tough for me at the moment and I’m not sure when that may be.
I hang out on Discord a lot. It’s a great way to chat with like-minded people and friends about all sorts of things. We can share things, play games together, have conversations, and one of the servers I chat with a lot is the Blaugust server, being where a lot of the gaming bloggers have called home (a couple book bloggers too).
Surrender With Despair
A couple weeks back, a tweet was going around on Twitter that was pretty universally dunked on. One Jeff Vogel, founder of Spiderweb Software who produced indie games back in the 90s and beyond, seems to be of the opinion that there are 10,000 new indie games released on Steam every year and the world doesn’t need that.
On its own, the argument could even be considered to have merit but a bunch of us agreed that this is silly. That independent artists have the right to create and share their work with the world and the world has the right to interact with as much or as little of it as it wants as well. Yes, 10,000 is a big number, and no one person can interact with all of those games in a year, but that’s not the point. Steam has so many users and each user has different tastes and desires in gaming. Are some of these games “trash”? Maybe, but who really cares? Sure a little more curation could go a long way (I am still mentally and emotionally scarred from Sex With Hitler and no do not look it up, it’s nasty) but overall, I’m happy that people have these platforms to create and share with the world.
The thing that made a few of us take note was when Krikket quote tweeted the original tweet with the idea of a challenge to complete 1% of these 10k new releases per year, and Jeff doubled down, claiming that if you attempted this, you would “surrender with despair within a month.” And thus she kicked off the Just One Percent challenge. Whatever Jeff’s point or real meaning was, we can leave with him. We have something new and much more joyful to focus on, now.
Just One Percent
The Just One Percent challenge may be born from a jaded stance, but we’ve taken it and given it a new spin, and each of us is looking at it slightly differently. The crux of it is:
There are more than 10,000 games released on Steam every year* and playing 1% of these in a year would be tough. That is 100 indie games in a year.
*As Magi has pointed out (maybe others, I’m sorry, my memory is terrible), there were closer to 12,000 games released on Steam in 2021. There may well be more than that this year. 100 is plenty, for our purposes.
Krikket is counting any indie game that released on Steam between February of 2021 and January of 2023. She is excluding Early Access titles but not those that receive a full release during the time period. She will also accept demos and free games, and games that she may already own or also launch on another platform such as Game Pass. As she rightly points out, 100 games in one year could easily get very costly.
However, she has given free rein for anybody to tackle the Just One Percent project with their own rules and methods, and Magi has done so. He will be happily playing “older games, free games, demos, Game Pass, and stuff from [his] backlog” but prioritising games that come from developers and publishers. He will accept Early Access games and mobile games, also his definition of what an indie game is a little more flexible.
After all of that, we come to me. I am certainly not able to realistically commit to a full year of blogging about indie games and frankly, I can’t commit to a year of streaming them either. However, this project “sparks joy” and I would like to promote the idea and try. So my personal rules and intentions, as I am more focused on having fun and promoting indie games, feel pretty far removed from the initial basis of the project:
- I will aim to play more indie games. If I can make it to 100 in a year (between today and 5th February 2023) then that’s great. If I can’t, that’s also fine. It’s low pressure.
- These games are not limited to Steam or need to have released within a certain timeframe as my focus is on highlighting and experiencing more of what independent creators have to offer. I don’t care if they’re Early Access, a demo, only available on itch.io or Epic, from my backlog, I just want them to be indie.* I would also really like to explore a few Game Jams.
- I intend to stream a lot of these games when my health allows. This whole project is in the nature of exploration and finding new ideas. I want to highlight smaller creators and share them with my friends. My platform isn’t big, but I fully believe that content creation is at its best when we lift each other up. To hell with gatekeeping!
*What does “indie” mean to me? Well, I like to think it means independent creator, right? Creators who do not have the backing of a major publisher or an otherwise big budget. These are the kinds of creators I am actively looking for. Though as Belghast pointed out in his post on this topic, what is “indie” and what is “AAA” is largely meaningless these days. There are so many titles that logically fit in neither category yet there is no middle ground (where is our AA?!). I certainly agree that it is about budget but there is also something about the “spirit” or the “soul” of a game which those of you who play these kinds of games will understand. I shall judge it case by case.
If you’d like to follow me on this project or just hang out with me while I play various video games, please do follow me on Twitch! I stream pretty irregularly but I do my best with what I have. I play MMORPGs, RPGs, adventure games, and really all sorts. I am always down to explore things within the fantasy, horror and science fiction genres but I will venture out if I feel like it. Lots of cosy, chill vibes.
I will list my games for this project in this spreadsheet to keep track for Just One Percent. And hey, if you want to join in, please feel free! Krikket sparked the whole thing so please refer to her blog, but everybody is welcome.