TPG Cast Episode 8: Indie Gaming With RockLeeSmile

Adam Ames and Phil Cordaro chat with Nick Reineke creator of the YouTube Channel, Indie Impressions.  Nick talks about the motivation for covering indie titles, his thoughts on the indie scene and his seven year tenure at GameStop.   Later on, Adam gets Nick to speak about the self promotion and marketing for Indie Impressions.  Sparked by GameSpot, Phil then goes off on a fiery rant for everything retail.  Finally, Nick talks about his time modding the crazy platformer, Super Meat Boy.

Download direct via Dropbox or listen on YouTube.

Running Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes

4 thoughts on “TPG Cast Episode 8: Indie Gaming With RockLeeSmile

  1. I remember the KISS comic books, my cousins had a few of them. They had this publicity stunt where the band had their blood drawn and mixed in with the red ink used in the books. Classic 70s Metal!

    I know I’m probably beating a dead horse around a bush, but I’m not all that enthralled by Steam stepping into the indie scene. I know that Valve is just this benevolent force of ponies and rainbows that single handedly kept PC gaming alive when everyone know that is had been dying since before KISS had their own comic book, but all I see is a big company that saw where the customers and their money were going and restructured to take advantage of it. The indie game scene today is exactly where the indie movie scene was years ago and the indie music scene before that. It is full of fresh talent and fresh ideas, sure there are some that are not worth the time but there is so much more that are really great, even if the rest of the world never quite sees it. This fresh new pool of indie creations has so much potential that this must be the future of the medium. But don’t forget that the big companies didn’t get that way by not following market trends. Nobody would accept an “indie” movie with the name Disney on it, so out came film studios you never heard of before like Touchstone and Miramax. Music executives found new bands based on; did they have the right “look” and a marketable band name, then sign them up for a 5 record deal. After that it’s “Listen to this album, it’s breaking sales records, make one that sounds just like it or we sue for breach of contract” And thus the same forces that ruined the main scene takes over and ruin the indie scene. If Steam takes over the indie scene I don’t think we will see a bigger stronger indie scene, just a bigger stronger Steam.

    • Ah hello Steven, my favorite Vin Diesel look alike on the site!

      You make an interesting point here about steam and indie games and I am not really certain how I should feel about it myself. On one hand, I do see the potential of Steam as a sort of “gateway drug” for increasing interest in indie games and promoting exposure in audiences that otherwise would never think to seek such stuff out. Some positive experiences with indie games might therefore lead to people being more proactive in learning about them, reading up on sites dedicated to them, maybe buying more directly from the devs or discovering other platforms for digital distribution, etc.

      On the other hand I really do see the possibility that a big publisher is latching onto “indie” as more of a marketing thing and promoting it more as a business decision than anything else. It’s really hard to imagine what some of these larger companies must be thinking – Do companies like EA and Valve really have passion for promoting this stuff or do they just know it’s profitable? I suppose realistically it’s a combination of both. But then you run into this sort of dilemma that despite these intentions, indie devs still benefit and gamers gain more exposure to this stuff on the whole. I guess it’s tough to predict what is going to happen but in an ideal scenario both the big guys and the little guys benefit equally.

      Of course, that doesn’t happen as often as we’d like. But despite that I have faith that it’s impossible to REALLY ruin indie games just on the merit of what they are. Even if this nightmare scenario plays out where it just becomes this fake marketing buzzword thing, smaller indie devs will always exist and will always be putting interesting stuff out there. R…right guys??? *gulp*

      • Hey Phil! I was wondering who was responding to posts at 4AM, no offense but I don’t picture Adam getting up to blog that early in the morning.

        Of course the indie games scene will never go away, just as there are still indie music and films today there will be indie games in the future. Perhaps it’s best if the big companies swoop in and do their damage now so we can hurry up and get back to the quality indie scene over the quantity one. Indie games are selling well right now because they are tapping into and discovering markets that the AAA games forgot were there. They are games made by people who actually want to play them rather than people who are paid to get something on the shelves by the already announced release date. I’ll once more reference the modding community. These are people who spend incredible amounts of time and effort on a project that has zero chance of earning any money, and what comes out is something that is at least as good as the core game if not better in terms of look and feel, a lot of mods are more polished than the games they are made for as well. The lessons the AAA developers could be learning from this is what gamers want, most mods add variety, difficulty and extensive options menus to turn the various features up, down or off. I remember reading how Bethesda looked at the most popular Oblivion mods for influence on where to take Skyrim, so they got it partly right. Outside of this however most studios have the attitude of “If you can beat ’em, buy ’em.” I fully see what you are saying about Steam bringing more attention to the indie scene, but the corporate attitude of the company over the past 8 years still has me worried about it.

        Also I wanted to say that I too miss retail. What killed it for me was when I found myself choosing games not based on “did I want the game” but instead on “does it require some form of online authentication.” I was grabbing stacks of games and reading just the requirements! “Let’s see: Steam, Steam, Steam, Origin, Steam, GFWL, Origin.. Oh here’s one! Barbie Princess Reading Mysteries.” Okay so maybe not that bad, but still I was passing over things that looked good for stuff I was only partially interested in. And when I finally found a game or two that I wanted to buy it was a big cardboard box with nothing but a disc inside. One game literally had just a disk in a paper sleeve and a slip of paper that had the “may cause seizure” warning, and even that looked like a photocopy cut down to fit in the box. It was then that I turned to digital. There is a permanency to digital that is both it’s greatest strength and weakness. When you buy a digital copy you no longer have to worry about scratched or lost discs ever again, it is tied to your account forever (or for however long your account lasts) which is great for games you like, but not so much for those you don’t. I bought Amnesia a few years ago because everyone was talking about it and how great it was and it was the furture of gaming, but for me it was a waste of money; I hated it. It wasn’t a bad game per se just not my style of game. Because it was a standalone retail disc I gave it away to someone who not only appreciated it for what it was but who then went out and bought the Penumbra games as a result of liking this one. This would not have been possible if I had bought the game as a digital copy. Oddly enough what I miss the most is paying in cash. I always carry cash on me and this is how I pay for most of my impulse purchases. Many times I’ll see a game on sale at GOG or DotEmu or GamersGate and it’s like $3-$5 and I easily would pull that from my pocket and buy it right then, but I can’t. I have to charge it to the card and I can’t bring myself to charge $2.98 to a card.

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