Release the clones!
For those of you who do not know, Steam has just released it’s new community initiative called “Greenlight“, which users are allowed to vote for new indie type games to be included in the Steam library. This has come about because of some unfortunate practices on the Steam side where great games fall through the cracks during the approval process (and some have been picked up by their competitors). So to help facilitate a better approval process, they went to the people to see what will is popular and, of course, let those games in. Not a bad idea at all!
Right out of the gates we had many great gems pop up! Such as DLC Quest, Stardew Valley, Zombeer (hey, don’t judge me!), A walk in the dark, Secrets of Grindia, Melody’s Escape, Mutant Mudds (which Steam dropped the ball on before…), and so many more! And I’ve only scratched the surface with 64 rated of the 630+ sitting in the queue.
But then there came the problems… It’s become increasingly hard to distinguish between a developer posting and some idiot’s wishlist. You get a lot of people posting stupid stuff like “huh duuur, me want mass effect 3″ in the game list. That’s not what this is for. It’s developers ONLY! Sure, I’d like to play some Mario Allstars on my pc, but that’s not going to happen.
Then there’s the trouble with clones. I have counted DOZENS of Minecraft spinoffs appearing in the last few days. (Now now, before I get angry emails, yes, I know Minecraft was based off of another game, Infiniminer, but MC did it better and packaged it nicer. It’s like saying CoD:MW2 is a ripoff of Doom…) Anyways, I keep seeing games that are nearly identical copies, but with various tweeks; like say rounded objects or jaggedy ones, or placable wedges, or just MC with tower defense, or everything else in between. This also goes for the swarms of Slender clones! Now, I’m no expert in the realm of slender games, but there is one that is VERY popular right now that’s free to try… well, now we have Slenders of every shape and size coming at us in Greenlight! I get that these are popular games with hazy lines of copyrights, but especially for things that you’re looking to sell on a major distribution platform, I can’t see them going over well.
But that brings us around to today’s topic; are near reproductions to games like Minecraft or Slender copies/clones, or did we accidentally stumble onto a completely new genre of gaming? I have trouble wrapping my head around the answer to this, really. On the one hand, you can look at a Minecraft spinoff game and instantly think “minecraft” every time. But is that because MC was the first successful one to do it, or is it that it’s just the style? The open random blocky worlds certainly scream MC, but is that something exclusive to Minecraft, or is it just the genre, like what Mario games are to platformers? Same with Slendermen, you wander around the forest looking for pieces of paper with a flashlight (torch for my english friends) all the while avoiding the Slenderguy. Every one of those games is exactly this. But are they necessarily copies? Or is a new type of horror genre? Where you feel totally helpless and paranoid for the entirety of the game. Maybe if there were more variations on badguys or more genres that Skinnyman is in, it might be a bit less confusing. But to the lay person, looking at 10 of these next to eachother in a listing tends to raise an eyebrow or two.
Also, extra credit assignment: discuss some games from greenlight that caught your eye! (note, if you post more than like 1 link, it won’t show up right away because it needs to be moderated… and I’m slow… so there you have it! >)