eGamer Awards 2013: Indie Awards
Welcome to eGamer’s 2013 Indie Awards, listed herein are the best indie games of 2013, featuring in different categories across the spectrum. The indie games that have won here are games we have either reviewed for the site, or played through thoroughly. We feel that these indie games are of the highest quality and deserve as much attention as possible. The indie scene is a thriving place for game development where innovation and creativity have no bounds. eGamer feels that indie is the way of the future for the games industry, and today we recognise the indie games we felt that truly elevated the indie scene above and beyond.
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Nominees: Valdis Story: Abyssal City, Outlast, The Stanley Parable, The Bridge, Evoland, Shadowrun Returns, Proteus.
Outlast, by the developers over at Red Barrel Games, is a masterpiece in the survival horror genre and for us left a great impact. It is one of the most intense, thrilling and fear-inducing experiences we’ve had this year and clearly demonstrates the potential of horror in interactive video games. It is a game which along with the Slender phenomenon has helped to revive the horror genre. Outlast brings the horror genre back to its roots and we couldn’t be happier. The game is is an absolute must play for any fan of the genre. The game has a brilliant visual aesthetic that lends itself so well to the horror genre and is one of the most horrifying experiences this year. Outlast is pure horror at its very best, and that’s the way we like it.
Nominees: Outlast, Runner 2, Slender: The Arrival, Retro City Rampage.
Winner: Slender: The Arrival
Slender: The Arrival, from Parsec Productions and Blue Isle Studios, is the true sequel to the massively popular indie phenomenon known as Slender, and it delivers on all fronts. Slender: The Arrival is a compelling, nerve-wrecking and seriously freaky experience that is brimming with quality throughout. We feel that is one of the best horror games of the year and it just so happens to be indie. The game scared us straight out of our pants, and that is a rare feat. We took note of the amazing sound design in Slender: The Arrival with great audio and music. All the sound effects came so well together in the game with wild screen distortions, immense static and eerie music you experienced whilst playing the game. The audio experience alone propels the horror further, than the most other horror games. We were at times truly scared, and that is partly thanks to the superior audio design in Slender: The Arrival.
Nominees: Gone Home, Outlast, The Stanley Parable.
Winner: Gone Home
With Gone Home by The Fullbright Company, this year we received a game which was a mark of excellence for narrative in video games. Gone Home handled mature content extremely well and proved that games can be for absolutely anyone and can be so much more than just escapism or entertainment. The game speaks to you from the heart, and delivers an experience that can be related to on an emotional, personal or even just an intellectual level. It is an important game in our industry today and should be celebrated for pushing the boundaries of what a videogame is. The game has a an interesting story which succeeds at being a compelling mystery that leaves you with a great deal to mull over. Gone Home’s choice in themes are bold and yet are highly relatable showing signs of extremely good writing from the team at The Fullbright Company. Gone Home is an achievement in game narrative and storytelling.
Nominees: Rogue Legacy, Surgeon Simulator 2013, Desktop Dungeons, Retro City Rampage, Papers Please, Outlast.
Winner: Desktop Dungeons
Desktop Dungeons achieves something that most other RPG titles could only dream of. Instead of having a character that levels up, you as a player improve and gain new abilities as you progress, with the on-screen avatars always having their stats reset. It’s a gratifying and truly rewarding experience, coupled with some fantastic (and brutally difficult) dungeon crawling which is continuously kept random in order to keep you on your toes. It might require a lot more time than the “bite-sized” tagline suggest, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen something this meticulously balanced, and open enough for thousands of players to adopt various winning strategies. It may have taken three years, but South African developers QCF Design really have delivered something spectacular in terms of gameplay.
Nominees: Proteus, Surgeon Simulator 2013, Gone Home.
Winner: Gone Home
Gone Home is one of the best indie games from this year. But it is most surprising that the game like this even surfaced in the first place. It deals with its subject matter with the highest level of maturity, not seen in many games. Gone Home has a meaningful message that is neither highly positive or negative, but is something that we as people in today’s society can be sympathetic about, can understand and can relate to. With a touch of hope, sadness and maybe even pain the game makes you confront tough subject matter and doesn’t require you to have any experience with it. The game truly makes you feel and that is an achievement all of its own.
Nominees: Gone Home, Surgeon Simulator 2013, Outlast, The Stanley Parable.
Winner: The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable was originally a mod for Half-Life 2 created by Davey Wreden. Proving to be a huge success, he formed Galactic Cafe with William Pugh and the duo set to give it an HD remake (or rather a re-imagining) for a Steam release. The game is played from a first-person perspective and focuses on exploration, of which you are free to walk around and explore at your leisure. But the core idea of the game comes from the narrator. Constantly, there will be a narrator overseeing events of the game and explaining what Stanley is supposed to be doing at any time. You, as the player, will decide whether to obey the voice, be a rebel and do the opposite, or only loosely follow and make your own choices. For example, you may come up facing two different doors, and the narrator observes that when faced with this challenge, Stanley took the door on the left. You will then decide whether that’s the way you want to go, or if you want to take the door on the right and pave your own way. No matter which choice you make, the story changes, the narrator adapts and you’ll find yourself on a different path that leads to one of multiple different endings.
The Stanley Parable is the quintessential example of how the modern game cannot be defined. It can be anything; the scope is limitless. And for what it is, The Stanley Parbale is wonderful, unique and brilliantly witty, and an experience you should not miss or underestimate. We enjoyed the game’s excellent graphics, the very witty and highly entertaining narrative, the various story paths with new and different additions. The game itself is crazy and amazingly well put together, anyone can enjoy it. It is one of the purest examples of the greatness indie can bring to modern gaming, and why it is a big part of the industry’s future. The Stanley Parable is easily one of the best indie games this year.
For all these reasons, The Stanley Parable is our choice for the indie game of the year, for 2013.