Running Indie Games On Average PCs

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I wrote an article for USGamer that got published a little under a month ago but I haven’t had time to write here about it until now. I guess it’s the right time, what with all the indie games I’ve been writing about here lately.

Originally the article was supposed to be about great Steam sale deals for people with average, mainstream computers that might not be able to run CryEngine games. It turned into just a general article on PC games that’ll run on basically anything. Indie games are hot right now, but one thing a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that a good chunk of them, most of them even, will probably run just fine on your modest little laptop. All it really takes is examining the system requirements and playing the demo when available.

A lot of people stay away from PC gaming entirely because they don’t own a beast rig, and I think looking at things this way ignores a whole class of games that’s probably available to you. Many of these are adventure games or at most action games with basic 2D graphics that at most might require a basic discrete GPU. Most importantly, Intel’s recent HD 3000, 4000, and 5000 integrated graphics chips — usually the laughing stock of PC gaming, can actually run more than most people think these days.

Sometimes I look at games like this and ask “Why do you need a console version if the computer you probably already own can run the game?” For a lot of games I’m not gonna judge. People like playing games on their TV instead of their computer monitor (and can’t be bothered to hook their computer up to their TV). Some people are invested in the PlayStation or Xbox ecosystem. Some people don’t wanna mess around with system requirements. Whatever. I can certainly understand wanting to play Hotline Miami or Rogue Legacy on a PlayStation Vita. That still doesn’t solve the problem of games that probably won’t make it to consoles.

That’s why in that article I set aside a category for PC exclusives. Most notably however, Rogue Legacy got announced for PlayStation soon after USGamer published the article, so anything is possible. Some of those games though I don’t see operating properly without a mouse and keyboard.

I really don’t see how you’d play Gunpoint without a mouse. The same goes for FTL, Mount & Blade, and Unity of Command. At first glance The Swapper looks very similar to a lot of indie puzzle platformers but actually depends heavily on you having a mouse. Those are just examples of great games you might never be able to play if you just stick to consoles. When you think about it most of these games are no more demanding than what you might play on your browser — they’re just distributed like normal PC games.

Who knows though. Maybe those developers could figure out how to get their games to work on tablets (like Gemini Rue). Maybe they might figure out how to approximate mouse-like control with the PS4’s touch pad and then port their games over.

Waiting for that kind of eventuality though isn’t an excuse in my opinion. I can understand if you’ve decided you just don’t like the kinds of games that end up being PC exclusives (strategy games, western RPGs, etc.). I don’t think it seems fair though to decline to try out FTL or Gunpoint simply because you don’t use your computer for gaming, or your computer isn’t packing a GTX Titan.

BULLETS:

  • Watch out. Attack on Titan wiki makes NO effort to hide manga spoilers. Clicked on one link from the home page, and the first paragraph afterwards revealed who all the titans hiding in the military are.
  • The 3rd Witcher book to be released in English — A Time of Contempt, is now out.
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