Reviewing Xbox Indie Games

I've been playing a lot of Xbox Indie Games (née Xbox Live Community Games) lately. This is the ever-burbling channel of new, downloadable, inexpensive games created by folks with Microsoft's low-cost XNA Game Studio toolkit, located in a back alley of the Xbox 360's interface. (To get there from the console's main menu, move up to "Game Marketplace", select the "Explore Game Content" pane, then scroll up to "Indie Games".)

Unlike the console's more exclusive Arcade channel, Xbox Indie Games is open to anyone with the will and the means to create a game in XNA and throw it up online. As such, the good stuff tends to be modestly sized, tightly focused works that put a lot of creativity into a narrow space, and are likely too short-form for acceptance into traditional game-distribution channels. The bad stuff, meanwhile, can get pretty bad indeed, lacking even the polished-turdiness of the worst retail-sold games.

Because of the prominent presence of this latter category, I have heard friends dismissing the entirety of Xbox Indie Games as crap. But, I know that that's just not true; Sturgeon's Law applies as much to this channel as any other medium. Yep, a full 90 percent of it most certainly is crap, but that doesn't mean that you should turn your back on the remaining good stuff. However, given the lack of guidance, I can't really blame people for turning their back on the whole deal after wasting their time on a few stinkers.

With that in mind, I intend to occasionally supplement this blog with reviews of more noteworthy things I happen across in Xbox Indie Games, starting with my next post. (It's one of several reviews I started writing in September, right before my Xbox RRoDed and required a month-long holiday in Texas. But, it's back now, so I finished it.) Enjoy!

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