Big Indie Games That Started Small

Over the years, the indie games fan base have grown to be bigger and better. More and more people are picking up indie games and supporting them. This is of course testament to how well produced and creative these games are getting. 

For those of you who are not familiar with indie games, these are games developed by a small set of people, small independent companies or individuals. Indie games are generally smaller than mainstream or AAA titles and it is typically harder for them to gain attention from players unless they bring something different to the table. 

Knowing that, let us now let’s look at some of the biggest games that started off as small indies and have made worldwide recognition.

Minecraft

Who hasn’t heard of Minecraft before? What started off as a single-person design game has now grown to become a multi million dollar franchise. The game was released about a decade ago with zero advertising and populated through word of mouth and hearsay by curious players who had come upon the game.

Since then, the game has spurred the creation of neverending merchandise, books, conventions, spinoffs and even an upcoming  movie set to release in 2022. Developed by Mojang Studios, Minecraft is a sandbox game with a block building approach. Since its inception, Minecraft has undergone several expansions and content updates. It even has VR compatibility and ray traced graphics for PC now! 

With about 180 million and counting in sales, Minecraft is definitely one of the highest grossing games currently out in the world. The game is available on almost every platform out there, so why not try it out?

Five Nights At Freddy’s

Have you ever heard of Chuck E. Cheese? Well, would you like to experience a terrifying version of it? You’re in luck! Five Nights At Freddy’s is a horror survival series where animatronics come to life and try to kill you. It was inspired by Chuck E.Cheese’s “Showbiz Pizza Place” and was released in 2014. 

The gist of the game is pretty simple, players will have to survive five nights in a row without getting caught and killed by the animatronics that come to life. Depending on which game you’re playing, there will be different tasks and characters that you will be using. 

The franchise has since then expanded, with a huge fanbase backing it and the lore that surrounds the game. There are six main sequels and many more in between – Scott Cawthon is steadily building his empire of creepy animatronics with jumpscares and it is working. The Five Nights At Freddy’s franchise has expanded to include numerous novels, spinoffs, merchandise, virtual reality as well as a movie on the way.

Shovel Knight

The first video game ever released by Yacht Club Games in 2014 after a successful Kickstarter campaign has managed to win the hearts of many with its old school graphics, a nod to the NES era. Shovel Knight has since then received numerous awards for its outstanding gameplay and was even dubbed one of the greatest games of all time.

The game continued to release more campaigns and downloadable content as well as spinoffs to the original game with over a million copies sold. It’s the smallest game on this list but it leaves an astronomical impression, not to mention it’s still going! Yacht Club Games have also announced an upcoming Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon spin off to the game.

Shovel Knight is a 2D side scrolling platformer with 8-bit graphics. As its name suggests, players play as a knight with a shovel as his main weapon which can be used to attack enemies and dig up treasure.

Angry Birds

Ahh, the sound of the 2010s calling us back down memory lane. Angry Birds by Rovio started on mobile platforms and was catapulted into worldwide popularity when it was released in 2009. Since then, the game has been made available on various platforms and has been downloaded over 3 billion times collectively.

As of today, Angry Birds has released its own televised animated show, movies, merchandise and their characters were even adapted into amusement park attractions. The power of several birds being flung at green pigs is undeniably strong! There are various spinoffs, crossovers and releases of the game, with the 18th game – Angry Birds VR/AR: Isle of Pigs venturing into virtual reality.

Angry Birds is just one of those casual games that anyone of any age could simply pick up and play – and that is what makes it so popular. The cutesy graphics, yet slightly challenging gameplay makes for a fun game to pass the time. Now, if you’re itching to try it – whether to reminisce or to try it out for the first time, make sure to reload on your itunes Cards for any in-game purchases!

Terraria

With the release of Journey’s End earlier this year, Terraria ended its run exactly nine years after its release. In the beginning of it all, Terraria was compared to Minecraft as it has similar components – they’re both sandboxes. However, Terraria has a heavier emphasis on exploration and combat when compared to Minecraft.

Terraria is an exploration adventure game designed in 2D sprite tile-based graphics where players would have to fight off enemies, complete goals and collect resources. Expert and Master modes are also available for those who like a challenge.

The game was designed by a small group of three men who went on to form Re-Logic, while the game sold over 30 million copies and counting. Over the years, the game has released expansions and updates for the game for free as long as players have the existing game.

PUBG

Battle Royale games are everywhere these days, you could find it on every platform’s nook and cranny. Whether they are good or absolutely terrible, that’s for players to decide. 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds famously known as PUBG is one of the more exemplary battle royale games alongside Call Of Duty and Fortnite. Brendan Greene developed the game as a mod for ARMA 2 and then it was picked up by Bluehole, a South Korean video game company which skyrocketed the game to stardom. The game is available on various platforms ranging from mobile, consoles to PC.

As with all battle royale games, players are parachuted onto an island to kill and be killed. The map size area will decrease over time and the last one standing will be the winner of the game. PUBG has since then sold over 70 million copies and the mobile version has been downloaded over 600 million times worldwide.

So, what do you think?

These are some of the small indie games that have managed to make a big name for themselves, not just in the gaming world but in the world in general. It’s inspiring to note that some of these games came from single-person operation and it goes to show that hard work and creativity will lead you to greater heights. 

Are there any games that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below. Also, check out our article about indie games currently in development here: Let’s See How Some of My Favorite Indie Games Are Developing.

I am a junior content outreach writer for OffGamers. I foster relationships between gaming enthusiasts and gaming developers to create relevant content for gamers worldwide. I also happen to be a passionate writer and certified night owl.

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