1. Stardew Valley
Choosing an indie game of the decade was no mean feat for us at The Indie Game Website. Indies have gone from strength to strength over these past ten years, multiplying in their numbers and mainstream acceptance. While everyone will no doubt have their personal favourites, we bestow the crown upon Stardew Valley.
Stardew Valley is the definition of an indie success story. Developed by one person, Eric Barone, the farming sim went on to sell millions, was picked up by indie-friendly publisher Chucklefish and then eventually switched back to being independently published by Barone again. It’s been released on every major platform, including mobile, and has resonated with gamers everywhere, both hardcore and casual.
Why has it been so successful? Many reasons, for sure, but let’s list a few. It took the best parts of the stagnating Harvest Moon series and ran with them, achieving something arguably even better than its spiritual successor ever did. It’s charming and appealing at first glance, accessible to newcomers but also with a surprising amount of depth. And it offers remarkable freedom for players to focus on whatever they wish, whether it’s growing huge fields of crops, dungeon-diving for riches or finding romance with one of the townsfolk.
If that wasn’t enough points in Stardew Valley’s favour, it’s benefited from outstanding post-release support from Barone, adding in swathes of improvements and new content, including long-requested multiplayer support. There’s also a fervent modding community, providing tons of mods to further augment and expand the game. Make no mistake: Stardew Valley is the cream of the crops.
It’s been one hell of a decade for indie games – we’ve literally watched the birth of the industry in many ways. From indies first steps into the mainstream to indie games winning awards over triple-A games this unique industry has come a long way. Who knows what new and innovative games will take over our lives in 2020. All we do know is that we’ll be here to cover them in every capacity we can.
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