Jump to content
IGNORED

Homebrew / Indie Complaints


fcgamer
 Share

Recommended Posts

Member · Posted

For the past year or so, homebrew/ indie games have easily been one of my favourite parts of gaming. With that said, there's a few aspects that drive me nuts, and I thought I'd share them here, not so much to whine, rather hoping that perhaps some of those involved might work on improving the issues for future products. 🙂

1. The first thing that I find a bit overwhelming is trying to keep track of the shear volume of games coming out, and when. Luckily we have @Scrobins manning the list here at VGS, with others contributing the games they spot.

This leads to point 2

2. It can sometimes be a bit frustrating that so many of these games are produced in quite limited quantities. It's bad enough, as with so many games coming out at once, one really does have to strategically prioritise their purchases if they want to get them all. But then when one has to throw in proxy services to help buy games in other regions, especially if they're very limited releases, it becomes a bit disheartening.

3. Pre-order / Kickstarter now, receive ten years later. 

i certainly understand why people go this route, as it's often a bunch of hobbyists making these games; however, sometimes I feel the wait is just silly.

For example, I had pre-ordered A Hole New World back in June of 2020, it only shipped about a week or so back. I'm still waiting for news on that What Remains game, no idea if it will come to fruition or not, maybe physical carts already were released and the email went to my spam box. 

Then there's Famicom Project Blue. Again, no idea when it'll show up, and what makes it even worse is that I already played through the rom, so I honestly don't even have a reason to open the game when it arrives.

i recently ordered some other homebrews (not preorders) back around July, still waiting for them to show, I could just play the ROMs while waiting and end up in a similar situation to project blue, or I can just wait.

What makes the situation even worse is that sometimes I can't even remember if I actually ordered a game or not, it's been so long since the order was placed.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Homebrew Team · Posted

First off, thanks, I'm glad you like my lists! I often worry they aren't helpful or are confusing in how I separate Almanac from Horizon, and delineate categories within those two threads. Feedback on those though is always appreciated.

With regard to point 2, I'm right there with you. Although I think my next new year resolution will be to be ok not buying every new homebrew, and save my money for the ones that truly stand out. Anyway. Sometimes homebrews are only offered in limited quantities that unless you're in the know or in the right place at the right time, you're out of luck. It's frustrating when there is clearly a wider audience for these but the developer doesn't have the resources to make more themselves or lacks the interest to collaborate with a company that can scale up and distribute worldwide. This is why Broke Studio, among others, has been such a godsend. But this has been an especially big problem with the growing Famicom homebrew scene in Japan that has demonstrated little interest in distribution beyond Japan, and that includes not just the brewer but shops that decline worldwide shipping. Props to @neodolphinofor developing relationships with these devs to create a workaround with his NES releases of their games. At the end of the day, all I can do is be supportive where I think it's helpful in the hope that maybe devs will consider options for larger releases, but I try to understand when that's not feasible.

But the flip side to 2 is 3. I've noticed two particularly big problems here.

For Kickstarters, some don't launch a campaign at all until the game is done and just needs the funds to manufacture and distribute (which apparently rubs certain people the wrong way as not in the spirit of KS, but f them). Others launch their campaign while the game is still in development. I keep a list of all homebrews I've pre-ordered so nothing falls by the wayside, but it is disappointing when that list grows longer without some of the earliest entries coming off and delivering. But I try to dig into why that may be. Several are games I'm excited about, and the devs offer updates (on social media if not on KS), and there is a sense things are moving forward despite delays, but the truth is, this isn't their primary life and they have other responsibilities and (especially with the pandemic) I can't expect them to honor those original timelines. But other devs don't treat their audience with as much respect. I wonder if in those cases they were always like that, or the vitriol they've encountered has made them jaded. I try to be patient and respectful since you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but my disappointment is palpable. I do try not to be a pushover either though, there’s a guy on Sega-16 who maintains an air of “any news is good news so I’ll take this as progress” even in the worst scenarios and I hope I don’t turn into him.

Some of it is from those companies that devs use to scale up. I'm very aware (and in agreement) that several of the games you mentioned that you're concerned about are from First Press Games, though this is also a problem with LRG and SLG. I don't know enough about their supply chains and distribution networks, which I know has had an impact on lots of homebrews (like Action 53) but even before the pandemic, these 3 companies were incomprehensibly slow.

With regard to What Remains, I believe they have a deal with Broke Studio for distribution, but at the moment all there is is the reservation list. No money has even changed hands from those reserved buyers. I look forward to when that happens but am not sure when that will move forward.

  • Like 3
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Member · Posted

Yeah, thanks Scrobins for keeping up on all them homebrews.  I've been in the I don't really need it boat for the past year or so and have seriously curtailed my collecting for the moment.

 

1 hour ago, Scrobins said:

For Kickstarters, some don't launch a campaign at all until the game is done and just needs to funds to manufacture and distribute (which apparently rubs certain people the wrong way as not in the spirit of KS, but f them).

This is the one sentiment I don't get.  I don't want to see a bunch of hype and proof of concept on stuff that will never get finished.  I love the projects that are mostly complete and the KS is there to realize the physical material.  And will generally deliver on time.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe I said this in another thread (where the author was kind enough to confirm that he did intend to do so), but with all the volume that's available anymore, I'm highly disappointed anytime someone releasing a homebrew doesn't also offer a digital option, especially when they purposefully do a highly limited number of physical copies.  Having digital copies out there isn't going to dilute the demand for something you've specifically (and artificially) limited the physical availability of, so why not sell a ROM copy to whoever wants it for $10-15 or so and make even more bank on that?

  • Like 3
  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Member · Posted

Another complaint, which I had thought of last night then forgot to mention was the whole limited edition super XYZ deluxe edition sets.

Blazing Rangers (is that the name of the game?) did this, for example. There were a million different sets containing various amounts of swag.

The problem about this for a guy like me is that technically each "version" is its own thing, which should be at the very least documented, in homebrew / indie lists. For OCD  gotta have them all collectors, then you gotta make a choice of which set to get, or to drop a ton of money and get them all.

It wouldn't be so bad, but so much of the swag is useless crap that literally serves no purpose.

Back in the NA days, the limited sets were made so the Devs could make back some money. It was understandable then, but by now I think it's way past its usefulness.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Member · Posted

It's probably better to think of video games as something to play, not as something to collect. 😛

I agree completely with Darkchylde - availability should be secured via digital releases, a hobbyist developer can't be expected to keep up a physical stock of stuff that's expensive and difficult to produce, when all you have is a niche audience.

I'm really not sure why it matters that there are different types of releases for the same game, and I especially don't understand why the same person would have any interest in owning all of them. That just sounds self deprecating to me.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Administrator · Posted

I don't really see the harm if a developer wants to sell different releases for their game.  It provides options - options are good.  Someone like me - maybe I'll just buy the digital version, or if it's a game I'm connected with or particularly interested in, maybe I'll buy the physical. 

For someone else who really wants the LE / other edition, they have that option as well.  

If a customer end-user / customer is wholly bent on collecting EVERYTHING there is, that is well, sorta their problem? 

The same can be said for non-homebrew games --- Metroid Dread is officially released today, and there is a standard version (I got that and will be happy with it) and a limited version (other people got that and they are happy with it).  Some people may want both, and that's fine if that's what they want - but it is a choice they can make to spend the extra money and have everything, or just settle with one of them.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Member · Posted

@Sumez @spacepup :

One of you is also a preservationist, one of you isn't. I personally don't see harm in a limited and a reg, but for some of these items there's two or three different limited versions, etc etc. That's a bit much, imo.

For me personally, I'd do one reg and one limited. But in terms of documentation and preservation, all should be noted down and documented. 😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Member · Posted
3 minutes ago, spacepup said:

There are lots of things that are great to be documented and noted down.  If you'd like to start such a list, I'm sure the homebrew team would be happy to have that thread somewhere or in some form.

Maybe we will 🙂

but yeah, that's my issue, a lot of collectors in this niche want it all, so ten varieties aren't particularly nice. Just my opinion, though I personally would just grab a reg and a basic limited, I imagine with the amount of games now being released, many others will do similarly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Homebrew Team · Posted
24 minutes ago, spacepup said:

There are lots of things that are great to be documented and noted down.  If you'd like to start such a list, I'm sure the homebrew team would be happy to have that thread somewhere or in some form.

This is may not be an exact fit to the request, and noting that it is still a work in progress, but the homebrew database does strive to list all releases of each entry in there.  

I will say about the database, it is riding a line between game summary and release notes.  We wanted to appeal to both criteria, a database to look up what a game was, who made it, what tools were used, and how it was released. 

I did envision it as a crowd populated endeavor, and hopefully that still happens, in any event it will get up to date.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Member · Posted

The biggest argument for your second issue would be cost. I self-released Eskimo Bob and Alfonzo's Arctic Adventure and they were much more limited than either of my LRG releases. I produced around 500 copies or each and neither one is available any more. I'd love to have more in stock, but being in Canada, making one-off carts is expensive so it makes more sense for me to buy materials in bulk. The demand isn't super high, so it just makes more sense for me to sell them digitally. Games released by a bigger company like LRG are actually way more available than games done at a hobbyist level. Galf was their first game and they didn't know how demand would be so they went with 2000 copies. Based on the sales of other homebrew games and the simpliciity of the title, you'd think that would be plenty, but it sold out within minutes. Mall Brawl was an open pre-order and it sold way more. I don't have the exact sales figures but I'm pretty sure it's a 5-figure number, so there are plenty of carts out in the wild. Thing is, demand and scarcity aren't always the same thing and a lot of it has to do with perception. Since it was released by Limited Run, people have the idea that Galf is my rarest game even though it sold 4 times as many carts as EB or Alfonzo. Maybe it's because it didn't get a digital release, but even accounting for digital sales, it really doesn't make that big a difference. After that initial release when LRG moved to a month of open preorders, I do think that's a much better model than they used for Galf. I think NES/Famicom is still a pretty niche market though, so I doubt larger companies will do more than a single production run of most games. Maybe things will change in the future, but I don't really know.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Administrator · Posted

At the end of the day, we really should feel fortunate to even have any of these options.  I mean, the fact that people are dedicating so much passion, time, money, into these projects, for creating games on the older systems we love, is amazing.

10 or 15 years ago, I would have never imagined we have the kind of homebrew games we have now and the variety and quality of some of them.  Even if I'm a paying customer for some of these games, the fact they exist at ALL is something I should be thankful for.

  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 2 cents.  I'm honestly about done with crowd funding for all the reasons mentioned above and more.  If people have a product they want to sell me, then they need to make it available for me to buy.  I understand people's reasons for using crowdfunding, but this rat race it has created has honestly made it tiresome to me.  You would think devs would use it as a spring board to put some carts on Amazon or something, but then the kickstarter ends and you never see their game available anywhere ever again.  I don't really understand this.  I just know I'm not going to be chasing after them anymore.  I also don't understand the lack of digital releases for games.  I wish more Dreamcast devs would put their games on itch.io

  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The smaller devs may make the carts themselves, and to get a decent price may need to order 100 units at once etc. This then means that once the KS lot is sold, they'd have to front off a lot to sell some additional copies, which would not be worth it to them. And as for digital sales, piracy is the obvious answer. There's even some hilarious thieves asking for roms of unreleased homebrew fully seriously, they just want everything for free, reality be damned even if the game's not even out yet lol.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Member · Posted
19 hours ago, erac said:

The smaller devs may make the carts themselves, and to get a decent price may need to order 100 units at once etc. This then means that once the KS lot is sold, they'd have to front off a lot to sell some additional copies, which would not be worth it to them. And as for digital sales, piracy is the obvious answer. There's even some hilarious thieves asking for roms of unreleased homebrew fully seriously, they just want everything for free, reality be damned even if the game's not even out yet lol.

My argument stands.  If they want me to buy what they are selling, they have to make it available some way.  As for digital sales leading to piracy, I would argue the opposite.  I think the lack of a digital option, especially for games no longer physically available, leads to more piracy.  People are going to pirate games, but having a digital version available ensures that honest people can still support you.  Personally, I've purchased a lot of digital releases and will continue to do so when I can.

  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Member · Posted

I agree with @CMR on many of his points.

I know some others feel the same way that I do, the recent homebrew/indie stuff has easily been some of my favourite purchases over the past few years.  really enjoy so many aspects of the scene - despite tons of drama and gatekeeping over the years, I think everyone by now said their piece and any drama has run its course.

There are a lot of games that reach the quality of retail games from back in the day, we have music albums on carts, then there's art projects, games made by fathers and their kids, games just made to push technical limitations, etc. They all are welcomed imo.

But similarly, it's become an added stress in my life trying to obtain some of these games, you gotta jump through flaming hoops while balancing expensive ancient porcelain jars on your head. That's not fun at all, and while I'm not gonna stop supporting these creators, I think it's an issue that as a community we should address, since the creators are also often hobbyists.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...