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Indie game experience

Overview of a creative differences dispute over a game design

Today, a game was uploaded to the Nintendo Store called Cosmos X2.  This is a game I have been familiar with for almost 4 years.  The game is a peronal project of a friend of mine from the NJ chapter of the IGDA, Ed Digeronimo Jr.

When I first played the game, it was at one of the regular chapter meeting on a Game Boy Advance.  The graphics were great, though a bit low-resolution and the gameplay was stiff, but there were the makings of a great shooter game.  The game was put on hiatus due to the end of the GBA lifecycle. 

The game was recreated for the DS.  It was put on hold again while Ed took a job with Powerhead Games in New York City.  On his own time, with his own tools, he managed to finish the game and he showed it to me again.  I played it and saw that it still seemed slow, much slower than a standard shmup you would get on import from a company like Cave.  Things like bullet curtains and a small hit box were not incorporated into this design.  I explained this to him, but he just said he was doing something different.  There was still work to go, and he had yet to find a publisher, so I let it slide.

Time passed and he had started his own development studio.  With his own license, he was ready to publish his labor of love on the DSi shop.  Once again, he simply replied "I'm trying to do something different".  I said I stood by his artist integrity, and I did.  Though I felt he was turning his nose up at years of shmup advancements that he could easily bennifit from.  The game has been finished and published and people are responding well to it.  You can see my final review <a href="http://haze-man.blogspot.com/2010/08/cosmos-x2-dsi-ware-game-review.html">here</A>.  It would seem I was wrong.  No one besides myself has falted this game for not being a 'cave-shmup'.  I guess at the end of the day, you can't fault a game for being different from other things in the genre.  On some level, reviewers will be harsh if you 'leave out' a feature that they now feel entitled too--but the game as a whole needs to be the top priority.  A lot can be said for sticking to a creative vision.

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