When someone thinks of “downloadable games,” the general picture in mind tends to be either pirated copies of commercial games or those games that non-gamers play to pass the time. Some people might consider downloadable content (DLC) to count under the term, but by their nature, DLC products are merely add-ons to an existing game, rather than independent software. However, most people don’t realize that there are far more downloadable games out there than what would fit into the narrow categories listed above.
Steam and other software download services are slowly changing misconceptions, for starters. True commercial games are available for paid download on these websites. These aren’t the big blockbusters with budgets that rival that of most movies, but are quality downloadable games developed by small-time game studios. These inevitably didn’t want to have to tie up with an established game publisher to get their products out to the market, instead opting to sell somewhat directly to gamers through the Internet. These indie game developers have made more than a few excellent games that can compete with even the best “big name” offerings, including the charmingly cartoonish “Torchlight” and the unusually compelling “Minecraft.”
Another kind of game that one might find downloadable for free is games conceived with the help of commercial design suite. Game Maker and RPG Maker VX are only a few of the software which allow an average person to design their own game, eliminating the hassle of developing a game engine –something that the software already offers. The various games can cover almost every genre imaginable, whether they’re simple point-and-click puzzle pieces, or 40-hour long RPG epics. Generally, these games have simpler graphics. Nothing fancier than a few sprites and several well-crafted backgrounds and animations. They also fall under the indie gaming industry, as these are fan-made creations, normally distributed free of charge.
Independent game developers use downloadable games as a mainstay to bring games into the market. Additionally, the Internet provides an opportunity for aspiring game designers to make an impact without having to go through the troubles of game development.
It is difficult to tell whether or not simpler game types, like “Diner Dash” and “Bejeweled,” are more numerous than downloadable games from established genres, like “Vacant Sky” or “Dwarf Fortress.” What is known, though, is that offering a game for download opens up possibilities for both game designers and game developers – opportunities that bypass the meddling that game publishers are known to dabble in during the game creation process.