Something I’ve really enjoyed seeing over the last few years has been more game anthologies consisting entirely of games by indie developers. I thought I would write about why I enjoy them so much and list some of my favorites. Consider checking them out or even supporting indie developers by starting your own!
Why are game anthologies cool?
- They are a fantastic way to discover new games. Every anthology listed here has helped me discover new game developers I wasn’t aware of before.
- Paid anthologies help game developers make money. Making money as a game developer is a very hard task, especially if you create experimental games that people might hesitate to spend their money on. An anthology helps reduce that risk of their purchase being a dud since if they don’t enjoy one game, there’s plenty of other ones they might be into.
- They help preserve games! Many of the games in these collections would be forgotten or lost in 10 years without the help of these collections providing another place where these games can exist.
I think I also love game collections and anthologies because they remind me of when I would browse through shareware collections and magazine demo discs in the 90s and try out all sorts of games. If one game wasn’t enjoyable to me then I would just move on to the next one.
Super Rare Games Mixtape
The Super Rare Games Mixtapes are a series of physical game compilations featuring 30 games each and demos on a USB tape cassette with a manual all in a cool little box. The compilations pay the developers to include their games so it was fun seeing the late 90’s freeware game Dink Smallwood in one of the releases. They have a limited print run so some of the early ones are sold out but you can get them here.
Indiepocalypse is a monthly anthology of tabletop and video games. Each issue contains ten games as well as a zine. One of my favorite things about Indiepocalypse is how in addition to paying developers to include their games, it also pays royalties to those devs from sales. I also really like how so many of the games are experimental and by developers that don’t have big followings. It even commissions a new game each issue so it’s helping new games get created as well. Indiepocalypse has had a giant influence on me and all my weird little indie game dev projects. I really wish it got more coverage in various outlets. I would strongly encourage you to pick up an issue and check out all the games.
Mangotronics Employment Collection
This is a collection of short games about employment that was organized by the publisher Mangotronics. The collection features nine games, I believe most of them exist elsewhere, but a couple of new games as well. I just really loved how this was a collection that was about a very specific theme. It is available on both Itch.io and Steam.
Hand Eye Society Mixtape
The Hand Eye Society Mixtape is a collection of games by The Hand Eye Society, a Toronto not-for-profit dedicated to supporting and showcasing video games. The purpose of the mixtapes is to showcase the diversity of indie games. The mixtape pays each developer to include their game in the collection and the bundle itself is available for free, but I highly encourage you to pay for it to help fund future bundles if you can afford to. There are currently two mixtapes available here.
HauntedPS1 Demo Disc
HauntedPS1 is a community that started a few years ago that was focused entirely around creating games inspired by horror games that were on the Playstation 1. Over time some of the developers from the community have started experimenting with different aesthetics or genres but the big projects that come from there are still focused on horror games. One of my favorite things they do is the HauntedPS1 Demo Disc. This is a collection inspired by 90s magazine demo discs containing demos of games by folks in the community. The presentation of the demo discs is fantastic as well. The first one is like the magazine demo discs that inspired it, but later ones have a 3D environment for you to explore. Best of all, they’re free!
I suppose I can plug my own collection. The first issue of the Locally Sourced zine is a collection of writing and games by people in the state of Michigan in the United States. I basically just copied what Indiepocalypse was doing and made a very local version of it. I had a fantastic time putting it together though and I’m very slowly working on another. If you would like to help more get made, consider picking up a digital or physical copy.
Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to the Cartomancy Anthology. It’s a little different than the rest of the collections I’ve talked about here because it’s all new games exclusive to this collection. The collection has a tarot deck theme, with each game being based on a card in the deck. I really enjoyed the presentation and it was nice to see so many game developers I’m a fan of, such as Lowpolis, have a game in the collection. Cartomancy Anthology is available on both Itch.io and Steam.
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