Mar 31, 2011

250 Indie Games You Must Play (1 Book You Must Read)

How many books on indie games have you recently read dear reader? Not that many, eh? Well, that does actually make sense as -to my knowledge- none have been published just yet. Despair not though, for quality games writer and editor of such prestigious sites as Gamasutra UK, and Pocket Gamer Mike Rose has been kind/wise/brilliant enough to come up with the excellent sounding 250 Indie Games You Must Play book.

Said aptly named offering highlights 250 of the best indie games around, is lavish enough to provide colour screenshots and even includes some thoughts by prestigious (and irresistibly cuddly) indie developers. You can find out more about it here and even pre-order it via,, Waterstones and Blackwell's. It will be released on April 18th and you should expect a proper Gnome's Lair review soon after that. Oh, and if you were wondering, as I actually were, there will also be a Kindle version available. Yes, yes and thrice yes, though I think I'll just stick to the analog version for now.

Anyway. Here's a short interview Mike Rose has been kind enough to provide the Lair with, that will hopefully make things crystal-clear and enlighten you further. Read on, read on:

Would you mind starting with a short gaming bio of yours?

I started as a naive, narrow-minded gamer who had no idea what an indie game was, and instead shot people online on a regular basis. A few years ago, I stumbled across indie games, and have been addicted to them since. I set up my own small indie gaming blog, but was soon grabbed by the folks to write for them instead. That's where I've been since! I'm currently also editor at Gamasutra and Pocket Gamer.

How would you describe the 250 Indie Games You Must Play book?

It's a collection of the most weird, wonderful and exciting indie games to date. I started off with a list of around 800 indie games, and slowly but surely whittled it down to 250 of what I believe to be the most interesting. The games featured range from very recent to many years old, from fast-paced platformers to brain-scratching puzzlers, from visually simplistic to bloody gorgeous.

The main idea was to present a list that would pull non indie gamers in and convert them, yet also give veteran indie gamers something to flick through and relive all those classic titles, while filling in any blanks they may have.

Why did you decide to go on and write this book?

I was looking through books on Amazon last year, and realised that there aren't really any books about indie games at all. My initial thought was 'someone needs to do something about this!', then I remembered that I am in fact a writer, and maybe I should take the reins myself.

Of course, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't an element of doing it for myself as well. I loved the idea of having my name on a book, so that was definitely a plus point for me!

What were the main selection criteria of the games included?

I made a difficult decision early on regarding the types of games I would feature. I was trying to mix console games, such as Xbox Live Arcade/Indie Games and PlayStation Network games, into the mix, as well as certain iPhone games. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realised that this may not be in the best interest of the reader. Everyone has a PC or Mac, but not everyone has a games console or an iPhone.

So every game in the book plays on a PC at the very least, with many working on Mac and a handheld available for the consoles. Whenever this is the case, the description of the game clearly states. Perhaps if this book does well, I may write a second volume that deals with the consoles, but for now I'm happy with this set-up.

The book is split into three sections - free download games, browser games, and paid games. I'm hoping this spread will help to represent the indie scene to its fullest.

Did you actually get all those lovely, creative people to comment on their games?

I didn't ask developers to comment on their games, but rather, I asked a select number about what they think of the current boom in the indie scene, and why they choose to be an indie developer over joining a AAA team. There are plenty of big names with their opinions featured, so it should make for an insight read!

Related @ Gnome's Lair:


  1. Great stuff, Gnome-like creature! :-D

  2. Thank you dear Captain. I was sure you'd appreciate this book.

  3. nice, I would like to give this book a go for sure.

  4. @ Jonathon: Thanks Jonathon. I most definitely agree :)

    @ Blake: So would I, so would I. Actually, I will!

  5. Nice one!

    I'd like to check that out too. There are so many neat and quirky indie games out there that you just don't hear about.

  6. @ Josh: Well, I suppose so, but to be frank I haven't tried Nook yet. Do believe it only supports B&N books though.

    @ Gameolio: Indeed kind sir(s)!

  7. It's out! Congratulations, Mike!

  8. Congratulations indeed!

  9. Is this the first time you put the image on the side (I forget the term of art for this)? I love you man!


  10. I do believe I've gone with the side-placed image before, though frankly ages ago. Thanks for the love Y, here have a cookie!