For Peeler, it's still about the freedom. "I never would have been able to create Depths of Peril in the mainstream. I don't have a boss. My commute is now about 10 seconds to get across the room. I no longer have to go to meetings. I no longer have to deal with publishers trying to withhold payments to get their way."
"Creating indie games allowed me to gain experience and improve my skill set in a way that is almost impossible in today's game industry," Evans maintains. "By going indie, I amassed a ton of experience in three to four years time that probably would have taken me a decade to gain in the industry."
Going indie is a struggle. The challenges mount, and the dream can get frayed around the edges. But for many professionals, what brought them out of the big studios and back into the garage or bedroom to make their own games hasn't changed.
When I first got this bird I spent two weeks trying to get him to say “Hello.” By the end of the month he was saying “‘lo! ‘lo!” But that was about it. So I gave up.
But then I bought a GameCube and every Resident Evil game they’ve cranked out for it. I played them for hours on end with the lights out. I won’t lie to you - it sorta put me “off,” you know? I started sleeping with the lights on and locking my windows at night.
One night I crawled out of bed to get myself a drink, and I shuffled down the dark hallway between my bedroom and the kitchen, feeling along the wall with my hand as I went. The kitchen was nearly pitch black until I opened the refrigerator, and then a brilliant wedge of light poured out, causing me to squint. That’s when I heard it:
“Grraaa ... aaaagghhh...”
I whirled around and reeled backwards in horror. I smashed into the lampshade and furiously reached over to flick the switch. And there, sitting on his perch amidst the warm glowing light that filed the room, was my parrot. “’lo! ‘lo!” he said to me, cheerfully.
Apparently all those zombie noises from the game had gone to the little guy’s head. He could duplicate them exactly! This went on for some weeks, until finally I got used to it. The groanings and mumblings as I lay in bed at night actually started to get kinda soothing.
Of course, I forgot to warn my friends and neighbors...