SA Gamer Awards 2017: Best Indie

Sometimes publishers turn down ideas that sound risky. That sound too different from current fare and what the marketing decks say are the current hottest thing. It is in the indie space that new ideas, new mechanics and exploration happens. Sometimes it is deeply personal. Sometimes these games are charged with the creator’s emotions because they made the game in a tiny team, or completely solo. 2017 had so many games, more than we could reasonably play, but some stood out. The games you tell your friends about when they mention wanting something new, something inspiring.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade dares to do what many mediums don’t. It delves into psychosis and mental health issues, completely immersing you in a world where you can’t trust your ears, eyes or the very rules of reality. Senua’s journey is powerful, emotional and thought-provoking. Ninja Theory did a lot of work with people who treat psychosis to work out how to illustrate the delusions and illusions that people suffer, from hearing voices to visions and hyper-association. It isn’t just a great adventure game about fighting Norse gods. This is an exploration of the mind and a showcase of what happened in a time period when dementia and psychosis were seen as curses or witchcraft.

Runner-up: Night in the Woods

Honourable mentions: Pyre, Cuphead, The Sexy Brutale, Hollow Knight

If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

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