Today marks the launch of Steam's "Greenlight" program. To quote Valve on it,
Steam Greenlight is a new system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the next games to be released on Steam. Developers post information, screenshots and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution
That's a lot of power to give consumers–and developers, too! And judging by the influx of titles on the service, we can probably expect to be flooded with all sorts of games that want to make it on Steam. As of this writing there are over 11 pages of games, which is insane–and it's only going to go up. Holy cow.
I took the liberty of perusing through these titles and have reccomendations for which ones you should consider supporting. Here's ten worthwhile Steam Greenlight games you should vote for:
Filibration: Here's a title with a mechanic that a straight up wuss like me always needs: the ability to close your eyes in the middle of a horror game. I mean, that's perfect, right? But anyway, the game is a "first person philosophic horror with elements of mysticism." It's a short game, but it carries a somber atmosphere and apparently has over 600 ugly birds. That's a lot of ugly birds.
Neotokyo: Another first person shooter with "VISCERAL AND REALISTIC COMBAT™" that I'm including because of its futuristic setting (which I'm a sucker for) and strong influences like Ghost in the Shell and Akira. It's been in development for almost a decade, and it tales the tale of Japan about 30 years in the future. Political intrigue galore to be found here.
TowerClimb: a delightfully difficult procedurelly generated platformer, which is also a roguelike. Sounds like Spelunky, and kind of vaguely looks like it too, art-wise. But it looks like it offers some new experiences that Spelunky didn't. Plus, I'm also a sucker for roguelikes.
Waiting For Horus: a twitch-based shooter with celshaded art direction where you play as a, uh, robot thingy? I'm not sure what you are, but I suppose it's not important. The game looks like a ton of fun and it's refreshing to see this type of art style in a competitive shooter setting. Probably at the top of my most anticipated Steam Greenlight titles.
Mutant Mudds: I know there's no shortage of old-school platformers, but Mutant Mudds still looks like it's worth supporting. You play as Max, who can come to and fro between different dimensions–the title was on the 3DS prior, I believe, which explains that mechanic. There's over 60 levels across 5 words.
Gunman Clive is here to take care of an overflow of thugs and outlaws. And he's going to do it in the most self-deprecating way possible, judging from the trailer here. It's an old school (are we tired of this phrase yet?) sidescrolling platform game set in the old west. And it's brown as hell, but not in the way most games are.
NEO Scavenger looks like a hardcore title through and through. It's a turn-based roguelike RPG that sees you trying to survive in a wasteland. Apparently you're trying to figure out who you are. Skills are important, as are how you spend your time. Definitely looking forward to this one.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is probably the most hilarious of the bunch. You play as a…well, as an Octopus who is also a father. He's trying his best to keep up with family life despite its difficulties. And to keep his identity safe, which is kind of an amazing feat. You play through trying to control Octodad's flimsy arms, often doing things that would be simple for any ordinary human…but not so much an octopus.
Oniken: here's another HARDCORE OLD SCHOOL GAME, included because I've been assured of its quality by many-a-friend. Here's a straight up quote from the developers, which says nothing that would surprise anyone: "We are putting a great effort to guarantee that this game feels really like an 8 bit classic. Everything on Oniken, from the character design to the music, is a tribute to the 8-bit action games from the NES era. So if you like old-school games be prepared for Oniken and remember… Oniken is NES hard!"
Perpetuum: Okay get this: a sandbox sci-fi MMO where you play as giant fucking robots. This is some Hawken stuff right here, kind of. And it's an RPG too: what's not to love about that?
By the time you read this, there will probably be way more than just ten titles worth supporting. So take a look at the giant list over at Steam, and get your votes ready. Many a developer's livelihood depends on it.
I can't help but wonder just how many releases Steam is going to start seeing in the future now that this system is here. Gatekeeping has its pros and its cons, and the illusion of "good content rising to the top" is a proposition that is seldom true.
Letting people decide what makes it is a boon, but then again, there's nothing to say that public taste is good taste. And maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe all games should make it through–gaming doesn't have its YouTube yet, and allowing users to upload whatever they want on a visible platform has worked out fine for YouTube. I'd love to see Steam fulfill that role–but it would mean getting rid of the voting, period.
For now, I look forward to seeing how all of this develops.