Xbox 360 indie games appreciation thread

A thread about farts in video games unlocked a repressed memory I had regarding a game called Try Not To Fart, and by extension its developer Silver Dollar Games, and by extension of extension the Xbox 360 Indie Games storefront as a whole. I'm asking you, the fine people of insert credit, to throw some of your favorite games from that weird and quirky corner of the 360 storefront into this here thread.

### First things first though, I gotta say way too much words about what I think!

Now, before I talk about some of my favorite games on the platform, I wanna talk about why it was so appealing to me (and my brother) when we were younger. I should start by saying that my family didn't really buy many video games. It wasn't because we couldn't afford them, or because they hated the idea of me and my brother having fun, it was because we lived 2 minutes away from a video store (RIP Family Video). As a direct result of that, most of our video game habits formed around replaying the same few games we'd had since the console came out, and renting stuff that looked interesting. All that changed when we found out about the indie games store.


_This was the inside of the exact Family Video location my dad took me to all the time. It's now a physical therapy place, which I tried to find a pic of, but couldn't. Maybe I'll take a pic myself and throw it in later..._

Part of the reason the indie games store was so cool to us was because all the games were priced for 5 Dollars or less. While in hindsight I realize this probably sucked pretty bad for people who made more ambitious or complex games (ones that would have gone for easily triple the price if they weren't arbitrarily called "indie games" instead of "arcade games"), at the time it meant that a couple of kids in school could realistically scrape together enough cash to buy a couple games. Needless to say, me and my brother went hog wild and played some of the crustiest garbage you could hope to find on the service- and by that I mean, zombie survival games, SO many Minecraft clones, and occasionally some actually neat stuff.

Now that I've reminisced like an OLD for a minute, I wanna actually talk about some of the games we played, and what better way to do that than to break down those 3 major categories I brought up just a second ago!

### 1. Zombie Survival Games

Goddang these were everywhere back then....

So you might remember how absolutely ridiculously **obscenely** big Call of Duty was back in the early 2010s, ESPECIALLY the zombie horde mode. Surprisingly enough, we didn't actually have any of these games (we rented em plenty though). I even remember having a friend who I only hung out with because they had Call of Duty on their PS3. Gosh, I don't even remember that kids name anymore. I was gonna make a joke about how I got bullied for not having Call of Duty, but I think I was the real bully all along...

Anyway, horde modes were physically addictive to me at the time- it was actually unhealthy I think. Uh- but without a way to get my fix in the normal way (Call of Duty or Gears of War), I rolled up my sleeves and got GROSS with games like Nuclear Wasteland 2030 and Zombie Turkey Outbreak.

These were both fine for what they were. I don't wanna hate on them or anything because they're just wacky and totally harmless little games sold for pennies, but I also can't help but crack up at the idea of me honestly thinking "Zombie Turkey Outbreak" was a perfectly good substitute for like- Gears of War 3. Oh also, Nuclear Wasteland 2030 had wonky ragdoll physics which humored me as a child. Seriously, I was obsessed with wonky ragdoll physics as a kid. What an odd thing to be fixated on.


_Me (circa 2010), laughing hysterically at ragdoll physics wherever they may appear_

### 2. SO many Minecraft clones

There were dozens of these gosh darn things, but I wanna focus on the 2 most popular ones, those being Total Miner, and CastleMiner Z. Now I think that Total Miner is probably a better video game to just play, but CastleMiner Z is my personal favorite. Lemme explain-

Total Miner was a genuinely robust survival crafting game with tons of unique little touches to make it stand out from Minecraft. One of the ones I remember off the top of my head was the little NPC's you could place around the environments. They didn't really do much in terms of gameplay, but it was so cool to be able to build a town and actually have it feel like a cute little community that people inhabited. There was a bunch of neat stuff in Total Miner, and the best part is that it's [still playable on PC to this day!](


_One of the little NPC's I mentioned. According to the internet, his official name is "Boy". He seems like a sweetheart_

Like I said though, CastleMiner Z was my XBLIG Minecraft-like of choice. What was so cool about CastleMiner Z? Well, it had a main campaign, titled endurance mode. The goal of this mode was to travel as deep into hell as you could, while fighting off the elements as well as demonic creatures. It had a clear-cut goal that forced you to always be on the move, never allowing you to settle down and find a safe place to stay, which was a really interesting way to shakeup the gameplay loop of this style of game.

Whenever I play Minecraft I always have the same experience. I find myself at a point a few hours in where I'm generally comfortable enough with my house and ability to stay alive, so I end up getting kinda bored and losing interest. CastleMiner Z never had that issue because the game always forces you to leave your current comfortable shelter to settle in a different, harsher, environment. At the same time though, this game felt clunky, even back then. I can't even imagine how rigid and creaky it'd feel in 2023. That's the main reason I say Total Miner is probably better as a game to just play, even if it's less interesting overall.


_The clash between the goofy Xbox avatars and the rest of the games art style was a defining trait of all these XBLI games. I cherish it_

Oh yeah, and [CastleMiner Z is also playable on PC,]( which is super cool! I'd have been very sad if this one was lost to time.

Now for the last catagory:

### 3. Actually neat stuff

By opening up the Xbox 360 marketplace to so many new people, we ended up getting some really neat ideas for games here and there. One of the first ones to pop in my head was called Comedy Night. This was less of a game and more of a digital hangout. Essentially the idea was to allow Xbox Live users to perform on stage in a digital comedy club, complete with an audience of other real players who could freely interact or heckle the performer. It was a very novel concept, and one that I'd love to show you gameplay for! Unfortunately, no slur-free gameplay for Comedy Night exists on the entire internet. Therein lies the problem with Comedy Night, and other games like it. The game is conceptually neat, but most people ignored that concept, which meant the game usually just boiled down to a Call of Duty lobby, only without the Call of Duty part. How fun!


_Good thing you can't hear screenshots. Phew-_

Oh, and I feel obligated to once again inform you that this game [is available on PC,]( but also- maybe don't check this one out unless you can arrange a session with people who you can trust not to be racist weirdo's.

There was also DLC quest, a quirky platformer where instead of unlocking new abilities, you need to scour the world for coins to buy DLC packs containing new abilities. [Oh, and it's on steam!]( I gotta mention Grand Class Melee, a clever 4 player fighting game with an RPG inspired class system, allowing for tons of different ways to play. We had so much fun with this one back in the day- and it has [a sequel on steam!]( There's one game whose title I just can't seem to remember. It was a 4 player deathmatch game that played in 2D where you would use all sorts of different weapons, as well as digging through the environment, to get the jump on your opponents. I thought it was [Dwarven Depths](, but upon watching gameplay I realized that Dwarven Depths is just a coincidentally very similar video game. It's a real shame that I can't remember it, because it was one of the indie games we played the most!


_This mystery game reminded me a bit of deathmatch mode in Spelunky, which we also used to play constantly_

### In conclusion: 360 indie games ruled!!

These silly little games fueled so many unforgettable multiplayer nights with friends and family. Not only that, but they also helped shape me into a person who could appreciate some more off the wall experimental games. All of this is to say that I genuinely believe the platform that allowed "Try Not To Fart" to be distributed ended up making me a more interesting person.

Funny how that works...

Thanks for listening :)