By Hannah Walls
The gaming industry has exploded in the past few years and has become one of the largest and most profitable industries. Like any industry, this means the demand for game developers is extremely high at the moment. However, a 2021 summary report from the International Game Developer’s Association found that only 4% of game developers who responded to their survey identified as Black.
Despite the incredible accomplishments of Black creators and gamers that have shaped the platforms and games we know and love today, such as the work of Gerald “Jerry” Larson, the gaming industry still has immense barriers for people of color and issues with representation and discrimination.
It seems like every year, gaming companies and partners rush to show their support for the Black community during Black History Month before fading back into the woodwork for another year with no tangible effort or push to diversify. Video games should be an escape for anyone and everyone, and exploring games from a variety of developers, artists, creators and communities is essential.
So, here are three indie games from Black developers to check out in celebration of Black History Month:
Chrono Ghost is a platformer that was developed by NITETIME Studios. The premise of the game depends on the manipulation of time to navigate each course. You are able to speed up, slow down and entirely stop time based on the color of the objects you are faced with. This concept may seem simple enough, but Chrono Ghost presents a challenging experience that will humble even the most seasoned gamers. (Don’t worry, the game also keeps track of how many times you die!) Chrono Ghost also has an absolutely gorgeous and unique art style accompanied by a killer soundtrack. I can’t recommend this game enough as a casual play that may or may not result in a rage-fueled keyboard smash.
Tiny Bird Garden
For all of my fellow cozy gamers out there, I present to you Tiny Bird Garden, which was developed by Super Retro Duck, a husband and wife dev team. The entire point of the game is basically to collect tiny colorful birds, raise baby birds and decorate your garden…what’s not to love? Tiny Bird Garden also has adorable characters and fun minigames, as if having over a hundred different little winged friends to collect wasn’t exciting enough. This game is basically just adorable in every single way, and I’m a big fan of any game where you just get to look at cute animated animals.
Combat Core is an arena brawler developed by MABManZ. I was immediately drawn to Combat Core because of its futuristic, cyberpunk aesthetic and bright colors. This game has a really neat art style for character designs and arena designs, and it’s definitely a fun and casual play that is guaranteed to be different from your average fighting game. You can also build your own fighter and choose your abilities. There aren’t too many customization options, to my dismay, but I think it’s a fun option regardless that I haven’t really seen before! You can play Combat Core with up to four friends, or fight against computer- controlled opponents.
Featured Image from NITETIME Studios
Written by: Amaya Lewis