It’s a grey, wet day. Huge beaded raindrops thud and bounce off the umbrellas held by the few mourners who have gathered to see Steam Greenlight off. These people are a mixed bunch, some famous, and well groomed. Others look shabby and unshaven, their faces oddly familiar but unknown to me. Others lurk in the background, not wanting to be seen, they obviously don’t want to be recognised for previous digressions.
The funeral of Steam Greenlight is a sad one. Since October 2011, Steam Greenlight has been a service to bring independent games to Steam. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? You have a fantastic little indie game but no publisher, so why not put it on Steam Greenlight? People vote for for your game, and if it’s popular then Steam will sell your game on their store. It couldn’t be more perfect could it? Actually, it could.
The system was open to manipulation and, to be honest, fraud. There’s nothing to stop developers from bribing people to vote for their game and making some promises on their personal website or social media that they can’t keep as no one will know until it’s too late. In theory, it could be possible to buy votes. Not only that, but it seems that some people were confused by Greenlight; someone even tried to get a game called Minecraft greenlit. It’s unsurprising that Steam Greenlight has been taken out to the shed to be shot.
The system was intended to prevent a stream of shovelware from flooding the Steam store, by ensuring that only those games that would secure reasonable sales could make it on the store. But it still failed to prevent the store breaking its banks: 38% of the games on the store were released in 2016 alone, an explosion in content.
That forced Valve to reassess what the store was for, leading to the introduction of new discovery mechanisms designed to improve upon an interface largely unchanged from the days when Steam had fewer than 100 games on it. Those mechanisms included curators, such as YouTube personalities and games journalists, who can recommend specific games to their followers, as well as an algorithmic recommendation system which suggests games based on purchase history, game playtime, and friends’ activity.
So join me while I take a look at the best games that Steam Greenlight brought us.
Space Beast Terror Fright
Space Beast Terror Fright is the love child of Aliens and Space Hulk. If this game was a human it would’ve taken Aliens Colonial Marines and Space Hulk: Deathwing, climbed the nearest tower and done a massive poop all over them. This game was the game that both the aforementioned games were meant to be. Difficult, terrifying, fast-paced, tense and frantic. Perform missions in cramped corridors and don’t die, play alone or with a friends. It’s well worth checking out and only costs £10.99.
Miasmata is a criminally underrated survival/adventure game. Stranded on a strange tropical island, you are infected with a plague. It has you searching the island for a cure as well as surviving in the wilderness; fresh water is a must if you want to live. If that doesn’t make things worse, there’s a bizarre lynx/stag-ish creature stalking you, which responds to your movements and adjust its attempts to kill you accordingly. While the creature isn’t perfect, the game is enthralling and has been steadily growing in popularity since its 2012 release.
Project Zomboid has managed to maintain a fantastic review score after receiving thousands of reviews. Despite a large amount of reviews, Zomboid is a survival game that many fans simply don’t know about. While many survival games have taken the first person route, Zomboid is an isometric style game with rather cute graphics. Despite the cuteness the game is a difficult and features some great mechanics that make survival in a zombie wasteland not an easy task.
Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator
I can’t be the only one who wants a Star Trek simulator? For years I thought it would be brilliant to have a mix of Elite, Eve and Faster Than Light, mixed with first-person ship management, exploring worlds never explored before. I’ve since found Pulsar: Lost Colony but there is no other game like Artemis. It has to be played multiplayer, with each player taking on a role on the bridge of a Star Trek style spaceship.
Does Broforce need any introduction? The love child of Contra and 80’s action movies, Broforce sees you (and if you’re playing together, your best brah) taking on terrorist forces that threaten our way of life. The game is immensely fun, there’s a lot of action to blast your way through, but also it’s steeped in political satire so there’s never been a better time to get your ‘merica on and hit those terrorists with a dose of shock and awe.