Indie Sports Games: Performance and Performativity


  • Abraham Stein MIT Game Lab


The indie videogame scene is playing host to a new trend – competitive multiplayer sports themed games. Titles like Hokra, BaraBariBall, Tennnes, and GIRP, among others, have been challenging traditional notions of what constitutes a sports themed videogame. The emergence and popularity of these games raises questions about how the culture of traditional sports relates to the still developing community of independent developers, journalists, scholars and enthusiasts that comprise the nascent indie scene. Looking through the lens of performance and performativity, this paper unpacks this new sports game trend, examining design, spectatorship, and group identity by way of interviews with key members of the indie game scene.