Examining Indie's Independence: The Meaning of "Indie" Games, the Politics of Production, and Mainstream Cooptation


  • Nadav Lipkin Rutgers University


Recent years have seen the meaning of what makes a game “indie” become increasingly difficult to express. This article will examine the shift in meaning that “indie” is undergoing, its causes, and its effects on the indie developer community. Rather than arguing for a single definition of indie, this article examines the ideologies underlying the multiple definitions of the term. Especially significant is the effect that mainstream cooptation of the term has affected the ability of developers to protest through the mere production of their work as “indie” shifts from largely concerning production and economics to standing in as a style or genre marker. The article concludes that while it may no longer be possible for games to clearly demonstrate politics through production alone, developers still have ways to protest against the mainstream.

Author Biography

Nadav Lipkin, Rutgers University

Doctoral Student, School of Communication and Information