For indie developers, obscurity is death.
The rising popularity of community-based platforms like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter has helped jettison many independent titles into the spotlight. Steam Greenlight is another way independent developers can get their games noticed, but developers aren't guaranteed to find success there either.
Greenlight Supershow aims to change that. The 13-hour web event will feature 26 games and their developers, all of whom currently have titles awaiting the green light. In addition to gameplay demos and giveaways streamed through Twitch.Tv, the Supershow will also feature Q&A sessions in an effort to drum up new dialogue about lesser-known titles.
As an independent developer herself, Supershow organizer and RobotLovesKitty co-founder Alix Stolzer is well aware of the dangers of flying under the radar. If a solution does exist, it's found in part by teaming up with other developers and opening up a dialogue.
"Obscurity is one of the biggest issues we have," Stolzer said. "When everybody is struggling in the same kind of way, we just benefit much more by sharing and everything. We're not in direct competition the same way AAA titles are."
Stolzer is half of the husband-and-wife duo that created Legend of Dungeon, a rogue-like dungeon crawler that successfully passed through Steam Greenlight in April. She began work as the sole organizer of the Supershow shortly after her game's success, but inspiration for the event had taken root much earlier.
"During our Kickstarter for Legend of Dungeon [in 2012], these people invited us to something they called the Kick-A-Thon," Stolzer said. "Basically, they gathered a bunch of different Kickstarters and they talked about them."
"Obscurity is one of the biggest issues we have."
It was organized differently than her show is now, but the Kick-A-Thon got her thinking.
"I was wondering, 'How do we keep the conversation going about these indie games,'" Stolzer said. "We hadn't been Greenlit yet, and I was starting to think, 'This is going to be bad once we've got the game complete. We have nothing left to talk about.' That means we need to create something to talk about.
"I realized that everybody is in the same position that I'm in right now," Stolzer continued. "The Kick-A-Thon came to mind, and I just sort of thought I could do this with video games."
Stolzer started by digging through Greenlight's earliest submissions. She collected roughly 30 to 40 titles that had yet to be approved and reached out to their developers via email.
"I thought these are the people who probably are out of things to talk about at this point," Stolzer said. "It's been almost a year. I put up a Google document and I gave everybody access to view it, and I asked them to spread the word. It was built in three days. I thought I was really going to have to scrounge around for people but I was very wrong."
The positive reaction developers had to the Supershow surprised Stolzer. In addition to their enthusiasm, they showed great compassion and helpfulness to each other, she said. Indie journalists, too, have offered their help. Greenlit Gaming a Steam-focused news site, will moderate the livestream's comments on Twitch.TV.
"How do we keep the conversation going about these indie games?"
The Supershow's debut is already set in terms of featured games, but interested developers are still contacting Stolzer. Although they won't be included in this weekend's roundup, there's potential for future events.
"Based on the kind of response I've gotten, I kind of feel like it's something that's needed," Stolzer said. "At least for however long Greenlight remains the way that it is — as this popularity contest.
"I think people need it," Stolzer added. "The developers definitely need it. Everybody that I've shown the list to [has] been sort of surprised: 'Oh, I've never heard of this game before.' I think it's good for the gamers as well."
The Greenlight Supershow begins June 29 at 10:30 a.m. ET. Check out the full roster of featured games, including Chasm, Girls Like Robots, Escape Goat and many more on the event's website.