Ah, November: the month associated with giving thanks. In the United States, it’s also the start of the holiday season, a time of year when people are reminded to appreciate – and express appreciation for – that which brings them comfort and joy.
If you’ve ever wondered how to show appreciation for your favorite games, today’s post is for you!
Below, I describe 10 different ways you can support your favorite games and game creators, such as indie games and small studios that may depend on it more.
Why should you support your favorite games?
There are many reasons to support your favorite games, especially those created by hobbyists, independent game developers, and small studios!
Individual creators often don’t have many resources for marketing their games, so their success depends more heavily on the support of fans like you.
This is true for multi-user dungeons (MUDs) and similar text-based games, as well.
MUDs, chatroom games, and other types of writing games are often run by volunteers who provide their games for free. Because these volunteers are typically juggling real jobs and other responsibilities alongside their games, your support can help a lot with the marketing efforts they likely don’t have the bandwidth for on a day-to-day basis.
Additional reasons to show your support
Regardless of the type of game, you’ll also be sending a few important signals when you show your support:
- I like what you’re doing.
- I appreciate your hard work.
- Keep it up!
This, in turn, can help game creators hone in on what they’re doing well, so they can do more of those things. Your support can even help them improve upon their original ideas!
Finally, support from fans can be a heady source of motivation and encouragement for independent creators struggling to make a career out of something they love.
As cheesy as it sounds, by supporting their work, you’re essentially helping them make their dreams come true.
The best part? Showing your support doesn’t have to require a lot of time or money. Most of the things listed here only take a few minutes to do and don’t cost a thing.
10 Ways to support your favorite games and indie game creators
Ready to show your appreciation and support? There are many ways to support your favorite games and game creators. Below are 10 ideas to get you started.
Remember, though, that each creator/studio is different! Depending on their situation, they might rank some things in this list higher or lower. What I’ve provided is simply a starting point.
Let’s take a look!
1. Write a glowing review
One of the absolute best ways to support your favorite games is to write amazing reviews about them. For example, reviews on Steam or testimonial shout-outs over social media.
Why? Because a great review is marketing gold for an indie game. It’s like free advertising but even better.
Well-written reviews can help people make informed decisions about which games to buy, which is not only great for them (they’re more likely to find a game they like) but also great for the game’s creators – particularly when every sale counts.
How to write a great review
So how does one write a great review? Actually, it’s easier than you might think!
Here are a few quick guidelines:
- Highlight what you like most about the game, preferably with one or two examples. Meaning, don’t just say, “It’s fun!” – take a moment to explain why it’s fun.
- Be honest and to the point.
- If you want, include some constructive feedback on the parts of the game you thought could have been done a little differently or better.
The review doesn’t have to be an essay, either. If 4-5 sentences are all it takes to get your point across, there’s no need to make it any longer than that.
2. Gift the game to your friends or family
Another way to support your favorite games is to gift them to your friends and family – if you can afford to do so and think they’d like them, that is!
Buying additional copies (whether digital or physical) is a very direct way to say, “This game is worth it.”
And if you buy the right games for the right people, you’ll not only make them happy, but you may even earn the game a few more fans and glowing reviews.
If it’s a multiplayer game, there’s also the added bonus that you can play together.
3. Tell your friends what’s great about it
Even if you can’t afford to gift the game, you can still tell your friends about it!
Word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations are incredibly helpful, especially for independent creators and small studios who don’t have much of an advertising budget.
If your friends go out and buy the game and enjoy it, they may tell some of their other friends, leave a review, and so on.
Going out of your way to tell just a few people can have a bigger impact than you might think!
4. Follow the game’s social accounts
If the game has an active social account, following it is another way to show your support. This can also help you stay abreast of any news, such as updates or DLCs on the way.
And if you need a little extra motivation – some games give away special redeemable codes, discounts, or prizes over social media, too, so there might be something else in it for you!
5. Subscribe to the game’s newsletter
If social media isn’t your speed, you can check to see if your favorite game has a newsletter.
Newsletters will often contain the same information, including updates, new games in development, discounts, etc. as social media posts.
Subscribing to the newsletter will not only keep you updated but is a way of saying that you think the game/creator is worth paying attention to.
6. Join the game’s Discord server or other community
If your favorite game has a Discord server, forums, or other online community, you can show your support by getting involved in it.
Some creators offer special perks to their regular supporters, such as a unique Discord role, discount codes, and free gifts.
7. Link to the game’s website, blog, vlog, etc.
Another way to support your favorite games is to link directly to their website or other channels. This is actually more helpful than most people realize!
Backlinks are important for ranking well in search engines, which in turn can help increase the organic (as opposed to paid) traffic to a site.
Thus, by linking to the game’s website, you’re not only directing visitors there but increasing the likelihood that people will find the site while searching for related keywords.
8. Like and share game updates
If you do #4 in this list (follow the game’s social accounts), you can go a step further and like and share your favorite posts.
Liking and sharing require very little effort on your part, but doing so can help extend the game’s reach, allowing more people to discover and enjoy it – especially if you have a lot of friends and followers.
If you’re subscribed to the game’s newsletter (#5), you can forward the good stuff to anyone you think might enjoy it!
9. Report bugs and typos
Another way you can support your favorite game is by helping make it even better.
After all, no game is 100% perfect, but by reporting any bugs or typos you find, you can help get it closer to the mark. Your effort will also signal to the creator that they have a product worth improving.
If the game doesn’t have clear instructions on how to report bugs and typos, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for some.
10. Support the game/creator financially
Last but not least, you can support your favorite games and indie game creators by gifting them with a one-time or recurring donation.
If it’s an independent creator, they’ll usually provide clear instructions for doing so, or they’ll have a prominent link to their Patreon or Ko-fi account, for example.
Creators will often publish exclusive material for their monthly supporters, including concept art, behind-the-scenes videos, and other fun stuff that you won’t see elsewhere. It’s a way for supporters to give a little – and to get a little something special in return.
When not to offer your support
Finally, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without a few notes on when not to offer your support.
Think about it: choosing not to support a game or creator is as much within your power as your choice to support them.
Example scenario #1
For example, if you like the creator but not the game, it’s okay not to support that particular game. You don’t need to go against your principles or pretend to like something you don’t. Doing so would only send the wrong signals.
Instead, support the creator and the game(s) they did well.
For the game that didn’t hit the mark, write an honest review with constructive feedback that explains both what you liked and didn’t like – and why. This can help the creator better understand the rating.
Example scenario #2
Conversely, you may find that you like a game but not the creator(s). This may leave you in a tricky spot.
For example, say you found out that a creator says transphobic or racist stuff on social media, or perhaps it’s a studio that treats its employees poorly. What should you do?
Again, I would say stick to your principles. For some, this may mean voting with your feet/wallet; for others, it may mean speaking out.
Ultimately, the choice – and the effort – is yours, so do what feels right to you.