QUESTIONS ABOUT CATHY
Is Cathy really a girl? Yes. Last time I checked at least.
How old is Cathy? 23.
Where is Cathy from? Palo Alto, California.
What’s with all this Kairi stuff? I thought having a pen name would be neat at first. Now it’s just annoying. Nobody knows how to pronounce it, among other things. Call me Cathy.
One person does all these reviews? Yep, every game review at Indie Gamer Chick was done by me.
How long has Cathy played games? I’ve really always played games. My first system was the original Playstation, which Santa Claus brought me for Christmas of 1996, along with my first game, Crash Bandicoot. I was seven years old. I’ve been a regular gamer ever since.
What kind of games is Cathy into? You know, I don’t really have any particular favorite genre or style of game. For Indie Gamer Chick, I’m willing to play any type of game. Outside of my site, I’m pretty much the same way. My favorite stuff is usually adventure games and RPGs. My least favorite genre is probably shoot ‘em ups. But I’m open to the possibility that any game can be good, whether it’s about space warfare or curling or nose picking.
What does Cathy have against retro gaming? It’s not necessarily retro gaming that I’m against. It’s the idea that games were better whenever “back in the day” was. People have interpreted that to mean that I think all older games suck. I don’t think all old games suck, but some age more gracefully than others. I do believe that some games that are considered all-time classics really aren’t that good. I also don’t understand how gamers can replay some titles dozens of times when there are thousands of new experiences just a finger tip away from them.
How does Cathy’s epilepsy affect her ability to play games? It’s really not a major issue. My epilepsy developed around the time I was sixteen. In all that time, I think I’ve only had a seizure that resulted directly from playing games less than half a dozen times. I do need to exercise caution and be selective about what games I play, and usually try to avoid games that rely too heavily on strobe effects. Such things are the most likely to set off a spell.
How does autism affect Cathy? Most people are surprised to learn that I have autism. Probably because autism is so misunderstood and tends to conjure up the wrong image. I was diagnosed with it at the age of four. It has mostly effected me in areas related to socializing and communication. I would like to stress that I’m not disabled and I personally don’t find myself limited by it at all. People who live with autism are all affected in different ways and to different degrees. For more information, you should check out Autism Speaks. Yea, they’re one of those boring charity thingies, but they’re also really cool and they help a lot of people.
Who is Brian? He’s my amazing, cool, moderately decent looking boyfriend and biggest fan.
What is Brian’s role at Indie Gamer Chick? He occasionally plays the games with me. He’s mostly just there to listen to me bitch about how bad a game is. He also searches for new games for me to review and helps with the editing of my reviews. He’s notoriously unfunny and kind of dumb so he’s not so helpful with the actual writing stuff. (oh thanks -brian)
QUESTIONS ABOUT INDIE GAMER CHICK
Why Xbox Live Indie Games? Indie Gamer Chick started as a hobby and I just happened to choose Xbox Live Indie Games. Prior to Indie Gamer Chick, I had only bought two: I Made A Game with Zombies in It and Breath of Death VII. I started writing reviews for XBLIGs and I caught the attention of the community and subsequently my site exploded. Today, it’s the most read Xbox Live Indie Game-centered site in the world. And I owe that completely to the Xbox Live Indie Game community that pretty much adopted me. As long as XBLIGs are around, Indie Gamer Chick will focus on them. It’s an overlooked platform, but there are some damn fine games on it.
How do I get my game reviewed at Indie Gamer Chick? Just ask. I still do take requests, but I can’t guarantee that I will actually review your game. If you have a game and you want me to review it here, just let me know.
Why does Indie Gamer Chick not accept review codes/tokens? There are a few reasons behind it. First off, most of the games I review here retail for $3 or under and I would feel like a huge cheapskate if I didn’t buy them myself. Second, I feel that paying for all the games I review here frees me to say whatever I want about a game. Third, Xbox Live Indie Game developers get exactly fifty codes to give out. They can’t buy or acquire more codes under any circumstance. Since I can easily afford the games, taking a code from them would be kind of a dick move since it means one less shot for them to land a review on a larger, more mainstream gaming site.
It’s not uncommon for someone who knows my policy to send me a code anyway saying “I know you don’t take codes, but please take mine.” Guys, don’t worry about it. Whether I review the game or not, if you want me to check out your game, I’ll probably just buy it anyway. Just ask. Use your review codes smartly. Do whatever it takes to make sure someone at a larger site cashes it in and plays your game. Pester, whine, and don’t be too proud to beg. Remember, stalking isn’t really stalking until a judge says otherwise.
Why does Indie Gamer Chick accept codes for games with online multiplayer? Games with online play are a different story. You cannot gift Microsoft Points on the Xbox 360. The only option I would have is to buy a preset amount of points at a retail location, which are usually 1600 Microsoft Points, or $20.00USD. Thus it would cost me $21 dollars to review a game that costs everyone else $1. Taking a code is much simpler. I provide one of my online friends with the code and play the game with them. The copy I play is still purchased by myself with my own money. If your game has online multiplayer, send me the code. It will only be used if I actually plan to review the game.
My game is on Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network and won’t be released until later. We’re trying to secure early reviews. Can we send you a review token? Yes. If this is done, I’ll purchase a full copy of the game once it releases, whether I liked the game or not.
My game supports more than two players online. Should I send more than one code? No. I’ve tried this in the past, and I found it was really difficult to coordinate players. Send just the one code.
Why does the infamously harsh Indie Gamer Chick give developers a chance to fix their games with online play before publishing her review? I explain in detail here.
Can Cathy play-test my game for me? Can I send her a build of my game? No. I’m not interested in being part of the development process. I’m strictly here to do game reviews.
Do you play the demo before you decide on reviewing a game? Nope. Every game reviewed here is a review of the full game. I don’t sample anything beforehand because I try to cover both good games and bad ones. If I played demos, most of the stuff that I review would never get played for more than a few minutes.
Why don’t you have review scores? Because I think they’re useless. I explain in detail here.
What platforms do you review for? I’m mostly sticking to Xbox Live Indie Games for now. I’ve started doing iOS reviews because they’re generally games I can play in-between other activities to get a quickie review out of. I also review games on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. I have every current generation console, plus an Android tablet and iPhone/iPad, so I’ll probably roll out reviews for those as time goes on.
Will you review my Windows Phone game? I no longer own a Windows Phone and have no intention of every getting another. So that would be a no.
Why are your reviews so mean-spirited or harsh? I based my style of review around guys like Jeremy Clarkson, Simon Cowell, or Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw. The idea is that I’m trying to make an entertaining read that still gives out information on the game along with legitimate critiques. Although I recognize that indie games are often created by inexperienced game developers working on a shoestring budget, their games are now consumer products that cost real money, and thus they should be subject to critical examination. I feel a more “harsh” yet lighthearted style is attention grabbing. It helps to build my readership, and it also makes it more meaningful when a game receives a heavily positive review. I’m not here to be a cheerleader, and if that’s what you want, there are plenty of other sites that do that for developers at a benefit to nobody.
The game you just slammed only costs $1. What did you expect for $1? This is probably the most common negative response I get to a review. I think it’s really a weak argument at best, and incredibly insulting to some people at worst. A dollar buys you a lot in gaming these days. $3 buys you even more. There are a lot of really good games on Xbox Live for those prices. On phones, there are even more. The sheer variety of games that cost a single dollar is staggering, and some of those games are absolutely amazing. Once you get into the $3 range, you’re not only talking about games, but downloadable content for titles you’ve already played and possibly liked a lot.
And for some people, $1 is a lot of money, period. It can represent a significant portion of their limited gaming budget. To say that those people shouldn’t expect high-quality entertainment for that $1 when all evidence points to the contrary is kind of snotty. You might be able to burn a buck on a mediocre title and not kick yourself for it, but that’s not true of everyone.
What’s Second Chance with the Chick? It’s a no-questions asked second look at a game. Updating games with patches is now a major part of the gaming industry. We’ve all put a disc in our Xbox or our PlayStation and had to wait while it updates. Indie games are no different. Because most of the games I play are new releases, stuff often gets overlooked by developers. That, or non-bug-related flaws in the game end up getting corrected. In the interest of fairness, I will never turn down a second review of a game if a developer requests it. The only rule is, the game has to have been patched since my original review. If you’re a developer that had a game reviewed here and you want a second chance, just contact me. No request will be turned away, but this is a one time only offer for each game. Make sure when you request a second chance, the game is exactly where you want it to be.
If you send back a report to a developer after playing an online game that has glitches and then wait for it to be patched, does that count as my Second Chance with the Chick? No. However, you only get one chance to fix the glitches before I write the review to the game. Any further patches will have to be covered using your second chance.
What’s Indies in Due Time? It’s a feature where my boyfriend and I screen trailers for upcoming Xbox Live Indie Games and post our thoughts.
Is the dialog in Indies in Due Time real? Some of it is. My attitude with Indie Gamer Chick is to keep things “half serious.” In that regard, half of the dialog is made up, and half of it is legitimate. Comments regarding game footage are the actual words used by my boyfriend and I. The rest of it is done for the sake of entertainment.
What do you guys look for in a trailer? We’re looking for trailers for platforms covered here at Indie Gamer Chick. At this time, that means Xbox Live Indie Games, iPhone/iPad, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network titles. In the future, we’ll include PC titles that will be for sale at IndieCity. Trailers need to be on YouTube with embedding enabled and contain at least 50% actual game play footage. Trailers should be at least 30 seconds long, but no longer than 3 minutes. We would also prefer if you link to your official website, Twitter account, and Facebook account if available in your video’s description.
I’m afraid my game might trigger Cathy’s epilepsy. How can I tell if it’s potentially trouble for her? The best way is to send me a video of the spots in the game that you think might cause me problems. Someone close to me will screen it as soon as possible and let you know what their verdict is. In general, it’s bright, pulsing strobe effects that affect me. If you have doubts, it’s better safe than sorry.
Why did you eliminate Developer Challenges? Previously, I guaranteed every review request would be accepted. I called this a “developer challenge.” This worked early on in the site, but something happened that I never expected: people actually were reading me. As a result, review requests piled up and Indie Gamer Chick became more like work than the hobby that it’s supposed to be. I felt it was affecting the quality of my writing and so I canned the feature.
Does Indie Gamer Chick do news, previews, or press releases? I don’t do previews outside of Indies in Due Time. I’ll definitely never post press releases. The only time I post news is when it’s of major significance. But it doesn’t hurt to send me your press releases, to build up my personal interest if nothing else. I’ve also been known to tweet about upcoming games that get me excited.
Does Indie Gamer Chick interview developers? Only for special community events, and also for sponsors of the Leaderboard.
Will Indie Gamer Chick plug my Kickstarter? No. I get requests for Kickstarter every day, many of whom fail to meet what I consider to be the fundamental criteria needed to ask for funding. If I plug just one, the floodgates will open even more than they already have.
But what if we.. No.
Even if.. No.
What do I need to do to write a Tales from the Dev Side editorial? I’m looking for topical editorials that are relevant to the types of things I discuss on my site. If you’ve had a game reviewed here, you can use Tales from the Dev Side to write a postmortem on your game. If there’s an aspect of game development that you feel is overlooked or misrepresented, Tales from the Dev Side is the perfect outlet for you. My only real requirements are you don’t bring personal grudges into it and that you maintain the casual, easy to read tone I’m aiming for at Indie Gamer Chick. Just contact me and we can discuss it further.
Is Cathy interested in writing for our site? No. I would prefer to spend any time I have to write contributing to my own site. I’m always flattered when someone offers, but I’m also never interested.
Can I reprint a review or editorial from Indie Gamer Chick? I want to keep everything written by myself exclusive to this site, so please don’t copy or re-post anything done by me. If you need just a line or two for a blurb on your website or for promotional material, that’s fine, but not the full review please. If you want to re-post a Tales from the Dev Side editorial, contact the developer. If they say it’s okay, I have no problem.
Can I advertise at Indie Gamer Chick? I don’t take general advertisements, but you can sponsor the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard. Here’s a supplemental FAQ for how that works.
Can I run a contest at Indie Gamer Chick? Yes, provided you assume all legal responsibility for the contest. You also have to provide all the prizes. All contests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
QUESTIONS ABOUT LEADERBOARD
What is the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard? It’s the order I rank the Xbox Live Indie Games I’ve had fun playing from most fun to bareliest fun.
Is Bareliest a word? It is now.
Are you saying that the game ranked #10 is better than the game ranked #11? Yes. If I had to choose between playing game #10 or game #11, I would choose the game ranked #10. I have no problem saying I would rather play one game over another.
What games are ranked? Games I had fun playing. That’s the only criteria.
What is the Indie Gamer Chick Seal of Approval? Any game that gets ranked on the Leaderboard gets awarded my personal Seal of Quality. Developers who earn the seal can use it to promote their games as they see fit.