Introducing the Humble Deteriorating Bundle!

Author: Jacob Barkdull on Friday, December 16 2011 Comments

I can proudly say I purchased the first Humble Bundle (the "Humble Indie Bundle"), and I can say I'm glad to have not purchased the last seven. Why? I know what you're thinking, "It's a good deal, and it's monetary motivation for developers to port their games to Linux, and remove any pre-existing DRM." Yeah, yeah, but that's nothing compared to the first Humble Bundle.

Humble Bundle 4
That pixelated four kinda sums up what I'm saying.

The first Humble Bundle included games like World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru, Samorost 2 (as a bonus game) and the full 3-D first-person shooter "Penumbra: Overture". And once one million dollars was raised the source code for the game engines for Gish, Penumbra, Lugaru, and Aquaria, was released as Free and Open Source software under the GNU General Public License, however, the art, music, and other creative assets for these games were not included.

World of Goo, Gish, and Penumbra are all very successful indie game titles, however, success isn't the most important thing for these bundles (hence the name "Humble Indie Bundle"), but more often than not quality games become successful games. When Samorost 2 was added to the first Humble Bundle, I remember thinking "World of Goo, Aquaria, and Gish all already look like Adobe Flash games, so I'm not surprised they'd add an actual Adobe Flash game to the bundle. If not for Penumbra I wouldn't even bother buying this Humble Indie Bundle thing." And that's how the last 7 Humble Bundles (which have all been released this year alone, by the way) fail in comparison to the first.

  • Humble Indie Bundle #2 This bundle included the games Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, and Revenge of the Titans. All these games have one thing in common: they're all simple 2-D games that could easily be made in Adobe Flash, one actually is. When I see these games I think they belong on, and aren't worth even five dollars. Harsh I know, but that's my opinion of Flash games, and so that's my opinion of these games as well.

  • Humble Frozenbyte Bundle This bundle exceeded my expectations with the inclusion of Trine, Shadowgrounds, and Shadowgrounds Survivor. All 3-D games with decent graphics and physics. And once this bundle surpassed $700,000, Frozenbyte actually released the source code for both Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor, and added a level editor for Trine to the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle. However, the source code they released is not Free and Open Source software, the license prohibits commercial use and permits Frozenbyte to change the license terms at will.

  • Humble Indie Bundle #3 This bundle included the games Crayon Physics Deluxe, Cogs, VVVVVV, Hammerfight, and And Yet It Moves, plus two bonus games Steel Storm and Atom Zombie Smasher. Excluding Cogs and Steel Storm, every game in this bundle are again simple 2-D games that could all easily be made in Adobe Flash, Crayon Physics Deluxe actually is just an imitation of a popular Flash game (Magic Pen).

    I've always liked Steel Storm, it's similar to Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor, and it uses the Free and Open Source game engine DarkPlaces, the same engine used in Nexuiz.

  • Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle This bundle included just one game at first, that being Frozen Synapse, a simple 2-D turn-based game that is similar to many pre-existing Flash games on the Internet. Trauma and SpaceChem were later added as free bonus games. Trauma, while an interesting idea for a game, just reminds me of Microsoft Photosynth. And SpaceChem is another simple Flash-like 2-D game from the creator of Infiniminer, the bloated C# basis of the bloated Java game Minecraft.

  • Humble Voxatron Debut Ehhhhg.

I think you get where I'm going with this. The quality of the Humble Bundles has been decreasing, there are too many simple 2-D Flash-like games, they're releasing them too often, and they're throwing in the games from their previous bundles just to try and entice people to buy. I think they're more focused on making money rather than putting together a decent bundle now.

What's stopping them from getting "Penumbra: Black Plague" included? Now that Frictional Games has released "Amnesia: The Dark Descent" they're probably willing to participate in the bundle again. And perhaps Prey? It's cross-platform, probably DRM-free or could be made so, and with Human Head Studios' upcoming release of Prey 2, they're probably willing to participate in the bundle, too.

And why not make the liberation of the games a requirement? Why not have a goal of say, one or two million dollars, that if reached the games -- even if just the engines -- would be released as Free and Open Source software? Even a goal of three million wouldn't be hard to reach, this current bundle has already made $1,371,001 and there's still eleven days left. I am just disappointed with the direction the Humble Bundle is taking, it had so much potential to be something great, something more than just a good deal.

If you really want it: Get your bundle here
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