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Great Single Developer
Games
 

Video games are complicated. The era of a lone developer making a hit game in their bedrooms is long gone. Or is it? We have found a swath of amazing games that have been driven into existence by just one person.

These games often stand out because of their singular vision and focused scope. Although, as the discussion surrounding this list has uncovered, almost all games have some contribution from other people. Coding, designing, creating art, writing music, recording dialogue.

Still, these are games where there has been a single driving force (auteur) willing their creation into existence. This list aims to highlight these games not to hold up the ideal of solo development (which can lead to unhealthy work-life balance) but to uncover this deep pool of fascinating games with a singular vision.

As Lewis Procter tweeted, it's exciting to realise that "you can make a game without needing permission or support from a big company, and many great tools are readily available." But, as he continued, in reality, "games are almost always at some level a collaborative effort."

The games we are including here are those that were created by a single person. Sometimes this is in a final form, sometimes a single developer's vision was released and has subsequent versions that expands this with more people. This is our thank-you to all these tireless individuals who have created something singular and pure that we now enjoy.
 
This list includes 20 games from the last 20 years, with 1,155 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play games created by one person.

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A Short Hike

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Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

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Stardew Valley

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

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Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is inviting for young players to try their...

TowerFall Ascension

Release Date: 25/06/2013, updated in 2017

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Thomas Was Alone

Release Date: 18/04/2013, updated in 2014

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Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

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Gorogoa

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The Falconeer

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The Falconeer is an action game where you play a pilot who flies a weaponised falcon through dramatic locations. You battle the rivalling factions to uncover the secrets of long-forgotten gods and ancestors. Although the gameplay is all flying and...

Braid

Release Date: 06/08/2008

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Components: 2D Side-On

Braid is a platform game, not dissimilar to Mario World, that appears simple but has a twist. The movement of your character is connected to the progression of time in a mind-bending manner. The resulting puzzles are fascinating and connected to a story...

Nidhogg

Release Date: 12/09/2014, updated in 2014

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Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Nidhogg is a fast two-player duelling game whose simple visuals belie the skill required to defeat your opponent. The novelty is that upon death you reappear on the next screen. The player to advance through the most screens wins.

Five Nights at Freddy's (Series)

Release Date: 23/07/2014, updated in 2019

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Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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Five Nights at Freddy's (FNaF) is a series of puzzle horror games with jump scares rather than blood and gore. You play the night-guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza and have to survive the night while in your office, checking the cameras and closing the...

Phasmophobia

Release Date: 18/09/2020

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Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Phasmophobia (Phasmophobia VR) is a horror survival game where you and your team investigate paranormal activity. It focuses on creating a realistic world built to get your heart racing, through interactive ghost-hunting equipment and teamwork.

A Dark Room

Release Date: 10/06/2013, updated in 2019

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Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. The world is depicted with just text but leads you into a dense narrative with intriguing visitors and a steadily expanding world. It has a simple start – a single option to stoke a...

Unturned

Release Date: 08/07/2014, updated in 2020

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Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Open World and Persistant World

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Cave Story

Release Date: 20/12/2004, updated in 2018

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Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

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Axiom Verge 2 (Series)

Release Date: 31/03/2015, updated in 2017

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Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

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Concrete Jungle

Release Date: 23/09/2015

Out Now: Android, PC and iOS

Components: 2D Overhead, Cards and Grid

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Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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