25 Weird Indie Video Game Ideas

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Ideas are Underrated

The “idea guy” is often made fun of in game dev circles because ideas are much easier to think up than execute on. But some developers underestimate the rarity and value of a good idea.

It’s easy to generate original, creative, and engaging game ideas. It’s also easy to generate small, reasonably-scoped ideas that could be made by a single person. But it’s dang hard to generate ideas that are both awesome and small, which is critical for small-timers like me who only make games on the weekends.

I assume others have the same problem. Thus, I’m sharing all of my ideas, even the bad ones. Hopefully they inspire you. Fair warning, most of these ideas are extremely bizzarre avant-garde. AI-generating the images was a blast.

Video Game Ideas

1. “Guy in the Chair” Hacking Game

Hacker in a chair in front of several monitors

Imagine a stealth game where you’re not the main character, but are instead their hacker assistant. You’d hack the security cameras, tell the spy when the hallway is clear, stuff like that. It could be an asymmetric multiplayer game.

2. SMS text-based multiplayer adventure game

Gamer playing an SMS game

There is a gap in the market of games that can be played by middle- and high-school students while at school, since school networks often block all access to games. Using SMS (or email) as the interface for a game would almost certainly be a hit among this crowd, speaking from personal experience. This idea could get expensive, since sending texts ain’t cheap, but it’s an idea begging to get made.

Chris Swenson ported the 1977 game Colossal Cave Adventure to SMS. Researching his experience would be a good place to start.

3. Shadow Puppet Platformer

Shadow Puppet game concept, controlling the platforms with your hands

A platformer that uses the computer’s webcam to detect the player’s arm and hand, which can be used to create “shadow puppet” platforms in the game to jump on.

4. AI Visual Novel

AI-generated visual novel concept art, 5 teenagers facing against alien army

This is an idea I’ve actually put some time into, although I eventually abandoned the project to pursue other interests. Picture an AI-generated narrative game where the text and images are generated on the fly, so every player has a different experience. You could allow the player to customize their appearance in natural language, for example.

Although you couldn’t sell it on Steam, since, at the time of writing, the platform bans AI-generated assets.

5. Robot Death Battles

A screenshot from Bot Arena 3

A game where two players design robots from modular parts and set them loose at each other. Some games already exist in this genre. I played the Bot Arena 3 flash game (shown above) so many times as a kid.

However, in my opinion, the idea has never been fully realized. I want in-depth customization options like modular bot architecture and custom AI behavior.

6. You’re a Smart Home. Kill Your Owner.

Evil Smart Home

I have nothing to elaborate on this one. The idea of an evil smart home just appeals to me for some reason.

7. A Game Where You Control a Guy Playing a Game

QWOP game

One of those games like QWOP with terrible controls. You control the player’s hands on the mouse and keyboard as they strive to beat a platformer on their computer-within-the-computer.

8. Reverse Metroidvania

Reverse Metroidvania

A game where you lose abilities as you progress. First you lose the ability to shoot. Then the ability to walk left. Then the ability to jump, and so on. Perhaps you could choose which abilities to lose first, and the world would procedurally generate puzzles that are still possible to solve with your current gear.

9. Bat Echolocation Game

Bat echolocating game concept

Sonar every few seconds is the only way to see. Echolocation games have been tried before, but haven’t really succeeded.

10. Final Boss Only

The upgraded final boss from Memetown USA

An game where the only enemy is an extremely complex final boss. We’re talking phases upon phases. We’re talking your character has to lose hundreds of times before even getting close to matching the boss’s power. This is an idea I’ve spent some time messing with by extending the final boss from Memetown USA, and it was pretty cool. Definitely some potential here.

11. Twitch Plays Ant Farm

Ant colony terrarium

First, get an actual ant farm. Second, make the world’s most advanced smart home for ants (electronic doors, gates, walls, etc). Third, stream the ant farm on Twitch and let viewers control the gadgets, guiding the ants toward food and stuff. Yes, this idea is weird even by my standards. Yes, I own a couple dozen ant colonies. No, you’re the crazy one.

12. True AI-based Stealth Game

AI stealth game

A stealth game with only a single level. The first time you beat it, it’s easy. But between rounds, the enemies train on your past playthroughs (using the NEAT algorithm or similar) to get better. The level slowly becomes harder and harder to beat, as you’re forced to create more creative strategies that keep the AI on its toes.

13. Jumpscare Simulator

Monster Mansion game screenshot - jumpscare the detective

A game where you play as a monster trying to scare a human. I created a demo of this concept for a game jam, and based on player comments I think the idea has a lot of potential. But I’m working on other projects right now. Feel free to steal my work so far, hit me up if you want my assets.

14. The Tanks Flash Game, But Better

Tanks flash game

All my friends grew up playing this random Tanks flash game that was way more fun than it had any right to be. However, the game was riddled with glitches, like becoming invincible if you upgraded armor too much and always having way too many volcano bombs. The core idea is freaking sweet though, so someone needs to make a version 2.

15. Public Domain Super Smash Bros.

Public Domain Super Smash Bros concept art

A fighting game where all the characters are in the public domain. This might be my favorite game idea of all time. I want to beat up Mickey Mouse with Sherlock Holmes so bad. The only thing keeping me from making this right now is the fact that it would take a lot of work. I think it would be really cool idea to open-source the game and allow anyone to contribute to it. If anyone wants to give this a try, hit me up. If I can get a few people on board to help me make this, I’m so down.

My roster ideas so far:

16. A Game That Directly Criticizes Materialism in Game Culture

AI-generated game achievement icons

I personally think that the gaming community is too obsessed with things like special editions of games, paid character skins, and overpriced figurines of popular characters. Essentially I dislike the parts of gaming culture that exist solely to exploit people’s materialistic desires for profit. To a lesser extent, I think putting achievements in games often exploits the same tendencies.

Therefore, this game would be filled with unlockables, achievements, and so forth. But the final boss would require deleting them all. Maybe you’d even have to delete your save file.

I looked into the feasibility of deleting achievements. The Steam API seems to allow deleting achievement progress (see ClearAchievement method), although I haven’t personally tested it.

17. Cult Simulator: Rise to the Top

Culty chair circle

I just like the title. Haven’t really fleshed this one out yet.

18. Monster Trapper

Rube goldberg monster trapping machine

A Scooby-Doo-inspired game where you create elaborate Rube-Goldberg traps to capture monsters. Your score is based on how convoluted and cinematic your trap designs are.

19. Floppy Fish Fighting Game

Floppy fish

A fish-themed fighting game with terrible controls where you just sort of flop around. Loosely inspired by Sheik’s “Down-B” move from Smash Bros.

20. Roly Poly Simulator

Roly Poly (isopod)

These little guys are underrated. I just wanna vibe as one.

21. Prophet Simulator

Prophet Simulator, Featuring Lehi

Convince the masses of an upcoming calamity. They probably won’t listen.

22. Bird Dogfighting

My prototype bird dogfighting game

You play as a chicken with realistic flying physics akin to flight simulators. However, you attack and get propulsion by firing eggs from your butt. You have to turn yourself around midair to fire at your target, which also propells you in the opposite direction. I recently made a simple demo of this concept (shown above) and it’s pretty fun.

23. A Parody of Parody Visual Novels

Super unhinged anime dating sim concept art

Doki-Doki Literature Club was partly created to make fun of anime visual novel dating sims. Ironically, however, a huge chunk of DDLC fans are down bad for the game’s girls. There’s some meta-commentary in there somewhere.

24. A Game Inspired by The Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon Video Game

This is an admittedly vague idea, but I’m including it anyway because I think it has potential for greatness. The Book of Mormon is an untapped gold mine for game concepts. The book is full of stories about war, religion, politics, etc.

A well-executed game in this market would easily capture the attention of the Latter-day Saint community, which is large enough that I’m sure an indie game studio could easily survive on sales from this demographic alone.

25. You’re an NPC

NPC talking to player in fantasy RPG

You’re an NPC in an role-playing game and have to keep the player interested in the game at all costs, or they’ll abandon the game and you die. You need to give the player quests that are both entertaining and appropriate for their skill level.

This idea could be adapted for many genres, including dating sims. The word “engagement” could have a double meaning in that context.


The ducks in the pond are free—you can just take them—and so are these ideas. You’re welcome. Go wild.

And seriously, hit me up if you want to make a public domain Smash Bros. game. I’m down if you’re down.