Forever Physical: Celebrating The People Keeping ‘Digital Only’ Games Alive

18 June, 2021 - 12:00 pm by

I don’t know about you, but there’s something magical about heading to a shop, store or supermarket to buy a video game. Even though I said goodbye to my twenties a few years ago, there’s still the excitement of picking up that plastic box, examining every piece of art on the front looking for clues to the story on the back, then excitedly but begrudgingly handing it over to the shop assistant to scan and take your money. 

Over the last few months, we might have relied on the postie to drop off our latest game but that hasn’t detracted from the excitement. Putting the newest addition into your collection and admiring your ever growing lack of space gives a sense of pride. This is great for the latest AAA blockbuster, but what about those classic indie games that you can only buy digitally? What if I had a hankering to play an indie game made by 2 people in a shed in Stockport and it had been pulled from the e-shop? What if I was happy for even less space in my house?

Us when we saw Scott Pilgrim was back and in physical form via Limited Run Games

This is where our indie-angels from across the globe step in. Limited video game production companies have sprung up over the last couple of years with one goal – giving gamers the feeling of excitement as they unwrap a tangible copy of a small, independently developed game. 

In 2021, we’re going through a period of time where digital games are at risk of disappearing forever due to the threat of console e-store closures and that just won’t do. At VGamingNews, we want to celebrate physical media and the indie games getting their time in the spotlight by having a product you can pop on the shelf to admire and as such have put together a list of brilliant companies doing all of the work in making sure those smaller indie games have a chance to be proudly displayed on your shelves. 

Villagers running to pre-order the physical Untitled Goose Game from iam8bit

If you’re a collector of games, or simply refuse to go digital, these companies can hook you up with some brilliant independent games that you might have missed. To entice gamers further, they usually come wrapped in a deluxe box and with a plethora of goodies to give a luxurious feel usually reserved for premium titles.

These are in a randomised order:

Limited Run Games

  • Where: Based in the USA
  • International orders: delivers worldwide
  • Website: https://limitedrungames.com/
  • Platforms offered: Switch, PlayStation and retro
  • How they work: Preorders open for a month then manufactured to order. Their focus is digital only games with a mix of indies and larger publishers such as Capcom and Ubisoft.

Super Rare Games

  • Where: Based in the UK
  • International orders: delivers worldwide
  • Website: https://superraregames.com/
  • Platforms offered: Switch
  • How they work: Limited number of copies for each indie game, usually around 5000 copies. Occasionally, they’ll sell warehouse finds (returns, overstocks etc) or offer competitions.

Special Reserve Games

  • Where: USA
  • International orders: Worldwide postage
  • Website: https://specialreservegames.com/
  • Platforms offered: Switch, PS4 & PC
  • How they work: Limited editions of games, additional goodies such as prints. Not all games are exclusive to the site, however their editions are limited and exclusive to the site.

 Premium Edition Games

  • Where: Based in USA
  • International orders: handled through approved third parties
  • Website: https://premiumeditiongames.com/
  • Platforms offered: Switch (for now)
  • How they work: How they work: limited number of copies per indie game. Once they are gone, they are gone.

iam8Bit

  • Where: USA
  • International orders: Worldwide posting 
  • Website: https://www.iam8bit.com/
  • Platforms offered: Switch, PlayStation and retro
  • How they work: Games aren’t as limited as others and they do fully publish physical games on behalf of indie developers such as Untitled Goose Game. They also offer artwork, all kinds of apparel and vinyl for all kinds of games.

Pixel Heart

  • Where: France
  • International orders: Worldwide Postage
  • Website: https://www.pixelheart.eu/
  • Platforms offered: All of them. Seriously, from NES to PS5
  • How they work: Limited allocation of games, usually in the 000s. They also sell retro games at reasonable prices.

Red Art Games

  • Where: Based in France
  • International orders: Worldwide postage
  • Website: https://www.redartgames.com/
  • Platforms offered: PlayStation 4, Vita, Switch and retro
  • How they work: Limited run of digital only, indie games. 

Strictly Limited Games

  • Where: Based in Germany
  • International orders: Worldwide postage
  • Website: https://www.strictlylimitedgames.com/
  • Platforms offered: Switch & PS4, Mega Drive
  • How they work: As the name suggests, the print runs are more limited than others. Usually around the 2000 game mark. They do have smaller indie titles though so they don’t always sell out on preorder.

Playasia

  • Where: Based in Hong Kong
  • International orders: Worldwide postage
  • Website: https://www.play-asia.com/
  • Platforms offered: PlayStation 5, PS4, PS3, Vita, Switch, 3DS, Xbox One & PC 
  • How they work: Primarily deals with importing games from various regions, however have started branching into books and figures. 

Gamefairy

  • Where: Based in Germany
  • International orders: Worldwide postage
  • Website: https://gamefairy.io/
  • Platforms offered: Switch, PS4 & occasional retro platforms.
  • How they work: Limited physical runs of digital games, various merch & vinyl soundtracks. 

Again, we want to highlight as many of these limited run & indie publishing companies as possible. If you think we’ve missed a company that should be featured, reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll look at adding them.

None of our links are affiliated, nor have we been sponsored to promote any of these people – we genuinely love the work they are doing to preserve physical media and to shed light on games that could potentially get lost among the AAA heavyweights.