As a kid, Mike Gnade remembers the $4 allowance he received mowing the lawn. He also remembers how it took him a year-and-a-half of yard work to save up enough money to buy a $150 Sega Genesis system.
Gnade, 31, of Wilmington, never lost his love of video games. But as he got older, he was less interested in mainstream games, opting for more unique indie games. He soon realized the games were hard to find, so he decided to do something about it.
In 2011, Gnade met Dan Liebner through a mutual friend. The two hit it off, and, on Sept. 26, 2012, they launched IndieGameStand.com, a site that features and sells indie video games.
The site features and promotes a new independent video game every four days and sells it at a discounted rate. Gamers register with IndieGameStand.com and receive a “digital wallet,” where games are downloaded and stored forever.
All this month, the site is selling games from Philly developers, with a portion of the proceeds going to anti-hunger nonprofit Philabundance, as Technical.ly Philly reported.
What makes IndieGameStand unique, Gnade said, is its unique cache of games that are widely unavailable elsewhere.
Gnade said he thinks there are only a handful of sites that host a downloadable video game platform like theirs — although the majority host mainstream titles, exclusively — with only two or three that he sees as big players.
“Spiderman, Ironman are blockbusters, and Halo and Call of Duty, these clean up at the awards,” Gnade said. “But just like the movie renaissance of the 90s, indie games are evolving, and there are successful indie studios.”
Currently, Gnade said, some of the best-selling indie games on the site are Tower of Guns, available for $7.49 and Ascendant, available for $4.99.
Tower of Guns is a first-person shooter game; in Ascendant, players need to conquer different environments while facing warriors along the way.
The site has a strong social media following, as well, with more than 12,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 5,200 on Facebook.
Along with the gaming site, Gnade, along with Matt Cangialosi — IndieGameStand’s marketing and community manager — host a weekly show. The live video show is produced in IndieGameStand’s small office space located in the Grand Opera House on Market Street in Wilmington.
The weekly show, broadcast every Thursday at 3 p.m., is hosted on Twitch.tv and available for streaming on IndieGameStand.com. The pair often discuss what’s going on in the indie gaming community, hot button issues, new games and Kickstarters for people trying to develop new indie games.
“It’s a huge, nerdy, geeky show,” Gnade said. “But it’s my dream. It’s great.”
Both Gnade and Cangialosi are also involved with a hosting company, which Gnade created, that helps pay the bills, he said. But both can often be found working at the IndieGameStand HQ.
“This is becoming more and more regular for us,” Gnade said.
Cangialosi got connected to Gnade a few years ago, also through mutual friends. He came to Gnade early on saying he just wanted to be involved with the site. Once there was a job available, Gnade didn’t think twice about hiring Cangialosi to fill the role.
“I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else,” said Cangialosi, 26, also of Wilmington. “We both worked in a cube at corporate jobs and weren’t happy. My dream came true. Sometimes it takes up my nights and weekend. But people come up to us asking, ‘How do we get involved?’”
Gnade and Cangialosi also recently initiated Wilmington Game Night (Digital + Analog). The inaugural game-night event, aimed at connecting all gamers in the Wilmington region, will be held on Tuesday, July 29 at The Loft, at 605 North Market Street.
The meetup invite promises pizza and and a few beers. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Gamers are invited to bring their favorite games.
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