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Christine Love

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It's often said that gaming is an expensive hobby. Major new releases retail for as much as £50, and with dozens of supposedly 'must-play' titles launching every year, the pennies can be quick to add up.

But brewing away beneath the surface of the industry - beneath the main bulk of the indie scene, even - is a world where money appears meaningless. It's a world in which developers pour their talents and their time into the creation of fantastic computer games, for which they ask nothing in return.

It's true that many of these free games are throwaway Flash efforts. But there are some gems: free releases that offer hours of play time, intricate stories, and fascinating game mechanics. Many developers working within this scene could easily justify demanding a few pounds in return for a copy of their latest masterpiece - so what compels them to say 'put your wallet away'?

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