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The ‘Wholesome Direct’ Indie Game Showcase Is Coming Back This Summer and That’s the Exact News I Needed to Brighten My Day

My heart is so full right now.

Wholesome Direct 2022

Last year during E3 I came across an event called the Wholesome Direct. Organized by Wholesome Games, it worked a lot like an E3 presentation, except all of the games were by indie creators and carried a central, wholesome theme throughout. If you were looking for a game that would let you cook through your feelings, unpack your memories, and traverse through pastel colors, this was the showcase for you.

Honestly, some of my favorite games from 2021 were ones that were originally shown at the Wholesome Direct. Witch Beam’s Unpacking immediately comes to mind, as its one I learned about through the Direct, and one that I would go on to play through (and get teary-eyed about). That’s why I’m so excited to see that the Direct is coming back this year!

What to expect from the Wholesome Direct

That featured art by Saffron Aurora pretty much captures the vibe of the presentation. Wholesome Direct is a showcase that is full of imagination and variety. Last year, there were over 70 games featured in the presentation, and it honestly felt like getting a warm hug—or, potentially, getting Kleenex because you can tell that it’s a story that’ll make you cry. This is where you find the game where the tasks you do everyday end up representing a much richer story that you end up relating to and sobbing about.

The Wholesome Direct originally began when indie game developer Matthew Taylor started curating games according to their feelings of comfort, compassion, and coziness. From there, it grew into what it is today.

One of the goals of Wholesome Games is to change how we think about which games are taken seriously. For many years, the most critically acclaimed titles have been the ones with the darkest themes and grimmest depictions of life, but there’s also a whole world of hopeful video games with rich storytelling, innovative gameplay, and beautiful art and sound. We want to be a part of showcasing the breadth of experiences that games can have for players – Wholesome Games

While you do see a handful of indie games being shown at E3, the Wholesome Direct only features work from indie developers and gives you a whole lot of options. 70+ is a pretty substantial number of titles to choose from and I remember struggling to narrow down my favorites. Don’t even bother trying to keep it below 20. You don’t need that kind of struggle in your life.

Everything we know about Wholesome Direct 2022 so far

The only thing we know at the moment is that the Direct will be hosted sometime in June. That being said, game developers can submit their games from now until March 31st to be considered for the showcase. For the first time, content creators can also submit to co-stream and/or promote the Direct from now until April 1st.

If you are an indie game developer who wants a chance to take part in the Wholesome Direct, the form you need is here. If you are a content creator looking to co-stream/promote/work with the Wholesome Direct, the form you need is here. For anyone else who just wants to be alerted when the Direct goes live, you can sign up right here.

(Image: Saffron Aurora)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)