Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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Weekend Browser Pick: Tetravalanche

TetravalancheImagine, if you will, that somebody were to take the beloved Tetris game and turn it into a platformer/survival game. That’s what you get with Tetravalanche. It sounds odd, weird, and maybe even a little stupid, but, honestly, its actually quite fun.

In Tertavalanche you play as Upman, a simple character who is simply trying to get higher and higher without falling down. In this respect the game acts like so many vertical platformers before it. However, there are also a few things that set it apart.

You see, in Tetravalanche, you’re not only attempting to get higher and score more points, you’re battle two things while attempting to do it: falling tetris blocks and the “Monster-From-The-Deep.”

The idea of the game is that you want to let the Tetris blocks fall in such a way so as to allow you to climb ever higher. However, Tetris blocks being what they are, they’re not exactly going to bend to your will and always give you a path to the highest possible point. Due to this, Upman has the unique ability to smash and destroy the falling Tetris blocks should they get in his way. Of course, doing so is not without its own perils as everytime you smash something going up you have an opposite and equal reaction heading down which means you could end up burying yourself.

Overall Tetravalanche is a unique platformer that gives a new perspective on that whole Tetris thing. While your desire for the right blocks to fall next are certainly still there, it’s for an entirely different reason.

If you’re a die hard fan of Tetris but not platformers you probably won’t like this game. The Tetris setting is really just aesthetics. However, if you’re looking for a new platformer that pays homage to the beloved elder franchise then, by all means, play this game now.

[Kongregate]


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Indie Links Round-Up: Jumping the Fence

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Indie Links is (predictably) all over the place this time around. New avenues revealed, debates started and chances taken all fill out the list. Tread heavily upon it.

PSA: Sign the ECA’s Petition to ‘Protect Video Games Under the First Amendment’ (Xav de Matos/Shacknews)
“On November 2, the State of California is taking the fight against the video game industry to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite being struck down at district court. With only a few short weeks separating that fateful day from now, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is reminding U.S. citizens to sign its petition, arguing that video games be protected under the First Amendment.”

COLUMN: The Gaming Doctrine: Gaming and Confronting Our Humanity (Richard Clark/GameSetWatch)
“The Gaming Doctrine is a monthly GameSetWatch column by Richard Clark about the intersection of gaming, religion, spirituality, and morality. This month – how games can make us acutely aware of our own humanity.”

Indie gaming, meet Kindle… (Blitz1UP)
“Triple Town by Spry Fox is an match 3 puzzle game in which you are trying to grow a city. The larger the city you build, the more points you score…All pretty standard stuff. But what’s really interesting is that this is the first independently published game for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader and it’s one of only a handful of games available on the platform. This is virgin territory, especially when compared to the 300,000+ apps now available on iTunes!”

Are simpler video games better? (Scott Steinberg/CNN)
“The holiday season is always a win for video gamers, as software makers jockey to one-up each other with slicker graphics, deeper play and more expansive 3-D worlds. But the larger and more complex modern-day epics like “Fable III” and “Fallout: New Vegas” become, the more it often pays to keep things simple.”

Blockman Dash mod mixes Mega Man Legends and Minecraft (David Hinkle/Joystiq)
“In Minecraft, you can pretty much build anything, so some fans set out to ease the tension of waiting for Mega Man Legends 3 Project by creating a Mega Man Legends-based mod called Blockman Dash.”

GDC China Adds Angry Birds, Monaco Creators To Summits (Gamasutra)
“This December’s Game Developers Conference China is debuting a host of new Chinese and Western speakers for its December 5th-7th Shanghai event, with all talks simultaneously translated between English and Chinese languages, and multiple new Summit speakers now confirmed.”

Interview: Supergiant’s Kasavin On How Lifelong Game Love Led To Bastion (Simon Carless/GameSetWatch)
“GameSpot veteran Greg Kasavin describes how a lifelong love of games and dreams of making them brought him from writing through development — now going indie with Supergiant Games, creator of the intriguing Bastion.”

Wot I Think – Winter Voices: Avalanche (Quintin Smith/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“The prologue to episodic indie RPG Winter Voices, Avalanche, was released over the weekend, available for the pocket-sized price of €4.49. Even for an indie game Winter Voices has a standout concept- you’re a girl simply trying to overcome the death of her father.”

Indie Games Arcade: Skulls of the Shogun (Mike Rose/IndieGames)
“When I first posted the above trailer last month, we didn’t really know much about Skulls of the Shogun other than it was a very pretty-looking Advance Wars style strategy game. I got the chance to play it at the Indie Games Arcade recently, and oh wow… now I must talk about it more. I really must.”

The amazing and humble success story behind iPhone game Trainyard (Ben Gilbert/Joystiq)
“Going from the barebones outline seen above to the top of the iTunes App Store in approximately 16 months, Matt Rix’s Trainyard is a runaway success. Rix details the game’s development — and astronomical sales — on his blog, showing its humble beginnings scribbled in a notepad, development delays due to his other job (he developed Trainyard at home in his personal time), and how the birth of his son allowed him to finish the game last May.”


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Browser Pick: Thomas was alone

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There are a lot of browser games out there for you to enjoy. In fact, there are so many that, realistically, not all of them are going to get the attention they deserve. Thomas was alone is just such a browser game that has immediate appeal, but could easily get lost in the wake of all the other browser games pushing for the consumer spotlight.

Before you play and judge the game there’s something you should know about Thomas was alone: this game, in its entirety, was created in 24 hours by developer Mike Bithel. So, while the game is certainly lacking some things, please keep in mind this is one man’s entire day poured into development of a full game. If that doesn’t impress you in the least then I don’t know what will.

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Help and cooperation are key in Thomas was alone.

Thomas was alone is a minimalistic puzzle game that is basically about friendship and cooperation without all the heavy handed messages or overtly depressing themes. In essence it’s a puzzle game where you must use a combination of blocks to help get each block to its appropriate place in each level.

Each level starts out similarly. You control a block and somewhere else in the level — usually on the other side — is a small outline that is the same shape as your block. Your goal is to get your block from point a (where you start) to point b (the outline). Of course, as the game goes on more blocks are added and each will be required to make it to their own outline. This is where the game begins to get interesting.

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As with the message, once more blocks get added you’ll be required to use each block to help get your pieces to their appropriate place. For example, you start off with a small, tall rectangle piece that can jump moderately high. Soon after you’re joined by a small square that can’t jump as high. In certain levels you’ll be required to use the rectangle as a sort of booster for the square so that he can make it beyond certain obstacles.

Overall the game isn’t too challenging. In fact, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of the mechanics. However, in style, aesthetics and message Thomas was alone is certainly a fun and meaningful browser game. One that carries with it a message, but not in any sort of overbearing manner.

Thomas was alone is available to play right now on Kongregate. If you enjoy the game feel free to follow the developer via his Twitter account. You can also check out the interview Mike did with Blitz1Up about why he decided to undertake such a  project and what his intentions were.

[Kongregate, Interview, Twitter]


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It’s Like Minecraft, but not Minecraft… Cubelands

Some of Cubelands' newest citizens are making a street intersection, complete with stop lights.

Some of Cubelands newest citizens are making a street intersection, complete with stop light.

So this is interesting. While rummaging through the internet’s bargain bin this fine Saturday afternoon, I came across a game that is very, very similar to the ever popular Minecraft. It’s not Minecraft though, it’s actually a game called Cubelands.

Now, I won’t get into the ethics involved in making a game that plays so similarly to everybody’s favorite sandbox, build em and destroy em game with zombies. I don’t have the knowledge of when this game was created or when development started. Hell, I haven’t even explored the game fully enough to really see if the game copies Minecraft down to the smallest of details. I’m not here to pass judgment, is what I’m trying to say.

What I will say, however, is that, in many ways, I’m actually more impressed with Cubelands than I am with Minecraft. Now as any of our regualr readers should know, I’m a HUGE proponent of Minecraft. I love the game and it has taken far more hours of my life than I’d like to admit, but it’s certainly not a perfect game. While Cubelands isn’t perfect either, just write off the bat I can instantly notice a few things that make it feel like a more complete game than Minecraft.

First and foremost is the graphics. Now I’m not a stickler for the way Minecraft looks. In fact, I genuinely enjoy the game’s minimalist graphics, but I’d be lying if I said that my Cubelands castle didn’t look more like a castle than my Minecraft castle. It’s an unfortunate truth but one that holds true. As somebody who is playing with virtual Legos and building virtual versions of things that existed in real life, the more realistic I can make them, the more impressed I’ll be. It’s just the way I am.

Additionally, the game seems to be developed from the ground up to be primarily a multiplayer game. What you’ll notice upon visiting the game’s website is that, currently, there doesn’t seem to be a single player option. You can simply join a game, or host your own game and begin playing in multiplayer right away. You don’t need to buy/host a server yourself or anything of that nature. Just jump in and play with people who are already online. (I do realize Minecraft does have a series of privately owned servers already.)

Of course, that’s not to say the game is currently on the same level as Minecraft. There are a lot of things missing that really make Minecraft the great game it is. For one, I don’t really see anyway to craft items like tools, armor, food, or furniture. It’s all about just removing and placing blocks.

Additionally, my personal favorite part of Minecraft isn’t included, i.e. surviving the night. Minecraft is great because, to go along with the building and creating, you’re also tasked with surviving against a number of enemies who can easily dispatch you if you stay out unprepared during the night. From what I could tell Cubeland doesn’t have any sort of monster/survival element to it.

I can see the developers of Cubelands getting a lot of backlash from the extremely loyal Minecraft community as being nothing more than a rip off. I mean, the similarities are striking. However, I don’t necessarily feel that way. Just like how Halo and Call of Duty push each other to create the best FPS experience, I’d love for Minecraft to get a solid competitor and really have both games carve out their own niche. After all, it’s not like Minecraft was a totally original idea either.

Cubelands is available in a beta mode, right now, for free. If you’re curious to see the “other side” of the Minecraft genre then check it out and let us know what you think in the comments.

[Cubelands]

Trailer


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Weekend Browser Pick: Nanopath

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So I’d like to make this a fairly regular thing where I’ll just go out and play some random browser game and write about it. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? We’ve done browser game highlights in the past, but we really haven’t been as consistent with it as we’d like to. So, starting today, I’ll try my damnedest to play as least one per weekend.  Anyway, onto today’s browser pick: Nanopath.

Nanopath is a unique puzzle game that spans 36 levels and offers a unique vibe that I really haven’t ever seen in a puzzle game before.

The premise is simple, you play as a ship a ship of some sort where you have to plot a course through various obstacles (spikes, lasers, walls, etc.). Once you’ve successfully plotted your course you then press the play button and watch as your little ship bounces back and forth through the level and onward to the exit. The faster your ship makes it to the exit the higher your score is.

While the game starts out easy enough, it quickly gets very challenging, as puzzle games are wont to do. While in the beginning you’ll be merely navigating through some walls, eventually you’ll get to the point where you have to plot two ships crafts and navigate them in a way so that they don’t hit each other or so that one hits a button before another can proceed through the level.

There’s a lot to like about Nanopath given that you enjoy puzzle games. The concept is fun, the puzzles get consistently more challenging as the game goes on, and the presentation works very well in an aesthetic manner. If you’re looking for something new to experience this fine Saturday afternoon/evening then check it out. As always browser games are free.

[Kongregate]


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Indie Links Round-Up: Multiple Choice

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Indie Links are back, but not with a vengeance. For better or worse, that emotion is strictly reserved for humans. At least the plotting kind…now if you’ll excuse me I have some unfinished business with the guy who got his grimy hands all over my laundry. Don’t touch the threads dude.

Tim Schafer on Indie Trailblazing, Costume Quest, and Double Fine’s ‘Creative Campus’ (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“Last Friday evening at the IndieCade 2010 awards, eleven independent games received awards for excellence in a variety of categories. Along with the crop of stellar games honored, Double Fine Entertainment’s founder, and beloved game developer, Tim Schafer, received the festival’s very first “IndieCade Honorary Trailblazer award for Lifetime Achievement.” I caught up with Tim after the ceremony to congratulate him on the award, and he was kind enough to spend a few minutes chatting a bit.”

Left 4 Minecraft: Blocky Modding (John Walker/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“You may have seen some sites reporting yesterday that Michael Louisseize, operator of World Of Minecraft, is creating a Left 4 Dead mod that merges Valve’s four-player shooter with Notch’s world-taking-over craft-em-up. We have a few more details about it below.”

From Flash To Minis: Mediatonic On Creating Tiny Wonders (Simon Parkin/Gamasutra)
“Our own Simon Parkin catches up with London-based studio Mediatonic, home of quirky, acclaimed Flash games (Amateur Surgeon) and PSP Mini/XBLIG titles (Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess)”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: DETOUR (Justin McElroy/Joystiq)
“This week we talk with Geoff Keene, CEO of Sandswept Studios, about his upcoming XBLIG release, DETOUR.”

All about the Journey (Michael Abbott/The Brainy Gamer)
“At IndieCade on Saturday, Jenova Chen and Robin Hunicke discussed their work on Journey, the follow-up (due in 2011) to thatgamecompany’s superlative Flower. If you’re a regular visitor here, you already know about my unbounded affection for that game. Needless to say, I was especially keen to hear Chen (Creative Director) and Hunicke (Producer) present a work-in-progress report on their newest creation.”

COLUMN: @Play: Sprinting Rapidly Through The Dungeon (John Harris/GameSetWatch)
“‘@ Play’ is a monthly column by John Harris which discusses the history, present and future of the Roguelike dungeon exploring genre. This time, he reveals exciting new Dungeon Crawl variant Dungeon Sprint.”

Indie Games Arcade: Hohokum (Mike Rose/IndieGames)
“I really enjoyed Honeyslug’s last game Poto & Cabenga, and therefore was looking forward to giving its latest work Hohokum a go at the Indie Games Arcade.”

Interview: Gregory Weir – creator of hit Flash game The Majesty of Colors (CasualGirlGamer/Alex Kearns)
“To say that Gregory Weir thinks outside the box with his game designs is something of an understatement. He was never in the box in the first place. This is a man who draws the inspiration for his games not from what others in the gaming industry are doing but from his own dreams and hyperactive imagination. As a result, Gregory’s games are like nothing else you will have seen, and they are all the better for it.”


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VVVV: Notch’s 4K Take on Cavanagh’s Hit [Browser]

VVVV

During IndieCade, Arsen and I had the pleasure of running into Terry Cavanagh who was there representing his game and festival finalist (and winner of the Most Fun/Compelling award) VVVVVV. The soft-spoken developer chatted us up for a good half-hour on his situation at present, what he’s currently working on and plenty of other stuff you might be interested. While I’m fleshing out all the details on that article–which you can expect in the immediate future–there was one item Terry mentioned that I though I’d share right off.

We missed this completely at the time, but back in January Minecraft’s own Notch (Markus Persson) made and submitted a 4K demake of Cavanagh’s indie platformer hit to this year’s Java4K competition. Of course, he removed the last pair of V’s from the original title to give the mini-version its thematically-aware moniker of VVVV.

The game is available for all to play over on the Java4K site and captures the original quite well given the limitations of the competition. Also, if you still haven’t experienced the frustrating joy of VVVVVV the game is available for just $5 from the developer and Steam.


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What a Polite Pickpocket…Pirates of New Horizons Prototype [Impressions]

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They’ve offered up the soundtrack for free, gave us an interview for free (we take nothing for granted) and now Exit Strategy Studios has released the free prototype for their 3D action platformer Pirates of New Horizons. Available now for all to try, and judge if the project is worthwhile to devote the resources to completing a full version.

I spent a solid hour playing through from start to finish and wanted to share some thoughts. As the prototype is by definition an unfinished product, it would be unfair to say I’m reviewing it–so we’ll just call this a deeper than usual impressions piece. Although honestly prototype doesn’t really fit this offering’s bill, as it evokes the word alpha in a lot of ways. Extended demo would be a better description of what we’re getting into.

This version of the game, in my humble opinion, seems quite far along in many ways. It offers an opportunity to play through the first 15% of what could be the final product: a 5-8 hour downloadable title somewhere in the range of $10-$20 that could appear on both PC and consoles. Now, let’s get into the meat.

Immediately after a great intro that really shows the values–or lack thereof–of our female space pirate hero, the action hits square in the face. Now the sole owner of an amazing airship I found myself in control of Annha, besieged by enemy vessels and boarded by baddies. I slashed up the boat-wreckers and used my ship’s cannons to take care of the surrounding ships, all the while destroying anything crate or barrel I came across to increase what I called my “plunder total.”

Shortly after, I landed near an island that ends up being the central hub to the rest of the game. What’s both cool and slightly disappointing (in a good way) about the island is that it has all seven area portals set up and available to open. The only problem being that the levels behind them don’t exist yet. They end up being like easter eggs and they’re certainly teases that made me want more.

On top of that, any NPC you encounter here and apparently anywhere Annha will make an attempt to swipe a small amount of gold from them when engaged in conversation. If they’re a dick you take a little more. An excellent touch.

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Vulcano Island National Park is the one full level you get to visit, it has tons of fighting, grappling hook action, puzzle solving and all sorts of other platformy goodness. No real boss fight though, which I thought to be a bit of a letdown, and I did experience some minor framerate issues during one of the battles. All in all, a level with plenty of depth to it.

A notable problem, and one prevalent in 3D platformers in general, is the camera control. As the player you have majority control of which way the camera is aiming, but there’s also an auto-correct function that occurs at extremely inopportune moments (trying to clear huge gaps, land in tight spots etc.) Without an option to turn the auto-adjust off, you’re at the mercy of when it’s determined you have bad visibility, whether you actually do or not. It’s definitely something I’d see addressed going forward. Another issue to mention, some of the NPC’s were gigantic compared to Annha as well and looked very wonky standing side-by-side with her.

Also, I’d hope that there’d be a few more collectibles other than just funds in a finished product. I’m not saying I’m full of suggestions, but Banjo-Kazooie and PSX Spyro spring to mind when playing this and they were chalk-full of different kinds of quest items and goodies to collect.

All nit-picking aside, the point of the prototype boils down to one question: Do I want more? and no matter how you slice it, the answer always comes up a resounding yes. I don’t necessarily believe what’s there in the prototype is anything I haven’t seen before in some fashion, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. The timing is especially good because lately, there hasn’t been many representatives in the 3D platform genre to speak of. For me, it’s just what the doctor ordered, the same way I felt about Amnesia being the first horror game I’d played in years.

Go play, then take the survey at the end and answer that same question for yourself: Do you want more?

The PC and Mac clients for the free Pirates of New Horizons prototype are available to download now via the mirror masters over at ModDB.

The game is designed for the Xbox 360 controller, so if you have one plus the corresponding USB plug the developer strongly suggests you play with the gamepad. However, I played the game with my keyboard and mouse and found it to be a completely workable situation once I set the mouse sensitivities to my liking (I recommend doing the same for whatever suits you best.)

Since they’re not mentioned in the prototype, I’ll list the PC controls for those going in without a gamepad:

  • WASD/Mouse: Movement/Look
  • Mouse 1: Slash
  • Mouse 2: Use Key Item
  • Space Bar: Jump
  • Numbers: Hotkeys for Key Items
  • E: Confirm
  • Q: Block

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Indie Links Round-Up: Thick as Thieves

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Round-Up is back today with plenty of odds and ends from the world of indie. Awards and inside information aplenty, as well as an early review on a potential GOTY candidate and some excellent interviews. Have at it.

Technology without direction is nothing [A developer's rant on XBLIG's Flawed Infrastructure] (MStar Games)
“I’ve said repeatedly, here and in interviews and on the XNACCO website, that Microsoft deserve credit for the XBLIG project in general, and the XNA Framework in particular. It’s an excellent framework – flexible and powerful, relatively easy to comprehend and work with, and when used right it gives great results…What is less certain however is the supporting infrastructure in place around XBLIG releases. The sales stats and dashboard lists are glitchy and prone to failure.

AI War and the hidden cost of indie games (Graham Smith/PCGamer)
“Earlier this month Chris Park revealed that his company could be bankrupt by November. His company is Arcen Games, the developer of popular space strategy game AI War. Despite that game’s excellence, it wasn’t a surprise to find he was struggling: most indie games developers do.”

Super Meat Boy review: Into the grinder (Richard Mitchell/Joystiq)
“There was a time when I thought I was pretty good at video games. I’ve brought down the likes of Earthworm Jim, Rocket Knight Adventures, Ninja Gaiden (2004), Mega Man 9 and many others without much trouble and only the occasional spurt of profanity. Having completed the story (but not nearly all of the levels) of Super Meat Boy, I can soundly declare that it trumps them all. As of this writing, I have died 1,792 times and several hundred of those lives — at least — were spent trying to conquer the last level.”

IndieCade Recognizes Tim Schafer With ‘Honorary Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement’ (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“With this year’s independent gaming festival less than two weeks away, IndieCade has announced that Double Fine’s Tim Schafer will be the first recipient of a newly-created “Honorary Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement.”"

RPS Indie Awardoramarama (Alec Meer/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“The Eurogamer Expo has been and gone, but RPS’s brain-dumps about the games therein will continue over the days to come. YOU WILL LISTEN AND YOU WILL BELIEVE AND YOU WILL UNDERSTAND. One of the things we did at the Expo as well as play games, however, was judge some games. Specifically, the 12 splendid titles selected with the help of the good folk of Mudlark to form the Indie Games Arcade.”

Interview: Hello Games’ Murray On What Joe Did Next (Mike Rose/Gamasutra)
“Following the critical and commercial success of Hello Games’ PSN title Joe Danger, Gamasutra sits down with co-owner Sean Murray to discuss the title’s reception, and what the young studio has been working on since.”

The Song Of Onionbog, Pt 4: Fascism & War (Quintin Smith/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“Onionbog is booming. Booming like a stinking, sulphurous deep-sea crater, emitting stinking hot burps on a regular basis. But I’m no fool. That’s why I’m building defenses. To keep my lovely hole in the ground safe. I love this place. I hate this place. I’ll hate to see it fall. I’d love to see it fall.”

Something From Nothing: Nimblebit On How Free-To-Play Is Redefining The App Store (Simon Parkin/GameSetWatch)
“Two-man indie Nimblebit explains to our own Simon Parkin its move to a free-to-play model, detailing how that decision has led to the team’s latest iPad game, Pocket Frogs, securing 1.25 million downloads in just 14 days.”

Belated Weekly Report #3 (Paul Eres/TIGSource)
“This is a new feature where I’ll be covering ten notable releases and newly posted games in production of the past week.”

What videogames lack: Deeper Intent (Frictional Games)
“Tonight a [sic] watched a fantastic documentary called Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, and it was a true emotional roller-coaster ride. It is an experience, straight from reality, that swings you between laughter and heartbreaking despair. I urge you all to see it. The reason why I want to bring this up, is because this movie has something that video games lack: it has been made with the intent to share something deep and meaningful.”


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Indie Links Round-Up: Lifting Me Higher

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Indie Links are back, and more eclectic than ever. Around the web, people are really starting to take stalk on the rise of the indie. Is it just a natural development in the cycle of video gaming as we know it, or a sign of the times? Read up and react.

Small video games offer big, easy fun (Scott Steinberg/CNN)
“From the ultraviolent side-scrolling brawler “Shank” to the tomb-raiding adventure “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” or the trigger-mashing blaster “Monday Night Combat,” there’s been no shortage of enticing video games lately. But as a recent binge revealed, many share an unexpected common thread. Each of the above is a digital download: a reminder that many of this season’s most intriguing titles aren’t found at your local GameStop.”

What Indie Developers Can Learn from Minecraft (Mode 7 Games/IndieDB)
“Like most indie devs, I’m a bit tired of hearing about Minecraft at the moment! I thought I would collate my thoughts on it in order to put the issue to bed. I’ll be viewing everything through a commercial lens rather than focussing on the design, although in this case I think the two are almost symbiotic.”

Indies not sold on Kinect (Fred Dutton/EuroGamer)
“Following news that Microsoft will soon be releasing Kinect development tools to independent studios, Eurogamer has asked a number of indies whether they are interested in developing for Kinect.”

Interview: Saltsman, One Year On From Canabalt (Simon Parkin/GameSetWatch)
“This week marked the first anniversary of Adam Saltsman’s one-button Flash game, Canabalt, whose stylish visuals and ‘outrun the carnage’ concept made it one of the signature indie titles of recent times. We caught up with Saltsman to talk about life after Canabalt, a period which has seen the developer assist in porting Japanese indie-darling Cave Story to the Wii and become a regular feature on the conference circuit.”

Amensia: The Dark Descent Review (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“Unlike most other titles waving the banner of “survival-horror,” Amnesia isn’t another dimly-lit shooter filled with monster closets. In fact, it’s more of an adventure game with action elements…easily one of, if not THE scariest game I’ve played in years.”

The Song Of Onionbog, Pt 2: Ingish’s Duty and Pt 3: Turtle Biscuits (Quintin Smith/RPS)
“My Dwarf Fortress introduction & story continues! Whoever thought Onionbog would only last a matter of hours currently has egg on their face, I reckon.”

Fantastic Arcade (Derek Yu/TIGSource)
“Hey, guys! Apologies for the lack of updates. Aside from bein’ busy game-makin’, I’ve been moving around a bit. This week I’m in Austin, attending Fantastic Arcade, a video game spin-off of Fantastic Fest, the horror/fantasy/sci-fi/cult movie festival that takes place here every year. True to its name, Fantastic Arcade does feature an awesome indie game arcade with custom-built cabinets for games like Enviro-Bear 2000, Norrland, NIDHOGG, Every Day the Same Dream, and Monaco.”

Currently we’re going through an Indie games boom, how did it start? (Reddit Discussion)
“The indie games community is booming today with hundreds of dedicated developers making top class titles like Minecraft, Spelunky, Super Meat Boy, and so on…I don’t know the history of the scene but I’m sure its a rich one filled with vibrant tales of FlyWrenches and Deathworms. Who made the first move? Who first inspired others to start making games?

Student Postmortem: Igneous (Ben Gable/GameCareerGuide)
“What if you were on a bridge while it was exploding? WHAT IF THIS BRIDGE WERE INSIDE AN erupting volcano? And what if one wrong step sent you to a horrible fiery doom? Well, you would have Igneous, a junior/senior-level student project at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA.”

Some Thoughts about our Submission Process (IndieFund)
“Many times when you do a submission to a publisher, reviewer, sales channel, or game contest, you never hear about what could be done better if you aren’t accepted. As we’ve just looked at 100+ submissions, we’d like to share some things we’ve learned about what made some submissions stand out and others blend in. Hopefully this extends to other submissions you’ll do in the future, not just for Indie Fund.”