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‘Sword & Sworcery EP’ Fanwork To Be Showcased

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

“Can we get a volunteer from the audience, please?”

Capybara Games, creators of the beloved point-and-click adventure Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, have turned to the fans to create original artistic content in preparation for a grandiose online jam. Participants are encouraged to submit any piece of creative content that in any way pertains to the game, be it music, hand drawings, abstract art or anything else that Damien Hirst might have deemed appropriate during his formative years.

Anyone wishing to submit an entry must do so through the official Sworcery A/V Jam Tumblr page, accompanying their submissions with the #sworcery hashtag. The Jam will officially take place between 11th and 13th May, although entries may be put forward before then. In the interim period, Capybara will be releasing various snippets the Sword & Sworcery‘s game assets for the fanbase to edit and manipulate to their hearts’ content.

Although the Jam preparation hasn’t been underway for a great amount of time, we’ve already been informed of a handful of stunning entries, not least of which is this charming LEGO caricature of the game’s protagonist.

If that’s any indication of what could be in the melting pot, there’ll be plenty to savour over the next week or so.

More information on Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP can be found on its official website, and you can also check out our review of the PC version here.


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‘Sword & Sworcery EP’ Wins Big At 2012 Canadian Videogame Awards

CVA - Jim Guthrie & Kris Piotrowski

Capybara Games hit it huge at the Canadian Videogame Awards, leaving with five awards for their adventure title, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (S:SS).

Nominated for no less than nine awards at the 2012 Canadian Videogame Awards, S:SS managed to pick up five of them for developers Capybara Games. The game (as if you didn’t know) is an adventure title released for iOS devices originally but has since transitioned to PC via Steam, we reviewed that version just last week in fact. The game has been widely praised for its simplicity, suitability for the touchscreen (which we slightly criticised about the PC version), Twitter integration and Jim Gunthries poignant soundtrack.

The CVA’s, as they’re known, exist to celebrate the Canadian video game industry and the many gems that they have produced – the big winners this year being S:SS and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, for example. Given that, it’s not entirely surprising that S:SS ran away with so many awards as it’s considered one of the best iOS games out there and now a Canadian national treasure.

Which five awards did it win though? Well, you can place the word ‘Best’ in front of the following:

  • Game On The Go
  • Downloadable Game
  • Indie Game
  • Original Music
  • Innovation

Not bad going and well deserved, certainly. If you haven’t played S:SS already then you can purchase it on the App Store for your iOS device and on Steam for your PC.

You can find out more information about Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP over on the official website.


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‘Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP’ Is Coming To Steam

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

The iOS hit and multi-award winning adventure game from Capybara Games, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, seems to be on its way to Steam.

Capybara Games have earned quite the name for themselves with Sword & Sworcery EP. As far as iOS titles goes, it’s one of the most critically acclaimed and well respected, having picked up awards from just about every crevice possible – even here at IGM. Consequently, those who don’t own an iOS device of some kind have been quite jealous of those who do…or so we’ve been told…ahem.

Well, if you own a PC then you might not have to be jealous any more as the clever little tool that tells us so many things upcoming for Steam that haven’t been announced yet now informs us that Sword & Sworcery EP has been registered on Steam. You may think that this doesn’t confirm the game’s arrival on Steam, but we would add that this tool has never let us down before. This registration usually means that the game will be released in the next week or so, give or take, so keep your eyes out for it!

Sword & Sworcery EP is described as an “exploratory action adventure with an emphasis on audiovisual style.” As indicated in the title, you’ll be using a sword to battle and ‘sworcery’ to solve the game’s many mysteries. The game has been recognised as a piece of art for its design, audiovisual finesse and clever use of social media to share the journey with friends. You can purchase the game for your iOS device from the App Store at just £2.99.

More information on Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP can be found on the game’s official website.


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‘Super T.I.M.E. Force’ New Screenshots Might Blow Up Brain Cells

Super T.I.M.E. Force

Capybara Games have released some new screenshots for Super T.I.M.E. Force that may or may not make your head explode. Warning: Epic pixel action contained within.

It seems that where ever they go, Capybara Games bring love and joy so it’s a good job they’re off to PAX East. The last time they were let out they went to the IGF and picked up the IGF XBLA Prize for Super T.I.M.E. Force, which means the game will be available on the platform.

We’re not here to talk about that though. What we are here to discuss, or rather share, is the new screenshots that Capybara have released for Super T.I.M.E. Force. These showcase the game’s “pixelated, time-bending insanity” which you’ll be able to get a better look at over on Booth #764 at PAX. How exciting, huh?

Super T.I.M.E. Force /> Super T.I.M.E. Force

You can find out more information about Super T.I.M.E. Force over on the game’s official website.


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2011 VGA Indie Nominees Revealed; Fairly Surprising Picks

Each year I’m continually let down by the VGA indie nominations. Not because I feel like the games nominated didn’t deserve it. Last year’s picks were serviceable, in my opinion. However, for 2009 and 2010 I was always left wondering if all Spike really did when nominating a game was find the most popular games with the biggest media budgets and choose them based on that.


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Capybara Games’ Super T.I.M.E. Force New Gameplay Teaser [IGF 2012]

Capybara Games has just released a trailer for Super T.I.M.E. Force with pastels so sweet and sugary, it makes my teeth hurt in the most pleasant way. Capy knows 2D gaming, with SuperBrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, and Critter Crunch all flourishing on their respective platforms.

The new title appears to be strictly a 2D sidescroller. However the scope and size of the gaming area seems to change to accommodate a lot of players, as they split up to cover the large terrain. This may end up being a local or online multiplayer action title, even. This is all purely speculation, as Capybara is being pretty tight lipped about its newest project.

I was concerned as to the extent of what boy bands would be hunted and “corrected” in T.I.M.E. Force, given yesterday’s Super announcement. Capy’s Nathan Vella assured me the following: “We will definitely not be targeting barber shop quartets. They are pretty rad.” I agree.

Check out the rad gameplay trailer below:

Having being born, lived through, and gamed during the years of 198X, I am super stoked about Super T.I.M.E. Force by the looks and gameplay suggestions alone. What are your thoughts of this first ever glimpse of Capybara Games’ next title in motion? Do you think it will make it to the IGF finals?


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IGF Reveals New Capy Game Super T.I.M.E. Force [IGF 2012]

Well looky here! Not only has the IGF showered us with almost 600 indie games this year, but they’re getting into the habit of revealing/announcing games as well like Capy’s brand new game Super T.I.M.E. Force.

Those of you who are unfamiliar with Capy, you’ll likely remember them as the guys who created the fantastic and extremely well designed iOS game Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, a game that not only sold very well to fans, but also received very high critical praise for its unique pixel art style and rpg/point and click like gameplay elements.


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IndieCade 2011 Finalists Revealed!

IndieCade is a fantastic event. I wish I could attend this year but the 1000-ish mile trip is just not in the ol’ budget right now (I blame the airline industry). But that doesn’t mean we won’t be talking about the event because, well, it’s pretty damn amazing! There’s not another single event that is this dedicated to indie games and developers.

Anyway, enough gushing about the event (you should go if you’re in LA by the way!) I’m sure you just want to see some games.

So here they are! IndieCade 2011’s chosen finalists:

Antichamber
(Demruth)

Antichamber is a surreal, exploration puzzle game, set within a non-Euclidean labyrinth of manipulable geometry. Explore a vibrant and deceptive world, where space can change, nothing is as it seems, and the puzzles abound with non-traditional mechanics. Antichamber, designed by Alexander Bruce, is packed to the brim with intelligent and unique puzzle designs that provide a metaphor for how we live our lives. An earlier version of the game, previously entitled Hazard: The Journey of Life, was presented at the IndieCade E3 Indie Games Showcase in 2010.

At a Distance
(Terry Cavanagh)

“At a distance” is a cooperative two player asymmetric puzzle game designed by Terry Cavanagh about solitude in shared experiences. One player is an explorer, the other a storyteller. “At a distance” was designed to be played with people coming and going throughout the game, and is a strong example of design focused on evoking emotion in interactive experience. Terry’s prior work, VVVVVV, was a finalist at IndieCade 2010.

BasketBelle
(Michael Mollinari)

BasketBelle is an adventure game that uses a basketball mechanic to interact with its narratives. Through flashbacks and memories of his life, the main character learns tricks from his all-star father (and recalls other significant events that help him deal with the challenges in his life. BasketBelle merges expressive, hand-drawn visuals and audio together to help tell story, to provide smooth and responsive controls during play, and to create a bond between player-character that’s just as meaningful as that found between the family members in the game. A work in progress, BaketBelle was chosen for the festival for its beautiful visual and auditory design elements and unique story-based gameplay.

Bistro Boulevard
(Fugazo Inc.)

In Bistro Boulevard, from Fugazo Inc., you will hire staff, pick the menu, and decorate your restaurant to turn one modest diner into a promenade of five-star restaurants. Inspired by the rising popularity of food-oriented games and television shows, Bistro Boulevard is a simple sim game that places the player in the role of general manager of a series of restaurants. Bistro Boulevard’s creative reworking of common cultural and game elements makes a compelling experience for a wide audience.

BIT.TRIP FLUX
(Gaijin Games)

The BIT.TRIP series, by Gaijin Games, comes full-circle with BIT.TRIP FLUX. Ride along with CommanderVideo for classic paddle-based gameplay as as he completes his mission and returns… home. BIT.TRIP FLUX explores what it means to return to “the source” after death, and integrates retro aesthetics with modern sensibilities to create compelling gameplay. Available on WiiWare. Some suggested text for this: BIT.TRIP FLUX brings the beloved BIT.TRIP series full circle (both literally and figuratively) to creative a sophisticated evolution of classic gaming. Imagine Pong evolving from a single-celled animal into a complex organism, in which the elegantly simple paddle mechanics yields a seemingly infinite array of emergennt gameplay in a beautifully abstract pixelated world. An indie success story, BIT.TRIP FLUX is now available on WiiWare.

Black Bottom Parade
(SCAD)

Black Bottom Parade, played on an interactive table, was created by a group of students from Hong Kong and Atlanta, at Savannah College of Art and Design. Building on the New Orleans tradition of the jazz funeral, players control a band of three musician grim reapers leading a group of deceased revellers across a 1920s New Orleans take on the River Styx. The revelers, unaware of their absinthe-soaked demise, continue to dance and party as the band accompanies them on trip through purgatory on a high flying unstable platform. Black Bottom Parade effectively leverages of the aesthetics of Mardi Gras to heighten the emotion and complexity of the interactive experience.

Deepak Fights Robots
(Tom Sennet)

Deepak Fights Robots is Bubble Bobble cross-bred with Pac-Man, art directed by Keith Haring, conducted by The Incredible Hulk, and performed by the P-Funk All Stars. Players take the role of Deepak, a regular guy thrown into a vividly colored and wildly imaginative puzzle platformer world to earn superhero powers and defeat robotic villains. Deepak Fights Robots is an adventure platformer that highlights the creativity of independent designers, with a beautiful and unique audio-visual style.

Desktop Dungeons
(QCF Designs)

Desktop Dungeons by QCF Designs is a quick-play puzzle roguelike that tasks players with completing a randomly generated, single screen dungeon as part of a larger unlock-heavy metagame. Uniquely, the game treats exploration as a resource: Revealing new areas of the dungeon regenerates health and manna, forcing players to consider their next moves carefully. Desktop Dungeons ingeniously leverages a niche, hard-core game style into an accessible casual game, earning it a devoted following of indie game fans.

FEZ
(Polytron Corp.)

Created by Phil Fish, FEZ started out as a simple gameplay mechanic: explore 3D worlds from 2D perspectives. From there, its development has changed several times, moving into cycles about the artistic and presentational style and forward into development focused on mood and emotion. The game plays as a traditional 2D platformer where you can freely rotate the world in 90 degree increments to explore and navigate 3D structures from 4 distinct 2D points of views. FEZ creates a calm, contemplative, lonely exploration/puzzle game. there are no enemies, no lives, no health, no penalty for death. FEZ is notabe for its interesting and resonant core mechanic, and its ‘microcosm of modern indie games’ development history.

Gamestar Mechanic
(E-Line Media)

Gamestar Mechanic, from E-Line Media, is a an adventure game in which you fix and make your own games to progress. Gamestar Mechanic began with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to the University of Wisconsin Madison to research whether systems thinking could be taught *through* a game rather than “on top of” a game–a game where the core mechanic was game design itself. Independent designer Katie Salen helped develop the game, which is now part of the game-based curriculum of New York’s experimental Quest to Learn School, which Salen directs. Gamestar Mechanic engages players in the process of computer programming while joyously reflecting on modern game design.

Geobook
(levitylab)

Geobook, from Experimental Gameplay Workshop veteran Chaim Gingold, is a playful, child-like, beautifully designed reenvisioning of the book that introduces basic concepts of geology through text and interactive illustrations. What if your geology book’s illustrations were alive, and you could touch them? What if epic time and scale of geologic processes we reduced to a sandbox that a child could reach into and play with? Geobook’s non-traditional approaches to interactivity create engaging and open ended learning environments that as fun as they are educational.

Halcyon
(stfj)

Halcyon, a unique action puzzle game for iPad designed by Zach Gage, is named for the mythological bird of ancient Greece, said to charm the winds and seas into a calm during the Winter Solstice. Colored currents travel inexorably toward each other. Strum the strings to match the currents, creating both phonic and visual harmony. Part musical instrument, part toy, halcyon is a minimalistic artistic puzzle and a tool for creation through play that redefines the term “game.”

Hero Generations
(Heart Shaped Games)

With its goal of creating meaningful games, Heart Shaped Games’ Hero Generations is a unique strategy/artgame offspring of beloved games like Civilization, Passage, and The Legend of Zelda. Your goal is to build a multi-generation legacy one hero at a time. Gameplay revolves around a single question: given a limited lifespan, how should you spend your time? Hero Generations synthesizes multiple complimentary game mechanics to create a lightweight, simple experience that imbues the essence of the mood of those games with new insight and relevance.

Hohokum
(Honeyslug and Richard Hogg)

In the enchanting world of Hohokum, players control a colourful space worm, winding through a city under attack to rescue its innocent citizens on its back. This elegant mechanic yields rich emergent outcomes as you explore its affordances within a variety of simple yet deftly designed environments. A collaboration between indie developer Honeyslug and artist Richard Hogg, Hohokum tightly integrates gameplay and art style, allowing the game and puzzle designs to grow directly from the work between the artist and designers.

Improviso
(GAMBIT)


Improviso, a collaboration between GAMBIT and the MIT Media Lab, is a game about ACTING! Players are paired online as the Lead Actor and Director of a low-budget science fiction movie. Improviso explores how the user interface and framing of a game can lead ordinary players to engage in dramatic improv, even if they have no prior experience acting or storytelling. Improviso was chosen to highlight the inventive and exciting choice to create a multiplayer game that grows from rules and systems of improv, and encourages cooperative play in a totally different frame than a typical video game.

Johann Sebastian Joust
(Douglas Wilson and Friends)

Johann Sebastian Joust is a music-based physical jousting game by Douglas Wilson, designed for two to six players with motion controllers and smart phones. The goal is to jostle your opponents’ controllers while keeping your accelerometer sufficiently still. Inspired by playground and folk games, J.S. Joust is a performative game that encourages a range of expressive gameplay in a curated and designed space, within a set of minimal and elegantly designed rules.

Kiss Controller
(Georgia Tech)

Kiss Controller, designed by Georgia Tech Ph.D. student and media artist Hye Yoon Nam, is an experimental art project in which users control a bowling game by moving their tongues while kissing. Kiss Controller explores the notion of the “intimate interfaces” that engages users in the emotional experience of a kinetic act through intimate interaction. Inspired by technology developed for disabled computer-users, Kiss Controller contrasts with typical embodied game systems, such as the Wii and Kinect, by leveraging a novel interface to create a unique and subtle experience distinct from typical video gameplay.

Loop Raccord
(Nicolai Troshinsky)

Loop Raccord, designed by Nicolai Troshinsky, is a video editing game about synchronising a chain of video clips in order to create an illusion of continuous movement between them. Inspired by the work of Peter Greenaway and exploring traditional video editing techniques, “Loop Raccord” uses cinematographic language as gameplay. Players get into a flow as they gain mastery at this a simple, abstract task that is transformed into a compelling interactive experience. Loop Raccord harkens back to the era of “interactive cinema” while at the same time introducing a unique and original way to interact with the film medium.

Ordnungswissenschaftr
(Till Wittwer, Marek Plichta, Jakob Penca)

“Ordnungswissenschaft” is a physical game in which four players rearrange stacked boxes according to rigid instructions. The players are part of a narrow procedural system and thus become machine-like. “Ordnungswissenschaft” was developed by Till Wittwer, Marek Plichta and Jakob Penca during the Play 10 festival. The interactions of the central procedural machine (the players), become a reflexive and insightful look at interactions between human beings.

Papa Sangre
(Somethin’ Else)

Papa Sangre, from Somethin’ Else, is a video game with no graphics. Your own footsteps echo eerily in Papa Sangre’s palace: a Day of the Dead-themed hell-hole immersed in darkness. Using only sound to navigate, avoid the bad things, find the good things, rescue the soul of someone you love, do the right thing, escape. The first ever on-the-fly binaural audio game on a handheld device, Papa Sangre uses audio to create environments and challenges, leveraging the player’s imagination to evoke emotional responses.

Application Crunch (Pathfinder)
(Collegology Games, Game Innovation Lab)

Application Crunch, developed by Collegology Games at USC’s Game Innovation Lab working with CHEPA, is a card game about high school students aspiring to apply, get into, pay for, and do well in college. Manage your time in order to build competitive applications and submit them to colleges and scholarships before their deadlines pass. Pathfinder captures the spirit of applying to college, and rather than ‘gamifying’ it, finds the natural games students are playing, and uses its mechanics to make that system more understandable to the player.

PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew
(Incredible Ape)

PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew, from Incredible Ape, is a game where two people use microphones to cooperatively control a single space man and fight an onslaught of geometric shapes. PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew is a humor game, but not a traditional humor game – it leverages a unique control scheme to turn a simple multiplayer mechanic an incredibly entertaining party game.

Kaleidoplay (Play Kalei)
(loadcomplete)

Kaleidoplay, from loadcomplete, offers up a uniquely fun and relaxing puzzle experience on your iPad. Building on the classic analogue experience of viewing the world through a kaleidoscope, the objective is simple yet absorbing: find the point on the photograph that matches the variegated kaleidoscope image. Kaleidoplay exploits a simple interaction based on a familiar folk toy to create a highly engaging interactive experience.

Proteus
(Ed Key)

Proteus, developed by Ed Key, depicts a musical wilderness environment in four seasons. It uses a bold visual style of shifting solid colors to paint mesmerizing scenes and dizzying altered states, and a reactive music system which allows the player to explore the environment as a piece of music. Proteus creates a true exploration space for the player, using basic audiovisual interactivity to create beautiful rewards driven by the player’s attention in the game.

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure
(Untold Entertainment)

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure was created by Cassie Creighton, age 5, with her father Ryan, age 33. Cassie illustrated and voiced the short but (incredibly) sweet point-and-click adventure game. Sissy loves ponycorns–pony/unicorn hybrids–and endeavours to collect them in a series of jars given to her by a mysterious benefactor named OrangeBoy. Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure exemplifies the collaborative nature of game design, and the imaginative opportunities to stretch the boundaries of games and interactivity.

Skulls of the Shogun
(Haunted Temple Studios)

A favorite of indie game fans everywhere, Skulls of the Shogun, from Haunted Temple studios, combines deep strategy with arcade speed, letting players take turns controlling their armies of phantom samurai in the lush & eerie samurai afterlife. Skulls of the Shogun streamlines its gameplay to increase accessibility and make for a fast paced, intensely fun, multiplayer experience.

Solar 2
(Murudai)

In some games you see stars in the background, you shoot asteroids or you live on planets. But in Solar 2 you ARE these objects! Solar 2, designed by Murudai, is an open-world, sandbox game set in an infinite abstract universe. You can play constructively and grow your system naturally, or destructively, crashing into other objects and causing chaos. Solar 2 literally and uniquely makes a game out of the physical laws of the universe.

StarDrone
(Beatshapers, Tastyplay)

StarDrone, from Beatshapers, is a high-speed action thriller with a mix of arcade action, pinball, breakout, physics and a collect-the-objects mechanic that is intelligently utilizes the Playstation Move controller. Cause your attackers to crash with rapid speed while collecting gems and power-up enhancements. StarDrone’s high-energy, classic, arcade gameplay integrates modern exploration sensibilities and gestural control schemes.

superHYPERCUBE
(Kokoromi)

superHYPERCUBE, from Kokoromi, is a game about holes, and the cubes that love them. It explores the vast, mostly unexplored TRON-like tundra of stereoscopy and head tracking in games. Originally produced for GAMMA 3D in Montreal, superHYPERCUBE is a public installation that literally takes the classic game Tetris into the third dimension as you try to rotate increasingly complex cube constellations to fit into a series of rectilinear holes. Presented as an art game, SuperHYPERCUBE’s well-designed 3D mechanics are leveraged to create unique and inventive puzzles on par with mainstream games in the genre..

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
(Superbrothers, Capybara Games, Jim Guthrie)

Described by its creators as a “psycho-social audio visual experiment, a meandering mytho-poetic adventure…”, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is an exploratory action adventure with an emphasis on audiovisual style. Traverse a mythic realm, use a sword to do battle and evoke sworcery to solve mystical musical mysteries. S:S&S EP is also an inhabitable music album designed for a broad, literate audience. The game’s beautiful aesthetic visual and audio design support one another and reinforce the mood and aesthetic of the gameplay.

The Bridge
(Case Western)

The Bridge is a 2.5-D puzzle platformer that forces players to reevaluate their preconceptions of physics and perspective. Manipulate gravity to redefine the ceiling as the floor, and venture through impossible architecture in this original approach to the puzzle platformer genre, a beautifully illustrated adventure hand-drawn and set in the style of a black-and-white lithograph. The Bridge’s individual puzzles are also meticulously crafted beautiful art objects in their own right.

The Depths to Which I Sink
(Bigpants)

Descend into tubes, pass through hoops, avoid moving walls and smash windows into pieces. In the Depths to Which I Sink, created by Bigpants, stereoscopic 3D is an integral part of the gameplay – not just graphics. It’s impossible to play without 3D glasses. Your screen becomes a cube, and you will feel like you’re floating inside of it. The goals and objectives force the player to think in Z – not just X and Y. The Depths to Which I Sink uses 3D to enrich gameplay and the player’s experience.

The Dream Machine
(Cockroach Ink.)

The Dream Machine, developed by Cockroach Ink, is a point & click adventure game in a world made of clay and cardboard. You play as Victor and Alicia, a couple who’ve just moved into a new apartment. While trying to get settled in, they soon discover that all is not as it seems in the quiet, unassuming apartment building. The Dream Machine aims return us to the sensibilities of childhood, a time when you did things purely for the joy of the doing. Its hand-crafted aesthetics support and enrich this very well-executed adventure game.

The Swapper
(Facepalm Games)

The Swapper is a space-themed ambient sidescrolling puzzle platformer set in a semi-open world. Created by Facepalm Games, the game’s main mechanics are set around creating clones and swapping consciousnesses using a special device. One of the original inspirations for The Swapper was P.C. Jersild’s novel “A Living Soul”, a story told from the perspective of a brain separated from a body, living in a aquarium in a research facility. The Swapper inventively leverages its central mechanic to both create puzzles but also to allow story to emerge.

The Witch
(Elizabeth Swensen)

The Witch, by Elizabeth Swensen, is a single-player narrative game for the iPad. The player takes the role of a young girl masquerading as a witch in order to navigate the physical and social space of her paper storybook. The girl can alter her disguise for different situations by playing into or against the rumors that other characters spread about her. These words change how she is seen and they change the way the story is told. In this way, the words themselves are witchcraft. The Witch’s inventive linguistic interaction leverages the social power of language to invest the game with meaning.

Way
(CoCo & Co)

WAY, an exploratory puzzle game designed by CoCo & Co, invites strangers around the world to collaborate in creating a shared gestural language online. By puppeteering their avatars (freely controlling limbs to wave, point, nod and more), two anonymous players must communicate nonverbally to solve puzzles. Way’s inventive multiplayer puzzles provoke players to cooperate and communicate in novel ways using the affordances of the virtual space.

Whew! That’s quite the list! Some of them are a bit odd, like the Kiss Controller and Application Crunch and a few are already pretty well known (Desktop Dungeons, FEZ, Solar 2, etc.) but overall I’d say it’s a great list. I can’t wait to play a bunch of these games.

Do you have a favorite? Is there a particular game here you’d love to play? Let us know in the comments!

Those of you interested in attending IndieCade can sign up via their website below. The annual conference is taking place from October 8th-9th this year.

(All descriptions are from IndieCade.com)

[IndieCade]


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Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Micro Releasing on iPhone and iPod Touch This Week

Superbrothers, Jim Guthrie, and Capybara‘s Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Micro releases tomorrow for the smaller iOS devices for $2.99. The game will go universal for those that have already purchased the iPad version. This will happen via an update at sometime before April 21, 2011. The team warns that the game will not play super smooth on older generations such as iPhone 3G.

It’s been over a year since the trailer of Sword & Sworcery caught the attention of DIY, and for those who have iDevices other than the iPad finally get to play the highly praised game. Editors, gamers and IGF judges agree that this is one hot mobile game. It won the IGF Mobile ‘Achievement in Art’ award in March 2010.

IndieGames.com has followed the game extensively. The writers posted a recent interview with composer Jim Guthrie. For those who don’t know about Sword & Sworcery, the developers describe the game as follows: “It’s a mix of laid-back exploration, careful investigation & mysterious musical problem-solving occasionally punctuated by hard-hitting combat encounters. S:S&S EP is an unusual genre-bending effort with an emphasis on sound, music & audiovisual style that has been positioned as ‘a brave experiment in Input Output Cinema’.”

Check out the game in action and get ready to order it on the App Store tomorrow!

To clarify, there are two pricing structures for the game, as posted on the game’s official site:

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP will go UNIVERSAL via an update, so the existing App will suddenly be compatible with Apple’s touchtronic machinery including iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch. This update will be available shortly before Thursday, April 21st 2011 but the App itself is available right the heck now for 4.99$.

For people without an iPad & for people who aren’t planning to get an iPad anytime soon we will also offer ‘Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Micro’ for iPhone & iPod Touch ONLY – this is the same exact same videogame only it’s restricted to the smaller touchtronic machines and it’ll be available shortly before Thursday, April 21st 2011 for 2.99$.


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On One’s Own: Casual Gaming Concerns

Critter_CrunchOn One’s Own is a column about, you guessed it, independent gaming. The wayward wanderings of DIYGamer’s James Bishop might lead to probing art, gameplay, design, reception or a number of other aspects related to independent games. But you can rest assured that all things indie will be carefully considered on a weekly basis.

There are some things that people just were not meant to understand. Jell-o, for example, is one of those things that continue to be amazing as long as you do not try to figure out exactly how it works. The stuff is delicious, bouncy, satisfying and gelatinous. If you ever want to turn yourself off of Jell-o forever, read up on gelatin. Scary stuff there, I’m serious.

This is the realization I have come to over the past couple weeks as I have had some time off from DIYGamer: I enjoy some kinds of games only when I am not thinking about it. This is sort of a shocking realization for someone who has spent the past two years looking for deeper meanings in videogames and sharing his criticisms with the world.

Critter Crunch vomitImagine my shock that this kind of enjoyment, the mindless, pointless enjoyment of gaming, extended to indie games that some of my peers had long protested were amazing and worth the effort to purchase and play extensively. By peers, I don’t just mean random people my age that attend classes with me or fellow coworkers, but other journalists in the field.

Luckily, in both cases that I will mention below, I received the games for what I would call “more-or-less” free. Best Buy stockpiled some coupons for me which I then turned into virtual cash via a Playstation Network card and the Nintendo DSi came with points that I had neglected to spend until recently.

In the same little shopping spree, I finally picked up Critter Crunch by Capybara Games on PS3 and Fieldrunners by Subatomic Studios for the DSi. Critter Crunch is one of those games that a number of people were quick to inform me that I absolutely had to play. Fieldrunners was not exactly recommended by folks I know, but goodness did I hear a lot about it in general. Besides, Desktop Tower Defense is a frequent addition to my rather normal day job, so I figured I would give it a go.

Critter CrunchThis is where the bad news starts. Critter Crunch has thoroughly failed to impress me. Other than being amusing to try to describe to someone—you eat the jewels inside bugs and then attempt to vomit enough into your child’s mouth—and very, very pretty to look at, my stint with Critter Crunch has been largely spent with a frown. It’s gorgeous, goofy but just is in no way substantial enough.

Perhaps this is all a matter of perception, though. Bejeweled, for example, is not exactly marketed as having a wonderful narrative, gripping plot and engaging characters. The same goes for any of the various games within the genre that Bejeweled has helped make so popular. Going to Panera Bread and expecting a steak dinner might leave a person dissatisfied but maybe they should try a sandwich, soup or salad. Results may vary, of course, but the principle remains the same: misguided expectations are only that; misguided.

Part of the problem is a lack of time in general, sure, so games like Mass Effect 2 or even Machinarium have been shelved in favor of more accessible titles for me. Even Valkyria Chronicles, a game that has recently entranced me, is not exactly the best to try and pick up for some quick playing before heading off to work.

Desktop Tower DefenseCritter Crunch has the exact same downfalls for me, though, being relegated to console play, but is a type of game that is entirely meant to be played while waiting in line, during long stints in the bathroom or in the backseat whilst carpooling. Someone, somewhere, clearly was not considering that a person might actually sit down on a sofa and attempt to give it an extended play. I refer again to Jell-o, as it might be delicious and you can eat a whole lot of it, but there sure isn’t any substance there.

Even ignoring Critter Crunch as a “possibly better if it were mobile for me” kind of game, I still have my handy-dandy Nintendo DSi and Fieldrunners. Unfortunately, it just so happens to be a tower defense game and, as everyone knows, there hasn’t been any real innovation in the tower defense genre since, well, people started calling it a genre.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I actually have a weakness for Ye Olde Tower Defense. I thoroughly enjoy every single minute I spend plotting out my building structure in order to cover the most ground in the best way. I have only recently been turned on to the whole idea of selling outlying towers in order to bolster defenses where you need them most. If you thought that your MMO of choice required micromanagement, pick up Fieldrunners and get back to me.

FieldrunnersAn epiphany occurred to me the other day however that has since tainted each and every time that I play the game. I thought to myself, “I really should get to working on my column… right after this level.” When I did finally put it down, I considered the meaning of this decision process.

What, exactly, did I accomplish in my time? At least with some games, there is a bigger picture to consider. While playing Grand Theft Auto, I might struggle with the comic depiction of violence in our daily lives. While playing Braid, I might consider the entire concept of perception among other things. While playing Fieldrunners, on the other hand, I usually consider how to better stop the little guys from getting to the other side of the virtual field. Especially those damn helicopters, pesky things that they are.

As a graduate from Indiana University, perhaps I could better utilize my time. It’d be like constantly playing Solitaire. I relate the entire process to a concept from food: empty calories. Sure, Fieldrunners might taste great going down but jeez, is there anything in there that actually nurtures my thoughts at all?

FieldrunnersThe casual gaming scene screams of fast food to me. And yes, I did just personify an entire section of entertainment. To repeat myself, there’s nothing of substance to be found but most people can agree that they’re enjoyable. The problem is not that they are not enjoyable but that they hold no meaning beyond that. Solitaire might be a fun pastime but there’s a reason why it’s called that: it is meant to pass the time.

And maybe that’s part of the problem. Muddled definitions and various ways of describing videogames have existed since the medium’s inception. Is it video games or videogames? Are they more like games or more like interactive movies? How do they relate to traditional literature?

These are all questions that I have considered from time to time and take a toll on how this argument is viewed by any given reader. Depending on what you make of those questions, you might agree or disagree vehemently with me.

If nothing else, I propose that the casual gaming sector be relegated to being a pastime while all others are referred to as hobbyist. There’s a reason baseball isn’t a national hobby.