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Food For Brains: Indie Games And Heart

An Incredible Indie Effort

I was introduced to the indie community awhile ago. My obsession with indie content began with music and bands like Animal Collective, Battles, Grizzly Bear, The Microphones, and No Age. So maybe it was not awhile ago, but rather four or five years ago. Shortly after I began discovering the world of indie gaming, once it became more accessible because of the internet and console marketplaces. I have received much more criticism for my music tastes than my gaming tastes, but both are undeniably more on the side of indie than mainstream. Concordent with that tendency is my feeling that both have more heart. Indie musicians and indie developers alike do what they do because they love it, not for the money it brings. However, I think the gaming side of development may have become a bit too accessible to any one who can put pixels on a screen and call it an indie game. Just because one dude programmed a few lines of code does not mean he put everything he had into it.

I have seen a lot of games come and go. I play both indie games and AAA games alike, I am not biased, I just want to play good videogames. I am willing to try anything, but the same problems that sometimes haunt the AAA companies can ruin an indie production all the same. There is just less money thrown at the game. A heartless shooter that cost a company $500,000 and is poorly developed is no different to me than a shooter which cost $50 and has no heart. In that same path of thinking I find that a poorly thought out or developed indie game is just as offensive to the player as its AAA counterpart.

At this point it seems as though a cooking metaphor is only fitting, developers will be cooks. You see, cooking has become a popular trade. Cooking was a novel idea at one point. Because it was so novel, the few who ventured into the profession made the finest, although short, meals possible despite fairly poor means. These meals are what we call indie games. Other people then became aware of cooking. They said, “Hey, I know a little about cooking.” Using that knowledge, hundreds of cooks began taking a little time to cook very small, poor quality meals, but marketed them as the same or better than the traditional alternative. Soon enough everybody was confused about what even constituted a proper meal.

A Fine Cut of Indie Game

What I am getting to is that Indie games are not always full of heart. Some of them are just the same processed crap we have been eating for the larger portion of our lives, with a smaller budget. I think as a community of players and developers we have to not just accept run-of-the-mill games, and I would be inclined to say that most players do not. What instead needs to be done is to foster an evironment which supports indie productions becoming what they are fully capable of being; your few and far indie phenomenons. The bar needs to be raised.

The result of these mediocre indie games is eerily similar to that of the AAA gaming environment. The percentage of solid indie outings as compared to junky indie outings seems to be tipping more toward the negative side of the scale. It could ruin indie gaming. In fact it may come to a point where indie games simply sell as cheaper video games. There is a reason why the indie gaming community does not get alot of respect, and it is because fantastic titles are too sparse. Good should not be the goal. Breathtaking is worth working for, and quite frankly there is a need for more breathtaking games. We should not be playing indie games to play indie games, but rather we should be playing indie games because they are better. Why should I play an indie game if there is a better AAA title on the market?

In fact I only count 4 in my top 30 games of all time. Sure, the sample size is smaller, but I want more to love. I am greedy, and I want the most out of my games. Indie games can get there, but they need to keep moving forward, and it now feels that so many mediocre games are coming out that the good ones should be separated into a different category. In lay-men’s terms, I crave 9′s but play alot of 6, 7, and 8s. Maybe none of this means anything to you as a gamer, but it upsets me and I hope for improvement in the genre so we can truly call more indie games incredible instead of making excuses for them. We should expect big budget heart from everything we play. Indie game of the year should be aiming for video game of the year, and nothing less. Because if it is aiming for less than that, it truly does not have the heart we so often give it credit for.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Food For Brains: Indie Games And Heart


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North American PS Vita Owners Can Now Download ‘Where Is My Heart?’

Where is my Heart?

Are you North American?! Do you own a PS Vita?! Puzzle games – are they lovely?! If you answered “yes” to all of those questions then you should probably make a purchase over on the PS Minis Store. Not just any old thing though, we’re talking specifically about Die Gute Fabrik’s Where Is My Heart?

Why would we be doing such a thing? Well, those who are smarter than the average bear will know that the game has, until now, only been available to European PS Vita owners. Today marks a change as those who reside in North American can also download it. How lovely. Puzzle fans you’ll seriously want to do that too. This one is pretty tough though highly enjoyable. You are set with the task of getting a weird little family back to their homely tree – it’s simply getting the characters from A to B.

Making that journey quite a bit harder is the quite confusing pictogram aesthetics, which sees the levels split into tiles that are connected through non logical sense. You could exit one tile from the right bottom of the screen to emerge out of another at the bottom left, for instance. More gameplay mechanics are added with progression so expect that initial confusing level design to get much more complex.

Where Is My Heart? will most certainly be a good accompaniment to most journeys, so taking it around with you on your Vita would prove to be a real time killer. It’s very easy to get stuck into this one. To purchase it for your PS Vita just go to the Minis section of the PlayStation Store. More information on the game is available on the official website.


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Nominations Revealed For Nordic Game Awards 2012

Nordic Game Awards 2012

The organizers behind the Nordic Game Awards have announced the long list of nominations for this year’s show, as usual we highlight the indie titles who made the line-up.

Always celebrating one of the most creative and interesting parts of the gaming industry, the Nordic Game Awards are creeping up on us yet again. The 2012 awards ceremony will be held on May 24th in Malmö of Sweden, which is where the winners of the six award categories will claim their victory and hopefully acknowledge the great competition they were lined up with. It’s not too late to be part of the Nordic Game Awards as you can register on the official site, do it before April 20th for the early bird discount.

Of course, the Nordic Game Awards don’t just acknowledge the indie games, titles like Battlefield 3 and Renegade Ops are part of this too. What we’ll do is list them but won’t provide links in a stubborn little way – it’s nice to see what the indie titles are going up against too! So here’s this year’s nominations – remember, if it’s linked then we consider it indie.

Best Nordic Game of the Year

  • Battlefield 3 (EA DICE, Sweden)
  • Renegade Ops (Avalanche, Sweden)
  • Where is my Heart? (Die Gute Fabrik, Denmark)
  • Minecraft (Mojang, Sweden)
  • Trine 2 (Frozenbyte, Finland)
  • Syndicate (Starbreeze, Sweden)
  • Battlestar Galactica (Artplant, Norway)

Best Nordic Children’s Game

Best Nordic Handheld Game

  • The Marbians (Progressive Media/Nordisk Film, Denmark)
  • Anthill (Image&Form, Sweden)
  • Sprinkle (Mediocre, Sweden)
  • Draw Race 2 (RedLynx, Finland)
  • Super Stardust Delta (Housemarque, Finland)
  • Death Rally (Remedy, Mountain Sheep, Cornfox Brothers, Finland)
  • Touchgrind BMX (Illusion Labs, Sweden)
  • Joining Hands (10tons, Finland)
  • Neon Zone (House on Fire, Denmark)

Best Artistic Achievement

Best Nordic Innovation Award

Nordic Indie Sensation Award

This award is a special public award. Visitors of the Nordic Game Indie Night (May 23rd) and the Nordic Game 2012 conference (May 24-25th) will be able to try all the nominated games and vote for their favorite. The nominees for this award, which is probably the one of most interest to us, will be announced shortly.

More information on the Nordic Game Awards can be found on the official website.


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Next Few Stops For ‘Where Is My Heart?’ Is Windows, Mac and Linux

It’s already out on both PS3 and PSP, so one might assume that the next place for Where is my Heart?, might be the Xbox 360, but no.The Danish developer, Die Gute Fabrik, have plans for Where is my Heart? and none of them involve another console. Instead, their retro-inspired hit is coming to both Windows, Mac and Linux; sucks for 360 owners, but who doesn’t have either a PC or a Mac today?Although, a lot of indie titles don’t even have a Mac port, so this is an impressive effort for a small developer, because once Where is my Heart? is released on that system (along with the other two), they’ve pretty much covered everything. They haven’t revealed who will be distributing the Windows version however and with quite a few options, I’m not even going to bother guessing.For details on the game, I recommend the official page, but for updates on all things Die Gute Fabrik, their blog is a better place to check

This Article was originally posted on our sister site, The Indie Game Magazine written by PeterChristiansen.


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Erik Svedang Unveils ‘else { Heart.break }’

Game developer at large, Erik Svedang, has taken to his personal blog to detail his upcoming adventure game else Heart.break . Intrigued? You should be.A lot of information can be contained within a name, though else Heart.break may just confuse you, then leave you pondering your own existence (at the very worse, that’s all we’re saying). Svedang is the type of developer whose games catch your eye, make you think and win awards; we’re thinking else Heart.break is following that trend.else Heart.break is said to be an adventure game of sorts, one that will toy with a range of your emotions while it makes your brain do backflips. Unlike most futuristic sci-fi, computers are held in the same position as a deity – worshipped and relied upon.

Original Source: Erik Svedang Unveils ‘else Heart.break ’

This Article was originally posted on our sister site, The Indie Game Magazine written by Chris Priestman.