IndieGames.com is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.
AutoCannibalism is a short 2D platformer that implements this month's Experimental Gameplay Project theme rather cleverly. In it you play as a tribesman chosen by his father to save their clan from starvation, with the rumor being that the nearest source of sustenance can only be found inside an unexplored network of caves located just on the outskirts of their village.
Expect to finish the game in about fifteen minutes or so, and once you've seen the story the first time it's quite unlikely that you'll go back to it for a repeat adventure. Download AutoCannibalism here. (Windows, 6.05MB)
Defem is a score-based arena shooter loosely based on Defen, a game originally created by Terry Cavanagh for submission to a Klik of the Month event. David Scatliffe's Defem is all about staying alive for as long as you can while dodging planes, tanks, missiles and nukes that try to blow your UFO out of the Russian skies.
Everything is controlled with the mouse, and craft movement is automatic. Temporary weapon power-ups are acquired by collecting a set of gems quickly, but even if you nabbed a minimum of three you'd still get a shield of sorts that'll provide protection for a couple of seconds. Get the game here. (Windows, 3.65MB)
If you're living in or around Malmö, Sweden, then you should definitely attend the Nordic Game Indie Night, a one-day event held on the eve of the Nordic Game 2010 Conference. Set to start at 7pm, the first two hours features talks by Nifflas, cactus, and the creators of Owlboy, Max & the Magic Marker, Bob Came in Pieces and Youropa. A party (featuring live music by Nifflas) will be held after the presentations are over, and you you can look forward to that from 9pm onwards.
cactus' Tuning, Nifflas' Saira, and the other four games mentioned above will all be playable throughout the night and during the Nordic Game 2010 conference, which runs from the 27th to the 29th of April in Slagthuset, Malmö, Sweden. The event is open to the public and admission is free.
Based in Montreal, Quebec, Kokoromi is an experimental game collective whose latest installment in a curated event series took place at this year's Game Developers Conference. The GAMMA IV party on March 10th at the San Francisco Mezzanine brought together an assortment of one-button games created by independent developers and several musical acts inspired by retro game sound cards.
Pedal bike enthusiast and Creative Commons advocate Starpause (Jordan Gray) helped curate for the live music event. A co-organizer of the 8bitsf scene, he regularly performs chip music in the Northern California Bay Area and has given talks on contemporary low-fi music at the Data Beez micro-tour, Maker Faire, LoveTech and NoiseBridge. He was also recently interviewed by freelance journalist Gus Mastrapa for a Wired Game|Life article on chip music demakes.
In September you're scheduled to perform at the Tokyo Blip Festival, which will be featuring a set by Metroid composer Hip Tanaka. Is this a unique event for you to play?
Starpause, chip musician: Yeah, I'm super excited. There's also the social aspect of getting to see friends again like Quarta330, Coova, and Blasterhead (who I haven't seen since we played together in Stockholm). I also hope that Blip Tokyo will bridge the Pacific a bit. California and Japan are not too terribly far apart, so it would be nice to get people excited about the idea of a cross-Pacific scene and West Coast circuit for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.
Do you feel there might be an alignment of interests between the independent game and chip music communities, opening the door for further live events like GAMMA IV?
I see alignment between alternative control interfaces, the kind of stuff that Paris is doing, and independent games. He uses game consoles as controls for doing his visuals and playing around with his software is very much like playing a game. If you have fun dancing on the controls, then the visuals look cool. JYK, NOCARRIER, C-MEN and ENSO are using typical game controllers in an atypical setting, to conduct their visuals. I see another similarity in that the applications they're writing to perform their visuals are crafted in much the same way as indie games—one or two developers passionately slewing code, from scripts to assembly, to realize their dreams.
At GAMMA IV we saw much of the same: indie devs taking a single button and finding interesting contexts for people to interact with them. But the similarity doesn't end at the tools and tech—often overlooked is the social aspect. The developers and musicians at the GAMMA IV party shared a green room and I was swapping 1" pins with the Copenhagen Game Collective and nerding out on laser etching with Mikengreg. When you get like-minded people together in the same room it's no surprise that fun is had and imaginations get lit up. The interesting part is where these overlaps will lead us.
Brave Island Diver is jwaap's Ludum Dare 17 submission, a platformer where you're tasked with collecting all twenty-five stars placed on both above and under a cluster of islands. This requires jumping off a cliff, then gaining enough vertical momentum to reach a platform at the same height on the other side of the body of water.
You can use the cursor keys to move around, press the x key to jump, or hit the space key to teleport to the position of the last collected star. The F4 function key is for switching between full screen and windowed mode. (Windows, 2.36MB)
Magic Orbs is a gorgeous puzzler set in a maze-like temple. A series of rooms need to be navigated by grabbing orbs and placing them on pedestals.
Certain orbs will open similarly-coloured doors when held, but the protagonist can only carry two orbs at a time. Orbs can be placed down on any pedestal, so it's a case of only grabbing the orbs for the job at hand, then going back and picking up different orbs when needed. Later on the job gets a little tricker - for example, doors which work in the opposite fashion are introduced, which can lead to some very confusing situations.
Well worth blasting your way through. It's over at Armor Games.
Here's a trailer for Nifflas' new platformer FiNCK (Fire Nuclear Crocodile Killer), due out this May 12th. The game has been in production for a couple of months now, and will feature a level editor to facilitate the sharing of user-created content.
FiNCK will not be freeware, but according to Nifflas it will be sold at a fairly low price.
The Mac version of Amanita Design's adventure title Machinarium is available for free today (24th April) only.
Mac Game Store are doing a special promo week, with a special offer each day. Machinarium is first up for a grand total of zero pennies/cents. This is the Saturday offer though, so make sure you Mac gamers grab it quick!
Is it worth downloading? Yes, very much so - read our review for exactly why.
Today's collection of independent game links includes a reminder about the Ludum Dare event this weekend, an article about game development jams, and a fun little golf advergame from Icycle developer Damp Gnat.
Ludum Dare 17: April 23rd to 25th Weekend
"Ludum Dare 17 is scheduled for this weekend. Entrants develop games from scratch in 48 hours, based on a theme suggested by community. The theme for LD17: Islands."
Big Download: Joe Danger rated for PC by ESRB
"The ESRB web site reveals that Joe Danger has indeed been rated for the PC in addition to the PS3. While it may not be released at the same time as the PS3 version it's looking like Joe Danger will be available to download for our hard drives at some point."
Damp Gnat: Adverputt Game
A casual mini-golf advergame created by Reece Millidge (developer of Icycle), featuring twelve holes to pocket your mini-golf ball into. Once you've completed the entire course, there are an additional five holes to play in Micro Putt too.
Wolfire Games Blog: Don't you... forget about Meebo
"With each successive Meebo post, I imagine people might get more and more skeptical over whether anything useful transpires on the Wolfire live chat. Since people seem to have enjoyed the previous Meebo posts, I humbly submit to you another wave of live chat chaos."
Made with the AGS game creation engine, The Wretcher is a 2D adventure game about a writer named Keith Morrison and his girlfriend Aileen Hayward, both visiting a town called Crowhaven to investigate the mysterious circumstances that led to the death of Ms. Hayward's uncle. The story begins with the couple arriving at her uncle's manor, not knowing what horrors await for the two of them..
Partly inspired by early Clock Tower games, the developer has promised a couple of chase sequences and hopefully some genuine scares as well, so we will see if he delivers on his promise when a demo for The Wretcher is released in a couple of weeks' time.