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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.

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Archive For March, 2013

The evolving coverage of indie games

March 31, 2013 10:00 PM | Staff

rob fearon.png

By Robert Fearon

It seems to me we’re in a weird position right now with indie games and the press.

It’s never been easier for more people to get their work on a site somewhere. It’s never been easier to get your five minutes of the day as the top post on a site somewhere.

This is a tremendously good thing.

There’s a few non-indie specific sites that really help get games out there to the mainstream, stand up RockPaperShotgun, stand up Eurogamer, stand up Edge, all of whom have widened the net even more so that games can be exposed to all manner of people.

This is a tremendously good thing.

I like that Indie Statik, Free Indie Games, Venus Patrol and many many more all exist.

This is a tremendously good thing.

The press has, generally speaking, never been more accessible to indie devs. More open to talking to them and in a perverse sort of way, never more eager to get news from their loud mouths.

This is a tremendously good thing also.

With all that said, I'm concerned that somewhere, we're losing something in the more mainstream indie friendly press. Something not quite so obvious.

Capy on the relevancy of premium games in a F2P-dominated economy

March 31, 2013 7:40 PM | Staff

nathanvellasmall.jpgThere remain compelling opportunities for 'paid for' games in the mobile space despite the continued rise of F2P games, according to Nathan Vella Co-Founder & President of Capy, the creator of premium games like Critter Crunch and Sword & Sworcery.

Speaking at GDC 2013, Vella argued that, while an estimated 66% of revenue generated in the App Store in 2013 was from free-to-play games, around $2 billion came from paid games.

The argument that "paid apps are dead" is disingenuous, Vella said. "There is still a huge amount of opportunity in paid games - so long as you find the right game for the business model."

Vella argued that there are lots of niche genres with fans who are willing to pay for games up front when they appear. "Many players don't even know they want a game in a particular niche till one arrives," he said citing iOS titles The Room and Year Walk as games that have found vast success over the past few months despite being idiosyncratic titles that don't easily fit within an established genre.

Wonderputt dev Damp Gnat teases a style-glistening Icycle sequel

March 31, 2013 3:17 PM | John Polson

The fantastic Wonderputt developer Damp Gnat has revealed a follow up to the 2009 hit Icycle, coming soon to web browsers and iOS. In Icycle: On Thin Ice, players will now be able to pedal backwards as well as forward as they navigate dangerous, difficult, and gorgeous landscapes while collecting ice shards. Other items, such as the floating umbrella, add to the game's platforming mechanics.

According to a Modojo interview with creator Reece Millidge, the iOS version will be $0.99 and will be a continuation of the 12-level free Flash version. The iOS version will have extra content like bonus levels and dream levels. The level length has increased almost 3x, too.

While waiting for the next Icycle game to release, be sure to enjoy the original for free.

[source: @dampgnat]

The five reasons freemium sucks (according to QWOP's developer)

March 30, 2013 1:36 PM | Staff

bennettfoddysmall.jpgDesigner Bennett Foddy of QWOP and GIRP fame counts five major reasons why the free to play model doesn't work well in its current incarnation, but suggests that by being creative with microtransactions, designers have the chance to do better work.

1. They're pay not to play, really. Foddy believes lots of freemium games give players the choice between paying or grinding -- "which suggests you might want to pay money to reduce the amount of time you spend playing the game," he notes. "Not playing the game is the 'luxury option'... [and] ultimately reduces the value players see in the game."

2. There's no level playing field. If some players are playing with different rules and others, you can't meaningfully compare their experiences. "If somebody is buying progress, or advantages from the IAP store, they're just cheating," Foddy says. "It's like you're selling players steroids to cheat with."

3. It corrupts the experience. Seeking real money from players during the gameplay breaks immersion, Foddy believes. "In my view, a really good game has a particular relationship with the player," he says. "In a freemium game, it's relating to you more as a vendor, or a drug dealer."

Kickstarter Projects: The Unbreakable Chain (Leon Sadler)

March 29, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Leon Sadler of UK art collective FAMICON (Bart the General, RE: Get to Schol on Time) has launched a Kickstarter project for The Unbreakable Chain, an evolution-themed game for Windows that boasts a unique premise and some truly striking artwork.

Citing inspiration from Grasshopper Manufacture's PlayStation 2 oddity Michigan: Report From Hell, The Unbreakable Chain includes eight stages, each of which revolves around a unique species-themed gameplay mechanic. Sadler hopes to raise £2,000 in order to put the finishing touches on the Windows version, while stretch goals of £3,000 and £4,000 will fund ports for iOS and the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Backers who pledge £10 or more will receive a copy of the game for Windows upon completion. Other pledge rewards include digital copies of The Unbreakable Chain's soundtrack (created by Mars Matrix composer Yasushi Kaminishi), posters, original artwork, and homemade stoneware garden ornaments.

iOS/Android Pick: Fairune (Skipmore and Urara-Works)

March 29, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Japanese indie developers Skipmore and Urara-Works (Calculator Quest, Blind Man's Dungeon) have partnered to launch Fairune, a free retro-styled puzzle-RPG for iOS and Android.

Designed in response to fan requests for a "full-scale pixel RPG," Fairune features the same sort of charming artwork featured in Skipmore's previous games, but boasts deeper gameplay mechanics and a lengthier quest than the developer's previous arcade-style releases. The result is something very special indeed -- the chiptune soundtrack is outstanding, and the game includes more than 100 screens filled with monsters and environmental puzzles. You should definitely check this one out, especially if you're a fan of Skipmore's previous work.

IGF winner Hofmeier pays it forward for Porpentine's Howling Dogs

March 29, 2013 3:00 PM | Staff

howlingdogs.jpgRichard Hofmeier's Cart Life earned multiple awards at this year's Independent Games Festival, including the grand prize. But at Cart Life's booth on the IGF pavilion today, the game on show was Porpentine's Howling Dogs -- Cart Life's own marquee had been spraypainted over, and attendees who came to the booth looking for the game saw Porpentine's haunting interactive fiction instead.

The architect of the change-up was Hofmeier himself, who last night accepted awards by saying anyone could replace him. He tells Gamasutra he'd thought about displaying Howling Dogs even before the awards, having decided that if he won he'd use the opportunity to promote an indie he loves: "It felt like Cart Life had overstayed its welcome already... I wanted people to see this game," he says.

Built in Twine and assisted by Porpentine's own digital artwork, Howling Dogs is an abstract, often surreal experience centralized on the concept of confinement; even though it's a text game, it feels spatial and non-linear, as the player must repeat certain conventions of self-maintenance. These behaviors -- eating and drinking, sleeping, bathing -- surround the player's primary occupation, which is to engage with visions and memories from an unexplained machine.

Trailer: Procyon (Deadly Red Cube)

March 29, 2013 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Ready to take a trip to bullet hell? Indie studio Deadly Red Cube has released a gameplay trailer for Procyon, a horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up currently in development for Windows.

The first thing you'll notice is that the action in this game is fast -- large enemy swarms scream toward you at lightning speed, and bullet patterns are swift and brutal. Fortunately, players have access to powerful weaponry of their own, including a Raiden II-esque laser that locks on to large enemy craft and destroys weaker ships caught in its path. It looks great so far -- I can't wait to play it!

Procyon is up for vote at Steam Greenlight.

[via @shmups]

Free Bundle The Fifth

March 29, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

slavesofrema.pngThe Cabrera Brothers have launched their fifth Free Bundle, which, as has by now become customary, showcases five quality, freeware indie games: Super Smash Land, Burn & Turn, The Witch's House, Alter Ego and the venerable Battle of Wesnoth. A fine selection, you'll have to agree, and one that caters to most tastes.

Interestingly, and this is a Free Bundle first, the bundle also includes Slaves of Rema for PC and Mac, which has happily made itself available for free (and no longer costs $6), while remaining a great choose-your-own-adventure/gamebook affair.

Mr Qwak and the PC/Mac release of Retro Racing

March 29, 2013 6:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

Retro Racing is one of those games that are as precisely labeled and aptly named as is humanly possible; it's a racing game that wouldn't feel out of place on an (admittedly powerful) Amiga. Interestingly, it also is one of the few arcade-y games I've played to exhaustion on the iPad and, easily, among the best mobile multiplayer things ever. Also, it has just been ported to PC and Mac and can finally be properly enjoyed via all sorts of controllers and keyboards.

There's also a brand new PC/Mac demo available here.

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