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About The IGF 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, 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 October, 2009

Browser Game Pick: Altitude (Nimbly Games)

October 2, 2009 10:43 AM | Michael Rose

Altitude is an online multiplayer dogfight-em-up. Players roam the skies, shooting down rivals, picking up power-ups and gathering XP to level up and gain access to special perks and better aircraft. The game can be played through your browser or downloaded and booted straight from your hard drive.

It's a lovely little thing, bursting full of challenges, missions and general good fun. As well as gaining experience from shooting down enemies, XP points are also awarded for completing certain tasks - for example, 'shoot down 3 enemies in four seconds' or 'kill 100 enemies using the Bomber'. Perks can then be added to your winged avenger like the ability to bounce off walls rather than crash straight into them.

The general feel of Altitude is really nice too. The controls, while simple, can be mastered to devastating effect (as I learnt when trying to take on a few guys who were way higher levels than me) and the package as a whole is pretty slick. Note, however, that if you want to properly get into the game, it costs $19.95 to unlock everything - that is, receive special planes, perks and maps.

Still, for free you're getting some great, sky-diving fun. Check it out at

Indie Game Pick: RunMan: Race Around the World (Tom Sennett and Matt Thorson)

October 2, 2009 1:51 AM | Michael Rose


Normally free downloadable games would come under the 'Freeware Game Pick' category, but I'm making an exception for RunMan: Race Around the World. Yes, it may be free to download, but to be perfectly honest, it is your DUTY to throw your money at Tom and Matt.

Simply put, RunMan is utterly fantastic. The whole experience comprises of pelting it through zone after zone of levels which look like they were draw in MS Paint with the biggest size brush, bouncing off walls, smashing through bricks and baddies and then picking up a medal at the end depending on how fast you were and how much stuff you crashed into. All the while a glorious mixture of folk, blues and jazz accompanies the action, somehow perfectly complimenting the hilarity.

And that's just the basics down. Each zone map is set out like a SNES-era Mario title, while the gameplay itself manages to feel like some mad cross between said plumber and that blue hedgehog of yore. Then each level itself has 3 different medals to achieve - a bronze, silver and gold - the latter of which requires complete control and concentration to master. Oh, and the game saves ghost runs of your performances which you can then race against. And there are boss levels too.

What I'm trying to say here is, I'm only up to zone 4 and I'm already wondering to myself... could this possibly turn out to be Indie Game of the Year? Grab it from Tom Sennett's site (for free or otherwise) and decide for yourself. Oh, and if you don't like it, it most likely means you're allergic to fun. You should see a doctor about that. (Main download page)

More Wonder? Sense Of Wonder Night 2009 Showcases Indie Game Goodness

October 1, 2009 1:51 PM | Simon Carless

[Once again, I was very privileged to take part in Sense Of Wonder Night at Tokyo Game Show this year, both as onlooker and judge. Here's a full write-up of the presented games, and there's screenshot-based overviews on the TGS website.]

At a busy event on the Friday night of Tokyo Game Show, CESA presented the second Sense Of Wonder Night, showcasing 10 presentations -- each of 10 minutes -- from creators of interesting, innovative experimental games, including notable titles such as Shadow Physics and Transcend.

In the introduction, organizer Kiyoshi Shin of IGDA Japan presented an update on some of the previously showcased titles from 2008's event. He noted that Gomibako launched worldwide as a PlayStation Network title in 2009 (it's called Trash Panic in North America), and that Ian Dallas' Unfinished Swan is now in production as a full game, as Dallas founded a company to make it after leaving university studies.

This year saw 65 worldwide submissions from 18 countries and regions, with ten games picked for creating a 'sense of wonder' by a judging committee (pictured below) including noted shmup creator Kenta Cho, Enterbrain's 'Maker Series' producer Kenji Sugiuchi, Katamari Damacy/Noby Noby Boy creator Keita Takahashi, Vector's Takashi Katayama, and IGDA Japan's Kiyoshi Shin, as well as the writer of this article (IGF Chairman and Gamasutra publisher Simon Carless).

Browser Game Pick: Finwick (SmallGreenHill)

October 1, 2009 1:48 PM | Tim W.

Finwick is an action platformer created by SmallGreenHill, whose other previous work was the mildly popular episodic Platform - The Game. You play as a boy assigned with the task of delivering a package to Prattle Barker, an ecologist who lives somewhere in Fargrown Forest. Along the way you will encounter pitfalls, traps, obstacles, contraptions, and monsters that won't hesitate to eat you alive if you do not stomp on them first.

Some areas are structured as puzzles that you will have to solve before Finwick can continue with his journey. It gets slightly trickier at a later stage when Finwick's friend Pentella joins him on his search for the elusive scientist, since you have to get both characters to the exit in order to progress.

The full game costs $6, but you can play the first twenty-five levels for free without the need to login with a paid user account.

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