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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 January, 2010

Zero Gear Free For One Week

January 13, 2010 1:05 AM | Michael Rose


Nimblebit's kart racer Zero Gear has just been released via Steam, and to celebrate the game is free to play until the end of the week. All you need in a Steam account and you can check the full game out for the next 5 days.

Clocking in at $19.99, the game is also 25% off until the end of the week, so if you decide you like it, the discount may prove useful! If you need to read words about whether or not it's worth playing, there are such words on this very blog round abooout... here. Given, they are words regarding the beta build, but they should give a reasonable idea of what you're up against.

To play the game for free, it should have already appeared in your list of Steam games, so it's a simple case of installing it. Go see what you think.

Feature: Top Freeware Platformers 2009

January 12, 2010 8:00 AM | Tim W.

[From now until mid-January, The Weblog will be counting down the best independent and freeware games of 2009, with descriptions, screenshots, and links of the best games in each major category. Previously: Top 10 Shoot 'em Ups, Top 10 Puzzle Games, Top 10 Browser Platformers]

The fourth of our in-depth 2009 Best Of Features here on the blog (after the overall Top 10 we did for Gamasutra and the 10 Indie Games for '10 article), we're proud to present twenty of the best freeware platformers released in 2009.

2D platformers make up a large portion of freeware indie games, and if you're looking for the next Cave Story, Knytt or Spelunky, then there's no better place to start than here - our selection of the freshest platform games released in 2009 for your enjoyment.

(You can also access the full 2009 Top Freeware Platformers chart -- with extra screenshots and information -- as part of the Features section, which includes indie game charts from 2006 to 2008.)

Here are the top freeware downloadable platformers of the year:

Interview: Sparky on Star Guard, Upcoming Projects

January 12, 2010 12:00 AM | Tim W.

Loren Schmidt (Sparky) is the developer of Star Guard, a retro-style 2D platformer that is also a finalist in the IGF's Excellence in Design category this year. He worked on Star Guard part-time over the course of sixteen months while still studying in Laney College, and the game was eventually released as a freeware download in October 2009.

Let's start with a bit of self-introduction, where you're from, and what you were doing before Star Guard.

I'm from the United States- I live in Oakland, California.

Before I started learning to program I wanted to find work doing visual art for games. I did art for a small space MMO once. At a certain point I started taking classes and playing around with the programming side of things, because there were things I couldn't make otherwise.

What was the inspiration for Star Guard?

I keep a log of game ideas, and every so often I get really excited about one of them. Other times I don't end up making the games at all.

What are some of the cooler ideas in your log that you do plan to make into games in the future?

One of my favorite ideas isn't really a game. I've always been interested in things like the game of Life, and I'd love to play with simple simulated creatures that evolve over time.

XBL Indie Game Pick: Pixel Boarder (PixelFriends)

January 11, 2010 4:07 PM | Michael Rose


Just released via Xbox Live Indie Games, Pixel Boarder is a physics-based snowboard stunt-o-rama and it's a great deal of fun. Controlling your boarder's arms via the left and right analog stick, it's tricky to begin with, but once it finally clicks, you can pull off a whole hoard of crazy moves. The key is to, well, not land on your head. That results in an owie.

Features include a replay system, allowing you to watch all your best stunts (and bails) backwards and forwards, sped up and slow-mo; Customizable boarders, with a bunch of different heads, bodies and boards to crash into the slopes; 'State-of-the-art retro graphics', allowing a choice of 32, 16, 8 or 4 bit visuals. Chuck in there a whole chiptune soundtrack supplied by some clever music people over at the 8-Bit Collective and it's all looking very beefy in content.

Just be warned - this is incredibly difficult. The short tutorial levels definitely do enough to teach the basics, but from then on in, it's all about experimenting to find the best tricks and methods of landing. All in all, definitely worth checking out the demo on the Xbox Marketplace. Will set you back 240 MS Points ($3) for the full version.

Related: Pixel Boarder Trailer

Review: VVVVVV (Terry Cavanagh)

January 11, 2010 1:41 AM | Michael Rose

There's this guy, and for my entire VVVVVV playthrough he's been grinning like a loon. No matter how difficult the puzzle, how awkward the timing or how precise a maneuver is needed, his face is constantly lit up, his smile infectious to a ridiculous degree.

I am, in fact, talking about myself, but then Veridian, VVVVVV's gravity-defying hero who clearly shares my sentiment, is arguably having just as much fun as myself, despite his blood not knowing where to rush to. Oh, and the constant multiple deaths.

While some may argue that 2009 didn't really deliver an outstanding indie title which showed the mainstream that independent developers mean business, this won't be a problem where 2010 is concerned - the year has merely begun, and already Terry Cavanagh has supplied the scene with the ammo it needs. VVVVVV is not simply immense fun - it's exciting, challenging, and downright glorious with a stunning soundtrack that will flip you on your head.

Browser Game Pick: Realm of the Mad God (Wild Shadow Studios)

January 10, 2010 7:43 PM | Michael Rose


Been watching this one progress via the TIGSource forums and it's now definitely at the point where it's worth mentioning. Realm of the Mad God, created for the TIG Assemblee competition, is 'a massively co-op fantasy adventure' featuring a remarkably large world to roam and explore (inhabited by thousands of monsters), real-time battling, a full leveling up system, lots of different equipment and magic spells to experiment with and 5 different classes to choose from.

All this content, and it's still being built. Starting a game is as simple and entering your name and pressing go, at which point you'll be dumped into the world alongside every other connected player. You can choose to team up (text chat is available) or go it alone.

A major thing to note - death is permanent. Lose all your health and you'll have to start all over again, whether you were level 1 or level 100. In fact, in this respect it reminds me a lot of Farb's Captain Forever - you may be able to get to a respectable level, but make little slip and it's all gone.

Go give it a try, and make sure to follow the progress over on the TIG forums.

Freeware Game Pick: DEBT (Jon Wingrove)

January 9, 2010 11:04 AM | Michael Rose

Created for the TIGSource Assemblee contest, DEBT is the story of Owen Sterling, a spaceman with a massive amount of cash to pay off. With debt collectors on the way, it's your job to help Owen grab as much loot as he can before they show up.

The first 30 seconds of each game involve flying to your destination, dodging asteroids along the way, then it's down to the main spectacle. There are three different worlds to explore with each offering a unique difficulty level, be it harder enemies or locked doors galore. Every gem, cash bundle or golden something-or-other you collect decreases your debt and you'll need to be quick on your feet if you want to clear the whole kaboodle.

Getting hit too many times will cause our debt-ridden hero to collapse and lose a minute of his precious time, and you'll need to make sure that you get back to the ship before time is up, or you'll be charged 'interest'. Online score boards show what kind of scores you're aiming for!

As this was created for the Assemblee competition, all the graphics and sound were created by a horde of other TIGers, credit to whom can be found on the download page.

Cogs iPhone Gameplay Video

January 8, 2010 7:03 AM | Michael Rose

TouchArcade have bagged themselves a hands-on with the iPhone version of IGF-nominated Cogs. Landing in the App Store sometime later this month, it appears the transition to iThing has worked pretty smoothly. Excellent stuff.

Related: Cogs PC Review

Pay What You Want For Crayon Physics Deluxe

January 8, 2010 1:13 AM | Michael Rose


Following in the footsteps of 2D Boy and Paul Eres, Petri Purho is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Crayon Physics Deluxe's release by selling the game off for whatever price you choose.

Simply head on over to the CPD site, name your price, and away you go with all its wonderful physics-based crayon-ness. The sale lasts just a week (until 15th Jan) and we're bound to see some results popping up on his site shortly afterwards.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of January 8

January 8, 2010 1:09 AM | Simon Carless

In our latest employment-specific round-up, we highlight some of the notable jobs posted in big sister site Gamasutra's industry-leading game jobs section this week, including positions from Bungie, Sledgehammer Games and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

2K Marin: Multiplayer Systems Designer
"2K Marin is looking for a dedicated, passionate and personable Multiplayer Systems Designer to join us on an exciting unannounced project. As a Multiplayer Systems Designer, you'll be in charge of taking high level goals and translating them into game systems and moment-to-moment experiences."

Relic Entertainment: Senior Director of Development
"The Senior Director of Development executes the developmental strategy of the studio in accordance with the GM and THQ’s strategic and tactical objectives. Responsible for ensuring project development achieves operating objectives and financial goals; ensuring development efficiency and product timeliness, and otherwise ensuring consistency and process improvements across projects."

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