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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 December, 2010

The Best Of 2010: Top 10 Indie Games

December 22, 2010 10:57 AM | Michael Rose

give_up_robot_2.jpg[Continuing big sister site Gamasutra's 2010 roundup are our top 10 indie game selections -- picked by Tim W and Mike Rose at -- which cover a wide range of genres, platforms and business models, reflecting the immense variety and talent of the indie community. Previously on Gama: Top 5 Developers, Top 5 Trends, Top 5 Major Industry Events, Top 5 Surprises, Top 5 Disappointments, Top 5 Controversies, and Most Anticipated Games Of 2011.]

So there you have it -- 2010 has come and gone, and with it a whole host of incredible indie gaming titles that have put the indie scene firmly on the map. With a record 391 entries into the Independent Games Festival this year, there is no doubt that indie games are, as always, a huge part of gaming as a whole.

With so many worthwhile releases, choosing just 10 from this year was quite the challenge. Note that for every game featured in our top 10, dozens of other must-play indie titles were left out. We genuinely feel bad about it, so we've listed just over a dozen honorable mentions at the bottom to make up for it.

We'll also be compiling various top 10s for each genre on IndieGames over the coming months, highlighting even more of the year's best releases, so make sure you watch out for those.

Indie iPhone Holiday Sale

December 21, 2010 3:22 PM | Michael Rose

More sales, this time for your iThingy. For the next few weeks, you can pick up half a dozen classic iPhone games on the cheap, and give money to charity at the same time.

Up for the measly price of 99c are Canabalt, Solpskier, Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, Osmos, Eliss and Drop7. All excellent games that are definitely worth a dollar, and a third of the sales go to the Child's Play charity too!

If Steam hasn't already robbed you of all your holiday funds, head over and check out the deals.

Freeware Game Pick: Ninja Senki (Jonathan Lavigne)

December 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Tim W.

Ninja Senki is a Mega Man-style 2D platformer that has been in development for over a year, featuring sixteen levels to play through and multiple endings to discover. Here you play as the ninja master named Hayate, who must seek revenge on the assassin that mercilessly took the life of his clan's princess Kinuhime.

Like most classic games from the early 80's, the game utilizes only two buttons for jump and the default attack move. It doesn't complicate things unnecessarily, and there's even a generous continue option that allows you retry a stage as many times as you want (at the cost of a hundred points minused from your score). Gamepads are also supported and can be configured from the main menu screen.

Note that Ninja Senki doesn't save your progress if you quit, so be sure to free up your afternoon schedule if you're planning on beating the entire game in one go. Windows only.

The Biggest Steam Sale In the World... Ever!

December 20, 2010 7:23 PM | Michael Rose

Phew, just managed to get that Christmas shopping out of the way, and my wallet's feeling a little empty. Good thing I don't have anything else to buy... oh no no no no. You can't do this to me now, Valve! Yes indeed, Steam has just been filled with Christmas joy, and more sales than you can count on an octopus' fingers.

Indie games have a huge part in the sale, with a dozen different indie packs to choose from, plus a couple of indie daily sales. I'd list all the different packs and games for you, but honestly it would take me all night. Just head to your Steam browser, click the Steam sale and hit page 15 of the sales book to see all the indie packs in one go.

The daily deals for today are Super Meat Boy for $3.75/£3, and Sol Survivor for $5/£4.

Browser Game Pick: Grand Mystic Quest of Discovery

December 20, 2010 4:00 PM | Tim W.

Grand Mystic Quest of Discovery is a C64-style platformer in which you play as an unnamed wizard, stuck inside a ruin with nary a single possession in his pockets. Your quest here involves searching for spells that you can use to solve puzzles, acquiring keys to open locked doors, and collecting pieces of a parchment to reveal the secret exit hidden somewhere in this tomb.

The game provides an automatic save option and unlimited retries, meaning that you'd never have to worry about losing too much progress if you decide to take a break and attempt some of the harder challenges at a later time. Spells can only be used once in every room, and if you conjure something up you'll have to remove them from the screen first before you're allowed to cast the same spell a second time.

In total there are twenty rooms to explore, and most players would probably spend about an hour or so to find the exit and beat the game.

Interview: IGF 2011 Nuovo Award Finalists Announced, Prize Money Upped to $5000

December 20, 2010 3:01 PM | Michael Rose can today reveal the finalists of the Independent Games Festival 2011 Nuovo Award and an interview with IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer, alongside the official release announcement.

The IGF organizers opted to reveal Nuovo Award winners today, ahead of the January 3rd announcement of the Main Competition finalists, to help highlight some of the intriguing titles for the standalone prize, which honors "abstract, short-form, and unconventional game development."

Chosen by a select jury -- who've also released a jury statement -- from a total of 391 IGF entries, the Nuovo award celebrates those games that "open the eyes of the audience (and other developers) and provoke discussion" in order to "expand the form" of gaming.

There are eight finalists in total going to the IGF Pavilion/Awards at GDC, with more info about them on the finalists page, listed as follows: Bohm, A House in California, Nidhogg, Dinner Date, Loop Raccord, The Cat and the Coup, B.U.T.T.O.N. and Hazard: The Journey of Life.

There are also five honourable mentions: Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Choice of Broadsides, Faraway, Feign and Spy Party. In addition, the prize money for the award has been raised to $5000, thanks to the quality of the entries.

We talked to IGF chairman Brandon Boyer about how the jury for the award was chosen, and how the finalists were picked. There's also a more in-depth look at each of the finalists just below the cut.

How was the jury for the Nuovo award chosen?

Brandon Boyer: "As with all of the juries, what I tried to do with the Nuovo selection process was ensure a diverse set of backgrounds and viewpoints -- balancing those that were prior Nuovo winners and finalists, academics, people with a heavier, more traditional art-world background, and mainstream developers that were sympathetic to and maintained a strong sense of curiosity about exploring new avenues of what games are and can be.

A number of the jurists also were deeply involved in the Nuovo selection discussion in the 2010 Festival, which was key to keeping our definition of what the Nuovo Award exactly is consistent from year to year, but I also wanted to pull in fresh perspective from Tale of Tales, Paolo 'Molleindustria' Pedercini, and even (gaming's best slapstick comedian?) Justin 'Enviro-Bear' Smith. Fortunately, they all said yes!"

2011 Independent Games Festival Reveals Nuovo Award Finalists

December 20, 2010 3:00 PM | Simon Carless

The Independent Games Festival (IGF), the prestigious GDC-held video game industry event highlighting and awarding the talents of independent game developers, has announced the finalists for the 2011 Nuovo Award, which honors "abstract, short-form, and unconventional game development."

Some of this year's finalists include unconventional party game Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now (B.U.T.T.O.N.), first-person dinner simulation title Dinner Date, Messhof's chunky 2-player fencing title Nidhogg, and zen-like tree simulation title Bohm.

The Nuovo Award, the top video game art prize, is announcing an increase to $5,000 for this year's award winner, thanks to the quality of this year's entries. The winner of the award will be revealed at the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 2, 2011 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, during Game Developers Conference 2011. In addition, all Nuovo finalists will be playable in a special section of the IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor from March 2nd to 4th.

Now in its third year, the Nuovo Award allows more esoteric art games from among the almost 400 IGF entries to compete on their own terms alongside longer-form indie titles, and has been newly expanded this year to include eight finalists.

The full list of this year's Nuovo Award finalists, with links to screenshots and videos of the titles on their official entry pages, is as follows:

- Bohm, created by Monobanda - ("Gives you control over the life of a tree. It's a game based on slow gameplay and the act of creation.")

- A House in California, created by Cardboard Computer - ("A surreal, narrative game about four characters who bring a house to life... with environments and activities drawn from a combination of memory, research, poetry, and fantasy.")

- Nidhogg, created by Messhof - ("A 2 player fencing game with football & platforming elements".)

- Dinner Date, created by Stout Games - ("You play as the subconsciousness of Julian Luxemburg, waiting for his date to arrive. You listen in on his thoughts while tapping the table, looking at the clock and eventually reluctantly starting to eat...")

- Loop Raccord, created by Nicolai Troshinsky - ("Manipulate a series of video clips in order to create... continuous movement.")

- The Cat and the Coup, created by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad - ("A documentary game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran.")

- Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now (B.U.T.T.O.N.), created by Copenhagen Game Collective - ("A one-button party game for 2-8 players. ... rather than let the computer carry out all the rules, the players are themselves responsible for enforcing (or not enforcing) the rules.")

- Hazard: The Journey Of Life, created by Demruth - ("A philosophical first person single player environmental puzzle game. The game presents no goals directly to the player, but they create goals for themselves based on what they know of the world.")

Indie Game Pick: The Dream Machine (Cockroach Inc)

December 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Michael Rose

The first two episodes of The Dream Machine, a point and click adventure game with scenes made entirely out of clay and cardboard, have finally been released. Episode one is available to play for free as a taster, and episode two is available to anyone who pre-orders the bundle for €11. The final product will include five chapters.

The story follows Victor and Alicia, a couple who have just moved into an apartment that is not all it first seems. I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is such a gorgeous game, and a lovely concept to boot. The first two episodes are available for those who put down the €11 pre-order price, while the second episode on its own will be available soon. Future episodes will be released next year.

Head over to the Dream Machine site to play episode one for free, and grab the 20% off discount on episode two et al.

Browser Game Pick: Favimon (Matthew Hollett)

December 20, 2010 11:00 AM | Michael Rose

Favimon is a take on Pokemon that uses the favourites icons from websites to battle each other. You begin with a set Favimon, and must type urls into the bar at the top to summon other websites to fight and catch.

Each website is analysed and given moves depending on what kind of site it is - as of yet, the game recognises 1460 sites on the net, and for those will pull up special classes and moves. For any site that the game doesn't recognise, it will assign it the 'Normal' class. The game is still in development, so you can expect that plenty more sites will be added to the database over time.

At the moment, there are 230 different classes to find and about 900 named actions, spanning over 28 different types of actions. Sites with a higher prominence in the database will have better stats, and there are even special Favimon to be found that have boosted stats and moves, hence it's worth experimenting to find the best ones. Just don't try to take on Google too early.

Favimon is available to play here.

Browser Game Pick: Distance (Austin Breed)

December 20, 2010 6:00 AM | Tim W.

Distance is a visual novel (or interactive fiction game, if you prefer) that tells the story of a couple who lives in two different cities, going through the routine of daily life with thoughts about their partner always on their minds. Austin Breed's submission for the Ludum Dare 19 competition requires very little interaction from the player in most scenes, although depending on the conversation choices that you make the long-distance relationship between our two protagonists could still go either way.

The game doesn't take too long to play through as well. Distance can be found over at Newgrounds.

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