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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, 2011

Game Maker Blog Presents: 100 Game Maker Games in 10 Minutes (2010)

January 7, 2011 12:00 AM | Michael Rose

The Game Maker Blog has posted up its yearly 100 Game Maker Games in 10 Minutes video, showcasing 100 of the best indie titles made with Game Maker last year.

Plenty of the games on show were featured here on IndieGames, including the likes of Super Crate Box, Desktop Dungeons and Hydorah - in fact, around 40 of them, if my rough counting is anything to go by.

Make sure you head over to the Game Maker Blog for a full rundown of every game on display.

Browser Game Pick: House of Dead Ninjas (Megadev)

January 6, 2011 9:00 PM | Tim W.

House of Dead Ninjas is a procedural-generated action game in which you play as an assassin who has to break into a near-imprenetrable tower. The only way in is through the roof, so you'll have to make your way down from one level to another until you've reached the base of the building.

There are usually only one or two holes on the floor for you to slip through and descend down a level, although occasionally you'll find that a bomb is required to destroy a blocked exit. Both explosives and shurikens are limited in quantity, but these stocks are easily replenished by acquiring the right items inside the tower.

Besides blowing up your enemies into pieces, you can also dispatch them using your sword or stab them from above with a downward thrust. Try to collect the time increase power-up as regularly as you can, since you will lose a life whenever the timer shown at the bottom right side of the screen reaches zero.

Play House of Dead Ninjas at Adult Swim.

NightSky Released + Win a Copy of the Soundtrack (Update: Win a Copy of the Game Too!)

January 6, 2011 5:07 PM | Michael Rose

[Update: Along with winning the soundtrack for the game, we're also going to be giving away copies of the game too! Check out our Twitter feed asap!]

NightSky, the new game from Nifflas, has now been released for PC, with a Mac version coming later. You can download the game from the official site for $7.20 or £7.20 or €7.20... yeah, the exchange rate isn't exactly spot-on, but don't worry - you can simply choose $7.20, and then pay whenever you are in the world.

In case you missed it yesterday, our review outlines why you should be picking up a copy of this. It's a wonderful game, and well worth your time and money. The $7.20 price will only stick around until Monday, at which point it will rise to $10.

To celebrate the release, we'll be giving away 10 copies of the soundtrack for free, courtesy of John Beeler at Asthmatic Kitty records and, of course Chris Schlarb, the musician behind the entire NightSky soundtrack. Watch the @indiegamescom Twitter feed at 8pm GMT today, and we'll start throwing codes out for you guys to grab and plug into Chris' site.

You can also buy the gorgeous soundtrack for $5 straight from Chris.

Feature: Top Freeware Puzzle Games 2010

January 6, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

[From now until mid-January, The Weblog will be counting down the best independent and freeware games of 2010, with descriptions, screenshots, and links of the best games in each major category. Previously: Top 10 Experimental Games, Top 10 Shoot 'em Ups, Top 10 Role-Playing Games]

The fourth of our in-depth 2010 Best Of Features here on the blog (after the overall Top 10 we did for Gamasutra and the 10 Indie Games for '11 article), we're proud to present ten of the best freeware puzzle games released in 2010.

We've tried to gather a bit of everything in this collection of puzzle games: there's a clever remake of the classic Minesweeper, a new release from the author of the Grow series, a puzzler written in HTML5, and a creepy maze exploration game that'll spook you quite a bit.

Here are the top freeware puzzle games of the year:

Remake Game Pick: Star Castle (Sokurah)

January 6, 2011 11:30 AM | Michael Rose

Star Castle is a remake of an arena shooter from 1980, originally developed by Cinematronics. There is a turret in the middle of the playing arena, and the idea is to shoot away the shields around it, exposing and destroying the core.

Sounds simple, but in fact it's mighty difficult. The turret fires out small laser balls constantly that you can shoot down, but will kill you in one hit. If you sit in the same place for just a second or two, the turret will also fire out a quick blast in your direction, again taking you down in one hit. While destroying the shields, if you take out too much of a shield from all directions, it will be replaced by another one - hence, the idea is to destroy only one side of each shield. That's a tough job, since all three shields are spinning!

The default controls are pretty horrible (Alt to move, Ctrl to shoot), but you can alter them in the options. There are online leaderboard for those so inclined. Download Star Castle from

Resonant Indie Game Soundtrack Albums of 2010

January 5, 2011 11:00 PM | jeriaska

Game soundtrack albums offer us an opportunity to examine in depth the added emotional nuance that music scores lend to our games. In 2010 high profile releases included albums for Bit.Trip Core/Runner/Void/Fate, Flower, The Path, Penumbra, and Zeno Clash. For those adventurous enough to make a purchase based on brief samples or personal experience with the game, each item is worth investigating.

A trend more visible in recent months has been the use of online services for distributing music without cost to the developer. Bandcamp proved to be a particularly game-friendly platform, with both Plants vs Zombies and Super Meat Boy albums claiming top spots on online sales charts, together with Disasterpeace's chiptune vision quest Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar. The convenience of SoundCloud made it a popular option in 2010 for sharing videogame tracks, Pause Music offered intriguing low-fi scores alongside their chip music EPs, and OverClocked ReMix threw their hat into the soundtrack album ring.

Below are the albums of 2010 that resonated most with me, listed alphabetically. Appended are suggestions for further listening, all of which is either downloadable or streaming online for free in its entirety.

Review: NightSky (Nifflas)

January 5, 2011 7:58 PM | Michael Rose

NightSky is the latest paid release from Nicklas Nygren aka Nifflas, the god of ambience. Every single one of his games has that special atmosphere that only he can produce, and NightSky is no exception. It's a stunning piece of work, but you knew that already - you've seen the screenshots and the trailer.

It feels just as fluid and effortless to play as it looks. Guiding that ball around is an absolute breeze, and whenever it goes the wrong way, you know it was your fault. The puzzles are also utterly compelling, holding you by the hand to begin with, then blowing your mind time after time. Again, you most likely have experience with Nicklas' expertise in level design, and NightSky will remind you why he is so highly regarded.

And yet... there are numerous design flaws present, not in the execution itself, but rather in the breaking up of the action. The way levels are divided up can lead to numerous frustrating sections, and occasionally I found myself wishing for a particular world to end. Perhaps various recent indie releases have spoilt me in terms of savepoints and minor punishment, but by the time I'd slogged my way through the final parts of NightSky, I was feeling completely exhausted.

Indie Game Links: Real Angry Birds

January 5, 2011 7:00 PM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, and interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source)

Indie Game Reviewer: Top Ten Best Indie Games
"Selecting ten games from the plethora of independent comers in a watershed year for the indie gaming community was difficult. That said, we humbly present our top picks for 2010′s best independent video game title releases."

Indie DB: 2010 Indie of the Year Awards
"Indie of the Year is the largest celebration of hobbyist, amateur and professional Indie developers. With a massive number of updates, releases and new projects, 2010 was a year like no other, packed to bursting with goodies to make anyone who is tired of the boring triple A games excited again."

Casual Girl Gamer: Top 10 RPG Games of 2010
"All the games on our list can be played in your browser for free. None of then require you to sign-up. Nor should any of them take much more than a few hours to complete. These are what we consider to be the ten best casual RPGs to have been released this year."

Bits 'n' Bytes: The Illustrated Guide to MineCraft
"The Illustrated Guide to MineCraft is a pdf instruction booklet meant to capture the spirit of the gaming manuals of old. The intent here is more artistic and for storytelling purposes, as opposed to a technical manual. The Illustrated Guide to MineCraft was made as a free download for fans and newcomers of MineCraft alike."

Indie Superstar: Secret Base and Carboni on Bitejacker
"I knew there had to be some kind of wild chemistry between Anthony Carboni of Bytejacker and Raymond Teo of Secret Base. I pinned down Anthony and Raymond to get the full scoop on their upcoming survival horror action game."

Gamasutra: Leave Plenty Of Time For Marketing Indie Games
"In a Gamasutra feature postmortem for the Xbox Live Indie Game Explosionade, Nathan Fouts of developer Mommy's Best Games said he regretted the short marketing ramp-up for the game."

DIYgamer: Introducing 8-Bit Funding, a Crowdfunding Site for Game Developers
"At its core, 8-Bit Funding is very similar to A huge draw for us is our ability to accept international projects. Kickstarter only allows US projects based on their payment method being through Amazon. We plan on using PayPal initially which opens up our site to projects from any of the nation's supported by PayPal."

FingerGaming: IGF-Winning Space Exploration Game Weird Worlds Debuts for iPad
"Digital Eel, in partnership with App Store publisher Astraware, has launched an iPad version of its acclaimed interstellar exploration and trading game Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space ($4.99)."

Anosou Music: Cobalt nominated for Excellence in Audio at IGF
"Oxeye Games' Cobalt was nominated for the Excellence in Audio award at the Independent Games Festival. To celebrate the occasion we've uploaded four preview tracks from Cobalt to SoundCloud."

Noumenon Games: New and updated sound track
"We're happy that there's been so many kind words regarding the music. As there's been a few tracks added, and a few missing in the original soundtrack archive we've compiled a new one for your listening pleasure."

Freeware Game Pick: Super Spike Dislike (Jayenkai)

January 5, 2011 2:41 PM | Michael Rose

Do you ever get the feeling that a game is laughing at you? Every time I die in Super Spike Dislike, I get this image in my head of the game rolling on the floor, tears streaming down its face, red-faced with laughter.

But hell, do I keep playing. Super Spike Dislike is so simple, yet so utterly addictive. You press right to make a ball bounce over and under a series of spikeballs, and if you touch one, you lose. Along the way, if you manage to string together a combo of bounces, you'll receive some firepower which can be used to shoot the mines down, earning you even more points.

There are two paths to play through, along with a randomly generated path. You can also login and upload your scores through the game, and see how terrible you are compared to everyone else. Well... maybe that's just me.

Don't let the sketchy visuals fool you - this one is magic. Give it a download from The Jayenkai Archive for PC, Mac or Linux.

Feature: Top Freeware Role-Playing Games 2010

January 4, 2011 8:00 PM | Tim W.

[From now until mid-January, The Weblog will be counting down the best independent and freeware games of 2010, with descriptions, screenshots, and links of the best games in each major category. Previously: Top 10 Experimental Games, Top 10 Shoot 'em Ups]

The third of our in-depth 2010 Best Of Features here on the blog (after the overall Top 10 we did for Gamasutra and the 10 Indie Games for '11 article), we're proud to present ten of the best freeware role-playing games released in 2010.

Here we have a couple of interesting indie-developed freeware RPGs for you to look at. One requires the player to control nine party members at the same time, another deals with insanity, and there's even a roguelike game that is set in the middle of a zombie outbreak apocalypse.

Here are the top freeware role-playing games of the year:

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