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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 February, 2011

iPhone Game Pick: Poto & Cabenga (Honeyslug)

February 17, 2011 11:43 AM | Michael Rose

Originally released as a browser game last year, one-button runner Poto & Cabenga is now available on your iThing.

The action remains the same, with rider and steed controlled simultaneously via pressing and holding the touch screen. There's also a 'Neverending mode', which lets you keeping running and running wit increasingly difficult enemies and obstacles to dodge. The game was a winner at the Gamma IV showcase at GDC 2010 and, while initially tricky, is really enjoyable stuff.

You can grab Poto & Cabenga from the App Store for $0.99 / £0.59.

IGF 2011 Audience Award Closes This Week, D2D Vision Award Finalists Revealed

February 17, 2011 9:00 AM | Tim W.

Voting for the Independent Games Festival's 2011 Audience Award closes this week, so members of the public and the indie game community need to head over to the official IGF Audience Award website and cast votes before Friday, February 18 at midnight PST.

To be part of this year's vote, simply visit the IGF Audience Award page and download any of the games that are currently publicly available (each game has been marked to show whether there's a version for you to purchase or otherwise download). When you've made up your mind, return to vote for your favorite.

IGF, which is affiliated with this website, is allowing voters to cast their ballot for any game chosen as a finalist in the festival, as opposed to just those with public PC demos, as in previous years.

After voting and inputting your email address, you'll need to verify your vote by clicking on a link sent to that email. Go check out the website now and start making your way through the games!

Alongside this reminder, IGN's Direct2Drive digital game store -- the Official Download Partner for this year's Independent Games Festival -- announced the Direct2Drive Vision Award finalists from among IGF entrants.

Nominees for this year's Direct2Drive Vision award include:

- Flotilla – An intriguing, slow-motion tactical space combat game from Blendo Games.

- Confetti Carnival – A puzzle action title where gamers earn style points for smashing and blowing up colorful gummy creatures into confetti bombs, created by SpikySnail Games.

- Hazard: The Journey for Life – A philosophical first-person puzzle game that is as much about exploring abstract schools of thought as it is about gameplay, from Alexander Bruce’s Demruth.

- NightSky – Originally a finalist from Nicalis at IGF 2009, then called Night Game, this evocative update tasks gamers with navigating a curious crystal ball through challenging yet serene silhouetted environments.

- Amnesia: The Dark Descent – A first person survival horror game from Frictional Games, the creators of the renowned indie hit Penumbra.

The Direct2Drive Vision Award winner will receive $10,000, distribution on Direct2Drive's digital download site, and a tech licensing deal with GameSpy Technologies, to be awarded at this year's Game Developers Conference, taking place in San Francisco from February 28-March 4.

On March 2, indie game developers from IGN's Indie Open House will present the Vision Award to the winner at the 13th Annual IGF Awards Show.

Browser Game Pick: Gow (TeamIso)

February 16, 2011 11:15 PM | Michael Rose

Gow looks a little like World of Goo, but it plays nothing like it - your task is to kill all of the Gow balls by popping them or leading them into spikes and saws.

Created for the Global Game Jam, the game has now been bumped up with some extra features and bug fixes. Initially you've just got purple Gows which can be clicked on to kill them. Then you have blue Gows which must be thrown into danger. Then there are green Gows and orange Gows and oh sweet mercy this is rather difficult. The game is really good fun and well thought-out, with clever puzzles to solve. It's cute too!

Gow is available to play over at Kongregate.

Freeware Game Pick: I Fought the Law, and the Law One (Ben Chandler)

February 16, 2011 5:56 PM | Michael Rose

Ben Chandler, arguably one of the pioneers in indie adventure gaming of recent times, has released the first game in a new series called ~airwave~. I Fought the Law, and the Law One follows the story of Elodie Major, the DJ at an independent radio station in Wave.

Unfortunately, a mainstream record label (booo!) is causing trouble in town, enforcing laws that are holding the independent talent back. This is all classic Ben304, with lots of great dialogue and tricky puzzles to solve. What's great is that throughout play, your radio station plays (with music written by Sebastian and David Pfaller) and DJ Zak talks crap between songs. If it's not your cup of tea, you can always find a radio and turn it off.

Like adventure games? This is for you. Go download from Big Blue Cup.

XBL Indie Game Pick: Rotor (Pocket Starship)

February 16, 2011 1:40 PM | Michael Rose

Rotor is described as Crazy Taxi with a helicopter, and a Mirror's Edge aesthetic. It's nearly a fitting description, except that I don't remember Crazy Taxi being this hard. Gaaaaaaaaaah.

With a set amount of time on the clock, you're left to zip around the skies above a cityscape, finding missions and grabbing points. Why do helicopter controls have to be so damn difficult? I spent the first several plays crashing into things and generally not finishing a single mission, but eventually you get the hang of it and BAM, Rotor turns out to be pretty decent fun.

There are multiple play types, and the option to set the colours of the city to anything you want. Whatever colours you choose, it looks ruddy ace. The game is just $1 (80 MS Points) from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Freeware Game Pick: Balloon Diaspora (Jake Elliott)

February 16, 2011 7:00 AM | Tim W.

Balloon Diaspora is a 3D point-and-click adventure game in the style of the Myst series, created by Kentucky Route Zero developer Jake Elliott and featuring the music of Oliver Blank. The story starts out with the player being stranded on a strange land and discovering a deflated hot air balloon mysteriously resting nearby. After a bit of exploring around you'll meet someone who offers to help fix your ride, but first you'll need to gather a few pieces of cloth for him as material for patching up the balloon.

Players will get to engage the locals in friendly conversations at every location that they visit, usually ending up with doing them a small favour or two in exchange for a scrap of cloth that you can use for repairs. There are no difficult puzzles to be found here, and the game takes about fifteen minutes to play through from start to end.

Balloon Diaspora is available to download from Cardboard Computer.

Browser Game Pick: SPENT (McKinney, UMD)

February 16, 2011 5:00 AM | Tim W.

McKinney's SPENT is a browser-based advergame that puts you in the shoes of a man who has to make it through an entire month on just a thousand dollars in bank savings. Though it sounds like a lot to spend at first, you'll find that the daily costs of living will deplete your cash reserves at a rapidly worrying rate even before you've made it to your first paycheck.

Each new day presents you with a decision or two to make, with most of them being financial expenses that cannot be avoided unless you're willing to bear the consequences of being thrifty. You can resort to donating blood for cash or get a small payday loan from your boss when things get desperate, and no one will blame you either if you have to raid your kid's piggy bank savings just to scrounge up enough money for an outstanding loan or credit card payment.

See if you can make it to the thirtieth day in SPENT here.

Road To The IGF: Brinson And ValaNejad's The Cat And The Coup

February 16, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

[As part of a series of "Road to the IGF" interviews with 2011 IGF finalists, Kris Graft speaks with Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad about the mesmerizing 2011 IGF Nuovo Award nominee The Cat and the Coup.]

The developers behind The Cat and the Coup describe the title as "a documentary game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran."

That unique premise along with a mesmerizing art style helped make the game a finalist for the Independent Game Festival's 2011 Nuovo Award, which recognizes games that are "abstract, shortform, authorial, unconventionally fun and meaningful."

The Cat and the Coup is developed by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad, who are professors at USC's Game Innovation Lab. Players control a house cat which "coaxes" Mossadegh through significant parts of his embattled life, including when he was overthrown in a coup engineered by the CIA.

Here, game director Brinson and designer ValaNejad explain how they developed the premise behind the game, the inspiration behind the art style and what they expect players to take away from this "documentary game."

How long has your team been working on The Cat and the Coup?

Peter Brinson: It all started April 2007. No one on the team is full time on the project, to say the least, which means production has not moved quickly. But there is value to spending more hours pondering a project than developing it. I think all artists think about their projects in the shower, on the road, and at work, which gave us a chance to consider many directions.

How did you come up with the concept for the game? It's interesting to say the least.

PB: In college I had made a couple of videos about dismayed people and their cats. These projects were introspective and sort of autobiographical. Years later I felt ready to make a "cat game," but by then I was a different artist. I was now more interested in the world around me, including U.S. foreign policy and history.

By 2007, Americans had been talking about democracy in the Middle East for years, and how we went to war to for the sake of democracy in the Middle East. When I learned about Mohammed Mossadegh, a Western-educated, secular, democratic leader in Iran, I realized he was an important person for Americans to know about.

Our reactions to foreign democratic efforts is quite revealing, and it makes the current wars seem like a case of having no historical memory whatsoever.

Indie Game Links: The Rise of the Indie Developer

February 16, 2011 2:00 AM | 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)

GameSpot: The Rise of the Indie Developer
"For every Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Braid, and Limbo, there are countless other titles that fall into obscurity and remain there, unnoticed and unappreciated. What does this unpredictability say about the future of independent game development?"

PC Gamer: Jonathan Blow interview
"At this year’s GameCity event in Nottingham, I sat down with Blow to talk about The Witness, how he’s avoiding the design flaws that killed adventure games in the mid-90s, and why, in his opinion, social games are evil."

GameSetWatch: Poto and Cabenga Releasing To iPhone
"While you wait for Honeyslug to release its Independent Games Festival award finalist (Excellence in VIsual Art) Hohokum, you can pass the time by playing the indie developer's new iPhone port of Poto and Cabenga, its one-button platformer featured at last year's Gamma IV showcase."

GameSetWatch: Love & Order Demo Available, Preorders Open
"Love & Order, the otome game penned by Digital developer Christine Love, now has a Windows/Mac/Linux demo that you can download for free. It's both a dating and office sim that centers on Montreal's public prosecutors."

Infinite Ammo: Marian, from 3D to 2D
"Much like Aquaria’s development, I realized that we had two major alternatives for where to take Marian. On the one hand, we could continue in the direction it was going; a 3D, heavily physics-based game. On the other, we could restart from scratch in 2D with a new outlook on game play."

Adventure Classic Gaming: Gemini Rue
"Gemini Rue is a game that aims to please seasoned adventure game fans but also tries to draw in a fresh audience. If you are looking for a game that combines Blade Runner and Beneath a Steel Sky, then Gemini Rue will probably appeal to you."

DIYgamer: Gemini Rue Preview
"Gemini Rue was created almost single-handedly by Joshua Nuernberger and is to be published in less than 2 weeks by Wadjet Eye Games. Based on the preview version we can safely say that at the very least it’s a complex dark sci-fi not to be missed by people looking for games with atmosphere and depth."

randomnine: Beacon
"The wonderful people who took part in Ludum Dare voted Beacon second best out of the 242 entries. I’ve been polishing it since then, so now it is faster, stronger, better, and has things the original lacked, like music."

Trailer: Anomaly: Warzone Earth (11 Bit Studios)

February 15, 2011 6:41 PM | Michael Rose

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is looking more and more tasty each time we see it - see the last video too! Penned as a "reversed tower defence", you're in charge of an escort as it battles through an alien invasion taking place in Baghdad.

Lots of very cool features going on here that'll make for some great replay value, such as choosing different routes to go down and upgrading troops. The game is expected to be released sometime soon on PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad (this above trailer shows PC and Mac footage).

The official Anomaly site is your port of call for community blogs, media and more details.

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