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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 June, 2011

Trailer: Spelunky XBLA (Derek Yu)

June 14, 2011 6:00 PM | Michael Rose

The debut trailer has appeared for Spelunky's venture onto Xbox Live Arcade, and quite honestly, if you can watch this without getting all giddy and excited, you either don't have an Xbox, or just don't enjoy gaming at all.

I mean, look at it! Look at it! There's rolling boulders and giant wasps and fish trying to eat you and explosions and online multiplayer and oh dear I need to breath. Will it be the biggest hit for XBLA this year? Let's hope so. Check out the Spelunky site for more lovely shots and videos, and also to download the original free PC version.

Game Developer's June/July Issue Showcases Top 30 Devs, Rift Postmortem

June 14, 2011 5:30 PM | Tom Curtis

gdmagrift.jpgThe June/July 2011 issue of Game Developer magazine, the sister print publication to Gamasutra and the leading U.S. trade publication for the video game industry, has shipped to print subscribers and digital readers and is available from the Game Developer Digital service in both subscription and single-issue formats.

This issue showcases Game Developer's picks for the industry's top 30 development studios, honoring teams that demonstrated creative or technical excellence. The feature covers blockbuster studios like the BioWare Mass Effect team all the way down to indie teams and cult studios like Deadly Premonition developer Access Games.

The feature also celebrates some of the industry's most influential indie developers, including Minecraft developer Mojang and Super Meat Boy's Team Meat. Game Developer also highlights a number of indie devs in the mobile space, such as Fruit Ninja's Halfbrick Studios and Cut The Rope studio Zeptolab.

The June/July issue's exclusive postmortem by Trion Worlds' Scott Hartsman examines the studio's recently launched fantasy MMO Rift, and the successes and struggles the team experienced when creating a title that would inevitably be compared to the genre's most successful juggernauts.

In order to prevent feature creep and appeal to the expectations of hardcore MMO players, Trion Worlds carefully monitored Rift's scope to ensure that each element of the game works as well as possible.

Hartsman writes, "If you try to innovate in every single area just to ensure you are different, you're never going to ship on time and at a quality level that people will accept. You'll hit exactly one or the other, which unfortunately means an untimely death for your game."

Crystal Towers 2 Released

June 14, 2011 5:00 PM | Michael Rose

I love nice surprises, and Crystal Towers 2 is definitely one of those. Developed by David Newton, it's a platformer that takes inspiration from a variety of old-school gaming experiences, including the likes of Sonic, Mario and Castlevania.

You are a wizard who is tasked with retrieving the special gems that hold the world together, and you do so by exploring an overworld and then entering Sonic/Mario-like levels and collecting everything you can. There are multiple routes scattered around, secrets to be found and spells to be learnt. It's funny, it's charming, it's entertaining - it's an absolute blast, basically.

There's a free version available to download that contains around 15% of the full game - but in all honesty, by the time you've finished that part, you'll be begging to shell out the $5 for the full experience. Head over to the official site for all the details. (Cheers Chris!)

Trailer: Take Arms (Discord Games)

June 14, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose

Take Arms is an upcoming 2D multiplayer shooter for Xbox Live Indie Games that features two factions battling it out for supremacy in a post-apocalyptic world. Due to be released sometime soon, the action looks solid and fast-paced.

The issue here is that Xbox Live Indie Games possibly isn't the great platform for it - online multiplayer XBLIG titles don't tend to do very well, unless they have lots of random letter in their names. But if Discord Games keeps the price low, then perhaps this might pick up a following.

And in case you were wondering - yes, that is Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem. Check out Take Arms over on the official site.

Trailer: Wizorb (Jonathan Lavigne)

June 14, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

Ninja Senki developer Jonathan Lavigne is currently working on a new project called Wizorb for the XBLIG and PC, in collaboration with his longtime cohort and friend Paul Robertson (Scott Pilgrim game). Wizorb is basically a fantasy-themed Breakout game with RPG elements, drawn using a limited 128-colour palette to create the NES-like feel and overall style.

The Wizorb team had put out a new teaser trailer to drum up interest in their game (which you can watch in the video above). No price has been set, but we don't expect it to cost anything more than $10 to compete with other games in the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace. (source: pixeltao)

Browser Game Pick: Mamono no Iseki (GameDesign and Skipmore)

June 14, 2011 9:00 AM | Tim W.

Mamono no Iseki (まもののいせき, also The Haunted Ruins) is a first-person maze exploration game with RPG elements, created in the style of the classic Advanced Dungeons and Dragons releases like Dungeon Master and the Eye of the Beholder series. Defeating enemies in the dungeon rewards your character with experience points, and whenever your character levels up they might even learn a new spell or two to go with the improved stats.

Returning to town allows you to shop for potions, charms and supplies, or you can pay the blacksmith a visit to upgrade your weapon and armor. There are three ways to restore health while you're in the dungeon - cast a healing spell, drink a potion or level up your character to receive full mana and health. Progress is saved in your browser cache, and you can continue with your last adventure by selecting the first option at the title screen.

The entire game is in Japanese, but through trial and error I was able to figure out how to attack, cast spells and use items. The save system is still a bit of a mystery to me, but that hasn't discouraged me from reaching the last floor of the dungeon (there are thirty-three levels to play through).

You can wait for the game to be translated to English (which may take a while, if it ever happens), or go right ahead and play Mamono no Iseki at GameDesign's web site.

E3 2011: Hands-On Impressions of Deep Sea (Robin Arnott)

June 13, 2011 11:51 PM | Cassandra Khaw

deepsea.jpg (Image credit belongs to IndiePub)

Imagine, for a moment, you somehow did make it to E3 2011 and you're on the show floor. Around you, the world is nothing but a riot of colors, costumes and pulsating lights. Loud music and gunfire compete for dominance. Occasionally, there is the roar of the crowd, audible even above the constant booming bass that seems a fundamental component of the event. Imagine being in that setting and sitting down and being told to read instructions for a simple-seeming game.

GDC Europe Details Indie Games Summit Talks, Pass

June 13, 2011 11:23 PM | Tom Curtis

amnesia.jpgGDC Europe organizers have detailed the 2011 show's Independent Games Summit, which includes lectures from Amnesia's Thomas Grip, B.U.T.T.O.N. developer Douglas Wilson, and many more.

Taking place Monday through Wednesday, August 15-17, 2011 at the Cologne Congress-Centrum Ost, GDC Europe -- alongside the major gamescom trade show -- will again provide the essential pan-European perspective of game development and business trends.

New to the conference this year is the Independent Games Summit, which will feature lectures and panels from the most influential figures from the indie games space on topics covering game design, business strategies, marketing, and more.

The notable sessions, panels, and lectures featured in the Independent Games Summit include the following:

- In "Beyond Fun: Perspectives on Video Games as Expressive Experiences," a panel of indie developers will argue that video games, just like literature or film, do not always have to provide enjoyable experiences. This talk will explore the various ways in which games can make players feel a broad range of complex, and occasionally unpleasant emotions.

Speakers at the panel will include Tale of Tales' Michael Samyn (The Path), Stout Games' Jeroen D. Stout (Dinner Date), Moboid's Heather Kelley (GAMMA), thechineseroom's Dan Pinchbeck (Dear Esther), and Frictional Games' Thomas Grip (Amnesia: The Dark Descent).

- In addition to speaking in the previous panel, Thomas Grip will also give a lecture dubbed "Evoking Emotions and Achieving Success by Breaking All the Rules," in which he will outline the unconventional design decisions his team made when creating the company's popular indie horror title Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

The game abandons fail states and other horror game staples, and Grip will explain why these omissions made Amnesia more enjoyable to play. Moving beyond the context of his own game, Grip will also discuss how these sorts of unusual design choices can benefit games of other genres.

Browser Game Pick: One Eye Open (Colin Sandel/Carolyn VanEseltine)

June 13, 2011 10:41 PM | Cassandra Khaw


Games are getting better every day. With every iteration, they've become progressively immersive, more realistic and more, well, everything. If recent articles are to believed, tactile feedback for the masses is not too far behind. In fact, I give it another twenty years before we're all plugged into a questionably benevolent version of the Matrix. Because of all this, however, horror fiction doesn't quite scare me the same way anymore. I can't name the last time a book has left me squirming nervously in my seat.

One Eye Open changed that. First mentioned by a commentator named Hewitt (Thanks, dude!), One Eye Open is a delightfully graphic piece of Interactive Fiction. An unsettling blend of splatter-fest and mystery, One Eye Open feels familiar. The setting, the circumstances and even the story are all things we've seen before but that doesn't mean the game is any less appealing. One Eye Open is unapologetically gory. Interspaced with moments of dark humor, it is almost descriptive to a fault; I found myself wincing openly more than once.

Featuring multiple endings and an uncanny ability to generate suspense, One Eye Open is a brilliant reminder that your imagination can work better than any amount of audio-visual cues.

Go play One Eye Open here.

Tobe's Vertical Adventure Physical Edition

June 13, 2011 7:14 PM | Michael Rose


Tobe's Vertical Adventure is due to be released on Steam and GamersGate roughly around 1st July. There's also another Flash game based on Tobe's world coming soon, called Tobe's Great Escape, and of course the original Tobe's Hookshot Escape which can be played here.

But enough about that! Developer Secret Base fired this physical edition off in the post to me, and it's something very wonderful indeed. Modelled on a classic Sega cartidge box, it really is a thing of beauty, with a stylish yet old school manual, a dainty little artbook and some other nice materials.

Alas, it comes on disc rather than cartridge, but all three games are packed onto it, which is pretty neat. Jump below the cut to see all the innards (apologies for the blurry photos, my phone takes pretty poor pics!) and then check out the official site for all the details on the series.

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