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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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Top 10 PlayStation Network Games of 2012

January 4, 2013 11:00 AM | Danny Cowan

121231_retrocity.jpgSony continues to curate a top-notch library of independently developed titles for the PlayStation 3, and this year also saw the release of several standout indie games for the PS Vita. Better still, many of this year's best indie-developed PSN titles are playable on both the PS3 and the Vita -- an important trend that developers should observe carefully.

The PlayStation Network continued to deliver surprises up until the very last day of December, which saw the release of the excellent Jetpack Joyride. Many other excellent titles also premiered throughout 2012, resulting in what may be the service's strongest year to date. Here are my top 10 PSN releases of 2012.

Sale on Wii U Indie Titles Ending Soon, Look to Future Releases

January 2, 2013 4:00 PM | John Polson

wiiusale.jpgHoliday sales on select indie titles for the Nintendo Wii U will end soon, as the system makes extra virtual space for upcoming games in 2013 and beyond.

Those who have dreaded the initial firmware update have an incentive to do so before January 7 to get deals on Little Inferno (33% off, $9.99, until January 4), Chasing Aurora (50% off, $7.49, until January 3), and Trine 2: Director's Cut (20% off, $15.99, until January 7).

Broken Rules' Chasing Aurora looks sharp with its abstract avian polygons, but I'd only recommend it for local multiplayer racing. The game offers single players a rather minimal time trial/challenge mode, with "laps" that are over in moments. Otherwise, if you have a dedicated group of racers, have at it!

Jetpack Joyride Out Now for PlayStation 3, PS Vita

January 2, 2013 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

After a successful run on iOS and Android platforms, Halfbrick's popular free-to-play action game Jetpack Joyride is now available as a free digital download for the PS Vita and PlayStation 3.

The PlayStation Network edition features all content from previously released versions of Jetpack Joyride, including the mission-based level-up system and a wide variety of gameplay-altering gadgets. While Jetpack Joyride was also released as a Vita/PSP cross-compatible PS mini title earlier this month, this week's Vita and PS3 release is free-to-play, and includes trophy support and access to add-on purchases.

Jetpack Joyride arrives as one of the first free-to-play PSN titles supported by microtransactions, following up on Alawar's Bejeweled-like Treasures of Montezuma Blitz and Honeyslug's minigame compilation Frobisher Says! These sorts of games are a great fit for the platform -- here's hoping that more arrive throughout 2013.

Top 10 Indie Shoot-'Em-Ups of 2012

January 1, 2013 4:00 PM | Danny Cowan

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While arcade-styled shoot-'em-ups are practically extinct in the world of retail releases, the genre still has a lot of life left in it, as indie developers continue to prove year after year.

This roundup covers a broad spectrum of niches and tastes, and its featured titles showcase surprising ingenuity and innovation in a genre that's as old as video gaming itself. Here are my favorite indie shooters released in 2012.

Top Indie Games of 2012: Dev Redux Part 2

December 31, 2012 2:00 PM | John Polson

andy hull.png[More developers from our Top 10 Indie Games of 2012 (+2!) list have agreed to share their must-play games of 2012. Today's list features the picks of Andy Hull, Derek Yu, Dean Dodrill, Robin Hunicke, Jamie Cheng, Nels Anderson, and Jonatan Söderström.]

Spelunky HD developer (pictured right) Andy Hull's picks:

Hotline Miami by Dennaton Games

"GTA: Vice City is one of my favorite games of all time, in large part due to its amazingly stylish setting. Hotline Miami turns that up to 11, and complements it with fast, brutal and fun gameplay. Cactus has such a unique creative vision. His games always seem to have an authentic coolness that I just can't get enough of."

Perspective by Team Widdershins from DigiPen

"I was worried this game would be big on concept but not that fun in execution. I'm glad I was wrong. This worked my brain in all the right ways, and I quickly fell into a comfortable rhythm of switching between the 3D world navigation and the 2D platforming. The simple and intuitive rules allow you to traverse levels that look impossible at first glance."

Octogeddon by George Fan

"George Fan's Ludum Dare 24 entry is a small little gem that really shows how much awesome you can squeeze out of a simple but tightly designed game. Once I started playing, I couldn't stop until I had built my ideal octopus of doom."

What AAA can learn from indies -- according to indies

December 30, 2012 12:00 PM | Staff

supertimeforcesmall.jpgYesterday we asked some leading indie game developers about the lessons they had learned in the past year. Today, we ask what -- if anything -- big triple-A publishers could have learned from the indie game community in the last 12 months.

The indies we spoke to generally pointed out that big publishers can never truly attain the elusive "indie spirit." That's not meant as an affront, but the fact is that large game makers are set up in different ways and work to different scales.

And while indie games have enjoyed a very good year, it's rare for an independent game to achieve the sort of financial success that would muster a flicker of interest among triple-A publishers, who increasingly are about going big or going home.

Still, small independent game developers offer plenty of interesting insights into the overall game development ecosystem. Here are some of the takeaways.

Indies met challenges, learned lessons in 2012

December 28, 2012 5:00 PM | Staff

dearesthersmall.jpgRecently, I spoke to a number of well-known independent game developers to find out if they too shared the sense that this has been an extraordinary year for indie games. Part of that conversation focused on the lessons other small teams might learn, as indie games move from niche to mass-market, via digital distribution hubs on consoles, mobile and PC.

What have they learned this year as they strove to get their games noticed? How have they been able to find success?

Maintain the indie spirit

Derek Yu, creator cave-exploration hit Spelunky says this year has seen a big improvement in the core issue of getting games out there. "Funding and distribution have always been a big issue for small teams but thankfully that's becoming better as more indie-friendly channels open up," he says.

Top Indie Games of 2012: Dev Redux Part 1

December 25, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

jonas.jpg[The developers from our Top 10 Indie Games of 2012 (+2!) list have agreed to share their must-play games of 2012. Today's list features the picks of Jonas Kyratzes, Anna Anthropy, Vince Twelve, Jim Crawford, Justin Ma, and Matthew Davis.]

The Sea Will Claim Everything creator (pictured right) Jonas Kyratzes' picks:

Dys4ia by Anna Anthropy

"A painfully honest look at life in today's society from the perspective of someone demonized by that society so it can keep ignoring its actual problems. Classic game mechanics illustrate human life with elegant simplicity."

Frog Fractions by Twin Beard

"A game made with enthusiasm and carefully deployed insanity."

Milkstone Releases Slender-Like White Noise for Xbox Live Indie Games

December 21, 2012 5:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Xbox 360 owners now have a Slender-like first-person horror game to call their own in White Noise: A Tale of Horror, a new release from Milkstone Studios for the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

In White Noise, players search dark environments for eight hidden clues while evading a supernatural pursuer who causes static to appear on the screen as it approaches. Sound familiar? This sort of thing is quickly becoming a habit for Milkstone; the company has produced Xbox Live Indie Games based on established formulas in the past, including the Command & Conquer-inspired Red Invasion and The Binding of Isaac-like Sushi Castle.

White Noise is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

Bit.Trip, Johann Sebestian Joust devs chat Sifteo Cubes with free SDK

December 21, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

sifteo cubes.jpgNotable indie developers Chris Osborn of TRΛCER (former Bit.Trip programmer) and Douglas Wilson of Die Gute Fabrik (creator of Johann Sebastian Joust) are working on creating the perfect blend of digital and physical gaming for the new Sifteo Cubes system.

The next generation Sifteo Cubes, released weeks ago, re-introduce players to a tactile way to play with multiple touchscreen game cubes. The first generation Sifteo Cubes required PC tethering, but now the cubes can go wireless with the included, tiny Sifteo base. As shown in the video below, players can tilt, flip, shake, adjoin, and touch cubes for different modes of play.

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