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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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The Avant-Game - brain food for the hardcore weirdos

December 14, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

kiss like a girl.jpgOriginally published in the December issue of Game Developer magazine, this piece on diversity in video games from editor-emeritus Brandon Sheffield explores a handful of downloadable titles that push just a little further than what we're used to.

I'm a proponent of diversity in the game industry -- that's no secret to anyone who's read my prior columns. This time though, I'm talking about diversity in the games, not the developers. We've only begun to see games tackle interesting subjects, emotions, and genres; games like Flower, Journey, The Unfinished Swan, and Dear Esther are experimental, but within mainstream bounds. But what about games for the hardcore weirdos? Do we have something for the Ed Wood aficionados of the game world?

Beyond triple-A, beyond social, and even beyond the realm of the standard indie game, there lies a world of curious, confusing, and confounding computer entertainment--and though they don't often make much money, they show us how incredibly broad and full of potential games can be.

3DS Demo: Fractured Soul (Endgame Studios)

December 14, 2012 1:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Over at the Nintendo eShop, Endgame Studios has released a free downloadable demo version of its Nintendo 3DS polarity-switching platformer Fractured Soul.

Fractured Soul combines elements from the run-and-gun shooter and puzzle-platformer genres, and requires that players pay close attention to action that takes place across both screens simultaneously. Each screen represents a different dimension, and many key elements -- platforms and enemies included -- are only found in one specific dimension, requiring constant and carefully planned dimension hopping.

The challenges start off simple, but later levels introduce dimensions that take place underwater, in high-wind areas, and zones that have reversed gravity. The demo includes the first four levels, but rest assured that gameplay gets a lot more complex in the stages afterward.

The full version of Fractured Soul is available for $11.99.

PC/XBLIG Pick: Bleed (Bootdisk Revolution)

December 13, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

It's been a while since we last heard from Ian Campbell of Bootdisk Revolution, but the wait was worth it. Campbell's debut title Bleed is out now for Windows and the Xbox Live Indie Games service, and it's fantastic.

Bleed is a twin-stick shooter/platformer in which you'll invade the homes of retired video game heroes and brutally assassinate them. The platforming is briskly paced, thanks to the brilliant control setup; players move, aim, and fire using the Xbox 360's analog sticks. The left trigger enables gameplay-slowing bullet time, and the right trigger jumps.

Heroine Wryn doesn't just jump, though; she can quadruple-jump. The tight controls allow for moments in which you'll triple-jump over a group of enemies, trigger bullet time, and then rain duel-wielded pistol death upon your foes before dashing to safety. It's a lot of fun, and there are a wide variety of unlockable weapons, power-ups, and gameplay modes to encourage you to strive for higher scores.

I highly recommend checking out the free demo for a good idea of what the full game is like. The Windows version is priced at $5, and is available at GamersGate and directly from

Bleed is also up for vote at Steam Greenlight.

PSN Release - Big Sky: Infinity (Boss Baddie, Ripstone)

December 13, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Developers Boss Baddie and Ripstone have teamed up to launch the Really Big Sky follow-up Big Sky: Infinity for the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita this week.

Big Sky: Infinity is a survival-based, horizontally scrolling twin-stick shooter in which players must destroy randomly generated waves of enemies and drill through any asteroids and planets that get in their way. The game includes a great number of gameplay modes, most of which are made surprisingly difficult by screen-filling bullet patterns and disorienting video effects. It's quite a challenge, and I'm looking forward to playing more of it!

Big Sky: Infinity is priced at $9.99, and both the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita versions (which boast their own unique features) are included with purchase.

(Friendly advice: go to the options menu and disable the game's narration as soon as humanly possible, unless you enjoy hearing Internet memes screeched at double the game's normal volume.)

Monaco Pre-order Open, Includes IGF 2010 Prototype

December 12, 2012 1:12 PM | John Polson

The IGF 2010 Grand Prize winner co-op heist game Monaco exits stealth mode and is now available for pre-order at $13.50. Those who pre-order for 10% off get a Steam key, 2 tracks from the OST, and the 2010 IGF prototype renamed Monte-Carlo.

Monaco is best enjoyed in groups, so the game also has a 4-pack sale for $45. The PC pre-order sale lasts 78 days, so one could speculate a March 2013 (or later) simultaneous PC and XBLA release.

Creator Andy Schatz is live on Twitch fielding questions about the pre-order.

[source: @Monacoismine]

IGF 2013 Highlights Initial Design, Technical Award Jurors

December 12, 2012 4:00 AM | Staff

igf-student.jpgOrganizers of the 2013 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the latest additions to its discipline-specific jury panels that will determine the finalists and winner of its various awards.

The jury announcements for this year are beginning with some of the industry professionals, independent game notables and former IGF award winners that will make up its Excellence in Design and Technical Achievement Awards, as well as high-profile additions to its Nuovo and Narrative awards, the first members of which were recently announced.

Former Journey producer and designer and current Funomena co-founder Robin Hunicke will be joining both the Nuovo and Narrative juries. Also joining the Narrative jury is Telltale writer and designer Sean Vanaman, notable for his work co-writing the recent award-winning Walking Dead adventure series.

And the Nuovo Award jury will also see the inclusion of designer, curator and Kokoromi art collective co-founder Heather Kelley and Lea Schoenfelder, creator of former IGF finalist Ulitsa Dimitrova.

While the juries continue to be assembled in advance of the kick-off of our next phase of the finalist selection process, we're happy to announce the following confirmed jurists.

Retro City Rampage Now in Certification for XBLA, WiiWare

December 12, 2012 2:00 AM | Danny Cowan


Brian Provinciano has posted up a detailed breakdown of Retro City Rampage's cross-platform availability, clarifying the game's current status for overseas release and revealing that versions for Xbox Live Arcade and WiiWare are now in certification.

Provinciano notes that the WiiWare version of his open-world, multi-genre parody will "hopefully" premiere this month, while the XBLA edition's release date is more difficult to predict.

In addition, a European PSN release will likely arrive "before Christmas," and will benefit from a month's worth of additional development time and polish. Provinciano also claims that there are no plans for a sequel for the time being.

[via Joystiq, Eurogamer]

Persistence Pays Off: How Futurlab Finally Got a Contract with Sony

December 12, 2012 12:00 AM | Staff

velocity small.jpgBrighton, UK-based studio Futurlab is living proof that, when it comes to pitching your indie games to big-name publishers, persistence can win out in the end.

Back in 2007, the tiny outfit pitched its first game PRISM to Sony, and it looked like things were going to work out. Unfortunately, a next-to-zero budget and a few false starts later, and the situation was looking a bit more rocky. Sony wasn't so interested in what Futurlab had to show anymore.

That's when James Marsden and his team decided to go for broke, and throw up space puzzler Velocity on the PS Minis service -- a game that Sony had previously rejected multiple times. For a lot of other studios, this may have been the end of the tale -- but not for Marsden, who today signed a deal with Sony to released multiple titles for the PS Vita in 2013.

"We just had to get something out there, and PS Minis was our only option with next to zero budget," says Marsden of the company's tricky past. "We put everything we had into Velocity, keeping our fingers crossed that if we over-delivered for the platform, we'd get noticed. Fortunately that has paid off!"

Indeed, Velocity was well received by critics and gamers alike, and was more than enough to finally garner the full attention of Sony.

Amiga OCS Pick: Sqrxz 2 (Retroguru)

December 11, 2012 2:00 PM | Danny Cowan


New Amiga releases aren't as plentiful as they were 20 years ago, but fans are keeping the platform's spirit alive with new titles like Retroguru's puzzle-platformer Sqrxz 2, which made its debut at the fourth Viennese Retro-Market last weekend.

Promising that players will experience "mindblasting frustration" due to its difficulty, Sqrxz 2 is compatible with OCS (original chipset) Amiga systems, including the Amiga 500, 1000, 2000, and even the CDTV and CD32. Additional downloads are available for a variety of non-Amiga platforms, ranging from the Sega Dreamcast to plain old Windows.

A sequel, Sqrxz 3, is also available across numerous supported formats.

[Thanks, Shahzad Sahaib!]

How Did Indie Studio Broken Rules Get Chummy with Nintendo?

December 11, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

Chasing-Aurora long.jpegThere are plenty of indie game studios that would kill to work with Nintendo, and release games for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U home console -- but getting the behemoth publisher to notice your team can be far more difficult than it sounds.

While a lot of studios apply to become licensed developers and pray that Nintendo takes note, for others it's the other way around, as Nintendo itself approaches them. One such studio is Broken Rules, the team behind And Yet It Moves on PC and Nintendo Wii, and Chasing Aurora, a launch title for Wii U.

How exactly did a studio with a single PC title under its belt attract the attention of one of the world's biggest game publishers, to such an extent that they were granted a space in the launch lineup of Nintendo's latest console?

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