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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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Frobisher Says, t@g Coming To PS Vita As Free 'Discovery' Apps

February 12, 2012 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Indie developer Honeyslug's microgame compilation Frobisher Says and Bolser's virtual graffiti app t@g will debut as free downloadable PlayStation Vita titles in May, launching the platform's new "Discovery Apps" initiative in Europe.

According to a recent post at PlayStation Blog Europe, Discovery Apps are "free to download from PlayStation Store and are designed to showcase the unique features of PS Vita through innovative interactive experiences."

Frobisher Says demands that players satisfy the whims of Frobisher, a "strange little man" who is "terribly demanding and a bit frightening if crossed." Earning Frobisher's approval involves becoming familiar with the PlayStation Vita's hardware features -- sample challenges involve tilting the device in order to deliver pudding via toy train, and smiling at on-screen ladies (but not badgers) using the PS Vita's player-facing camera.

Closure earns Grand Prize at 2012 Indie Game Challenge

February 11, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

closure IGC.jpgEyebrow Interactive's indie puzzle-platformer Closure took home the Grand Prize at this year's Indie Games Challenge at the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, with other winners including Symphony, The Bridge, and Nitronic Rush.

Alongside the Grand Prize, the three-man team behind Closure will take also home a cash prize of $100,000. Indie Game Challenge organizers said the game stood out thanks to its stylish presentation and unique light and shadow mechanics, which allow players to erase objects from existence by shrouding them in darkness.

Symphony, a music-based shoot 'em up, won the competition's Technical Achievement award, earning the team $2,500. In addition, the game was also selected to receive promotional exposure on GameStop's PC download service -- an opportunity valued at $50,000.

The 2D logic-based puzzle game The Bridge earned both the Achievement in Art Direction and Achievement in Gameplay awards, netting the team a total of $5,000.

Finally, the DigiPen student project and over-the-top racing title Nitronic Rush won the Gamer's Choice Award, which was selected via an online public vote and also came with a $2,500 prize.

In addition, each of the ten finalists in the Indie Game Challenge will receive the opportunity to pitch their game face-to-face with a number of leading publishers and developers at D.I.C.E., giving them a chance to secure a distribution deal for their selected title.

Indie Game Challenge organizers also said that later this year they will award one of these teams with a $50,000 scholarship to The Guildhall at SMU. Other finalists at this year's competition included Atom Zombie Smasher, Paradox Shift, The Dream Machine, The Swapper, Demolition Inc., and The Fourth Wall.

[This article originally was posted on Gamasutra, written by Tom Curtis.]

Get a job: Double Fine, Beachhead, others hiring now on the Gamasutra jobs board

February 10, 2012 7:00 AM | Eric Caoili

In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Double Fine Productions, Amazon, Beachhead, and others.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

A2Z-OC Research and Development Center: Games Development Engineer:
"A2Z-OC Research and Development Center, part of the Amazon group of companies, is an innovative customer-centric software development company with an exceptional team of software engineers and designers, who are motivated and passionate. We are looking to rapidly grow this team and are looking for rock star performers to help us do it."

Double Fine Productions: Product Development Manager:
"Double Fine Productions is a multiple award-winning, independent game development studio founded in 2000 by games industry veteran Tim Schafer. Located in San Francisco's South of Market district, Double Fine is committed to making high-quality games with an emphasis on originality, story, characters, and fun."

Get Your Groove on with the Indie Game Music Bundle 2

February 10, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

indie game music 2.jpgThe Game Music Bundle 2 has launched, bringing more great music from indie composers and chip tune artists. The pay-what-you-want portion of the bundle offers the tunes of Sword and Sworcery: LP, Machinarium, Aquaria, Jamestown, and current IGF nominee in audio To The Moon.

Those who contribute $10 or more can receive up to twelve extra albums, including Sidhe's Shatter and epic chiptune compilations by Disasterpeace (Fez). Another bonus that I recently rocked out to is the awesome Mighty Switch Force soundtrack by Virt.

Downloads are DRM-free 320kbps MP3s. FLAC versions are available for those who contribute $10 or more.

The current bundle bonus unlocks after 2,000 more sales. What will it be? How ambitious will the next sales goal be? Inquiries indies want to know!

New Trailer: Symphony (Empty Clip Studios)

February 9, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson


Empty Clip Studios' Indie Game Challenge 2012 finalist Symphony has an updated trailer, which shows off how players' music dictates the game's content. While Beat Hazard attempted procedural content generation (PCG) with the arena shooter genre, Symphony seems to be going for more of a vertical arcade shooter vibe. I really like how the ships materialize from the equalizer. However, the enemy A.I. and firepower seem to be on the rather simple side.

A challenge for Symphony, like most PCG games, will be in sustaining player interest indirectly. How varied will the content be from the songs inputted? Players will find out this year, after nearly three years of development and waiting.

Thanks for making us wait so long, Empty Clip! I understand, though; you have to work on Monaco multi-platform ports, too. And yes, Empty Clip, I do pay close attention to trailers (1:34 mark!).

Out Now: Cell: Emergence

February 9, 2012 1:00 PM | Lewie Procter

cell.png Wierdo voxelated cellular automata thing Cell: Emergence is now available for the PC and for the Xbox 360 as an XBLIG. Cell: Emergence is something along the lines of Innerspace: The Game, where you take control of a nanobot injected into a poorly girl, tasked with eradicating the infection that's the source of her illness. It seems pretty complicated based on the footage released so far, but the game does a pretty good job of introducing new mechanics slowly.

Interestingly, the PC version isn't identical to the Xbox version. The "HD" version only for PC features "twice as many cells (nearly 1,000,000), higher quality sound, and more frenetic gameplay tuned exclusively to the mouse/trackpad." Go PC!

It's great to see a game using today's powerful computers and consoles to not just have extra pretty graphics, but to run more accurate and more in depth simulations of elements of the game world. Read more about Cell: Emergence's dynamic voxel system here.

Go give it a try, Xbox version is here, PC version available from various places here, and there's a demo available too.

Hardboiled Pinball: An XBLIG Ode To Video Pinball

February 9, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

screenshot1.jpg

One-man studio Stryde Games has released its debut title, the Xbox Live Indie Games pinball sim Hardboiled Pinball.

Styled after video pinball classics like Epic Pinball and the 21st Century Pinball series, Hardboiled Pinball presents a single overhead-view table with a crime noir motif. Unlike modern real-world tables, the objectives are simple, with gameplay focusing on hitting various targets and loops.

While the game's physics are a little limp and the lack of progression-based gameplay modes may be a turnoff for hardcore pinball fans, it's still an impressive effort, considering that every element was produced by a single developer. It's hard to argue with the price, either -- Hardboiled Pinball is available for 80 Microsoft points ($1). A Windows Phone 7 version is also in development.

Video: Smudged Cat Games' Gateways Mechanics

February 9, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

After just releasing clever platformer TimeSlip for free, Smudged Cat sent us an email about its very ambitious Metroidvania-like Gateways, heading to PC and XBLIG.

David Johnston explains in the above video how each of the different gateways (portals, if you will) function. It's not just Portal, though. Skip to 1:45 to see a "sizable" gameplay difference. By making two gateways of different sizes, you come out differently than the size you were when you went in.

Following that segment in the video, Johnston demonstrates gravity rotation gateways, which basically allow you to walk on walls and ceilings. If you're still not impressed, Johnston continues with temporal gateways, past selves, and frickin' laser beams.

Gateways' official trailer is posted after the jump. Everything happens at a much faster pace; at least now you are somewhat prepared.

Road to the IGF: Die Gute Fabrik's J.S. Joust

February 9, 2012 1:00 AM | John Polson

joust igf.jpgPlayStation Move-controlled Johann Sebastian Joust is the sort of thing that truly needs to be played to be understood. The improvisational, highly-physical experience has captivated indie gaming fans worldwide -- chances are you've heard the flood of enthusiasm from those who have tried it.

It's earned an honorable mention in the Excellence in Design category for this year's Independent Games Festival, and -- as an unconventional, experimental game -- has earned a nod in the Nuovo category. The galvanizing title also has a nomination for the IGF's Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

In this extensive interview, we catch up with Douglas Wilson of Die Gute Fabrik (who's also long been an inspiring figure in the Copenhagen Game Collective) on the genesis of the project, the idea of digital folk games, and the strength of the indie community.

What background do you have making games?

I've always been an avid player of games, but it didn't occur to me until college that I might seriously study or develop them. In 2003, I took a class with Professor Henry Lowood, called the History of Computer Game Design. So, I actually started writing about games before I started making them. But fortunately I complemented my humanities degree with an MS in computer science. For one of our project assignments, some friends and I developed a game called Euclidean Crisis. It was nominated as a Student Finalist at IGF 2007. I suppose that was my first "proper" computer game.

In 2007, I moved to Denmark on a grant to research games at IT University of Copenhagen. Beyond just my studies and research, I started hanging out with a some other students and artists who were also interested in developing games. Together, we started making all sorts of games, both digital and non-digital. In fact, that year worked out so well that I decided to settle in Copenhagen more permanently. I'm still living here today!

My best known projects are probably Dark Room Sex Game, a cheeky Wiimote game which we developed in 2008, and B.U.T.T.O.N., a highly physical party game which we developed in 2010. B.U.T.T.O.N. even ended up getting a nomination for the Nuovo Award at IGF 2011.

But I have no commercial development experience. I'm just an egghead researcher!

Trailer: Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment)

February 8, 2012 5:00 PM | Lewie Procter



It's been a long time coming, but Brian Provinciano's Retro City Rampage, is getting closer and closer to release by the day. He's just dropped a new trailer, which you can see above. I think it's looking great.

It also looks like there's big news on the way on the 20th, assuming the big bold text at the end of the trailer is accurate. Release date announcement perhaps?

Retro City Rampage is heading to XBLA and WiiWare, more info and rad retro art over at RetroCityRampage.com.
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