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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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Indie Game Links: Ratings and Reflections

January 11, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

c64anabaltpromo.pngToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

Joystiq: Shoot Many Robots gets M rating, peek behind the developer's curtain
"Demiurge's still dateless Shoot Many Robots may be closer to release than it seems, as the Metal Slug-esque shooter has been granted an "M" rating by the ESRB for sexual themes, strong language and the use of alcohol."

Sophie Houlden's blog: SWIFT*STITCH post-mortem
"I needed to work on a game that had some commercial appeal, I have games that could have fit that bill and been fun to work on, but I didn't make them, I made Swift*Stitch. and that choice, even though it resulted in a cool game I'm happy with, was a mistake. because it puts my chances of making other complete games in jeopardy."

Pippin Barr: One Way of Making a Game
"So first of all I have an idea. It's usually in the form of some kind of one-liner, either like a joke or an elevator pitch to myself. 'A game about how God's job of judging humanity is a drag.'" [ed note: this is great for press pitches, too!]

Distractionware (guest post by Souleye): ADVVVVVVENTURE
"The release timing of 22:22:22 is a reference to... Well I think I'll leave that one to your imagination, but why did I call it Adventure? Because for me, my life has really turned into one, so far! And hopefully it'll continue to be one into the future."

Joystiq: Zombies, vikings, murder: Ska Studios on WP7 and the future of XBLIG gore
"Turns out melting skin off isn't just entertaining, but adds a whole new dimension of gameplay [in Charlie Murder]!"

Indie Games Channel: Free Nitronic Rush updates add six new tracks
"Six new tracks, including two designed by fan Pixelmann and a Christmas-themed stunt level-along with some minor tweaks and bug-fixes-make the updates well worth downloading."

DIY Gamer: Cursed Loot Developer Shows Off Cursed Cosmos Gameplay
"The game is a step in another direction genre-wise for the developer, who promises a randomly generated galactic trading game with a real-time dynamic economy, real-time space battles, customizable ships, asteroid mining, and more."

Luc Bernard's Strategy Title Mecho Wars Hits PS Minis

January 10, 2012 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Oyaji Games, a studio headed by Eternity's Child creator Luc Bernard, has partnered with publisher Creat Studios to bring its turn-based strategy title Mecho Wars to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, as part of Sony's PS minis platform.

Originally released for iOS devices in 2009, Mecho Wars borrows much of its unit-based, headquarter-capturing gameplay from Nintendo's Advance Wars series. A day/night cycle adds interesting new wrinkles to the formula, however -- lakes freeze when night falls, for instance, giving players new terrain to cross and the opportunity to stage overnight ambushes.

Mecho Wars will premiere in the PlayStation Store later tonight. The game will be priced at $4.99, and will be available as a free download for PlayStation Plus members.

[via PlayStation Blog]

Douglas Wilson Reveals Details On Beacons of Hope

January 10, 2012 6:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

beaconsofhope.jpg Much like many of the other games he has come to be associated with, Douglas Wilson's latest endeavor with the Move Controller is a physical game installation. Dubbed a 'horror-slapstick' game, Beacons of Hope works a simple premise: there's a large, pitch-black room and all except two of the players are humans. To win, the humans must locate three Move controllers that have been hidden by the Game Master and activate them simultaneously. Sounds simple, right? It would be were it not for the presence of the monsters (the last two players). Their job is to catch the human players. Unlike the humans, the monsters start the game armed with Move Controllers of their own. Should they perform any sudden movement, the controllers will flash red. According to Wilson's post, the 'the effect is as terrifying as it is hilarious'.

I'm not really sure about the 'hilarious' part but then again, I'm a bit of a pansy. I'll more likely scream in absolute terror if something jumps out at me in the darkness than laugh it all away. Still, Beacons of Hope sounds pretty awesome and exactly the sort of thing you want to play after a round of horror movies. Sadly, it's probably going to be a while before we get the source code or what have you for this butI think it'd be worth the wait.

Full post can be found here.

Indie Game Links: Indie Pitches

January 10, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

fishy fez.pngToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

Joystiq: The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Baams Away
"With unlimited explosive action, constant introduction to new mechanics, and relentless never-ending sheep destruction, Baams Away will always leave a maniacal grin on your face."

Joystiq: The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Cellarfold
"Cellarfold is The Legend of Zelda meets Shark! Shark!."

DIY Gamer: Ludum Dare Standout Enola Looking to Become Full Horror Adventure Title
"Maybe this place is an alien planet, another dimension, or a dream. You don't know for sure, but you have to find out. Everything in Enola's story and setting is open to the players' interpretation."

Rock, Paper Shotgun: Discriminating Porridge: StarstarstarletterD
"Sophie Houlden's Blitzkast 10 submission StarstarstarletterD only skates around the edge of being a videogame, but makes up for its unabashedly basic interactivity and sub-five-minute length by wittering agreeably insane gibberish throughout."

Indie Games Channel: MacGuffin's Curse bringing adventure, puzzles, and werewolves this April
"Australian indie developer Brawsome... has revealed that its next title, a puzzle-adventure of lycanthropic proportions called MacGuffin's Curse, is 'due April 19th on Steam and the App Store soon!'"

Desura: 3079 Released
"3079 is a futuristic, open-world action first-person role playing game...Think of this game as an original game combining Fallout and Minecraft."

RGCD: Marbled (Atari XE/XL)
"The mechanics of the game are fairly simple, swapping squares around on a platform in space to allow your marble safe passage to the end square, sometimes collecting crystals on the way. The levels become head-scratchers very quickly, and I can't lie and say it's an easy game."

Microsoft Charts Best-Selling Xbox 360 Indies Of 2011

January 10, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

120109_fortresscraft.jpg

Following up on a previous chart that was limited to first-week sales only, Microsoft's Major Nelson has released a more detailed Xbox Live Indie Games best-sellers list, which accounts for full version purchases throughout 2011.

The chart features 11 games released in 2011, with older hits like The Impossible Game, Avatar Paintball, and Toy Stunt Bike accounting for the remainder of the list.

According to Major Nelson, the biggest-selling XBLIG titles released in 2011 include Barkers Crest Studio's MMORPG Avatar Legends, Juan Alberto Munoz's kart racer Avatar Karting, Social Loner Studios's avian murder sim Bird Assassin, Stegersaurus Games' Nanaca Crash-like Baby Maker Extreme 2, Carlo Sunseri's sports sim College Lacrosse 2011, and rmm5's self-explanatory The $1 Zombie Game.

Four Minecraft clones released last year (FortressCraft Chapter 1, Total Miner: Forge, CastleMiner, and CastleMiner Z) also managed to crack the top ten, while the non-game app Voice Changer 360 earned 13th place.

The full list follows after the break below.

Early App Store Hit Cro-Mag Rally Drifts To Xbox Live Indie Games

January 9, 2012 10:00 PM | Danny Cowan

cromag.jpg

Pangea's kart racer Cro-Mag Rally was one of the App Store's first success stories, emerging as a popular favorite in 2008 alongside other early iOS efforts like Trism and Enigmo. Following up on the recent release of a Windows Phone 7 version, Cro-Mag Rally is now available for the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Cro-Mag Rally features a variety of tracks that take place throughout the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages. In addition to traditional Mario Kart-styled road racing, the game also includes underwater track sequences, along with a number of unique power-ups.

The XBLIG version of Cro-Mag Rally is available for 240 Microsoft points ($3).

3DSWare Review: Mighty Switch Force (WayForward)

January 9, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

WayForward's latest indie release, Mighty Switch Force, is the team's first independent 3DSWare title after releasing Shantae: Risky's Revenge and two Mighty titles on DSiWare.

Mighty Switch Force is a very fun, albeit brief, 2D run and gun puzzle platformer, filled with 16 "incidents" that can be all completed in about 30 minutes if done in the goal time. The challenging puzzles and deadly jumps and enemies will probably require most to play through each incident at least a few turns, thus extending the experience to probably 2-3 hours total.

While attempting the same goal of re-capturing five crooks that are hidden in each incident, gameplay is relegated heavily by Patricia Wagon's pellet gun and her siren helmet. The latter of the two can cause key elements to switch from the background to the foreground, making platforms and cannon-like devices available. Players will manipulate themselves and their enemies to clear paths, often requiring twitch reflexes even in mid-air.

Mighty Switch Force later introduces platforms that stay in the foreground if Patricia stands on them while switching, adding another challenging puzzle/timing element. The stages' challenges build at a nice pace, and there are several checkpoints in each stage that are good while learning to make par... if only Patricia would be quieter while practicing.

Indie Game Links: Breaking the Internet

January 9, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

esa_breaking.jpgToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

Shack News: Interview: Mommy's Best Games' Nathan Fouts on SOPA
"As a game developer, if stopping some people from pirating my games requires the government step in and break the internet, then let's keep things the way they are and each individual company will figure out its own way to handle piracy."

Gamasutra: Opinion: Why 3DS' digital games will never be as cheap as iPhone's
"Games that go beyond literal simple pleasures take time and money to create. This will never change. If people are unwilling to pay higher prices for richer experiences, then these types of games will cease to exist."

QCF Desgin: Thinking About the End-Game
"In the end we agreed that finishing the game was actually all about player perception. We wanted people that weren't necessarily super-hardcore DD players to have something to aim for that would give them a reason to improve as well[.]"

Quote, Unquote: The Last and Final Word: Craig Forrester
"I recently released Johnny Platform Saves Christmas! as a free PC game, and have got about as many downloads in two weeks as I got in two years on XBLIG."

DIY Gamer: Notch's Minicraft Ported to Android; Sequel Gets a New Name
"[T]he original Minicraft has been ported to Android by a company called Folstad Consulting... In other news, Notch confirmed via Twitter that a sequel based on Minicraft will not, in fact, be called Minicraft 2 rather it will be called MiniTale."

PlayStation US Blog: A Musical Journey
"That concept of a metamorphosis, or emotional arc, is at the core of everything in [Journey], including its score. You can imagine, with a title this succinct, that the puns are both unintentional and constant!"

Nintendo Life: 3DSWare Interview: Mutant Mudds Reader Questions
"I think the main element of Mutant Mudds that justifies its existence and provides players with something to get their teeth into is the hover ability. Learning how to use this properly is vital if you plan to complete all of the levels."

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of January 6

January 6, 2012 11:00 PM | 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 Respawn Entertainment, Amazon, 6waves Lolapps, 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:

Respawn Entertainment: Software Engineer:
"Founded in 2010, Respawn Entertainment is an independent video game development studio based in Van Nuys, California that will focus on creating state-of-the-art gaming experiences for global audiences. The studio was formed by Jason West and Vince Zampella, former co-founders of Infinity Ward and creators of the multi-billion dollar Call of Duty franchise."

Harmonix Music Systems: Production Department Manager:
"Harmonix Music Systems is a Cambridge, Mass.-based videogame development company that specializes in music-based games. The company, renowned for its groundbreaking design innovation, is home to a vibrant and dynamic collection of designers, artists, gamers and musicians. Founded in 1995 by Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy, the core principle at the heart of all Harmonix products is to share the joy of creating and performing music with everyone, regardless of their musical experience."

To browse hundreds of similar jobs, and for more information on searching, responding to, or posting game industry-relevant jobs to the top source for jobs in the business, please visit Gamasutra's job board now.

Microsoft Relaxes Technical Restrictions For Xbox Live Indie Games

January 6, 2012 10:00 PM | Danny Cowan

120104_apphub.jpgMicrosoft has issued a significant update to its App Hub developer standards, relaxing technical restrictions and easing product publishing for its Xbox Live Indie Games service.

The update increases the maximum file size for CCGAME bundles from its previous limit of 150 MB to 500 MB. In addition, XBLIG titles up to 150 MB may now be priced at 80 Microsoft points; previous standards required titles greater than 50 MB to be priced at either 240 or 400 Microsoft points.

Finally, XBLIG developers may now publish up to 20 games in total, up from a previous limit of ten. In the past, prolific XBLIG studios resorted to operating under new company names in order to bypass the old limit, recalling Konami's circumvention of Nintendo's publishing restrictions during the 8-bit era with sublabel Ultra Games.

[via @sdgames]

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