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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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Infinity Danger Releases on Xbox Live Indie Games

March 24, 2011 12:30 PM | Michael Rose

A love letter to the classic indie bullet hell shooter Warning Forever, Infinity Danger is now available to download from the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace.

Not only does Infinity Danger look fantastic in motion, it's also incredibly cheap, priced at a single dollar. Those players looking for a good competitive shmup to get their blasting fingers around should note the inclusion of a world ranking, that marks your progress against every other player while you destroy boss after boss. There are even in-game achievements to collect.

Infinity Danger can be downloaded now from the Xbox Live Marketplace. [Source: the2bears]

Through Song, Game Composers Express Hope for Japan's Swift Recovery

March 21, 2011 6:00 AM | jeriaska

Laura Shigihara's cover of "Ue o Muite Aruko"

Since the Fukushima earthquake, game developers in Japan have sought to express their sympathy for those struggling through the severe effects of the natural disaster. Shows of solidarity have taken the form of fundraisers and donations, as well as creative expressions of hope. Grasshopper Manufacture's Akira Yamaoka and Mistwalker's Hironobu Sakaguchi have both uploaded songs dedicated to those persevering through the recent hardships.

Composers of independently financed game titles have been spearheading their own efforts to show support for victims of the earthquake and tsunamis. Last Thursday, Baiyon, who is contributing design to Q-Games' PixelJunk Lifelike music visualizer, held a benefit at Club Metro in Kyoto. Performing a DJ set not unlike those witnessed by attendees of the two most recent Game Developers Conference events, the musician sold copies of a mix CD called "Sembrado," with proceeds going to disaster relief.

Two days earlier, Melolune designer Laura Shigihara posted a cover of Kyu Sakamoto's "Ue o Muite Aruko" to YouTube, expressing concern for her relatives in Japan. Translated literally as "I look up as I walk," Sakamoto's lyrics describe the speaker as keeping his chin up and whistling to keep the tears from falling. The Japanese-language song, originally recorded in 1961, topped the charts in the United States when it was released two years later. The game composer writes in the video's summary, "I've always thought this was a beautiful song... it's about keeping a smile on your face and hope in your heart even though times are really tough."

Just today, participants of the MAGFest game and music festival announced that they will be holding a fundraiser through Ustream, inviting the participation of composers of Alpha Squad and Retro City Rampage. Stemage and Virt, among other artists, have offered to cover music from any game in return for donations. Their services will be auctioned off on Sunday, March 27, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. Other fundraiser compilations include LiFETONES / PRAY for JP (proceeds for Civic Force), featuring music by independent game composer I Am Robot and Proud, as well as Chip In: Japan! (proceeds for First Giving Service), featuring chipmusic by Crashfaster, the composer of Knifetank.

First Five and a Bit Minutes of Fez

March 17, 2011 1:10 PM | Michael Rose

Last week's Fez trailer was pretty, but a number of commenters noted that it didn't exactly contain much gameplay footage. Never fear - Polytron has released another video, this time showing the first five or so minutes of the game, and there is gameplay ahoy.

Cass has a hands-on with the game coming soon for you to read, but a couple of notes regarding the above footage - the overworld map looks gorgeous, and I love the idea of searching for eight cube bits, Mario 64 red coins style. Also, what was the benefit of going in those rooms near the start of the video? There didn't seem to be much in there at all.

In-Depth: Where Are They Going Now? XBLIG Developers At A Crossroads

March 15, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

[In this group interview, Gamasutra correspondent John Polson peeks at the plans of six of the most critically acclaimed developers for the Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) service. While not all of the developers are committing to the platform in the near future, each offers valuable suggestions as to how the service can grow. They share their views on the strengths and weaknesses of the service, which has lead them to the projects and platforms they are working on today.]

Xbox Live Indie Games, once called Xbox Live Community Games, has existed for over two years and currently hosts over 1,600 games in the US market alone. The following companies not only have some of the top user-rated games, but they have managed to garner positive press by both indie and mainstream websites.

Despite these accolades, most have failed to see their financial books in the black. Camille Guermonprez of Arkedo Studios earlier revealed XBLIG sales figures and says mostly positive things about the service, with a suggestion for sorting the storefront.

Luke Schneider of Radian Games asserts that leaderboards, offline play, and Kinect support should be addressed. Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games feels XBLIG is a distinguishing factor for Microsoft; in addition to echoing Luke's suggestions, he thinks XBLIG support should read more countries, especially Australia.

Matthew Doucette, from international award winning studio Xona Games, offers mathematically sound suggestions for Gamerpoints and more. Nathan Fouts of Mommy's Best Games (MBG) concurs that something must be done about Achievements and Gamerpoints but offers his own take on the solution.

Deejay of Binary Tweed quickly saw a need to branch out his skills beyond XBLIG after Clover failed to succeed financially; he feels the narrowness of the storefront is the biggest issue.

Despite fighting setbacks and a once negative view of working on a specialty idea service, these developers present enough positive experiences and suggestions to help XBLIG thrive as a viable, respectable platform.

Trailer: Blocks That Matter (Swing Swing Submarine)

March 14, 2011 10:00 PM | Michael Rose

Even more video goodness for today - Blocks That Matter is an upcoming title for Xbox Live Indie Games, PC, Mac and Linux that appears to be some sort of platforming puzzler with Tetris elements.

Certain blocks can be collected and then placed down elsewhere, but only in the shapes of Tetris blocks. Complete a line, and it will then disappear, allowing you to progress. The Xbox version is scheduled for a April release, while the PC, Mac and Linux versions are penned for May. The Swing Swing Submarine blog has all the details.

BattleBlock Theater Opening Video

March 14, 2011 8:15 PM | Michael Rose

The Behemoth's BattleBlock Theater is due for release on Xbox 360 sometime later this year. This single opening cutscene has sold the game to me already. I loves it.

Although having said that, why does Hattie's head change to a pyramid shape at the end? This is very troubling to me indeed. Visit the BattleBlock Theater site for more footage and info.

Trailer: Fez (Polytron)

March 11, 2011 2:15 PM | Michael Rose

Get this - head over to PAX East this weekend, and you can play Fez. Yes, that's right - there's a playable demo at the expo. I know, exciting!

Just head to booth 1118, grab the Xbox 360 controller, and take it for a spin. To celebrate this most landmark of events, the above trailer has also been released and shows off even more of the worlds you'll be bombing around later this year.

Trailer: Skulls of the Shogun (Haunted Temple Studios)

March 8, 2011 12:26 PM | Michael Rose

I think I'm looking forward to Skulls of the Shogun's multi-player the most - four player Advance Wars is a definite yes please from me. This latest trailer shows off a bit more of the game, including some story elements that we hadn't yet seen.

I'll be having a more in-depth look at the game in the coming weeks, so expect many more details soon. For now, you can read my preview from the Eurogamer Expo, and visit the SOTS site for more details.

GDC 2011: Hands-On Impression of Bastion

March 6, 2011 10:31 PM | Cassandra Khaw

It is often a single moment that defines a game for its player, one sequence that elevates it above its peers and leaves the game forever etched in the memory of its audience. Bastion has a lot of moments that could possibly fit such a definition, something rather unsurprising given that Bastion plays out like an post-apocalyptic fairy tale. In spite of this, however, it was a rather unexpected episode that truly made the game for me.

For those unfamiliar with the game, Bastion is essentially the story of the Kid, a white-haired adolescent who must survive the aftermath of the Calamity and reach a place called the Bastion, his city's designated meeting place in the event of emergencies. To accomplish this, the Kid will have to cross a strange, volatile world that constructs itself with every step taken and battle against strange, blue-tinted monstrosities.

GDC 2011: Daisuke Amaya Draws Lessons From Cave Story's Development

March 5, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

Even though Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya's Cave Story looks like a much older game, he said in a GDC presentation yesterday that the late 2004 release has found an audience even among younger gamers.

“Maybe it made a mistake in coming to the world too late,” Amaya said of the game. ”When the game was completed, and I thought only older gamers could enjoy this, but after this was released I realized many young ones seemed to enjoy it. Cave Story is perfectly capable of being enjoyed in the current market.”

Amaya said the game's old school look wasn't totally a matter of paying homage to classic games, though. Rather the look developed partly because he was not skilled in the 3D modeling and animation necessary for most modern games.

“It's easy to start a game, but to complete a game is difficult,” he said. “I decided to adopt the retro style to complete it more easily.”

Amaya said he made the game's 16x16 sprites more expressive with a few tricks. The main character's red pants, black shirt and white face were all made so the character would stand out against different colored backgrounds. The large, expressive head and small, highly animated arms were designed for similar reasons, he said.

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