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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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Life after Dyad: Are Indie Games All Grown up Now?

July 22, 2012 12:00 PM | Staff

dyad gama.jpgCritics say that hallucinogenic racer Dyad defies experimental expectations by offering a "pure arcade" experience. What does this mean for the future of independent video games?

After weeks of positive preview buzz, Right Square Bracket Left Square Bracket's hallucinogenic racer Dyad has just released on the PlayStation Network to a widely warm critical reception in the consumer press. There's something funny about the reviews, though.

I've read the reaction from several prominent sites, and most of them have something in common: The writer hastening to inform readers that Dyad, which uses bright colors and abstract imagery, is not, in fact, the kind of liquidy visual experiment players might expect from an indie game.

Joystiq notes that the "outside observer" might look at the game and see "little more than a rhythmic, psychedelic mishmash," Game Informer is also concerned about "onlookers," and explains that the game is still "mesmerizing" to play, though it might look like some weird audio visualizer.

In a thorough review, Polygon's Arthur Gies gives the most elaborate prescription against presupposition, writing that players would be forgiven for assuming Dyad was "the latest sort of, well, let's say, experiential experiment" launched on PSN, and that it'd be "wrong" to assume this finely-honed arcade-style racer has anything in common with Thatgamecompany's Flower or Flow, which Gies characterizes as games that succeed as conceptual experiments, less so when it comes to "mechanics and design."

Trailer: Castle in the Darkness (Matt Kap)

July 21, 2012 10:00 PM | John Polson

Castle in the Darkness is Matt Kap's upcoming, retro-styled exploration platformer. Kap says it is inspired by games like Castlevania, Megaman, Metroid, Zelda, but not the classic Konami MSX game The Maze of Galious. He's never played it.

Matt Kap is aiming for a 2012 release on "PC/iOS/maybe more," priced slightly higher than free. Kap has updated Castle in the Darkness' website this month and says to follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.

Hit the jump to see recent improvements, post-trailer. Take your time, Kap; I like the tweaks!

Demo: Cherry Tree High Comedy Club (NyuMedia)

July 21, 2012 5:49 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Cherry Tree High Comedy Club is one of those games you should pitch at visual novel-hating friends. Though the mechanics behind Cherry Tree High Comedy Club bear more than a passing resemblance to your traditional dating simulation, this unreasonably adorable-looking title varies in more than one way. First and foremost, there aren't any real romance options here. While you will be courting people, you won't be doing so in the name of romance. No, you'll be doing it in the name of recruitment. As the wise-cracking comedy fanatic Miley Verisse, your objective in life is to establish your comedy club. In order to accomplish this, you're going to have to pick up three unsuspecting members.

It's a silly but all-too-short romp that pretty much begs for a sequel. However, don't take my word for it. There's a demo that you can check out to help you determine if the game is worth the purchase.

Official site here.

A New Age of Survival Horror Games, Thanks to Indie Developers

July 21, 2012 12:00 PM | Staff

slenderbox.jpgHorror in video games is constantly evolving. Where we may have once associated increasingly action-based franchises like Resident Evil as being the pinnacle of what horror games can offer, the dish of the day is now fear and tension: the idea that something may be lurking just around the corner that you cannot easily fend off.

Capcom producer Masachika Kawata said earlier this year that there simply isn't a large enough market for the good old-fashioned "survival horror" angle and that players want action over terror. Yet the success of 2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent and the brewing hype for its sequel suggest otherwise.

The last few weeks have seen a couple of notable horror titles released, both of which explore the genre in completely different ways, yet both still manage to capture that sense of true fear without the use of high-octane action.

Slender, based on the Slender Man mythos that originated from the Something Awful forums, takes a 'freak out' approach to horror, putting the player in a position where they are being pursued by a tall figure through a wooded area, yet have no means of defending themselves.

And Yet It Moves Hits OnLive

July 21, 2012 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Broken Rules' debut title And Yet It Moves is now available for play via the on-demand streaming platform OnLive.

Winner of the IGF Student Showcase award, And Yet It Moves originally launched for PC platforms in 2009, and later saw a WiiWare release. The game features 29 levels in which players must rotate the surrounding world to navigate trickly platforming sequences.

And Yet It Moves and other games can be streamed from OnLive for a monthly fee of $9.99. A free trial version is also available.

The games of Arab game-jam Game Zanga

July 21, 2012 7:30 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

arab game jam.pngGameTako is a gaming portal for Arab gamers and developers that holds a bi-annual Arab region-wide game jam entitled Game Zanga. As the latest Game Zanga resulted in 43 games under the community-selected theme "Freedom" and we really hadn't covered any Arab games lately we thought we (well, I) should guide you through some of the jam's more interesting and less text-heavy games. You can of course find and play all 43 of them here.

Also, do keep in mind that with such a theme one couldn't but expect more than a few political games and, well, one or two pretty controversial ones. Oh, and these are all browser games.

People Want: essentially an arena shooter, but one having you fire liberating propaganda at the still un-enlightened masses. Looks nice, plays pretty well too and you won't be able to ignore the most interesting soundscape.

Voice of Freedom: More or less the same story of you shaking up the masses and helping them understand, but this time with some excellent gameplay mechanics and a mean difficulty curve. Oh, and it's very pixel-arty.

Freedom or grilled: A pretty horrible platformer that has one redeeming feature: it lets you save chicken.

Fugitive: For Freedom: a simple Canabalt clone with graphics that couldn't help but remind me of The Running Man and an '80s rock soundtrack. Addictive and pretty fun.

Censored: a slow if well designed platformer in which a pen has to avoid the censor's scissors. Nicely done.

Upcoming Project Crown Looks Slightly Like 8-Bit Dragon Ball

July 20, 2012 6:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

If you were to strip all the anime out of Dragon Ball, you may get something that resembles Project Crown. A minimalistic-looking venture will apparently feature a fair amount of fighting and exploration, Project Crown looks ... interesting, to say the least. Unfortunately, the creator seems intent on keeping things under wraps. So, for now, enjoy the pretty video.

Official thread here.

Driving Discussion: Ashley McConnell on Online Racing Championship

July 20, 2012 4:30 PM | John Polson

onlineracingchampionship.png[Driving Discussion is a week-long feature aimed at examining unique racing and driving indie games and the developers who are pushing the genre forward.]

Not all indie driving games are created abstractly. Ashley McConnell's free-to-play Online Racing Championship (ORC) aims to improve realistic racing with advances in physics, networking, graphics, and ranking. McConnell posits that ORC can stand on its own as a free-to-play title without any programmed AI, too.

Despite another generation of AAA games aiming towards realism, McConnell believes there's still work to do. McConnell thinks driving games can add more of a social aspect, something FPS games, in his opinion, do very well.

He also shares that peripherals such as wheel controllers with force feedback can be improved, having experienced an in-development wheel with "incredibly fast response time and strength."

Planet Explorers Alpha v0.2 Released

July 20, 2012 3:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

We took a gander at Planet Explorers less than a month ago. Described as 'Minecraft meets LittleBigPlanet meets Skyrim meets Monster Hunter...with a little tower defense added on.', Planet Explorers wasn't without its problems. Since we last examined it, the game has moved on to, well, v0.2. There have been a few significant changes. A male character has been added along with a world map, several cave systems, an assortment of critters and a re-vamped customization system. If you missed it the first time around, now's an excellent time to see what the fuss had been about.

Official site here.

Freeware Game Pick: Cavenaut (Bruno R. Marcos)

July 20, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Bruno R. Marcos has released Cavenaut, a freeware Windows action-adventure title starring an intrepid spelunker on a dangerous monochrome mission.

Gameplay resembles Konami's arcade classic Tutankham at first glance, though what starts as a simple snake-dodging action game soon evolves into something much more complex, as you can see in the trailer above. Players must carefully dig through unlit passageways and dodge numerous traps in an attempt to discover the meaning behind strange symbols that have appeared in the Peruvian mountains.

[via TIGSource]

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