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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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Browser Game Pick: Frustrating Tiny Rooms (PapyGaragos)

May 21, 2012 7:30 AM | Steve Cook

f tiny rooms.png If minimalism is taken too far, a videogame can come across as lacking. If it's executed just right, the videogame can be fun, despite its simplistic appearance. Fortunately, Frustrating Tiny Rooms achieves the latter.

It's a puzzler, in which you have to control two squares on two seperate grids simultaneously and get both of them to the checkered squares. It starts off simple with only slightly differing grid layouts to contend with. Then you hit a square with four arrows and the direction you move isn't the same as the directional key that you are pressing. This is the point where the difficulty increases, especially when it effects both squares at once. Refer to the bottom of the screen to find out which arrow key you need to press in order to move in the required direction - just be wary of your second square and think very carefully before making a move.

Frustrating Tiny Rooms only contains 10 levels. It is a Ludum Dare 23 entry and can be played here.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Interview

May 21, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

red wasp.pngTomas Rawlings of Red Wasp Design was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land, Lovecraft-inspired gaming, red wasps and tactical turn-based combat. Here's what he had to say:

Were you actually aware of the fact that The Wasted Land would be the very first turn-based Call of Cthulhu game ever when you embarked on this project?

No, we didn't really think about it like that. This has been a project I've always wanted to do! The approach was about what sort of game would we like to play; we're fans of turn-based games and I've always wanted to make a Call of Cthulhu game, so the game concept was born under a blood-red gibbous moon...

Why did you decide to go for the Call of Cthulhu license and not just borrow Lovecraft's ideas from the public domain?

I'm a huge fan of the RPG and always felt that over the years it had evolved into a solid game system that we could use in our game. Not only that, but it felt better to try and work with people who knew the area - Chaosium - and so we could also benefit from their input and experience.

Tokyo Game Show's Sense of Wonder Night Taking Applications

May 21, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

ttl_senseside01.jpgThe fifth annual Sense of Wonder Night will take place during the Tokyo Game Show September 20-23, celebrating 10 games from around the world that truly offer a sense of wonder.

As described on the site, "games of any genre, platform, language, degree of completion, already released or non-released" are eligible, and any game that offers a "never-seen-before gaming experience" or that "challenges the common sense of ordinary games" (among other qualifications) is sought.

Tokyo Game Show officials anticipate roughly 200,000 attendees this year. Recently, Sense of Wonder Night presenters have also been given floor space to connect with those attendees. Previous presenters include the XBLA Kinect title Leedmees, the upcoming PSN title The Unfinished Swan, and the upcoming Antichamber.

Applications to present are due July 8, 2012. To get a sense of last year's talks, check out the recordings here. More information about the Sense of Wonder Night applications can be found at the Tokyo Game Show website (in the upper right sits an English language option).

Browser Game Pick: Gravity (Rémi Boutin)

May 20, 2012 10:30 PM | Steve Cook

gravity.png Everyone has their own tastes and biases when it comes to videogames. One of mine is that I'm not fond of 'infinite' games if there is little sense of progression. However, once in a while I am prepared to make an exception. Gravity is a game, in which you have to find the right balance between protecting your little floating island by shooting down enemies and not letting their dead bodies weigh it down into the hot lava by pushing them off. Last as long as you can.

I was so impressed with the slick graphical style and the core mechanic that I immediately forgave its repetition. I am more forgiving than most gamers.

Gravity is a Ludum Dare 23 entry. Play it here.

Wrack Devs Pump Old-fashioned Fun Back into the 'Drab' FPS Genre

May 20, 2012 8:00 PM | John Polson

wrack gama.jpg"It seems like a lot of these modern FPS games take themselves way too seriously," says Brad Carney, the developer behind Wrack, an upcoming shooter which is looking to capture the high-speed, retro feel of classic Doom, albeit with updated, cel-shaded visuals.

"They're way too focused on realism, which I think hurts them in a number of ways," he continues. "Visually, the games are photorealistic and drab, and it's not too interesting to
look at."

With Wrack, Carney wants to offer a first-person shooter for gamers who are feeling bogged down by realism, and want to return to good old-fashioned arena-style blasting. The single-player campaign for the title pits you against the invading alien Arcturan empire, with nothing but speed and a wide range of weaponry to help you off the hordes of monsters, traps, and bosses you'll face.

It's not just graphical advancements that have impeded progress in the shooter genre, suggests Carney. "From a gameplay standpoint, it hurts a lot too. In most of these games, you play as a really slow character that can't dodge anything, so most of the gameplay involves hiding and waiting around for your shields to recharge."

"To me, having all gameplay come to a complete halt every time I take some damage so my shields recharge is really boring."

Want To Win A Copy Of The Journey Down?

May 20, 2012 4:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw



Have you been hearing good things about The Journey Down? Are you curious about whether the remake will live up to the hype? Want to play the game but can't quite get your head around the idea of paying for something you have kinda sorta played before? If so, well, we've got just the thing for you. The kind folk responsible for the game have given us five GamersGate-pertinent codes to give out. However, instead of just randomly distributing them on Twitter, we've decided to make things a tad more interesting.

Tell us about your funniest and most disastrous travel experience yet in order to stand a chance at winning the game for yourself or a lucky compatriot. That's all it takes. We'll announce the winners on Wednesday 23rd 2012. Ready? Set. Go!

Freeware Game Pick: Milk! (hirsch)

May 20, 2012 12:30 PM | John Polson

milkminild.pngThe aspect-focused miniLD (Ludum Dare) 34 event is wrapping up today, and a handful of entries have already posted. Milk! involves moving windows to guide a spaceship through the Milky Way. Players increase their score by collecting milk while avoiding bombs.

The scoring mechanic may not be anything captivating, but I found the use of the otherwise restricting resolution rather clever. While it may remind some of Continuity, I was thinking more along the lines of the Sifteo Cubes. However, these two concepts involve lining up edges as opposed to Milk!'s using different heights. I'd also like to see Milk!'s mechanics explored more, playable by touch and possibly with a few extra windows.

Download Milk! for Windows here.

What Jenova Chen Doesn't Like About Video Games

May 20, 2012 12:00 AM | John Polson

chen gama.jpgIn a new Gamasutra interview, Thatgamecompany co-founder and Journey creative director Jenova Chen shares the major weakness he sees in the industry's approach to its audience.

His biggest complaint about games? "They are not good enough for adults," says Chen.

"For adults to enjoy something, they need to have intellectual stimulation, something that's related to real life. Playing poker teaches you how to deceive people, and that's relevant to real life. A headshot with a sniper rifle is not relevant to real life."

The issue, he believes, is one of depth. "Games have to be relevant intellectually," he says. "Can games make you and another human experience an emotion that's deep enough to touch adults?"

He approached this goal with Journey's collaborative multiplayer, and he says that he will continue to pursue it: "Making emotional games and making them intellectually relevant; making games where people can connect and come together," he says, is what he plans to continue to do.

In the new feature, he discusses the future of his studio, his other creative drives, and whether he'd ever consider building a game with a big team -- and it's live now on Gamasutra.

Indie Royale Profiles: Blueberry Garden and The Shivah

May 19, 2012 8:00 PM | John Polson


[Guest reviewer Colin Brown of Backlog Journey profiles the games included in the latest bundle available on Indie Royale: The All-Charity Pack.]

While I rarely meet an indie game I don't like, I'm critical enough to get a bit jaded about certain oversaturated genres from time to time. Artistic, indie puzzle platformers are definitely one of those genres so, despite the fact that it won the IGF Grand Prize, I was a bit skeptical as I opened up Erik Svedäng's Blueberry Garden. But no doubt you've figured out my bait and switch by now, because I was pleasantly surprised by the short non-linear adventure. The art style is pretty, the music is enchantingly mesmerizing and the game's focus on exploration over physics or puzzles is a wonderful way to teach one how to play the game.

Ask IndieGames: How Do I Get You Guys To Pay Attention To My Press Release?

May 18, 2012 4:15 PM | Cassandra Khaw

bad_press.jpgAsk IndieGames is a monthly feature that takes a range of topics relating to indie gaming and development and poses them as a question to the editorial staff.

While sister site Gamasutra has already touched upon the subtleties of creating a 'kill-it-with-fire!' sort of press release (and, in part, what comprises an enticing press release), we've decided to take a look at the topic yet again in the interest of providing indie developers further insight on what makes a press release 'pop' (and how to avoid having it lost amidst the tidal wave of similar press releases).

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