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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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Road to the IGF: Alexander Martin's Starseed Pilgrim

March 11, 2013 3:00 AM | Staff

As part of our Road to the IGF series, Gamasutra is speaking to each of the finalists in the 2013 Independent Games Festival to find out the story behind the games.

Today we speak to "Droqen," creator of Starseed Pilgrim, which is nominated for the Design award.

What is your team's game development background, if any?

Maybe I'll start out by telling you a bit about the team? Feels like a weird word to use for us four.

Browser Game Pick: Grow Maze (Eyemaze)

March 10, 2013 5:28 PM | John Polson

grow maze.jpgThe GROW series creator Eyemaze is back with another devious point and click puzzler called Grow Maze. This time, players must crawl through a changing dungeon while clicking frantically and dragging the mouse slowly to figure out which items respond.

I've hit a brick wall in the otherwise enjoyable puzzle... well, a cookie-coated wall, I suppose. Best wishes for those who can trap the bunny-looking creature that has hopped away with my patience. Overall, the sense of wonder when you do click on something interactive is still there in Eyemaze's latest, you just have to crawl a bit to find it.

Free Demo: zX (retroFuture)

March 10, 2013 1:46 PM | John Polson

retroFuture's zX is not like most shmups. Instead of encouraging passive play or requiring the player to dodge a ton of bullets, players should dive straight into the line of fire to reflect enemy shots and power up their hyper gun. My closest analogy would be the kamikaze-like Psyvariar or Mars Matrix, except players don't buzz or absorb bullets here. Also unlike most shmups, zX's levels are more bite-sized.

In-game tutorials explain most of the controls. To enter portals or use the reflecting blade, press the space bar, despite the in-game tutorial telling you to use the up arrow. While the Windows demo offers 11 levels, the full game has over 66. These are divided into 6 zones, each comprising of 10 levels and 1 boss level.

Those fond of the demo can vote for zX on Steam Greenlight.

Demo: Quest For Infamy (Infamous Quests)

March 10, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

questforinfamy.pngIt's Sunday, Quest for Glory-inspired Quest for Infamy has already proven itself hugely popular on Kickstarter and you need to play something. Well, you are in luck. There's a new Windows and Linux demo of the thing available and adventurers will love it. Everyone else should at least have a look and point-and-click at some lovingly illustrated 2D graphics.

PC/Mobile Pick: Sling It! (Greg Lobanov)

March 10, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Indie developer Greg Lobanov (Cowboy Killa, Escape from the Underworld) has released Sling It! (aka Pollushot 2), a shoot-'em-up with inventive slingshot mechanics for iOS, Android, and Windows.

In Sling It!, you must carefully pick apart large enemy ships piece-by-piece, and collect their debris afterward in order to keep your ammo supplies stocked. @shmups observes that the game superficially resembles Psikyo's overlooked arcade shoot-'em-up Space Bomber, which isn't a bad thing at all. Hooray for shooters with unique gameplay mechanics!

Sling It! is priced at $1.99.

Road to the IGF: Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon

March 9, 2013 4:00 PM | Staff

superhexagon small.jpgAs part of our Road to the IGF series, Gamasutra is speaking to each of the finalists in the 2013 Independent Games Festival to find out the story behind the games.

Today we speak to Terry Cavanagh, whose Super Hexagon is nominated for the Excellence in Design award this year.

What is your team's game development background, if any?

Well, the team is just me (made the game), Chipzel (wrote the music) and Jenn (did the voice acting). Jenn's a videogame journalist, Chipzel is a musician, and I make games. We don't work together usually, we're not a company.

What game development tools are you using?

At the moment, C++ and a library called openFrameworks. I also use Flash.

Cave Story dev's next game revealed at Japanese indie games event BitSummit

March 9, 2013 11:55 AM | John Polson

Cave Story developer Studio Pixel's next game is not Rockfish, but Gero Blaster, an action platformer heading to iPhone in Spring 2013. The footage surfaced in the above collage of Japanese indie games shown at the first BitSummit event held in Japan today.

Nintendo Life found a tweet from Nicalis' Tyrone Rodriguez showing off Gero Blaster running on a Nintendo 3DS XL (without the big virtual buttons, too), suggesting the game will see other ports. There was no mention of a PC release, yet.

To the Moon Interquel A Bird Story to Launch Mid-Year 2013

March 9, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Freebird Games announced that its To the Moon follow-up A Bird Story will launch later this year in advance of a fully-fledged To the Moon sequel.

Freebird explains that A Bird Story is a "narrative-driven top-down adventure short" that consists of "a mix of memories and dreams, delivering a surreal tale without dialogues."

"The game is the bridging episode between episode 1 (To the Moon) and episode 2 of the series -- the protagonist (a boy in A Bird Story) would grow up to be the elderly patient in episode 2," Freebird Games explains. "However, the game is completely standalone, and is meant to be an individual story of equal importance with its own beginning and ending."

The release also serves as an apology of sorts for a recently proposed prototype version of To the Moon 2, which will only enter production in a parallel universe.

[via Joystiq]

Retro/Grade Coming to Steam March 20th

March 8, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

24 Caret Games' reverse rhythm-shooter Retro/Grade is coming to Steam on March 20th, offering up exclusive support for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii guitar controllers.

The port otherwise boasts all of the features that made the original PS3 release such a standout, including a broad selection of challenge levels and difficulty settings that range from "doable" to "ridiculously challenging." Seriously, don't underestimate the hardest difficulty setting. It will humble you.

It's worth noting that the PS3 version of Retro/Grade is currently on sale for $3.49, or $2.44 if you're a PlayStation Plus member. It's definitely worth the cash -- I really enjoyed the time I spent with the game, and it easily ranked among my favorite PlayStation Network releases of last year.

[via Joystiq]

Time for Local Multiplayer to Get Physical

March 8, 2013 3:00 PM | Staff

alistair a.jpg

[Local multiplayer games are increasingly pushing the envelope, providing experiences only possible with real-world human interaction. Indie developer Alistair Aitcheson looks into the opportunities shared physical play offers, especially on tablets.]

In the current gaming climate we're used to the idea that "multiplayer" is typically an online affair. The days of playing Micro Machines and Goldeneye on a shared screen are a remnant of a bygone age, and gathering around a shared screen isn't seen as the exciting attraction that it used to be. 

Indeed, online multiplayer has numerous benefits. You don't need to gather a group of friends whenever you want to play against real people. You can fill an arena with 16 competitors at the drop of a hat. You can make sure you're pitted against people of the same standard, and there's always a tougher opponent online for you to strive to beat.

But sharing a screen is still a rich proposition - the laughter and joy of a shared game experience with friends is unique and special. So, with online multiplayer as a counterpoint, there's encouragement to push the envelope when it comes to local multiplayer design. The proliferation of touch screens and motion sensing allows us to explore shared physical experiences in a way that wasn't possible before.

To get the most out of local multiplayer, designers can use the physical presence of players to do what cannot be done over a network. 

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