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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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Actual Sunlight: an excellent free game and a worthy IndieGoGo cause

February 15, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

I haven't finished playing through the completed, freeware (yet, hopefully, not final) version of Actual Sunlight. Why? Because I'm already convinced this game is a masterpiece and want to experience it at its very best, which will apparently only happen if the game's IndieGoGo fundraising campaign reaches its goal and graces Actual Sunlight with shiny new graphics and sounds.

But, I am pretty sure, you'd like to know what Actual Sunlight is all about. Fair enough... According to its developer it "is a short interactive story about love, depression and the corporation". It also and most objectively is a text-heavy game that kicks things off by asking the one question that always made sense: Why Kill Yourself Today When You Could Masturbate Tomorrow? Oh, yes, it's a pretty mature game too, though happily not "mature" by merely being at times naughty and at times depressing.

No. This is an excellently written game designed by an adult and aimed at adults. A game that is both personal and universal. A game that manages to comment on society by simultaneously being bitterly funny, cynical, touching, enlightening, sad, sarcastic and desperately hopeful.

Freeware Game Pick: Lyssandra and the Amplegores (Andrew McCluskey)

February 15, 2013 6:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

The reason I originally downloaded Lyssandra and the Amplegores was that I was certain it had something to do with wine making. Silly me, I know, but at least I ran into a frantic little action game with loud sounds and lovably brash graphics. It's something between Death Ray Manta and Super Crate Box with a hint of early Cactus aesthetics, a Windows platformer-shooter that's fun, free and filled with a wild variety of weapons.

Nicalis to Publish Kickstarter-Funded The '90s Arcade Racer

February 15, 2013 3:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Following up on a successful (and still ongoing) Kickstarter campaign, Athens-based developer Pelikan13 has struck a deal with prolific indie publisher Nicalis to bring its throwback racing game The '90s Arcade Racer to iOS, Android, and Nintendo's Wii U eShop.

"Our collaboration will allow [Pelikan13] to realize his vision of the game and make sure that he has the necessary Unity programming and design help he needs so that he can concentrate on art and other aspects," Nicalis' Tyrone Rodriguez notes in a Kickstarter update. "On our end, we'll be working on the Unity programming, physics, tuning and general design and production of the game."

Rodriguez continues: "For anyone asking about the physics, both Anthony and I know what arcade racers should feel like. I also have experience with racing games and actual track experience; I worked on The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift (PS2, PSP), designing its drift physics. and have over 100 hours of real-world track time (open-wheel, street and race cars). Anthony and I won't stop until we get the tuning just right."

The '90s Arcade Racer will also launch for Windows, Mac, and Linux upon completion. Pelikan13's Kickstarter campaign will conclude on February 17th.

Freeware Game Pick: in a window (Picardy Third)

February 14, 2013 9:00 PM | John Polson

inawindow.pngVoxterium: Revision developer Picardy Third dabbles in subversive gaming (the Antichamber kind of mind-trickery) in an "insignificant little puzzle platformer" called in a window for Windows. It's a clever mind-trip for its size that plays with practically every variable in the game, including the window itself.

Ross Pinkstaff writes in a press release, "in a window is a game about the way we assume things work, the way things actually work and the way those two things can work together to make a simple task seem impossible. The goal of the game is simple: Help a robot push the big red button. However, the path to that button is not always clear."

Good luck clicking that damn little red button.

First-Person Puzzle-Platformer Pulse Shift is Half-Off for Valentine's Day

February 14, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

(Another) Valentine's deal alert! 3 Core Studio's physics-cheating, first-person puzzle-platformer Pulse Shift is half-price today only at Desura. A free demo version is also available.

Pulse Shift presents a wide variety of first-person platforming challenges in which players can shift gravity and manipulate time, with dizzying results. Your abilities range from simple stuff like platform slowdown and wall-walking to the full-on reversal of gravity and time itself, and with over 60 included levels, you'll have ample opportunity to test the limits of the game's unique mechanics.

Pulse Shift is regularly priced at $9.99.

It's Valentine's Day and there is time for Depression Quest

February 14, 2013 5:30 PM | John Polson

Valentine's Day is here, and for some, it can be a day of great disappointment, regret, shame, self-loathing, and just about any other depressed feeling some societies impress upon others to feel about being single/alone. For others, depression lasts 364 more days a year.

Such is Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey, and Isaac Schankler's Twine game Depression Quest, available at a Pay What You Want price. Quinn writes that the game "aims to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people."

Valentine's gift ideas: Indie Royale, Indie Gala, and Game Music Bundles!

February 14, 2013 3:00 PM | John Polson

Game Music Bundle, Indie Royale, and Indie Gala have revealed new bundles to treat yourself or a loved one to some digital sweetness.

Indie Royale's Valentine 2.0 bundle includes Serious Sam 3 BFE, Shad'O, Oozi: Earth Adventure, Doc Clock : The Toasted Sandwich of Time, Lunnye Devisty and Wake. Five OSTs are included and the $8 bonus is Tim Wright of CoLD SToRAGE's 'SLIPSTREAM [volume 2]'.

Browser/Freeware Game Pick: Swift*Stitch (Sophie Houlden)

February 14, 2013 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Sophie Houlden has released her vector-graphics action-puzzler Swift*Stitch as both a free downloadable game for Windows, Mac, and Linux and as a freely playable browser game (Unity plugin required).

Previously priced at $6.99 when it launched last year, Swift*Stitch went on to star in Indie Royale's July Jubilee Bundle. It's well worth your time -- its simple control scheme belies the challenging levels within, many of which tax your reflexes as well as your brain's ability to process sudden changes in direction.

"My relationship with the game is thus," Houlden explains. "The game has paid for itself (more or less), I think it is kind of neat. But I also hate it because it's not the kind of game I want to spend my time working on, especially if it can't pay for me to work on the games I really do care about. It is a fun little arcade thing, with a couple of interesting design and mechanic things happening. I don't think the world is significantly better for me having made it."

I like Swift*Stitch, but I can respect Houden's decision to abandon it in favor of more fulfilling projects. Houlden has since released a Linux version of Rose&Time, though she notes that she may not remain a full-time indie for much longer, due to financial concerns. Good luck, Sophie!

Swift*Stitch is also available as a free download via Desura.


Kickstarter Projects: Continue Magazine

February 14, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

A definitely indie magazine that doesn't only cover indie games and sports some of the best features ever seems to be asking for a small funding push. So, what are we going to do about it? Why, help Continue Magazine on Kickstarter of course and make sure it manages to provide us with another four (at least) top quality issues. Oh, and here are some samples from the first three and already published issues.

Road to the IGF: Subset Games' FTL

February 14, 2013 6:00 AM | Staff

ftl-large.jpgSubset Games seems to have came out of nowhere, but its success has been long coming, and hard won.

The studio was founded by a couple 2K Shanghai expatriates who left the company in order to do strike out on their own, and turn their game concepts into a reality. It's a common narrative, but what's uncommon is the success and acclaim that Justin Ma and Matthew Davis have achieved with their first Subset game, FTL: Faster Than Light, which they describe as a "spaceship simulation roguelike-like."

It was an Independent Games Festival China 2011 finalist, it was funded with a Kickstarter campaign ($200,000 on a $10,000 goal), it was a top-seller on Steam, received two honorable mentions at IGF 2012 and now it's up for the IGF 2013 Excellence in Design award and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Ma and Davis took some time to answer a few questions about the game as part of Gamasutra's annual Road to the IGF series.

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