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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: Mousechief's 7 Grand Steps

February 9, 2013 10:00 PM | Staff

Mousechief's Keith Nemitz is a fascinating creator, devoted to timeless storytelling alongside classic mechanics reinterpreted for digital play. His board game-styled 7 Grand Steps, which lets players experience family histories across generations, has been nominated in the Independent Games Festival's Nuovo category.

Here, in the latest installment of our Road to the IGF series of interviews with nominees, he talks about his own complex background and influences and his passion for storytelling, plus 7 Grand Steps' manifold visual and thematic goals.

Browser Pick: 400 Years (scriptwelder)

February 9, 2013 12:00 PM | John Polson

400years.pngDeep Sleep developer Scriptwelder's 400 Years stars a stone idol that must stop some great calamity in this meditative, puzzler semi-platformer. Players can climb up and down objects and walk left to right, but there's no jumping involved. Instead, the idol can mediate for time to pass quickly. The environment will change according to what season it is and how many years have passed.

I don't want to spoil the puzzles, but it's a peaceful trip that won't take more than 15 minutes of your time. Give 400 Years a try on Newgrounds, Kongregate, or Armor Games.

[source: Jayisgames]

Freeware Game Pick: Karate Master (CrianSoft)

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

KarateChamp.pngI do not believe I've played a karate game since the 16-bit versions of IK+ and must admit to being rather rusty when it comes to more tactical, more technical, slower beat-'em-ups. Still, despite what Street Fighter II and its spawn did to the fighting genre, I did find Karate Master to be a properly enjoyable and refreshingly old-fashioned game. It felt smart and unique and demanding and decidedly retro in both its aesthetics and its pointlessly complex menus, and, despite its minor flaws and lack of polish, it is a game even younger gamers should enjoy. Besides, you'll finally get to understand what we were loving back in the 80s.

PC/Mac Release: Beast Boxing Turbo (Goodhustle Studios)

February 9, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Following up on a limited release last year, Goodhustle Studios' fantasy-themed boxing title Beast Boxing Turbo is now available for Windows and Mac via Desura and the Mac App Store.

Beast Boxing Turbo pits players against skeletons, humanoid animals, and other oddball characters in a series of first-person boxing matches. Players can customize their equipment in between matches, and a level-up system and a New Game+ mode add more depth to the experience.

Beast Boxing Turbo is regularly priced at $4.99, but is available this week for $2.99. An Ouya version is slated as a launch title for the platform later this year.

Release: Socioball (Apoorva Joshi)

February 8, 2013 3:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Indie developer Apoorva Joshi has launched Socioball, an isometric puzzler for Windows that includes a unique level-sharing feature via Twitter.

Each level in Socioball equips players with a set of path-altering tiles -- including direction changers, jump pads, and teleporters -- that must be used to guide the ball toward the exit. The setup reminds me a bit of Kirby's Dream Course, with more puzzle-oriented gameplay.

What's especially interesting about the Twitter sharing functionality is that players can embed entire levels within a single tweet, and you can simply search for the hashtag #Socioball to access a variety of user-created puzzles. It's a great idea, and it could greatly extend the life of the game if it catches on!

Socioball is priced at $2.99.

'Road to the IGF' Pt.1: the stories behind this year's top indie games

February 8, 2013 10:00 AM | John Polson

Gamasutra's 'Road to the IGF' series is in the process of highlighting every 2013 Independent Games Festival finalist - and here's the first batch of interviews, including Kentucky Route Zero, Cart Life and Incredipede.

All finalists will be playable at an expanded IGF Pavilion on the Game Developers Conference 2013 Expo floor from March 27-29, 2013, at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

This year, the 'Road to the IGF' series has already shared stories of innovation in indie gaming such as Q-Games' Move-controlled audio experiment PixelJunk 4AM, Blendo Games' 10-minute long adventure Thirty Flights of Loving, and more.

The full highlights so far from this year's finalists are as follows:

- Simogo discusses its haunting and intentionally-mysterious Visual Art nominee Year Walk, a divergence from the studio's familiar, cute tone.

- Cardboard Computer reveals the inspiration for Kentucky Route Zero, and why it's glad that the game's Kickstarter came before the big crowd-funding boom.

Freeware Game Pick: The Path of the Pumpkin (miciosegone)

February 8, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

pumpkin.pngI still haven't decided whether I'm enjoying The Path of the Pumpkin; it's a bit too odd, its humour rarely really works and it could definitely use some polish. On the other hand, I do have to admit that its oddness definitely has its more endearing moments and that the game is interesting, large and ambitious. A bit too ambitious for its own good actually, but also a point-and-clicker you might just love, especially if Italian is a language you're fluent at.

Browser Game Pick: CatWalkOnce (Charlie)

February 8, 2013 4:00 AM | John Polson

catwalkonce.pngCatWalkOnce is the rule of this platforming puzzle game. You have to figure out how to only walk on all the blue squares once, thereby turning them red (and deadly). Some stages require you to plan your path carefully such that you arrive at a door exit, too.

The game later introduces 90- and 180-degree directional turns, switches for invisible blocks, and deadly spikes to make your path more difficult. The difficulty really ramps up midway!

Niliter Games/Charlie's CatWalkOnce has a bit of Japanese dialogue, but it doesn't affect the gameplay. I would suggest when there's more than one door to go with all the left doors first. You'll have to play the game at least twice to unlock every stage for "free play," so why not be systematic?

Demo: Real World Racing (Playstos Entertainment)

February 7, 2013 10:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Playstos Entertainment has launched a Windows demo version of its overhead-view racing title Real World Racing featuring a freely playable online multiplayer mode.

Real World Racing's tracks are based on real locations, and are built using aerial photographs. While the game in its current state features a limited number of cars and tracks, the full version will include over 80 playable vehicles and more than 50 racetracks from cities around the world.

Real World Racing is currently up for vote at Steam Greenlight.

Open Beta Release: WordTrap Dungeon (Crunching Koalas)

February 7, 2013 7:00 PM | Danny Cowan

As part of an ongoing beta test among Windows, Mac, and Linux users, MouseCraft creator Crunching Koalas seeks players for its free Scrabble-inspired dungeon crawler WordTrap Dungeon.

Players battle monsters in WordTrap Dungeon by assembling words from a pool of letters in their spellbook. Longer words result in stronger attacks, and defeated enemies drop bonus letters that you can use in subsequent battles. The full version of the game will feature a simplified RPG system, and players will be able to level up and scour dungeons for stat-boosting items and loot.

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