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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: Lil' Commando (Alex McGilvray)

December 31, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

Alex McGilvray's Lil' Commando plays like Cabal, Wild Guns, and NAM-1975 but with a splash of bullet hell. Players can only move left or right while shooting soldiers, tanks, boats, and even ninja.

When enemy fire is thick, players have an invincible dash to make it through. The dash element feels like it has some potential for future episodes, maybe for reflecting bullets or something more novel.

Trailer: Low - Depths of Knossos (Dirigo Games)

December 31, 2012 7:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

Surely lacking in historical accuracy yet somehow making up for this by introducing goblins in ancient Crete, Low: Depths of Knossos by Dirigo Games will apparently be a procedural, first-person dungeon romp with obvious rogue-like influences. It will feature labyrinths, perma-deaths, the Minotaur and some interesting depictions of Knossos and I frankly can't wait to find out how it will turn out.

Freeware Game Pick: Slave Of God (Increpare)

December 30, 2012 2:00 PM | John Polson

slave of god.pngIncrepare's Slave Of God for Mac and Windows allows those with strong enough constitutions to brave the seizure-inducing sights and sounds of a night club in search of the sun (I believe). Along the way, one can run up an endless drink tab, expel such drinks in chunky yellow pixels in the bathroom area, and more.

The great thing about Slave Of God for me is that it reminds me I am and always have been too old for clubs and mind-altering substances. I'm happy to experience such things vicariously through video games, and few have been as colorful and hypnotic as Slave Of God.

[source: @increpare]

What AAA can learn from indies -- according to indies

December 30, 2012 12:00 PM | Staff

supertimeforcesmall.jpgYesterday we asked some leading indie game developers about the lessons they had learned in the past year. Today, we ask what -- if anything -- big triple-A publishers could have learned from the indie game community in the last 12 months.

The indies we spoke to generally pointed out that big publishers can never truly attain the elusive "indie spirit." That's not meant as an affront, but the fact is that large game makers are set up in different ways and work to different scales.

And while indie games have enjoyed a very good year, it's rare for an independent game to achieve the sort of financial success that would muster a flicker of interest among triple-A publishers, who increasingly are about going big or going home.

Still, small independent game developers offer plenty of interesting insights into the overall game development ecosystem. Here are some of the takeaways.

Rhythm Heaven on Earth in the ER: Rhythm Doctor Demo (fizzd)

December 29, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

rhythm doctor.pngThe Rhythm Doctor tech demo is a browser-based, one-button tap game with very strict timing and a very silly story. Heavily inspired by Rhythm Heaven, players simply tap the life-saving button with a creepy long hand on every seventh beat.

The rhythm sometimes changes, and the later songs add one or two extra beats to keep. Scoring an "A" grade unlocks the three songs' remixed versions. The first remix is a harder dubstep track that sounds substantially different - the second remix, not so much. With enough practice, I proudly earned the title "interracial love guru" in my play through.

Indies met challenges, learned lessons in 2012

December 28, 2012 5:00 PM | Staff

dearesthersmall.jpgRecently, I spoke to a number of well-known independent game developers to find out if they too shared the sense that this has been an extraordinary year for indie games. Part of that conversation focused on the lessons other small teams might learn, as indie games move from niche to mass-market, via digital distribution hubs on consoles, mobile and PC.

What have they learned this year as they strove to get their games noticed? How have they been able to find success?

Maintain the indie spirit

Derek Yu, creator cave-exploration hit Spelunky says this year has seen a big improvement in the core issue of getting games out there. "Funding and distribution have always been a big issue for small teams but thankfully that's becoming better as more indie-friendly channels open up," he says.

Alpha Game Pick: Super Tower Rush

December 28, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

super tower rush.pngSuper Tower Rush for Windows came out of nowhere and plays as a rather fun local versus platformer. The first player to reach the bottom of the tower or to put ten floors of distance between the two racers wins.

The crazy combat comes from using all sorts of tricks and magic spells to slow down the other player. Players can amplify and prolong those spells by spending coins collected on the downward journey. When players feel stuck, they can often dig their way to the bottom at a timely cost.

Alpha Demo: Retro Arcade Adventure Remade (Siactro)

December 28, 2012 7:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

If you thought the gameplay video posted above reminded you of a certain 16-bit SNES adventure, worry not. You are making sense. Retro Arcade Adventure Remade is indeed using the SNES palette and sporting some 16-bit sounding tunes. Oh, yes, and it definitely looks quite a bit like Zelda, despite essentially being a rather pure and, judging by its alpha demo, promising action game that impressively sports a power-up letting your character morph into a dragon.

Download the RAAR demo here [direct download] and keep an eye on its development via facebook.

Teaser Trailer: The Bum (Gribbler)

December 27, 2012 8:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw



Gribbler's first point&click adventure is centered around the exploits of a a not-quite-sane homeless man. Instead of communicating with other people in a traditional fashion, he talks to folk with the assistance of a green sock puppet. Yup. According to its developer, The Bum will revolve around the titular character's attempts at recovering his ball after a bully leaves with it.

More details can be found here.

Browser Game Pick: Pineapple Dreams (Sergey Mohov)

December 27, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

pineapple dreams.pngYes, time for another ludum dare 25 game; can't help it if this jam's theme of villainy was such a success and devs seemed to really enjoy it and manage to come up with hundreds of mostly great games. Pineapple Dreams is, quite obviously, one of the most interesting and enjoyable ones I've come across, while simultaneously being a rather refreshing take on the arena shmup sub-genre in that it doesn't really involve any shooting whatsoever. Does sport quite a bit of baseball bat swinging though. some successfully stylized graphics and quite a bit of jumping.

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