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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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Play folk games on the fly with Tiny Games app

April 3, 2013 11:05 PM | Staff

Play is fundamentally something people do together, and yet there's arguably been a loss of intimacy since multiplayer gaming's gone online and into social media, with interactions offloaded either into an anonymous space or into a hollow network of insistent notifications.

In-person folk games designed for event spaces have caught the interest of so many players and designers in recent years because they engage people with groups and incorporate live, spontaneous moments, but the setup and planning they often require reduces their accessibility -- they're only available to the players who are able to be present at the right time and place.

Catequesis teaser nails its 'Japanese terror' and '8-bit retro survival horror' themes

April 3, 2013 11:48 AM | John Polson

Curved Cat Games (Tales of Pocoro) and Pakarico Games have teamed up and released the above teaser trailer for action RPG Survival Horror Story: Catequesis, scheduled to release on PC, Mac, Linux, and Android this fall. The game is about a religious ritual gone bad, all in the attempt to rid the player's girlfriend's father of an incurable disease.

The developers blog that "the story of Catequesis has been inspired by 8-bit and 16-bit mid-nineties video games, taking elements from Japanese terror, Catholic religion and so dissimilar authors' styles as Lovecraft, David Lynch or David Cronenberg." Additionally, "the game shows the ambience of the first Resident Evil and Silent Hill and provides the playability of the early Legend of Zelda, which means a simple and agile way of playing, suitable for any kind of platform (keyboard, touch screen, control pad)."

For more info, check out the game's blog.

GDC/PAX East Catch-up Part 2: Home, Kentucky Route Zero devs' next plans

April 2, 2013 2:00 PM | John Polson

[Over the next two days, the blog will share some of the most interesting news found around the internet from GDC 2013 and PAX East 2013. The two conferences occurred back-to-back, spanning March 22 to March 29. Here is the second part of the highlights, starting with the above GDC 2013 time lapse from indie friend and video editor, Kert Gartner.]

Joystiq on 'Home' creator Benjamin Rivers wants to make a psychological dating sim "Like Home, Rivers' next game will likely still be two-dimensional and will focus on psychologically influencing the player in subtle ways, though this time the goal will be to induce emotional attachment to a fictional character, rather than instill terror."

Release: Dominique Pamplemousse (Deirdra Kiai)

April 2, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

The first of the crowd-funded point-and-click adventures I have supported, Deirdra Kiai's utterly unique Dominique Pamplemousse, has been released and even comes complete with a most handy demo. The game, a musical take on politics and noir, sports black-and-white stop motion animated graphics, characters that keep on singing their lines, some lovely, jazzy music and a ton of smart ideas. Oh, and I am so far loving it.

Dominique Pamplemousse in "It's All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!" is available for Windows, Mac and iPad.

How can game music feel as meaningful as a live experience?

April 1, 2013 3:59 PM | Staff

audio_jury_vreeland.jpgRich "Disasterpeace" Vreeland (Fez) notes music has always been as impermanent as life -- a performance was heard once, then gone forever. "This impermanence has great potential to create meaning," he says. "If you go to a really good show, the event you're witnessing may even feel important somehow."

The accessibility of recorded music changes that relationship; video game music accustoms us to listening to loops. But could games imitate the impermanence of live music?

It's a useful question to think about: Suppose there was a great game that took only 15 minutes to play, where interactions felt fresh and you could replay the experience as many times as you liked and still get something out of it. But if that game had only one piece of looping music, it would blunt the uniqueness of each interaction.

"Why would you do this to your player?" Vreeland says. "Why would you... invite someone to hear something so much that it's rendered completely meaningless?"

GDC/PAX East Catch-up Part 1: N+, Cart Life, Hotline Miami follow-ups

April 1, 2013 9:00 AM | John Polson

GDC13.jpg[Over the next two days, the blog will share some of the most interesting news found around the internet from GDC 2013 and PAX East 2013. The two conferences occurred back-to-back, spanning March 22 to March 29. Here is the first part of the highlights:]

Joystiq on Papo and Yo devs confront more monsters in next game, Silent Enemy "It's an exploration and puzzle game in mind for PC, tablets, Ouya, PS4 and possibly other platforms by the end of the year... [weaving] a subtle story about the hopelessness, weakness and determination that victims of bullying regularly face."

Metanet Software on The Year of N, For Real This Time "N v2.0 features some new and some classic levels, local 2P co-op, level-sharing, highscores and some new "fun-lockables" (TM), including Arcade Mode... N++ will fill a different niche, and allow us to explore some avenues we're excited about that don't work in the web version."

Wired on Kickstarted, $99 Game Console Ouya Will Launch June 4 "The interface is simple, just a menu of four words: Play, Discover, Make and Manage. The latter lets you adjust the system settings; the first is a list of the games you own. It's in the middle two options where things get interesting."

Joystiq on Cart Life follow-up, Blood of the Ortolan, sets the table in a few weeks "It's about food," Hofmeier said. "It's a food-themed murder mystery in the way that Cart Life is a retail simulation. I haven't said much about it yet because I don't want to over-promise and under-deliver, which I did with Cart Life."

The evolving coverage of indie games

March 31, 2013 10:00 PM | Staff

rob fearon.png

By Robert Fearon

It seems to me we’re in a weird position right now with indie games and the press.

It’s never been easier for more people to get their work on a site somewhere. It’s never been easier to get your five minutes of the day as the top post on a site somewhere.

This is a tremendously good thing.

There’s a few non-indie specific sites that really help get games out there to the mainstream, stand up RockPaperShotgun, stand up Eurogamer, stand up Edge, all of whom have widened the net even more so that games can be exposed to all manner of people.

This is a tremendously good thing.

I like that Indie Statik, Free Indie Games, Venus Patrol and many many more all exist.

This is a tremendously good thing.

The press has, generally speaking, never been more accessible to indie devs. More open to talking to them and in a perverse sort of way, never more eager to get news from their loud mouths.

This is a tremendously good thing also.

With all that said, I'm concerned that somewhere, we're losing something in the more mainstream indie friendly press. Something not quite so obvious.

Capy on the relevancy of premium games in a F2P-dominated economy

March 31, 2013 7:40 PM | Staff

nathanvellasmall.jpgThere remain compelling opportunities for 'paid for' games in the mobile space despite the continued rise of F2P games, according to Nathan Vella Co-Founder & President of Capy, the creator of premium games like Critter Crunch and Sword & Sworcery.

Speaking at GDC 2013, Vella argued that, while an estimated 66% of revenue generated in the App Store in 2013 was from free-to-play games, around $2 billion came from paid games.

The argument that "paid apps are dead" is disingenuous, Vella said. "There is still a huge amount of opportunity in paid games - so long as you find the right game for the business model."

Vella argued that there are lots of niche genres with fans who are willing to pay for games up front when they appear. "Many players don't even know they want a game in a particular niche till one arrives," he said citing iOS titles The Room and Year Walk as games that have found vast success over the past few months despite being idiosyncratic titles that don't easily fit within an established genre.

Wonderputt dev Damp Gnat teases a style-glistening Icycle sequel

March 31, 2013 3:17 PM | John Polson

The fantastic Wonderputt developer Damp Gnat has revealed a follow up to the 2009 hit Icycle, coming soon to web browsers and iOS. In Icycle: On Thin Ice, players will now be able to pedal backwards as well as forward as they navigate dangerous, difficult, and gorgeous landscapes while collecting ice shards. Other items, such as the floating umbrella, add to the game's platforming mechanics.

According to a Modojo interview with creator Reece Millidge, the iOS version will be $0.99 and will be a continuation of the 12-level free Flash version. The iOS version will have extra content like bonus levels and dream levels. The level length has increased almost 3x, too.

While waiting for the next Icycle game to release, be sure to enjoy the original for free.

[source: @dampgnat]

The five reasons freemium sucks (according to QWOP's developer)

March 30, 2013 1:36 PM | Staff

bennettfoddysmall.jpgDesigner Bennett Foddy of QWOP and GIRP fame counts five major reasons why the free to play model doesn't work well in its current incarnation, but suggests that by being creative with microtransactions, designers have the chance to do better work.

1. They're pay not to play, really. Foddy believes lots of freemium games give players the choice between paying or grinding -- "which suggests you might want to pay money to reduce the amount of time you spend playing the game," he notes. "Not playing the game is the 'luxury option'... [and] ultimately reduces the value players see in the game."

2. There's no level playing field. If some players are playing with different rules and others, you can't meaningfully compare their experiences. "If somebody is buying progress, or advantages from the IAP store, they're just cheating," Foddy says. "It's like you're selling players steroids to cheat with."

3. It corrupts the experience. Seeking real money from players during the gameplay breaks immersion, Foddy believes. "In my view, a really good game has a particular relationship with the player," he says. "In a freemium game, it's relating to you more as a vendor, or a drug dealer."

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