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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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Best of GameSetWatch: From Peter Molydeux To The Simpsons

November 16, 2011 11:00 PM | Eric Caoili

[Every week GameSetWatch editor-in-chief Eric Caoili rounds up the latest news/media for obscure and offbeat games from's sister site and alternative video game blog.]

Over at our alt video game blog GameSetWatch, we shared a number of fun stories during the past week, including Peter Molydeux's survival horror/bowling concept, the Simpsons' visit to E4, and lots of Skyrim goofiness.

GameSetWatch's highlights from the last week:

Peter Molydeux Reinvents Gaming, Again, With "Cascore" Proof Of Concept - Twitter prankster @petermolydeux (purveyor of gaming satire; inspiration for high-concept Flash games) has finally bridged the gap between casual and core gamers. The solution? A survival horror bowling game, of course.

The Simpsons Check Out Latest Games At E4 - In the program's opening minutes, Homer takes Bart and Lisa on a special Saturday trip to the Expensive Electronic Entertainment Expo, where they're amazed by all the latest titles and hardware from Protovision, Chalmskin Interactive, Electronic Crafts, and Funtendo.

Why Amanita Design Brought 2009's Machinarium To iPad 2

November 16, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

"PC and Mac gaming is actually in a very good state, and it's perfect for indie developers." This sentiment from Amanita Design's founder and game designer, Jakub Dvorsky, is one that appears to be widely held among the indie game development community.

Another common sentiment is that the introduction of the iPhone and iPad has led to great, new avenues for developers. And so in September, Amanita Design brought Machinarium to iPad 2.

Amanita's delightful adventure game originally came out in 2009 on PC and Mac, and follows the journey of a little robot who's been thrown (literally) out of the city. Players help him find his way back in and discover a plot from the Black Cap Brotherhood to blow up the city's tower.

"We've been interested in tablets since the first iPad appeared. I love the idea of tablets as a gaming device -- it's similar to books or magazines," said Dvorsky in an interview with Gamasutra contributor Caleb Bridge. "You can play anywhere and especially in relaxed conditions."

Machinarium's slower pacing undoubtedly fits the description of a game that can be played in relaxed conditions, but the "play anywhere" part of that equation led Amanita Design into some technical difficulties, resulting in the tablet version of the game being an iPad 2 exclusive.

The biggest reason for this was the original iPad's 256MB of memory, particularly given only half of that could be put towards the actual game after system memory was taken into account.

GDC China: Capy's Vella To Indies: 'Risk Is A Critical Step To Making Money'

November 15, 2011 6:00 AM | Tim W.

Sword and Sworcery EP was a massive success on iOS, especially by indie standards, selling over 300,000 units in the first 6 months, almost all at full price. But on the face of it, one might not have expected it to succeed, said Nathan Vella, president of Capy Games.

"This was an extremely risky project," he said during his talk at the Independent Games Summit during GDC China 2011 in Shanghai. "What we did was do exactly the opposite of what you're supposed to do when you make an iOS game."

The game is long-form, took over a year, targets a very specific niche, and "the budget was around $200,000, which when dealing with an iOS project is nothing to sneeze at." But at the same time, Vella says the risks helped Sworcery stand out, and "had everything to do with the success of our game."

"When you're making a risky game, a game that sets out to do something different, you need to know it, accept it, and embrace it throughout the project," he adds. You should target that niche directly, and go for it aggressively. "I believe that iOS development, and specifically the scariest component of the massive success of iOS, is that it's taught everyone, especially independent developers, that you should target everyone," says Vella.

Co-op Game Pick & Giveaway: Greedy Bankers vs. The World (Alistair Aitcheson Games)

November 14, 2011 11:00 PM | John Polson

I'm a gamer married to a gamer and, for lack of variety, have gamer friends. While I enjoy a single player game, I'm always looking for those co-op titles to play, ideally on the same couch as my partner. I assume more indie gamers are out there like me who enjoy co-op. That's why I am starting this co-op game pick series.

The first co-op pick is 2011 Eurogamer Indie Arcade Finalist and iPad only Greed Bankers vs. The World from Alistair Aitcheson Games, a deluxe version of his iPhone title Greedy Bankers. Here Aitcheson takes multiple stabs at the ongoing real world capital chaos, but not in a way that bogs down the core, gem building and cashing-in gameplay. Traps and color-changing power-ups spice up the gem matching, too.

Greedy Bankers vs. The World has two modes for single player: story and arcade. The story mode has a few lines of dialogue before each stage and adds more stages the harder the level played. The arcade mode pits the player against the clock in a race to achieve a growing score goal as the rounds pass.

Whereas story mode's battles happen across two playing fields, the multiplayer area is shared by both players. Either can drag gems across enemy lines in an attempt to score or deceive. Players can adjust their own difficulty level to make it easier to play with newcomers. Players can also orientate the battle field such that they play side-by-side or on opposite ends, depending on how heated things get.

Zombie Panic In iOS-Land

November 12, 2011 2:00 AM | Tim W.

More and more developers that have released their titles to Nintendo's download platforms are porting them to iOS lately (e.g. WayForward's Shantae: Risky's Revenge, Powerhead's Glow Artisan), the latest being Zombie Panic in Wonderland, which debuted on WiiWare last year.

Spanish indie studio Akaoni posted this teaser image of Zombie Panic in Wonderland Plus, and says it's hoping to release the iOS version in time for Christmas. The photo shows a 0.2 beta build on an iPhone 3G -- so no worries about this being game for only 3GS-and-newer devices.

I'm unsure what extra content that Plus in the title entails, but the original was a pretty fun on-rails shooter featuring fable characters (Snow White, Alice, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.) blasting the undead. The premise is similar to Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ, which also needs an iOS port!

[Originally posted on sister site GameSetWatch.]

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of November 11

November 11, 2011 11:00 PM | Eric Caoili

In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at 343 Industries, Ubisoft, Tencent America, and others.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused alternative gaming news, independent games, and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Microsoft Game Studios - 343 Industries: Design Director:
"343 Industries is forging the future of Halo, expanding and building upon one of the most important and successful franchises in gaming history. Halo is a rich and exciting universe that encompasses AAA video games, New York Times best-selling novels, world-class animation and much, much more. Just you wait. 343 is set to revolutionize gaming and entertainment by putting the industry's fiercest talent in one room and diving for cover. Come be part of the awesome."

SuperBot Entertainment, inc.: Senior Game Designer:
"SuperBot Entertainment, Inc. is a fresh, new independent game studio located in way cool Culver City, California. We are an exclusive developer of Sony Computer Entertainment America and are currently in production of a yet-to-be announced PS3 title. SuperBot's exceptional - yet humble - crew is comprised of long-time industry veterans and creative powerhouses who have worked on some of the most groundbreaking and successful titles that the games industry has ever seen."

Trailer: Beat Sneak Bandit (Simogo)

November 11, 2011 9:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

The makers of Kosmo Spin and Bumpy Road are back with even more awesomeness. Beat Sneak Bandit is an upcoming stealth-rhythm game. Here, players must take on the role of the titular character and return all of the world's stolen clocks to their rightful owners.

It seems as though there'll be a lot of guards to inch past, a clockworm mansion to explore, self-destructive merchandise and maybe a talking frog. In short, Beat Sneak Bandit sounds like it's going to be more fun than a barrel of musical monkeys.

Unfortunately, it isn't anywhere near release just yet. Beat Snack Bandit is slated for a 2012 arrival.

Until then, here's the website.

Ironhide Game Studio's Kingdom Rush Rather Blatantly Cloned

November 11, 2011 6:15 PM | Cassandra Khaw


Okay. This is getting ridiculous. We've all been flabbergasted over the debacle with Ninja Fishing and Radical Fishing. We've facepalmed over the Swords & Soldiers clone. And the whole Angry Fish thing? The less that is said about it, the better. Nonetheless, this latest fiasco puts them all to shame.

Kingdom Rush, an exceptionally well-made tower defense game, by IronHide Games was recently and very badly cloned. No attempt was made to distinguish the game from the original. The culprits even went as far as to name their merchandise 'Kingdom Rush TD'. The folks at IronHide Games have been rightly outraged by the whole thing and have gone to arms about the matter. Unfortunately, Apple hasn't exactly responded yet.

I'm profoundly disturbed by the whole affair. Such problems arise all the time and there's little that can be done about it but bald-faced cloning of this caliber just makes me sad. Bleh, I say. Bleh. [UPDATE: So, it looks like Apple may have a heart. Kingdom Rush TD has been taken down!]

Full details of the subject can be found on the developer's website.

War On Terror Boardgame Coming To iOS

November 10, 2011 8:00 PM | Eric Caoili

TerrorBull's War On Terror, the controversial strategy board game satirizing geopolitics and the campaign referenced in the title, could be coming soon to the App Store as the first digital release from the Cambridge-based board/card game company.

The game plays like a mash-up of Risk, Settlers of Catan, and Monopoly, with the goal being to expand and lead your empire to "liberate the world, ridding it of fear and terrorism forever". Or you can "play as the terrorists, fighting for a world without empires".

It's a game filled with "suicide bombers, political kidnaps, intercontinental war, filthy propaganda, rampant paranoia and secret treaties". It's under review right now, and if all goes well (and if the reviewers aren't too offended by it), War on Terror should release on November 25.

[This article was originally posted on sister site GameSetWatch]

Best of GameSetWatch: From Cave To Kemco

November 9, 2011 11:00 PM | Eric Caoili

[Every week GameSetWatch editor-in-chief Eric Caoili rounds up the latest news/media for obscure and offbeat games from's sister site and alternative video game blog.]

Over at our alt video game blog GameSetWatch, we shared a number of fun stories during the past week, including the Cave Shooting Artworks Book, the resurfacing of Japanese developer Kemco, an SD Snatcher retranslation, and more.

GameSetWatch's highlights from the last week:

Kemco Is Alive, And It's Making RPGs For The iPhone - "Ever wonder what became of Japanese publisher Kemco? The company was fairly prolific during the 8 and 16-bit eras, publishing standout titles like Shadowgate, Rescue: The Embassy Mission, and the Crazy Castle series."

Cave Shooting Artworks Book Now Available - "Fans of Japanese shoot'em up artwork, particularly those of Cave, Softbank Creative has put out a new 160-page, full-color art book featuring illustrations from the manic shooter publisher's recent titles in Japan this week."

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