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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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My Secret Hideout: Andrew Plotkin's Intriguing Interactive iPad Toy

September 19, 2011 12:00 AM | Tim W.

You might recall late last year when Andrew 'Zarf' Plotkin (The Dreamhold), a veteran from the Interactive Fiction space, raised over $30,000 in donations as part of his "mad plan" to quit his job, become a full-time game designer, and work on"interactive alchemical interplanetary thriller" Hadean Lands.

He still intends to launch Hadean Lands to iOS devices before the end of the year (and possibly for Andriod and Kindle eventually), but he's put out another release in the meantime: My Secret Hideout, an interactive narrative title for the iPad, which is meant to be more a toy than a puzzle or game.

"This is an experiment in procedural text generation," explains Plotkin. "You build a tree on one side of the screen; as you do, a description of a magical treehouse appears on the other side. Every change you make causes different possibilities to unfold. You'll find new details, new rooms, and new vistas every time you try it."

You can purchase My Secret Hideout now on your iPad for $2.99 -- not that much for a creative experience that isn't really like anything I've seen before. Also, playing this requires much less effort than building your actual dream secret hideout, and there's "like ten million googol combinations" for your treehouse.

Kickstarter Projects: Notch (Bunch of Circles)

September 18, 2011 9:57 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Before we go any further, let me assure you that this has absolutely nothing to do with Minecraft. That said, I'm just going to take a moment here to express how delighted I am to stumble across an intriguing Kickstarter that is not exclusive to the mobile platform. An open world steampunk MMORPG, Notch's aesthetics remind me a lot of Ankama's Wakfu and SuperGiant Games's Bastion. Intended for both the PC and the mobile platform, Notch is apparently going to allow you to collaborate to build entire worlds. To quote the Kickstarter page, "Instead of killing boars or delivering magical amulets, you'll be creating your own villages, cities, religions and even governments. As you progress in the game, more advanced buildings will become available to you, going from farms and mud houses to holograms and space stations."

Does that sound intriguing to you? Because it does to me. I'm not really sure how much I fancy the whole 'location-based social networking application' bit or the Farmville reference in an interview that they conducted with Nerd-Age.

But, still! It's worth a gander and a dollar if you're so inclined towards helping out. Check out the Kickstarter page here.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of September 16

September 16, 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 Volition, ReSpawn Entertainment, Square Enix, Sega, and more.

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:

Volition: Lead Combat Designer:
"Volition is one of THQ’s premier internal game development studios. We are the creators of such franchises as Saints Row, Red Faction, and the Descent/Freespace series. We have most recently released the highly successful Saints Row 2 and Red Faction Guerrilla. We offer a casual work environment, a comprehensive benefits package, and the opportunity to have fun developing awesome games."

Respawn Entertainment: QA Lead:
"Founded in 2010, Respawn Entertainment is an independent video game development studio based in Van Nuys, California that will focus on creating state-of-the-art gaming experiences for global audiences. The studio was formed by Jason West and Vince Zampella, former co-founders of Infinity Ward and creators of the multi-billion dollar Call of Duty franchise."

Indiecade Festival Names 36 Finalists For October Show

September 16, 2011 9:00 AM | Michael Rose

indiecade.jpgThe organizers of the fifth annual Indiecade Festival have chosen 36 finalists from nearly 450 indie game submissions to be playable on the event's GameWalk October 8 and 9 in Culver City, CA.

The chosen titles range from professional projects like Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip Flux to more amateur efforts like Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure, a game designed by Untold Entertainment founder Ryan Creighton's five-year-old daughter at the annual TOJam festival.

Other prominent entrants include Superbrothers' iOS exploration title Sword & Sworcery EP, Demruth's surreal first-person puzzler Anitchamber, Polytron Corp.'s 2D/3D hybrid platformer Fez and fast-paced Rogue-like Desktop Dungeons.

All 36 finalists will be up for prizes at a Red Carpet Awards ceremony to be held Thursday, October 6.

Last year's IndieCade Festival saw 32 finalists, with prize winners including Terry Cavanagh's gravity-defying platform title VVVVVV and "documentary game" The Cat and the Coup.

The 2011 finalists are listed just after the cut, and a full listing with detailed descriptions of each title is available at the IndieCade web site.

Best of GameSetWatch: From Jeff Goldblum To Zanda: Linked Swords

September 14, 2011 7:00 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 release of Zanda: Linked Swords on iOS, a humorous message to gamers from Jeff Goldblum in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and overreactions to the Nintendo 3DS Expandion Slide Pad reveal.

GameSetWatch's highlights from the last week:

Who Needs iOS Zelda When There's Zanda: Linked Swords By Top Best Adult Entertainment? - Since the chances of Nintendo porting any of its beloved franchises to a rival platform like iOS are next to nil, the closest thing you can get to playing Nintendo-style games is downloading homages and knock-offs from other developers, like Zanda: Linked Swords.

Jeff Goldblum With A Message For Gamers - This is what you seen when you complete The Lost World: Jurassic Park for the PS1 and Sega Saturn, based upon the movie of the same name obviously. The thing is, he plays no actual role in the game. The producers specifically got one of the film's stars to make a surprise appearance, and what does he do? Insults the player.

Banned iPhone Title Phone Story Released For Android

September 14, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose

phonestory.jpgFollowing the news that Apple has removed indie developer Molleindustria's latest game from the App Store due to a violation of Apple's review guidelines, the game has now been released on the Android Market.

The game was designed by the studio to highlight workers' rights issues in the supply chain and production of Apple's iPhone, with a collection of minigames showing each step of the process.

Shortly after the game was announced and made available for purchase on the App Store yesterday, MolleIndustria tweeted that it had been removed for violating four separate app store review guidelines.

The cited guidelines prohibit apps that "depict violence or child abuse," "present objectionable or crude content," "contain false, fraudulent of misleading representations" or fail to "comply with all legal requirements."

Molleindustria has now released the game for Android devices. The content in the game is the same as the original iPhone release.

Paolo Pedercini from Molleindustria spoke with Gamasutra earlier today, explaining, "A lot of tech-aware people heard about the story of the Foxconn suicides or about the issue of electronic waste."

"But with Phone Story, we wanted to connect all these aspects and present them in the larger frame of technological consumerism."

Interview: Molleindustria On Phone Story's 'Objectionable' Message

September 14, 2011 9:00 AM | Michael Rose

paolo_pedercini.jpg[Following the news that Molleindustria's latest game Phone Story had been removed from the App Store by Apple, Leigh Alexander from sister site Gamasutra talked to dev Paolo Pedercini about what the team plans to do next.]

The rise of the iPhone has revolutionized communication in the modern world, and the game development industry has been one of the largest beneficiaries of this paradigm shift. Thanks to Apple's touch screen and App Store, mobile game development was dredged from its cultural ghetto to a legitimate avenue for big studios and indies alike.

It arrived in the nick of time, too, after the rapid contraction of packaged goods and the recession of a few years ago forced so many developers to seek more agile, less expensive and lower-risk spaces within the industry. Since then, powerhouse studios have been built and careers have been rescued on the back of Apple's must-have device.

But until now, few have been willing to turn the lens on this boom and examine what mass-market gadget lust is costing us ethically. Though we've since heard of suicides at Foxconn, deplorable working conditions and hazards to the environment involved in the manufacture of the latest hot smartphones, game developers were mostly silent -- until now.

It seems natural that provocative serious games developer Molleindustria was the one to take the step. The studio, which has taken on forces like the Catholic church, McDonalds and Big Oil with games like Operation Pedopriest, McDonalds Video Game and Oiligarchy, never pulls its punches as it uses games to sharply deconstruct the social and economic constructs most people take for granted.

Its latest title, Phone Story, uses a series of minigames with voice-over narration to shed light on the human cost and high environmental impact of smartphone development on. In one, while the narrator explains that most electronic devices require the mining of coltan, a conflict mineral in Congo whose demand spurs war and child labor, the player must use the touch screen to guide armed soldiers to bark at exhausted child miners in order to meet the goal in time.

Kickstarter Projects: Zombies, RUN!

September 13, 2011 8:58 PM | Cassandra Khaw

I know. It's yet another Kickstarter Project looking for funding for a game that is only operational on the mobile platform. Nonetheless, ZOMBIES, RUN! has a better excuse than most. As it stands, most desktop computers and laptops are incapable of charting your progress when you're out for a jog - never mind how difficult it would be to maintain a decent pace while clinging onto a ginormous CPU!

Jokes aside, ZOMBIES, RUN! is a pretty intriguing concept. You're Runner 5; one of the many people within a zombie-infested world that has been tasked to salvage food and supplies. In order to do so, you'll have to do what the game has been engineered to encourage: run. As you navigate through a variety of missions, you'll slowly unlock a larger story, one delivered through voice recordings and radio messages. On top of that, it looks like there's also a pseudo-resource management game in ZOMBIES, RUN! where you can choose how you might want the supplies you collect distributed.

To assist in the Kickstarter project, you can check out the site here.

Phone Story: New Game From Molleindustria

September 13, 2011 1:00 PM | Michael Rose

phonestory.jpg[Update: Seems like I was right with my suggestion of rushing to grab it - Apple has now taken it down! According to a tweet from Molleindustria: "Phone Story was removed from the app store without explanation", followed by, "According to Apple, Phone Story violates: 15.2, 16.1, 21.1, 21.2"]

Did you ever wonder where your smartphone came from? Of course you didn't - why would you. Molleindustria, the devs behind the likes of Every Day the Same Dream and Inside a Dead Skyscraper, would like you to stop for a moment and think about it. By playing its new iPhone game.

Taking the form of four minigames, Phone Story follows the journey of your phone from its conception as raw materials to its assembly. The game's blurb states: "Compete with market forces in an endless spiral of technological obsolescence." In case you hadn't twigged yet, it's a little dark.

All of the proceeds (minus Apple's cut) will go towards grassroot organisations. I'm not sure how Apple let this one through, but you should grab it quickly in case they change their minds.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of September 9

September 9, 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 Riot Games, Turbine, Unknown Worlds Entertainment, and more.

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:

Unknown Worlds Entertainment, Inc.: UI/FX Artist:
"Unknown Worlds is an independent game company in downtown San Francisco, CA. Our goal is simple, but not easy - to unite the world through play. We believe multiplayer games can bring people together, especially through diverse player roles. Previously, we've worked on titles such as Titan Quest, Titan Quest: Immortal Thone, Empire Earth (two million copies sold), Mindrover (PC Gamer 89%), and Lair. We made and released Natural Selection for Half-Life in 2002, which was played for over 2 billion player-minutes and put us on the map."

Disney Online Studios: Game Designer:
"Disney Online Studios produces immersive, online virtual worlds for kids and families, filled with games, adventures, parties, and special events. Guided by an unwavering commitment to safety and creativity, Disney Online Studios' virtual worlds offer continuously updated content and endless hours of online fun in rich, story-based environments with properties such as Disney Club Penguin, the #1 kids' virtual world destination and the newly launch World of Cars Online, based on the popular Disney*Pixar franchise."

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