Hot Indie Games Ichiban Posts

CryEngine 3: Now Everyone Can Make a Game As Good As Crysis 2… For Free

Crysis 2 is the current standard for high-quality graphics in video games. No other game looks so smooth, so colorful, so... ultra-real. German developer Crytek has built their reputation on PC game technology to the limit, and the CryENGINE 3 graphics engine they used to make Crysis 2 might be the most powerful tool for creating 3D video game graphics on Earth. As of yesterday, it's also free for anyone, yourself included, to download from Crytek's website here.

News: Double Fine Improves the Psychonauts Meat Circus!

Anyone who likes shooters is going to hate me for saying this: the best game of the 2000's for me was Psychonauts by Double Fine Studios. It came out in 2005 for the original Xbox, achieving critical acclaim, but never selling very well due to its sheer kookiness and poor marketing. Over the ensuing years it has become a cult classic, with downloadable re-releases on Xbox 360 (sadly no longer available). PC has allowed gamers who missed out on the original to bask in its ageless glory.

The Aether: Welcome to Minecraft Heaven

Minecraft has been out nearly two years now. Hard to believe, isn't it? Fans of the game have been spoiled with a lot of new content over that span from its creator Notch, as well as its modders. A couple months ago, Notch tortured the Minecraft community by tweeting some screens of a "Sky Kingdom" that he was working on.

News: Portal Free to Download for a Limited Time!

Portal is game design milestone. Originally only available bundled in with larger cousins Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 in The Orange Box, its creators, Valve Software, changed what first person gameplay could be. It's been a stand alone product for much of the four years since its release, but never an expensive one, usually available for $5 on Steam (also created by Valve). If that barrier to entry was too high for you, or you just never got around to trying it, there are no more excuses....

News: BioShock's Libertarian 'Rapture' of the Deep Evolves into Real-Life Seastead Cities

BioShock is one of the best games of all time. It combines FPS gameplay with RPG storytelling and supports multiple systems better than any other game, that much is for sure. And the setting of its amazing story is a place called Rapture, a high-tech libertarian colony at the bottom of the Atlantic built by Andrew Ryan, a greying industrialist clearly inspired by John Galt and his creator Ayn Rand, the mother of Objectivism and modern American libertarianism in general. Ryan is a Soviet exile...

News: Goodbye Takahashi Meijin, World's Fastest Button-Presser

Pressing the button on a video game controller quickly is like running the 100 meter dash. Both require dedication and a precise exercise regime. There is also an odd quality about both in which the range between the very best and complete neophyte is tiny. Sprinter Usain Bolt holds the record in the 100 meter run at 9.58 seconds, only three seconds faster than I ran in freshmen high school track. And yet there are thousands of sprinters from a hundred years of Olympic competition in between ...

Super Marrow Brothers: The Story of the Greatest Pun Ever

Playing Super Mario Brothers for the NES is the first thing I can ever remember doing, at age 3 sitting on the carpet at my grandparents' house. It was a special game for an entire generation, including British youths Andrej and Adam Zamoyski. It inspired them to eventually become video game testers and designers themselves; Andrej at Lionhead Studios and Adam at Headstrong Games, and then Zynga Mobile UK (until recently called Wonderland Software, developers of Godfinger for the iPhone).

News: Child Molesters and Sexy Fighters: A Study of Video Game Commercials

The Kinect for Xbox 360 and PlayStation Move might be fun to play with, but people do not look very cool while they're doing it. Air guitar is not particularly flattering (even if done on stage), and neither is air-anything else, as pleasurable as it might be. This is why I find it strange that a group of admen somewhere in the world think these kinds of commercials would appeal to anyone.

News: Indie and Mainstream Online Games Shut Down by LulzSec

Anybody who spends most of their day on the internet should know all about lulz. Lulz are most often jokes made at the expense of web users, as popularized on 4Chan. Today, a consortium of hackers called LulzSec is attempting (and in some cases succeeding) in efforts to shut down some of the games that offer web users a giant share of their online fun. World of Warcraft, League of Legends, EVE Online, and Bethesda Softworks have all been targeted by LulzSec's hacking efforts in the last week,...

News: Did George Plimpton Make a Falconry Game for ColecoVision?

George Plimpton may be one of the most interesting Americans ever. Foremost a sports journalist, he was also a novelist, Fireworks Commissioner for New York City and host of Mouseterpiece Theater. Some of you may also recognize him as one of the men who tackled Robert F. Kennedy's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan. But most of you probably remember him as the pitchman for products like Pop Secret Popcorn and the Intellivision video game console. Actually, his most appreciated work would probably be a s...

Dungeon Defenders: Heaven for Hardcore Gamers

Dungeon Defenders is the most exciting craft game on the Fall 2011 release schedule. I got a chance to play it at PAX in August and interviewed developers Trendy Entertainment last month. After more than a year of publishing difficulty and delay, the game finally came out on PSN, XBLA and Steam. I put about 20 hours into the XBLA version over the past weekend, beating all the campaign maps and racking up a huge pile of in-game money. It is not a perfect game. But it is a huge, challenging, an...

News: Finally! A Practical Use for Arcade Game Skills

Most kids who play video games will never become professional gamers. Those that do are part of a very select group— it's like being a professional actor or athlete. It's nice work if you can get it. For everyone else, the sad realization usually arrives sooner or later that time spent playing games might not have the practical rewards that homework or working hard at your job might deliver.

News: Has Chain World's Journey from Game to Religious Icon Ended?

At GDC 2011 this past March, three of the world's best game designers participated in a contest called Game Design Challenge. Each presented their vision for a game that fit the prompt "Bigger than Jesus: games as religion" before an audience, with applause to determine the winner. Jenova Chen, John Romero, and Jason Rohrer all spoke, and Rohrer won in a landslide with his revolutionary game called Chain World.

News: Moshi Monsters Rise from Indie Game to Kiddie Empire

Four years ago Mind Candy was a pretty small game company. They were best known for their revolutionary but short lived ARG Perplex City, and had no other successful franchises to fall back on when that ended. Their plan to save it? Start a free online social game for children ages 7-12 called Moshi Monsters, where kids can create monster pets, raise them, and socialize with one another in a controlled, safe environment.

News: The Good and the Ugly of Console Controller Add-Ons

Video game controllers are our windows into the soul of the machine, our sole means of interacting with them. More often than not, consumers seem displeased by their controllers; it's comforting to blame sticky, poorly laid out buttons for messing up your game than your own lacking skills. The original "fatty" Xbox controller was so large it caused mass consternation and prompted Microsoft to replace it with a smaller version in a matter of months.

PAX Prime: A Video Game Convention That's Actually Fun

There are a lot of fantastic video games out there. Indie Games Ichiban's bread and butter is making sure that you steer clear of the bad ones and embrace the good. But really, the biggest goal here is to help everyone have more fun. To that end, today a game is not recommended, but an event. If you like games—not just video games—but tabletop, board and even hopscotch, then PAX Prime is one of the best events you could possibly go to.

News: Cybord Virus

Enter the dark and surreal world of Cyborg Virus. Use your hook-shot and electrifying abilities to defeat cybernetic viruses at the molecular level! Also features an online high score board. Do you have what it takes to defeat the main virus and save humanity?

News: PopCap Bought by EA, Earns $750 Million Bonus Points

Electronic Arts is the biggest game publisher in the world, and have been for years. And yet, their only successful internally developed games nowadays are the EA Sports mega-franchises like Madden. Most of their success has stemmed from their ability to buy other companies on their way up, squeeze the creativity out of them, and then sell them to someone else or just let them go. This week they made their largest acquisition ever when they purchased PopCap Games for $750 million upfront—as m...

News: Totally Rad Shows Gnarly Side of Localization

Localizing a game is a task many do not fully understand. Not only do localizers have to translate the games they work on into a different language, but they have to translate it into a different culture as well. Oftentimes art assets, plot elements, and menu systems are changed to suit regional sensitivities. Japanese media tends to have their common drunkard characters removed or censored in American versions, for example.

News: Minecraft, Meet Terraria

Minecraft was first released just a few years ago, but when a paradigm-shifting piece of media comes along the rest of the world is quick to take inspiration from it. The absolutely terrible XBLA knock-off FortressCraft was the first, and last month a much more interesting game called Terraria came out on Steam for $9.99. It is clearly inspired by Minecraft, and there is a long checklist of identical features. It is, nonetheless, a very different product, and just might be called the first in...

News: The World's Most Expensive Video Games and Consoles Ever

Most of the indie and vintage games discussed in Indie Games Ichiban are pretty cheap to purchase. They rarely top twenty bucks, which is one of the major advantages independent games have against their sixty-buck, major league counterparts. But if you think $60 for a game and $300 for a PS3 or Xbox 360 seems like a lot, then you haven't played Steel Battalion or seen the TurboExpress. They go above and beyond what normal gamers are willing to spend for questionably entertaining products. Her...

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