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.
This week's FIGRR is all about games that are old-new (or new-old, if you like) school. Each celebrates a different vital, yet largely taken for granted, aspect of video game history in the decidedly new-school world of indie games. Their titles betray them. Blocks That Matter is all about blocks. Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is all about item shops. Neither are particularly sexy aspects of gaming, but both are ubiquitous elements of great games that can stand on their own.
Thought this was cool, especially the video attached.
The United Kingdom has long been known as an international hub of yellow tabloid journalism. The News Of The World, one of the nation's largest tabloids, is famously in court right now because of the deplorable methods it used to acquire salacious information about interesting people. It appears, given their recent string of video game related reportage, that daily newspaper Metro has also had its fair share of morally dubious reporters on staff.
For more than a decade, free-to-play games with microtransactions (also called In-App Purchase or IAP) by which players can pay real money for in-game content have been the industry standard for online success in Asia. Mainstream American gamers have long resisted these "freemium" games, with World of Warcraft and other subscription based online games reigning supreme, and being seen as more AAA than their free-ish counterparts. Casual games developers have encountered no such problems, and m...
Epic Games announced today that the free version of Unreal Engine 3, Unreal Development Kit or UDK, is now compatible with Mac OS X. Apple users will now have access to arguably the most powerful piece of free game development software available in almost exactly the same way as their PC counterparts, minus some small tweaks.
Foldit is definitely a niche game. The sole gameplay mechanic is attempting to fold complex proteins into smaller and more efficient shapes following the rules of molecular physics and biology. Points are awarded based on how small one can make the protein. Online leaderboards track players' relative progress and allows them to view and manipulate other players' completed designs. It's original, certainly, but no developer is going to ship a million units of a game about molecular-level prote...
There wasn't a lot of huge news for Indie Games Ichiban to come out of TGS last weekend, but this is a whopper: Level-5 and Studio Ghibli's epic RPG Ni No Kuni is officially coming to America next year. No word on the 3DS version, but the PS3 one will be released in 2012 in North America in English, according to a press conference by principal developer Level-5.
No Time To Explain is the first game by two man indie developer tiny Build Games. It's a fun and very stylish platformer in it's own right, available for $10 from the tiny Build website. Articles about the game on RockPaperShotgun, Destructoid, and other prominent PC sites helped it develop substantial hype and raise more than $26,000 via Kickstarter to fund development.
Thanks to all who participated in our inaugural IGI Contest. Our goal was to come up with a new word for medium-priced downloadable games, and we have done just that. After reviewing the flurry of last-minute submissions, a winner has emerged. Congratulations, Mike Grimaldi! We will contact you to determine how you would like to receive your $10.
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....
I've been unreasonably excited about Dungeon Defenders (NOT DUNGEON DEFENDER!) for almost a year. Playing it at PAX did nothing to damper that enthusiasm. I had a chance this week to speak with co-founder/development director Jeremy Stieglitz and marketing diretor Philip Asher from Gainesville, Florida based developer Trendy Entertainment to find out a little more about the game, and how it came together.
For this week's review round-up, we bring you two games from opposite sides of the indie world. One is a free online hybrid shooter/platformer combining elements of Team Fortress 2 and Minecraft. The other involves driving jeeps around and shooting things as fast as possible. Both are great.
Since Angry Birds is apparently an "indie game", here's an interesting tidbit. Changsa, China's Window of the World theme park recently added an especially zeitgeisty activity to their collection of diverse attractions: a real-life Angry Birds game, which allows participants to catapult Angry Bird "balls" at targets using an actual slingshot.
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.
Asher Vollmer, of Colaboratory Games, talks about how developing games is hard. He and Sam Farmer have created some interesting looking games:
One of the biggest video games events of the year is about to happen in Japan tomorrow, when the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) kicks off. If you've never heard of it, just think of it as the E3 of the East—a video game extravaganza open to both businesses (Thursday and Friday) and the public (Saturday and Sunday). And even though it hasn't officially started, TGS has already released some grand announcements, specifically about Nintendo's future lineup and a precipitous drop in their share prices.
The Zelda series has always had phenomenal music. In honor of its 25th anniversary, a 70 piece orchestra and choir will preform a selection of songs from the legendary games at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles on Friday, October 21st. It's a bit pricey, but also could be a once-in-a-lifetime game music experience.
We love you. Yes, you, esteemed reader. Your attention is what keeps Indie Games Ichiban World going, and we'd like to thank you for that, every single week. How? With $10!
Epic is sponsoring a 48-hour Unreal Engine development jam at University of Bedforhsire starting November 4th. The event will be a great chance for anyone with the means of attending to practice learning to use the biggest engine in game development with help from the people who made it. Click through to read the details and register.
Dead Island is known for having the most successful trailer of any game ever. It was a beautiful cinematic experience. But sadly, as details of the game itself emerged, and after it was shown at conventions around the world, doubt began to set in about whether this five-year-long project would live up to the hype.
We've all seen FOX News commentators get worked up about silly non-issues. It occurs more than we'd like, but what happened last week on popular morning show FOX and Friends was not only a misleading and pointless attack on video games, it was an unintelligible attack on a mediocre and forgotten game from 2007, along with a handful of recent indies that no FOX and Friends viewers, or any of their close family members, had ever heard of before this broadcast.
Like a great acting performance, making a really good game is all about choices. While creating or playing a game, those involved have to constantly make small choices that will affect the outcome, either positively or negatively. And the only thing worse than choosing wrongly is not choosing at all. Too many games, especially today, stick to what they're supposed to do from the get-go and avoid making difficult, small, meaningful choices to differentiate themselves and make their performance...
When I started reading this story, I never imagine that it would have a video game angle. It does. A heartwarming one at that. You KNOW CNN paid more than $250 for those photos. Enjoy your Playstation, Gustav.
It's one of the greatest fears among parents and politicians the world over—video game violence spilling out into reality. The shooting at Columbine and the more recent tragedy in Utøya, Norway have touched deep nerves in Western consciousness. And that's why there's a giant pink, juggling elephant in the corner of every production meeting and press conference for each shooter game that comes out.
As previously reported here, CryTek's immensely powerful CryEngine is now free and available for all. CryEngine is, however, incredibly complex and powerful. If you need a little help using it, and if you've tried to you probably do, check out this excellent series of tutorial videos.
The used video game market represents a huge portion of retail game sales. It's the only avenue in which most people can afford to buy AAA games. But game publishers aren't exactly big fans of used game sales, since they only benefit from gamers buying new ones. GameStop and Best Buy are huge corporate interests, so EA and the rest of the big publishers out there have not been able to push them around on the issue of used game sales... so far.
Big Block Games has a pretty good indie track record. They've spent years developing their fun free-roving space game, Black Market, which is still in Beta. And they've spent just as much time with their much simpler, but fully completed physics platformer, Super Goblin War Machine. Their newest endeavor is called Coffee Break Hero. It sets itself apart from the other games, not so much by the game itself, which has only been in development for four days, but by its unique execution. Big Bloc...
Big news from the world of game development engines. For several years, Unity3D has been the free 3D game development engine of choice for aspiring and indie game designers around the world. While it isn't as powerful as Unreal Engine 3 or CryEngine, it's free and much easier to use. Now, according to an announcement made by Unity yesterday, Unity 3D is about to unleash a huge weapon that neither of those other engines can claim: Flash compatibility.
Studio Ghibli is the most well known anime feature film studio in the world. For over 26 years, their films have represented the peak of mainstream anime, and since Disney began distributing their films in America back in 1997, they've become a household name here in the States—not just in Japan. In 2001, they even bested Disney and Pixar, taking home a Best Animated Feature Film Academy Award for Spirited Away. Eight years later, Ghibli and Fukuoka-based developer Level-5 announced that they...
It's been a busy week here at Indie Games Ichiban, between attending PAX and breaking news stories about Stabyourself and Playdead Studios, that there's been relatively little time for some honest, good old-fashioned game playing. But time was made and here are two excellent indie games of varying age and platform with two very different themes.
Many of the indie games featured at PAX Prime have been in development for years. That's how long it takes to make a great game. But the two-man development studio in eastern Europe called Stabyourself has existed for less than a year and has already created two games—three more are on the way. They may be spitting out games left and right, but they've got a few to be excited about.
Danish developer Playdead has made only one game, a little indie, side-scrolling, puzzle platformer called Limbo. It just happens to be far and away the best video game of that prominent genre (and perhaps the best indie game period) on the Xbox 360, and quite possibly for PlayStation 3 and PC, too. Critical and financial success has followed in droves, and today... Playdead has taken advantage of that success and indie-fied themselves even further by purchasing back the portion of the compan...
The war between horror movie monsters has been going on for the better part of the last century. We're talking vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies and mutant flying creatures, each of which has had their fair share of the limelight in film. But it comes and goes. Once moviegoers get an overdose of a particular monster, they aren't scared anymore, meaning it's time to move onto the next. So, Dracula goes away kicking and screaming, just to be replaced by Frankenstein and then werewolves. But...
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.
The small size of most indie game development teams is a strength, but also a weakness. It allows them to take risks and explore revolutionary ideas that a larger company could never justify to its shareholders, but also means they must navigate the game development labyrinth with minimal help, taking much longer than those with big development teams. Some of the most exciting indie games currently in development have been so for years, or look like they will be.
Every year at the big video game trade shows around the world, like E3 and gamescon, the big three console makers each do a hot-ticket exclusive press conference to let the media know what's coming for their system. Computer games have no such press conference. Who would give it if they did?
If you're between the ages of 20 and 40, then video arcades probably hold a special place in your heart. Whether you all but lived in one (me), wished you could, or detested those with a liking for them, there's no denying that arcades were a ubiquitous part of American culture. They were everywhere, from big chains to little mom-and-pops, housing better systems than gamers had at home and with all the best games and newest titles.
News: Until Project Rainfall Succeeds, We Must Hack the Wii for Xenoblade Chronicles in North America
For as much money as they've made from North American video game audiences over the years, Japanese game developers don't seem to have very much faith in them. Dozens of great titles from their 40 years in the industry have appeared in Japan and across Europe, oftentimes even in English. But they never make it over to America, like Mother 3, Last Window: Midnight Promise, Dragon Force 2, and Tobal No. 2 (that one didn't even hit Europe).
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...