Indie Games Ichiban Features

News: Unity3D Could Change the Gaming World Now That It Has Flash

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.

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...

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: Super Mario Gets a Portal Gun in Stabyourself's Upcoming Mari0 Game

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.

News: Is the End Coming for Quadriplegic Gaming?

A century ago there wasn't much life available for quadriplegic people. Handicap accessibility was barely even a concept, and lacking medical technology kept any semblance of independence out of reach. Today those unfortunate enough to be paralyzed from the neck down have brighter prospects, but are still unable to participate in many activities. Video games are a great option for those who do not have the use of their legs, but for quadriplegics, the use of a standard controller is not an op...

News: Man Immortalizes Dead Fiancée in Virtual World

Death is tough for the living, and those who mourn do all sorts of odd things to cope with it. Some keep mementos, some build towering statues, others create memorial paintings or write sad songs, all of which are healthy in moderation. Honoring the dead has been around for so long, it's part of what makes us human. Recently, the practice of memorializing the dead has spread from the arts, religion, and ceremonial burial to video games.

Not Your Ordinary Gamer: Yahtzee Croshaw Does It All

Most employed in the game industry have two-word job titles that start with “game”—game designer, game producer, game critic, game tester, etc. Usually, they’re one or the other, even though some can be both a game designer and a game tester or game critic and game tester. And rarely does one person get to call themselves a “game everything”. Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw is the exception.

News: Grand Theft Auto 4 Looks Like Gran Turismo 5 with iCEnchancer

Grand Theft Auto 4 was a landmark game. It gave yet another reboot to the already rebooted Grand Theft Auto series, arguably the most prestigious video game in the West. It has a 98 on Metacritic, making it by that measure the best game of modern times. Whatever your stance on the gameplay may be—which has received its fair share of flak in the three years since its release—the graphical steps that the team at Rockstar North took to create their fantasy replica of New York were a major step f...

Level-5: The Biggest Indie Game Developer in the World Invades America

Most stateside gamers have probably never heard of Level-5. If they have, it's more than likely due to the charming and maddening line of Nintendo DS puzzle games, Professor Layton. Some might even remember Dark Cloud and its sequel from the early days of the PlayStation 2, and all eight of you PSP owners in the U.S. might recognize the epic Jeanne d'Arc. These games alone make Level-5 a noteworthy company, but they've quietly surpassed "noteworthy" status to become one of the largest and gre...

How To: Live Your Dream as a Video Game Developer! Get the Free Career Guide Now

Game Developer Magazine is a prominent periodical for game industry folk to read up on their craft. For those who don't work in games, it can be a little dry, but every year they release a Game Career Guide devoted to welcoming other people into their world. Best of all, it's free! You can view the newest issue just released here in your browser, or download the PDF version.

Meeting the Dungeon Defenders: An Interview with Trendy Entertainment

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.

News: Friday Indie Game Review Roundup: Arcade Games Are Dead

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: 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: Bastion Joins the Pantheon of All-Time Great Downloadable Games

If you follow indie games at all, you've probably heard of Bastion. During its development, it took home numerous Best in Show prizes from E3 and other game conventions while building up an incredible amount of buzz in the games press. Part of what is intriguing about Bastion is its cool art design, which in the last couple months, peaked my interest more so than the gameplay or the much-ballyhooed narration.

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: Enter the Weird World of Hojamaka Games

Without Japan, video games would not be very fun. Atari's early work was important, but Japanese developers, publishers, and hardware makers were responsible for almost every major advance in video games for the first 25 years of their mainstream existence. In recent years, it has often been said that they have become less relevant than Western developers. In the indie games movement— (our area of greatest interest here at Indie Games Ichiban)—Japan does not have anywhere near the presence th...

News: Famous Indie Game Makers Immortalized in 'The Indie Game Legend'

The indie game scene is constantly expanding, but in 2008, Minecraft, Braid and Angry Birds had not been released, along with all of the other indie games that established the financial viability of the format. Indie games were the all-but-exclusive purview of free Flash game sites and the proud users of TIGsource.com. The Independent Gaming Source is a massive forum for indie game developers to share their projects with like-minded individuals, while seeking help and approval of their games.

News: Free Protein Folding Game Cracks HIV Molecule Riddle

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...

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: Glitch Gets Better with Katamari Damacy

Stewart Butterfileld is one of the last great old-fashioned tech billionaires. He founded Flickr, and then sold the company to Yahoo! for a stupendous amount of money in 2005. Like Mark Cuban and others before him, he was left wondering what to do with the rest of his long and fabulously wealthy life. Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks and turned them from unabashed losers into beloved champions. Butterfield decided to try his hand at game design (something he had attempted with the ambitious ...

News: Video Games Deemed Art AND Protected Free Speech!

It's been a great year for video games, kind of. Sure, the AAA release lineup has been a trainwreck and hacking has been a bigger problem than ever. But two things have happened involving the federal government that have made video games more legitimate in the United States than ever before. The Supreme Court ruling establishing that video games were the equivalent of movies and books, not porn, was the more significant decision. But in May, the National Endowment for the Arts made another si...

News: 3 Long Awaited Indie Games at PAX That Should Be Released Already!

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.

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.

Afterfall: InSanity Game Only $1 in Outlandish Plan to Reach 10 Million Pre-Orders

Nicholas Entertainment Group (NEG) is a Polish independent game publisher that recently got their hands dirty with development. Their first game (with Intoxicate Studios) is the forthcoming horror first-person shooter Afterfall: InSanity, which comes out next month—dangerously close to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3 and Assassin's Creed Revelations release dates. That's some stiff competition for small company, especially since it's a $35 debut game.

News: Massive 30 Foot Tall Shmup Game 'Rocket Bullet Storm' Hits Hungary

Hungarian developer Nemesys Games is best known for making the lighthearted Fortix series, a pair of casual tower defense variants available on Steam. For their latest project, they've decided to expand their horizons, going beyond downloadable sawbuck games. It's called Rocket Bullet Storm, a chaotic old-school shmup similar to the surprising number of others to come out in the last year. The difference is that this one is huge—30 feet tall—and consumes 250 square meters of floorspace, which...

News: Australian Government Finally Comes Around on Video Games—Well, at Least a Little

The Australian government has a dysfunctional history with video games. Any regular Yahtzee Croshaw follower can attest to that. The Parliament has established a series of unfortuante regulations that make games both highly taxed and overregulated in price. Bringing any goods all the way to an island in the bottom of the world is expensive to begin with, and new games in Australia can tip the scales at $80 or more.

News: Friday Indie Game Review Roundup: Turn-Based Storytelling for 2 Players

What's more fun? Winning against your friends or winning against others with them? It's an age old question, and in video games, the former one-on-one multiplayer has been the norm. But cooperative multiplayer has made a comeback, with Halo and Diablo II starting the trend, the first mainstream shooters and RPGs with great co-op modes. And now good local and multilplayer co-op games are available in almost every genre.

News: Indie Game Mashup! DTIPBIJAYS + LSQOM = Scorpion Psychiatrists of Saturn

Most of the oddest games in the world are free web games. They may not always be well made, but low budgets (and consequently low risk) allow them to be as weird as they fancy. That's a big part of why they are so interesting. Prime examples such as Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story and Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars have graced these pages previously, and both are great games. But the quality of the games hasn't stopped mysterious Glorious Trainwrecks user snapman (else...

News: First MXC. Then Ninja Warrior. And Now… Retro Game Master!

Japanese game shows are legendary for being more extreme (and absurd) than their American counterparts. Chris Farley immortalized the concept in a classic SNL sketch, and MXC and Ninja Warrior have both achieved great success dubbed and subtitled on American television. A big part of their appeal is how demanding they are compared to U.S. game shows. Only a few people have actually won Ninja Warrior in its 23 seasons on the air, and MXC is a constant comedy of failure and pain.

News: Google Kills Gaming on Android

One of the biggest advantages iOS has over Android as a mobile platform is how readily and fully it has embraced mobile gaming. There are over 200,000 games available in the Apple store, compared to approximately 100,000 in the Android Marketplace. As an Android-using gamer, this has always bothered me.

News: Mobile Game Developer Fined $50,000 by FTC for Soliciting Emails from Minors

Children under the age of 13 possess insight that can blow the minds of their elders, but not the wherewithal to make important life choices for themselves. This is exactly why there are strict rules against marketing cigarettes to them. In 2000, a law went into effect called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act that institutes similar consumer protections for our youth's online identities, prohibiting companies from soliciting personal information from children under 13 years of age ...