Indie Games Ichiban Features

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: Does the World Really Need Anymore Zombie Games? Yes, If They're Like These Ones…

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...

News: Friday Not-So-Indie Game Review Roundup: Combat Racing

Deep in their heart of hearts, most Americans dream of having their car festooned with missile launchers and machine guns. Anyone who cuts them off or looks at them funny in traffic could be dispensed with quick and extreme justice, leaving a real-life James Bond and his passengers free to pursue their American dreams faster than everyone else. Racing games and shooting games are among the two most popular types of video games. So why aren't there more games where one can race cars and shoot ...

News: Freemium Games Start Their US Invasion on the iOS Front

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...

TVs Are for Old People: A Guide to Handheld Consoles

Advancements in technology usually lead to the miniaturization of old technologies, and video games are no exception. Since at least 1990, game hardware manufacturers and enterprising DIY electronics enthusiasts have poured their efforts into making full-size video game consoles smaller, even handheld. And for good reason—who would have ever played a black and white Game Boy if they could have had an actual NES in their pocket?

News: Indie Developer Fights Pirates with Piracy

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.

Bethesda vs. Notch: Does 'Scrolls' Infringe Upon 'The Elder Scrolls'?

Minecraft might still be in development, but that doesn't mean a creative guy like Notch doesn't have time for other projects. A few months ago he and his company Mojang announced their second game, a digital collectible trading card affair called Scrolls. A simple title (perhaps too generic if anything), but it's not the name of an extant game, and it's appropriate given the visual style and card-based gameplay of the game itself.

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...

3 Dreams Of Black: An Interactive Music Video You Can Create and Control

Video games are the most prevalent type of interactive media, but certainly not the only one. The interactive music video for the song "3 Dreams of Black" by supergroup ROME and digital artist Chris Milk utilizes the latest web design technology, video game influenced art and interactivity, and large crowd-sourced elements to form a compelling work of art. ROME is composed of producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse, Italian film composer Daniele Luppi, Norah Jones, and Jack White. Their recent e...

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 Your Dream Gaming PC Worth It?

The last week has been a trying one for me. On Sunday, there were four computers in my office, three of which were broken. The fourth was not really a computer, but more of a collection of parts that were cobbled together for the purpose of constructing a PC that would sneer derisively at the mere mention of turning down any game's ambient occlusion settings.

Realm of the Mad God: A Free Indie Browser Alternative to World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft has been on top of the world for seven years. No other MMO has come close to challenging its dominance of the genre, and it has generated billions of dollars for Blizzard. They have spent a lot of money adding more and more content, to the extent where the full game with all the expansion packs takes up 65 GB of hard drive space. It is a beautiful game; well balanced, and a milestone in the history of the medium.

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: 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: The Brilliant Work of Zeboyd Games Highlights Some Hideous Flaws in XBLIG

Games like Minecraft and Braid have proven that there is money to be made in the indie game marketplace, which means more and more designers are following suit, one being Zeboyd Games. The two-man indie design team released two excellent JRPG spoofs on the Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) Marketplace in 2010: Breath of Death VII ($1) and Cthulhu Saves the World ($3). Both have been well-reviewed and spent time near the top of the XBLIG sales charts, but its success couldn't be rivaled by what wa...

News: Limbo Developer Playdead Studios Buys Its Freedom Back from Their Investors

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...

News: Resurrecting the Video Game Magazine: PC Gamer Digital

PC Gamer represents all that was awesome about games journalism in the '90s, now sadly diminished. Brilliant, funny, full of integrity, and solid print sales were always present, and with the tragic exception of the latter, still are. Video game magazines were hit harder than nearly any other magazine vertical when the internet began its uncoordinated, but inevitable assault on print media. Magazines are now struggling to find their place in a world filled with more competitors than paying cu...

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: Hideo Kojima and Fox Engine Make Special USC Appearance

Hideo Kojima is one of the biggest names in Japanese game design. He's the man behind every Metal Gear game, each of which has been beautiful but divisive. He's an auteur, a rarity in AAA game design, managing business, design, and programming for Kojima Productions. Last week he made a rare public appearance at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, which contains the school's video game programs, and gave a 90-minute talk about his career, influences, and the specifics of his new Fox game design...

News: Supreme Court Deems Violent Video Games Protected Under Freedom of Speech

Video games are the newest major expressive media. As such, their role in society is still being defined continuously. A monumentally important example of this took place yesterday at the US Supreme Court. After a long deliberation, the highest court in the land handed down a decision invalidating a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors on the grounds that video games are protected speech under the First Amendment, like movies and books.

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: 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: FOX News Outraged Over Liberal Eco-Minded Kids Games

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.

News: PixelProspector Returns in Style with 75 Free Indie Games in 5 Minutes

After a decent amount of downtime, one of the best indie game sites on the internet has finally relaunched! PixelProspector is a one-man gaming blog and YouTube channel devoted to the weird and beautiful world of indie games. In the first half of 2010, it received a huge boost in popularity from its video 235 Free Indie Games in 10 Minutes, a hypnotic montage of the best indie games the site had to offer at that point. And to celebrate the relaunch of the blog, which now has an improved desig...

World Siege: Orc Defender for iOS Turns Your Real Life Home Into a Video Game

Tower defense games have covered a lot of creative ground over the last five years. They've gone from simple desktop amusements to a staple of the indie game scene, having been integreated into nearly every other type of game and released on every platform. They have taken place in ancient times, the far future, and on alien planets. But one place they (and most other types of video games) have never taken place is the real world. Not a virtual recreation of the world, but on the very terra f...

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.