Indie Games Ichiban Features

News: Will Games Ruin Google+ Like They Ruined Facebook?

Last week, Google+ took a crucial step towards becoming exactly like Facebook. As of now, there are games available for download within the service, most notably Angry Birds, which is already available on at least one of the devices owned by everyone in America today. Some of the other popular games include Bejeweled Blitz and Zynga Poker, and out of all of the available titles, all come from four companies that have come to form the four-headed dragon of U.S. casual gaming: EA, Zynga, PopCap...

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: Friday Indie Game Review Roundup: An Amnesiac Retrospective

Three years ago, Double Fine productions held an in-house event called the Amnesia Fortnight. The company was split into four teams, each of which set out to spend two weeks developing an idea for a small game and present it to the other groups at the end of the duration. All of the ideas turned out to be winners, and founder/owner Tim Schafer secured publishing deals for all four games to be released on a combination of XBLA and PSN. In honor of the excellent Trenched becoming the third game...

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.

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: 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: 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: Project Zomboid Has More Problems than the Guy in this Screenshot

Making a video game requires an incredible amount of work. It requires people skilled in many disciplines to work together for thousands of hours merging visual art, computer programming, game design, sound design, and music composition into a fun game. The Indie Stone is a Scottish indie development studio started, like so many others, by industry vets who were tired of corporate restrictions and wanted to make the crazy games they had always imagined.

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: 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: 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).

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...

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: 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...

Receipt Racer: A Paper and Laser Tangible Video Game

Video games have been a purely digital medium for some decades now. They exist in the electronic nether, embedded on discs and projected on screens. Since digital distribution has gained popularity, even the physical manifestation of the game disc is going away, leaving games (especially digitally distributed indie games) more ethereal than ever before. It is unclear whether this slightly unsettling fact was on the minds of the three people who made Receipt Racer, but regardless, it stands as...

News: Dota 2 Gamers Compete in Unprecedented $1,000,000 Tournament

Most indie game developers will never see a million dollars in their bank accounts, and I certainly doubt that Eul, the anonymous developer responsible for the original version of Defense of the Ancients (DotA), expected to. But now even the fans can earn a little green. Some lucky and talented DotA players are about to win $1,000,000 for playing the unreleased sequel to the free unsupported Warcraft III mod from 2003.

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: 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.

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: 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: Mecha Spider Island

Play as a giraffe/frog hybrid to jump, shoot, and ride you way through 4 zones of action packed platforming fun in Mecha Spider Island! Collect powerups to increase your firepower, find hidden secrets to bonus zones, and make your way to the top of the island to confront the ultimate mechanized arachnoid foe!

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: 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: 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...

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: 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: Indie Games Get Their Own Indie Film

Video games and movies have a history of interaction dogged by failure. Video game movies and movie video games both tend to be terrible. There has never been a good feature film based on a video game franchise. Even documentaries about games, which should be rife given the rapid rise of games on the cultural stage over the last thirty years, have been few and far between. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is by far the best, and for several years now has been the only really stirring f...

News: Friday Indie Game Review Roundup: Three Summer XBLA Titles That Rock

Generally, summer is a slow time for video games, but not when it comes to Xbox Live Arcade where it's harvest season! In the last month, there have been at least four great games released on XBLA, with Bastion getting the lion's share of the attention. But the remaining three are pretty awesome, as well, and should help you while away the time spent indoors away from the brain frying heat sweeping the U.S.

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 ...