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.
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.
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).
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.
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...
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...
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 ...
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.
PayPal has, all in all, been great for allowing Web 2.0 economy to grow. For most entities, it's the best way to send money between two people on the internet.
Grand Theft Auto 3 was the biggest video game of the last decade, by far, introducing open-world adventure games to consoles, a genre that now rivals shooters and sports games for market dominance. A huge map, decentralized narrative, and myriad of interlocking quests and objectives that happen in a flexible order all became hallmarks of the "new" genre, along with the ability to shape the morality and reputation of your character. And most importantly, all of the quests and stories are compl...
The debate over whether video games can be considered art or not has intensified in recent years as games like Braid and Flow have taken the digital aesthetic experience to new heights. These new games are great examples, but there are much older ones that present compelling arguments as well. The best is a 1986 ZX Spectrum/Commodore 64/Amstrad CPC game called Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
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...
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.
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...
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.
It's a hell of a lot easier to make money selling an indie game now than it was four years ago. But it's still a rough game.
Team Fortress 2 (TF2) is one of the best multiplayer games of all time. It took nine years to make, and the developers have supported it with more post-release free updates than any other game ever. Four years after its release in 2007, it is still immensely popular, and although its price has gone down, Valve has managed to continue making a massive profit by introducing the first successful microtransaction model in a mainstream American shooter. That model has been so successful that it lo...
The noble board game has stalwartly staved off elimination in the face of more technologically advanced video games for four decades. Try as they might, video games just can't seem to surpass them as an easy-to-use diversion for large groups of seated indoor people.
Game demos are unfortunately a dying breed. While broadband has made it easier than ever to distribute demos to PC and console gamers, they've become more expensive and risky to make. They seldom come out before the full game, especially for AAA games. Developers realize their games are crud and that a demo is just going to make people not want to buy it.
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.
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.
This week's roundup features three games that I've either never bothered to play, was unable to play due to PC technical limitations, or haven't played because they've just been released. None of these three games cost more than $15.
Since the beginning of last year, every six months or so the fine folks at Wolfire Games have gathered indie developers together to release a combo gaming pack called Humble Indie Bundle. Not only are the included games good, but the way one buys them is what makes Humble Indie Bundle one of the coolest products in games. Even better, Humble Indie Bundle #3 just came out last Tuesday and is available here for two weeks only.
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.
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.
Last Thursday, on October 7th, indie game developers from around the world walked down a red carpet in Santa Monica, California in the hopes of winning an IndieCade award. We previously discussed the IndieCade festival and conference, but the award show is a smaller, more inclusive event that provides finalists the opportunity to see their project on stage with rewards by sponsors such as LG, who presented this year’s ceremony.
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.
To most gamers, video games are largely devoid of place. In the post-arcade era, the only real world locations most associate with video games are GameStop and the couch. But there's so much more to them than that!
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...
The UK print media has been yellower than the middle traffic light for a long time now. The News of the World scandal has cast that into particularly sharp relief of late. The Sun, one of the biggest newspapers in the United Kingdom, demonstrated it again last week when they ran the front-page headline "DEATH BY XBOX".
This week's review roundup is a diverse lot. They really only have two things in common—their indie origins and puzzle elements. Otherwise, they come from France, Spain and the U.S., a few from unknown designers and one by the guy who inspired Minecraft.
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
Steam has been a game-changer in the PC indie game market over the last eight years, making smaller games available to millions of users at lower prices than ever before. And few times in those eight years have there been as much indie awesomeness on sale for as little money as this weekend.
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.
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...
Indie developers and their games have enjoyed massive success distributing through Steam, notably Zeboyd Games and Carpe Fulgar. While that bodes well for the future of indies on the platform, Steam has to devote a lot of front-page real estate to AAA games and thus can't promote small indies as well as a dedicated indie game distribution service could. IndieCity out of the UK seems like it could be that, but today a consortium of three German game companies launched their attempt at beating ...
Gamers who haven't already gotten tickets to PAX Prime, there is sad news. Three-day passes for the event are officially sold out, three full months before it starts. That is a Coachella-like ticket sale speed for such a large event.