Indie Games Ichiban Features

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: Operation Rainfall Fails to Secure Great RPGs for America... For Now

Different genres of social media have changed the world, but they are not omnipotent. In most cases this is a good thing, but not in the case of Operation Rainfall. It has been a purely well meaning social media movement that should have led to a great boon for the North American gamer public, but instead has served as a reminder of how stone aged Nintendo of America's (NOA) corporate thinking remains.

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: 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: 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: Friday Indie Game Review Roundup: Old-New School

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.

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.

Octodad: An Award Winning Game… From College Students

Fatherhood is difficult, especially when you're an octopus. That is the moral of the 2011 IGF Student Showcase winner Octodad, available for free from its website. This hilarious little title was created by a team of interactive media students at DePaul University in Chicago, and is the latest in a stream of successful indie games to come out of collegiate video game design programs. In fact, it's so successful that a sequel is in the works.

News: It's Humble Indie Bundle Time! 5 Games for 'Name Your Price'

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.

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...

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.

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: Publishers to Profit from Explicit Drawing Inside Used Wii Video Game?

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.

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.

News: Open Your Chakras with Deepak Chopra's Leela for Wii and Xbox 360

Deepak Chopra is one of the last people you'd think to be associated with video games. He's a new age spiritual icon who's built an empire on self-help books and speaking tours, one of which my Marin County liberal parents deigned to drag me to in middle school. Recently, a new outlet for his teachings was announced—a video game project three years in the making, simply called Leela.

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: Pokemon + Jabbawockeez + YouTube = Kusarine Project

Japan has a tendency to produce things that boggle the Western mind. Its citizens are already responsible for without a question the weirdest music video in the history of the medium. With that said, here is a video reenactment of several Pokemon (Pocket Monster in Japan) games released by Japanese performance art troupe Kusarine Project: Kusarine Project and their amazing YouTube channel first became known through the Japanese video sharing site/meme originator NicoNicoDouba. Their white mas...

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...

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.

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: Indie Games Hit the Red Carpet at the IndieCade Awards

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.

News: Sense of Wonder Night 2011 Celebrates Innovation In Game Design

The Tokyo Game Show (TGS) is the biggest video game expo in the most game crazy country on Earth. It is kind of a big deal. As such, their "indie" game showcase/contest Sense of Wonder Night (SOWN) is a major opportunity for developers of all shapes and sizes to showcase their work to important industry leaders and expo attendees. 2011 will be SOWN's fourth year, and it began accepting submissions yesterday.

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.

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.

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: 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...

Games That Act Like Films: Are They Really 'Bastard Half-Children'?

Many gamers see the film industry as the premier model that video games should follow, and it's no surprise. Movies are seen as the most legitimate and profitable of all artistic visual mediums, which is certainly qualities practitioners of any new medium would desire. Big budget games like Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire strive for the same level as film by aping its techniques, focusing on storytelling in a cinematic fashion, rather than creating compelling gameplay experiences.