Indie Games Ichiban News

News: Sense of Wonder Night Indie Game Showcase to Broadcast Live from Tokyo This Friday

One of the biggest video games events of the year is about to happen in Japan tomorrow, when the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) kicks off. If you've never heard of it, just think of it as the E3 of the East—a video game extravaganza open to both businesses (Thursday and Friday) and the public (Saturday and Sunday). And even though it hasn't officially started, TGS has already released some grand announcements, specifically about Nintendo's future lineup and a precipitous drop in their share prices.

News: The Good and the Ugly of Console Controller Add-Ons

Video game controllers are our windows into the soul of the machine, our sole means of interacting with them. More often than not, consumers seem displeased by their controllers; it's comforting to blame sticky, poorly laid out buttons for messing up your game than your own lacking skills. The original "fatty" Xbox controller was so large it caused mass consternation and prompted Microsoft to replace it with a smaller version in a matter of months.

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: 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: Friday Indie Game Review Roundup: Pennies, Alliances, and Choices

Like a great acting performance, making a really good game is all about choices. While creating or playing a game, those involved have to constantly make small choices that will affect the outcome, either positively or negatively. And the only thing worse than choosing wrongly is not choosing at all. Too many games, especially today, stick to what they're supposed to do from the get-go and avoid making difficult, small, meaningful choices to differentiate themselves and make their performance...

News: Life Simulates Video Games in FPS Russia – And Not in a Bad Way

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.

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: Making an RPG in 14 Days Is Child's Play for Big Block Games

Big Block Games has a pretty good indie track record. They've spent years developing their fun free-roving space game, Black Market, which is still in Beta. And they've spent just as much time with their much simpler, but fully completed physics platformer, Super Goblin War Machine. Their newest endeavor is called Coffee Break Hero. It sets itself apart from the other games, not so much by the game itself, which has only been in development for four days, but by its unique execution. Big Bloc...

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: Special Edition Gold PS3 'Ni No Kuni' Bundle -- Another Reason to Move to Japan

Studio Ghibli is the most well known anime feature film studio in the world. For over 26 years, their films have represented the peak of mainstream anime, and since Disney began distributing their films in America back in 1997, they've become a household name here in the States—not just in Japan. In 2001, they even bested Disney and Pixar, taking home a Best Animated Feature Film Academy Award for Spirited Away. Eight years later, Ghibli and Fukuoka-based developer Level-5 announced that they...

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: 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: 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...

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: 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: 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: 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).

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...

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.

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: 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 ...

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.

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...

Little Indie: A New Distribution Service and Support Firm for Indie Games Goes Live

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 ...