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.
Indie game designer Paul Hubans (aka PHUBANS) released a sendup of not just an unheralded NES classic, but all of his compatriots at TIGsource who made the indie game successes of today possible earlier this year. It's called The Indie Game Legend (TIGL) and is available for free.
TIGL is based on The Guardian Legend, an NES game that's a cross between Zelda and Smash TV, but it adds a layer of modern polish and a plot based on the abduction of many of the 2008-2009 luminaries of the indie game scene. Unless you've been keeping very close tabs on this scene for years, you probably haven't heard of all—or even most of these guys, but they're all important to what happens on this site every day.
Here's a quick guide to them:
SPOILER ALERT: If you care about knowing which indie designers you will be rescuing in the game, read below. If you want to be surprised—then don't.
- Cactus: This prolific indie game designer is the first person most players will rescue. He brags that he made 24 games while in prison, a claim in line with his prolific game production available on CactusSquid and Adult Swim.
- Arthur Lee: Developer of the excellent Merry Gear Solid, a holiday spoof of one of the greatest games of all time (Metal Gear Solid).
- Derek Yu: One of the great tongue-in-cheek indie designers. Made I'm OK, arguably the best bit of game industry political satire ever made, among other cool indies.
- Phil Fish: Developer of the much-lauded and as-yet-unreleased Fez. I really hope this game gets finished soon. It looks great, but like Monaco and so many other promising indie titles, seems to be having trouble getting released on its limited budget.
- Adam Coate: The only work of his I could find was the 2009 XBLIG release Flytrap, a mediocre-at-best arcade shooter knockoff. He is well-known for having voiced his displeasure at the negative reviews his game received, and is "honored" for doing so in TIGL.
- Petri Purho: Finland isn't just about Angry Birds. They have Petri Purho, too. This one-man game design machine releases game design exercises every month. He also made the best part of the Humble Indie Bundle 3: Crayon Physics Deluxe.
- Paul Eres, aka RinkuHero: Prodigious maker of YouTube videos. Made a tower-defense RPG called Immortal Defense in 2009. His role in the TIGL drama is dubious...
- Paul Hubans (PHUBANS): The man behind TIGL, he has also given us a few previous great indie games to accredit the biting satire he perpetrates here.