Indie Game


1 September 2012

As one of the youtube commenters said on the just-released Cypher trailer … casual elevator conversations aren’t our thing neither… but you can’t deny that the artwork behind this text-based adventure looks too good to be true. If the pixel-based games are overexploited nowadays what’s left?

A couple of Argentinian brothers are behind this eye-popping trailer (and homepage): Carlos & Javier Cabrera, who’ve decided to partially leave their respective gaming & web design careers to create Cypher (not to be confused with the sci-fi movie).

We have to admit that we’re quite intrigued by the project as a whole where you’re asked to play Dogeron Kenan, a “low-life criminal being chased by a group of mercenaries through NeoSushi City, Japan after a data-smuggling deal goes horrible wrong“.

Cypher - Sewers
Cypher – Sewers

NeoShushi may not sound like the most imaginative name for a Japanese city right? And maybe text-based gaming may not be the most appropriate way for a genre like cyberpunk… but it all depends on how the storytelling is built, and either way, you don’t get the feeling that Cypher is aesthetically ripping off any CPunk classic, if it is… then we certainly love the way these brothers seem to use its dirtiest side, that of Tamburini & Liberatore’s RanXerox.

Cypher - Pleasure
Cypher – Pleasure (all images via CabreraBrothers)

Revisiting 80s and 90s text adventures is something that was missing for us and with Cypher these two may be on their way to create a hit, the good thing? It was released yesterday in 3 flavors (standard, collector, deluxe from $15 to $34), the even better thing is that they’ve put a promo in place for the Deluxe pack for a month. Enjoy it like we are!

Cypher - Tecnoir
Cypher – Tecnoir
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Zineth Release Trailer

20 August 2012

I’m not sure how would I classify Zineth, something conceived by 7 different heads @ Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (ArcaneKids) as a final project for this year’s Experimental Game Design subject…. well, I guess the subject itself gives us some tips. A movement-focused game using Unity that proposes a largely empty, desert-like world where you’ll play a skating character.

Zineth screenshot
Zineth screenshot

The young man has one main task… to skate across the desert from city to city gathering information and delivering a small zine which has hired him as a way for you to pay off his debt… as a player you have a few others… like wandering around with the player’s mobile phone and play its monster fighting game… just try it will you?

Zineth screenshot 2
Zineth screenshot 2

While the game was finished last May, some people from the team have continued to work on it after graduation and it’s finally been released to the public earlier this month. The best thing… it’s downloadable for free from their project page… and we encourage you to try it.

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15 August 2012

Some big names may be missing from the German gaming international trade fair, but some nice surprises keep appearing these days. UK-based trio of game developers Lunar Software just unveiled the trailer for their upcoming Routine game, certainly one of those pleasant unexpected announcements.

Much like the praised horror series created by Swedish house Frictional (Penumbra, Amnesia..), Lunar Software will attempt to create one of those anguishing dark titles, and for such task we got to know that Mick Gordon joined them recently as audio director, he’ll surely add some great effects to create those cold atmospheres for the Moon-based title.

Routine shot 2
Routine shot 2

LS promise a first person horror exploration game without a linear experience, health bars or points system… a seek, hide & survive adventure that shall be released next year. Until then… we’ll watch the railer over & over again. More info this way.

CAT tool from the game
CAT tool from the game
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you only die twice

2 August 2012

When Nancy Sinatra started recording James Bond’s “You only live twice” theme song back in 1967 she was asked to match the “elegance of the Oriental sound” John Barry had composed, a striking pop song that would later on become one of the most covered Bond themes of all times. It was a nightmare at first for her and Barry needed to use over 25 takes to complete the final song.

For Brendon Chung it probably wasn’t such big headache to come up with Gravity Bone‘s peculiar storytelling, repeatedly praised for its solid narrative, but transforming Citizen Abel into one of the most famous and long-lived agents in gaming history may take longer. Many of us thought we would never see him again, but like most good spies… he didn’t die, he just went undercover.

Maybe Citizen Abel was living once for his life… and this second time for his dreams, maybe the other way round. The thing is that however you put it we all get to play with Mr Abel once again, and maybe, just maybe, get to see him die a second time.

Brendon didn’t get to tell us how it all ends, although a few of you already know… however, and right before the global release, we got to ask Brendon about Thirty Flights of Loving…. and a few other things.

Thirty flights of loving screenshot
Thirty flights of loving screenshot

aqnb: Hi Brendon, we ALWAYS start with an easy one…. you seem to have a fixation with exploding black birds… you did not have a traumatic experience with a crow during your infancy did you? Continue reading you only die twice

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Endless Space release

4 July 2012

Today is the day!

One of the most anticipated indie strategy games of the year just saw the daylight today via Steam. A Frech-way of reviewing and refreshing the well-known 4X genre (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) that many of us loved and learned to play in the 90s such as Civilization or Master of Orion.

The studio behind ES (Amplitude) was founded by Matthieu Girard and Romain de Waubert just over a year ago and with a team of 15+ experienced developers (including  Art Director Corinne Billon or Script Writer Jeff Spock)  they’ve been really trying to create the next 4X hit.

Endless-Space - System View
Endless-Space – System View

Redefining the genre is rather impossible… but creating an engaging and unique new universe is always welcome. Endless Space proposes 8 different civilizations racing for galactic supremacy… and the usual subtle (and not so subtle but neither bloody) strategic moves will play a key role in their (your) success.

From the evil United Empire able to buy their way to supremacy to the genetically engeneered warrior race “The Cravers”, you’ll find an endless list of tactics and elements to take into account.

30€ (35 for the Emperor edition which includes some unique skins & heroes) is certainly not cheap… and you shall expect a very rich and immensely deep game. So do we, but given the trailers, the 20K members of the Games2gether community which have somehow participated in the design and the first few reviews… we can only hope this universe will continue growing in the coming years.

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17 December 2011

We recently discovered this bunch of people from Italy (the ones behind Indie Vault) who are willing & determined to bring the Winnitron movement to their southern European country. As of today, there are already 7 Winnitrons (… arcade cabinets) around the world: Winnipeg (Canada, where everything started), Utrecth, New York, Pittsburgh, Shanghai, Christchurch (NZ) and Melbourne, and if everything goes well Italy will have their very own box very soon.

We’re pretty convinced that Vicenzo, Ciro, Federico, Marco, Paolo, Luca and the incredible guyz @ Santa Ragione don’t need any of our help to make this happen in the boot. They’ve already started building the unit and have already raised more than 60% of their $2,500 goal. Still if you’re a good Italian game lover you shall give them a hand and read carefully about the initiative on their IndieGoGo page.

 On our side, we’ve decided this time to support the global Winnitron movement

Born originally as a brainchild of a group of Canadian developers (Alec Holowka, Marlon Wiebe, Noel Berry, Kert Gartner, Tom Rab and Joel Forest who call themselves the Bit Collective), the Winnitron 1000 is an arcade cabinet, playable by anyone, which features new games created by indie game developers from Winnipeg and across the globe.

the original Winnitron 1000 at LowPub

the original Winnitron 1000 at LowPub

 From the 2010 Canadian beginnings it quickly spread to Utretch (The Netherlands) with the help of The Dutch Game Garden, Paul Veer and Vlambeer, then New Zealand, New York last summer and now there’s even one in China!

Winnitron in NZ
Winnitron in NZ

The movement is spreading pretty fast and pretty much anyone can build their very own box on their town (we’re expecting one here in London, Paris or Madrid… anyone???), with a decent list of games to choose from, support from the original developers and the community, and guidelines on how to add your own games. So there it is… anyone joining?

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Indie Game Movie

5 July 2011

It obviously had to arrive to our local cinema sooner or later. With the explosion of the Indie Game industry and pretty much every gaming platform network (Live, PSNetwork…) killing for the next best “Indie Game” to add to their catalog, it surprises me no-one has made a film out of the IG movement before (well… there’s been a few attempts before to be honest).

Well BlinkWorks(James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot) decided last year to dive, review and film some of the hottest titles that have transformed the gaming industry and brought it back to the 80s style. For the past year, they’ve been traveling North America filming indie game developers and editing their stories for Indie Game: The Movie, the feature film and the website….

A documentary about video games, their creators, the conception process, their stress (aren’t they supposed to enjoy themselves everyday?) .

The film tells the emotional story of a two-man team, Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, as they craft and release their first major game for XBOX, “Super Meat Boy”. It follows Phil Fish, the creator of the highly- anticipated game, “Fez”, as he shows it for the first time in 4 years at the giant gaming expo, PAX EAST. And, the film tells behind-the-scenes story an independent designer, Jonathan Blow, who made one of highest-rated video games of all-time, “Braid”.

The won’t only be telling us a future classic, but James & Lisanne have worked with some great talents within the industry itself picking some great artists like Jim Guthrie who’s composed the soundtrack for the film  (remember S&S EP?…)

Four developers, three games, and one ultimate goal – to express one’s self through a video game.

The list of filmed game creators is quite complete……. even scary, so expect appearances from the creators behind Super Meat Boy, The Witness, World of Goo…. and many more. And even if they’ve  done filming they still need to… polish it you know, so that’s why they’ve created this KickStarter page; so we highly encourage you to give them a hand… and await for the late-summer / early fall release.

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