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Preview: Independent Gaming

Independent Gaming

Updated: 2014-01-28T05:48:44.046-08:00


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Announcement: IndieGames.Com: The Weblog


(image) Here's some news - the Independent Gaming weblog is moving to a new domain and becoming The Weblog, as part of the CMP Game Group (Independent Games Festival creator)'s outreach into the independent gaming scene.

Please change your bookmarks to point to The Weblog at - will no longer be updated. The Feedburner RSS feed for Independent Gaming has been automatically switched to point to the new site. Comments are being migrated as we speak.

Thanks to the CMP Game Group and Simon Carless for the invaluable support and hosting of the new site; we promise to continue to serve all your indie games news and review needs as we have done before. Here's a word from Simon about this change:

Simon: "Hey folks - you may know me already from running GameSetWatch and also helping to manage various other Game Group properties like Gamasutra, Game Developer magazine, and - of course - the Independent Games Festival, which is definitely the most relevant for this announcement!

This whole concept started a couple of months ago when Tim announced that he might have to shut the Independent Gaming blog unless he got some help in hosting and partly paying for his time working on the site. We wanted to help out, and we'd already launched to help educate people about independent games, so having him move his blog over here made a lot of sense.

So nothing is really changing here - Tim's still got an open editorial remit to blog and interview who he likes, and we may occasionally pop in to mention IGF and other Game Group-related news - which is likely of interest anyhow. We'll also be working with him to look at whether we can help to better develop the indie scene through setting up better distribution mechanisms for independent games - though we've only just started thinking about this."

Mondo Agency


(image) UPDATE: cactus has decided to update the game due to the feedback he's gotten. The jumping level is now easier and skippable for those who have trouble beating it. There's been a few other changes as well, including vital bug fixes.

This is cactus entry for the winter competition at

"Welcome to Mondo Agency! An eerie cyber FPS with horror and puzzle elements. As an agent it is your mission to kill laser indians and save the president!

Turn off your lights and turn up your speakers for maximum enjoyment!"

Name: Mondo Agency
Developer: cactus
Category: FPS/Adventure/Weird
Type: Freeware
Size: 7.5MB
Download: link 1
Walkthrough: link




Tekkyuuman is a new release by prolific Japanese developer Ikiki, famous for a number of controversial games featuring ninjas, bloodbath and outrageous violence. Usually with all three elements at the same time.

In this game, you must make your way towards the green spiky object and smash it with the flail. Use the control key to swing your weapon and tap the left shift key to jump. A wall jump can also be executed by pressing the same shift key when scaling up walls.

Red switches can be activated either by touch or hitting them with your flail. An extra life is awarded after every boss fight. [zip file of Ikiki's games]

Web site address belongs to the musician.

Name: Tekkyuuman
Developer: Ikiki
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here [zip format]
Video walkthrough: Available (major spoilers!)

MDickie Interview


EDIT: Exclusive preview image courtesy of MDickie.MDickie is the author of dozens of unique games, and probably needs no introduction for most of this audience so I'll get right to the interview.1. One thing that's notable about you is how fast you complete games, often in three months; did you ever have problems with procrastination, or is working so fast natural to you? Do you use any productivity tools such as to-do lists or schedules, or do you just work on things as you feel like it?MD: Well, let's not fly that flag too hard because time is gushing away from me like water at the moment! I estimated it would only take 3 months to turn Reach into a wrestling game, but the project is heading into its 6th month and I'm still working 12-hour days. Of course, 6 months is still pretty astonishing for a game of that size and sophistication. My closest counterpart, "Pro Wrestling X", has clocked up a good 3 YEARS in production - and that's a team effort! As you say, 3 months is the standard for me now though - so my fans get restless at anything longer. After all these years, I guess I just know what I'm doing. I instinctively know exactly WHAT needs to be done, WHEN it needs to be done, and HOW I might best achieve that. It's a lot like a puzzle - I just know how to put all the pieces together as quickly as possible. One of my best tricks is dividing the day into art work and programming work. I create media in the morning and then bring it to life in the afternoon, so there's a nice flow to what I'm doing. Other than that, it's a race against the clock that makes me work so fast. I don't really have a choice! It may be a cliché, but time is money. The longer I spend making a game, the more money it has to make. For instance, if I had spent all year making World War Alpha I'd be out of business now because it didn't fly. Game over. I'm only here because Hard Time arrived and picked up the slack. My scattergun approach makes me failure-proof. If one concept doesn't work, another one is right around the corner to take the next shot. And on and on it goes, evolving towards perfection. The weak concepts die out and the strong concepts live to fight another day...2. You've said on your site that you believe that making a game as a team is a bad idea because it dilutes the creativity. But couldn't each team member be creative in their own part of the game? For example, the musician with respect to a game's music, or the artist with respect to a game's graphics. It's not necessarily true that having a team means that every decision in a game has to be decided by committee, each person could have full dictatorial control over their particular part.MD: Well, let's qualify that by pointing out that it doesn't work for ME. Other people are free to do what works for them, and they'll no doubt have more success in certain areas. All I know is that everything people love about my work is down to me doing it single-handedly. There's not a soul who can tell me what I can or can't do, or what is or isn't possible - not even at the level of publishing. That's how I tackle concepts and add features that would never get past committee. I simply find it more fulfilling too. When you rely on somebody else to bring your vision to life then things get lost in translation. With this new wrestling game, for instance, I can't countenance how many hours I would have wasted explaining why an animation needs to follow certain rules or why a texture needs to have a certain structure. All of these things I understand instinctively, so not one second is wasted in error and not one pixel is lost to compromise. That's true of any profession. People usually rely on others because they HAVE to - not because they want to. It used to drive Woody Allen crazy that making a film was a team effort. He lamented that "every day a truck pulls up full of fresh compromises"! Likewise, Michelangelo was criticized for working alone - but he insisted, "How else can[...]




Genetos is a vertical shooter by Tatsuya Koyama featuring stages with design styles from different eras of arcade gaming classics. Use the cursor keys to move your ship, and tap the Z key to shoot. Press the X key to launch a bomb if available.

Name: Genetos
Developer: Tatsuya Koyama
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
Direct download link: Click here

Midwinter Rites



Midwinter Rites is an incomplete interactive fiction adventure made to mimic the look of a Commodore 64 release. There are few commands to use but important objects and characters are always highlighted.

Name: Midwinter Rites
Developer: Mattias Gustavsson
Category: Adventure/IF
Type: Demo
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here

RGCD Issue Four


(image) RGCD is a downloadable CD-ROM based magazine containing retro reviews, features and developer interviews. Each issue of RGCD contains direct links (to files on disc) of each game, emulator or tool reviewed irrespective of platform.

Previews of each issue are available at, but in order to actually read the rest of the articles and reviews you'll need to download the .ISO image and either burn it to disc or mount it on a virtual drive. There is also a cut-down 'lite' version (excluding all games and emulators) provided as a downloadable .ZIP archive.

RGCD is 100% spyware free and all files are virus checked before uploading. Magazine contents are posted in the comments section.

Pen Pen Xmas Olympics



Pen Pen Xmas Olympics is a skiing game with seventeen events consisting of slaloms, downhill races and ski jumps. In the first two categories, players must attempt to reach the end of each track under the qualifying time to progress or lose a credit if they fail.

Use the cursor keys to control the protagonist's speed or direction of travel, and press the space key to jump over obstacles.

Name: Pen Pen Xmas Olympics
Developer: Army of Trolls
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB

Rooms : The Main Building



HandMade Game announces latest information of the deluxe version of Rooms, the IGF2007 Student Showcase Finalist game.

Rooms is an original puzzle game, based on logical sliding puzzle and platformer. As we’ve gotten hot response to the previously introduced freeware version of Rooms, we’ve been developing the deluxe version, Rooms: the main building.

The deluxe version contains 100% only-mouse interface, new objects & items, more improved graphics, 5 original soundtracks and a Level Editor to create your own puzzles. With all these, 80 new attractive levels are waiting for you to challenge.

For more info, visit HandMadeGame.

Also, HandMade Game is looking for the online distribution partner of Rooms: the main building.

Check out freeware version of Rooms.

Contact us anytime, if you are interested.

Name: Rooms: The Main Building
Developer: HandMade Game
Category: Puzzle-Platformer
Type: Download Commercial
Release: Coming soon…




In Frozzd, you take the role of an astronaut tasked with the mission of freeing orange-colored creatures named Mubblies from their frozen state. You begin each level with King Mubbly as your companion, who has the ability to unfreeze his subjects or attack the Frozzds with a tap of the space key. Drink coffee to increase your suit's temperature, and use the points you've acquired to unlock new stages.

Each of the twelve levels introduces a different enemy, and points acquired from previous stages can be used to unlock new ones.

Name: Frozzd
Developer: Jesse Venbrux
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
Direct download link: Click here

Arcanacra Black Label


(image) Kei Mesuda's Arcanacra Black Label is an update of his earlier browser-based vertical shooter release. Another Mode can now be accessed right from the start, and replays of any level by the top ranked players can be watched even if you have not attempted that particular stage yet. Bomb stock is also increased from three to five.

Click on the screen to add credits. Press the Z key to shoot and hold the shift key to target enemies with your ship's homing lasers. Switch between rapid and spread shot by holding either one or both shoot buttons. The boss of each stage can be beaten easily once your ship has a persistent lock on it, especially when the lock weapon has been upgraded.

Push the right arrow key when the main menu is displayed to view the high score table.

Name: Arcanacra Black Label
Developer: keim
Category: Shooter
Type: Browser

Rise of the Video Game


Rise of the Video Game is a five-part series which examines the evolution of the video game and its cultural impact on the world of entertainment today.

"From the early days of Pong to today's ever-popular Halo 2, and from Atari 2600 to Nintendo to PlayStation, this Discovery Channel special tells the story of the people, the ideologies and the technology behind video games and how they have exploded into a cultural phenomenon."

Level 1: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Level 2: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Level 3: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Level 4: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Level 5: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Knowing YouTube, the videos are probably in the process of being removed even as you're reading this.

Jon Blow Interview


I interviewed Jon Blow, creator of upcoming XBLA (and PC eventually!) game Braid, and found him to be an wonderfully nice and insightful fellow.EB: How do you go about designing a level? In Braid, the levels are sort of no-nonsense. They're very efficient.The game is about understanding what it means if time behaves in certain ways -- exploring the consequences of these hypothetical laws of spacetime, and the puzzle pieces you collect are concrete tokens representing the understanding you have gained. So, every puzzle in Braid has a very specific point; it is there to tell you one thing.Because I wanted the game to be focused (and not long and bloated with filler), I decided early on that the levels would only contain the elements necessary to create the puzzles inside them. There aren't lots of random enemies to jump on or big levels to just sort of wander through. Everything is in the game for a specific reason. After being in the game for a while, the player might start to pick up on some of the nuances (why certain puzzles are grouped together, for example).What I've said here only applies to Braid, though; if designing a different game, I would probably take a different approach.EB: Define "drug", in terms of games (WoW, etc)Games like WoW are very deliberately designed to dole out rewards in order to keep players glued to the game. (It's not just MMOs that do this; for example, the Diablo games do the same thing, and so does Peggle, though in a simpler way). These tend to be very similar to the systems modeled by B.F. Skinner; anyone interested in this might start by reading the Wikipedia article on "operant conditioning".I claim that some rewards are natural (you automatically make yourself feel good for having accomplished something; or you received acknowledgement for building a skill you didn't have before you played the game; or else you learned or experienced things that will make your life richer) and some rewards are artificial (the game tells you that you are doing a good job, gives you lots of eye/ear candy to celebrate your progress, or pretends to give you valuable things when in fact it is giving you nothing).I think of natural rewards as food, and artificial rewards as drugs.All games provide some mixture of natural and artificial rewards. My problem with games like WoW is that they take a huge amount of time and give you only artificial / empty rewards. In other words, they grab players' attention for long periods, but don't feed them much. I think that's a very bad thing, when you look at how many people are playing these games, for so many hours. With Braid I very deliberately tried to base the game design on natural rewards, using artificial rewards sparingly and only when they support natural ones.EB: So in your eyes, natural rewards are sort of about "self improvement"- even if this improvement is only related to the game itself. Perhaps why this improvement is only related to the game itself is because games are so detached from reality (although Braid appears not to be from what I've played).It doesn't necessarily have to be self-improvement, but that is a major aspect. Much of it is evolutionarily grounded in some way, even if it's subtle. For example, you look at dogs, they like to play-fight with each other. Why do they do that? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but some of them have to do with keeping healthy and physically fit, and practice-fighting so that they are better off when they get into a real fight. (But of course there are social aspects too, and others... it's complicated).EB: In your MIGS talk, you said "Games are trying to achieve a goal". Do you think that we really need to try an achieve a goal? Doesn't this l[...]

Eyeball 3: Rorschach Dungeon



Eyeball 3: Rorschach Dungeon is a short game in which both of the main characters can be controlled with the same mouse. Left click on an area to approach it, and hold the right mouse button to use your eye beam. Right clicking on one of the character's pupil will cause it to generate a shield, protecting it's caster while damaging other enemies on contact as well.

The health indicator at the top of the screen is shared by both eyeballs, and can be increased by colliding with enemies of the same colour.

Name: Eyeball 3: Rorschach Dungeon
Developer: Sergio Cornaga
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
Direct download link: Click here

The North, Pohjola



The North, Pohjola is a strategy game which resembles David Galindo's The Sandbox of God. Players have to help a tribe survive a harsh winter season by making decisions limited to the four cards drawn in each round. The game ends once all thirty cards from the deck have been exhausted, and scores are then calculated for online submission.

Population count is represented by a percentage at the top left of the screen. Temperature can be manipulated by choosing the right cards to maintain a warm surrounding for your tribe. Certain cards award bonus points, and may only affect proceedings when their specific conditions are met.

Name: The North, Pohjola
Developer: Fire Dragon
Category: Strategy
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
Download: link 1, link 2

R-Theta 2: Expanded Edition



R-Theta 2: Expanded Edition is a game based in polar coordinates. Every point in the game is assigned a radius and theta value, denoting the distance of the point from the centre, as well as the angle it makes with the x-axis.

The player is in control of a triangular shooter, built into a constantly rotating radar-scope which must be protected from collision with other enemies. Use the up and down arrow keys to decrease or increase the ship's radius from the centre. Hold the X key for rapid fire, tap the C key to shoot and use the Z key to launch a destructive missile. Keys can be reconfigured by pressing the F2 function key at the title screen.

This updated version includes nine new enemies and an adjustable difficulty setting.

Name: R-Theta 2: Expanded Edition
Developer: Theta Games
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
Direct download link: Click here (Vista version)

Draw Physics


The evolution of physics games which involves drawing objects using basic lines or circles. (post updated with download link for Chalk Physics)


Chalk by Joakim Sandberg
download, 3.85 MB


Crayon Physics by Petri Purho
download, 5.63 MB

1UP Interviews Derek Yu


Bonus: Video walkthrough for Aquaria, full version

IGF 2008 Student Showcase Finalists Announced



The IGF organizers have announced the 12 recipients of the 2008 Independent Games Festival Student Showcase awards from a field of over 125 entries. Each student showcase finalist will receive a $500 travel stipend to help aid their trip to GDC 2008. The $2,500 Best Student Game prize winner will be announced during the same event this coming February.

View the list of twelve entries (after the main competition finalists)

Winter's Heart


(image) Winter's Heart is probably my favorite of the over 100 Game Maker winter contest games I've played so far. It's made by Bit Pimp aka Darthlupi, who is responsible for some of the best classic Game Maker games (such as Mage Craft, Raging Skies, The Cleaner, and Legend of Shadow). It fits in no one genre, it has puzzle and action elements, and RPG-like upgrades.

Use Z to hoist and then strike with your staff, holding it longer produces more forceful blows. This however cannot harm enemies, but it can be used to knock snowballs into them, which can create chain reactions and temporarily stun enemies -- and while they are stunned, use the staff again to banish them. You can also use X to roll up snowballs for this purpose if you run out of a level's starting set, although this drains your freeze meter. Press C to use a spell (which takes away from your score), and press A and S to cycle between your spells (which you can buy and upgrade using your score).

I like that it isn't just a set of levels, but there's a background story, bosses, and really great music. One thing I like about the game is that it's very economical with its elements, you only have two meters. The freeze meter doubles as health (you have to restart the level when it fills) and, because it's constantly moving down, also triples as your time limit. Your score and doubles as your magic points, because you use it up when you cast spells, and it triples as your currency, because you use it to buy new spells and upgrade them.

Name: Winter's Heart
Developer: BitPimp/Darthlupi
Category: Arcade/Action/Puzzle/RPG
Type: Freeware
Size: 3.2 MB
Direct download page: Click here

Same Cube



Same Cube is an addictive puzzler which involves using the Z and X keys to rotate four tiles clockwise or counterclockwise to make a match of four blocks with the same color. Remove the blocks quickly to increase time, and complete all ten levels to unlock the unlimited mode.

Glass tiles are automatically removed if an entire column or row of these exists when the game is in progress.

Name: Same Cube
Developer: Yamahara
Category: Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
Direct download link: Click here

Clock Tower's Secret



Clock Tower's Secret is a platformer in which players have to figure out a way to reach the exit portal by activating the correct switches to rotate the entire world towards the direction shown by the blue arrows.

Hold the Z key to zoom out, and tap the C key to jump. Press the X key when your character is next to a switch to activate it. Developed by ssi for a recent Three Minute Game competition.

Name: Clock Tower's Secret
Developer: SSI
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here

Grilled Box



Grilled Box is an action game which resembles Every Extend, developed by TERU-soach for a recent Three Minute Game competition. Blocks appear from the top of the screen at a steady rate, and players have to destroy as many blocks as they can before they reach the bottom. Left click on a block to start a chain reaction, or right click to use the magnet and bring the blocks closer to each other. Use these two actions sparingly, as clicking rapidly will decrease their charges faster and render them inactive for a short while when completely depleted. A time penalty is incurred for every block that escapes intact.

Name: Grilled Box
Developer: TERU-soach
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here




MinishoterRS is a horizontal shooter by Peposoft which features multiple ships to choose from, each with it's own strengths and weaknesses in combat. Hold or tap the Z key rapidly to alternate between your ship's primary and secondary weapons. Use the X key to activate a temporary speed boost, handy for dodging bullets or reaching a certain spot on screen quickly. Press the F2 function key to cancel a selection or exit a game in progress at any time.

This release boasts more than ten stages, with different routes to undertake and end level bosses to defeat. Press the Alt and enter key to switch between full screen and windowed mode, or use the Q, W and E keys for the same effect. Additional omake bonuses are unlocked when you have beaten the game and fulfilled certain conditions.

Name: MinishoterRS
Developer: Peposoft
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
Direct download link: Click here