Monday, July 25, 2011

Indie Cred: Pour a little Konjak on that Fire, and Dance in the Light with a Fat Wizard in a Beret

I don't know what you've come to expect from me in this feature anymore, but I do know what I've come to expect of myself: quality games from quality people, at a quality price (most often free).

Time and again I've said that Independent development is some kind of anomaly in the gaming world. I'm now convinced it's not. It's the future of gaming. Just like fast food restaurants used to be anomalies and we never believed we'd ever outsource our homestyle cooking to various individuals on a large scale, so too will this industry, the interactive gaming industry, be redefined not by enormous companies and unwieldy multi-armed corporations, but by the tenacity and innovation of many small teams all fighting for a piece of the pie. But while this fierce competition often produces fear, hate, and exploitation, I think that the gaming version will play out far differently.

If you spend a bit of time on any of the following sites where Indie Devs like to poke about and present their half-finished ideas and undiluted madness, you'll see that by and large, most of them are simply passionate about making games (in a distant second: making money). But it's the games that really drive every single one of them on. What results is a commitment to the qualities of a good game: Fun, thoughtful, and easy to learn. It's no wonder that while few, if any, of these games turn a profit, their creators remain dedicated to the art of making games. They simply love them.

And this is what love makes.

 Konjak Games
Developer Joakim Sandberg has something of a cult following: he has but 4 videos on youtube, but over 200,000 hits across them. He has a website which updates infrequently and randomly, but has continued to grow steadily in popularity ever since its inception. Among developers, he's known as a key component to the survival of quality in the Indie Games Scene. Play one of his games, and you'll know why.
Legend of Princess is unabashedly a fangame, but is quality in its own right. I won't say much else except that it doesn't simply run on nostalgia: remove the familiar elements of art and music, and you're left with a fun, tight, satisfying combat platformer that just happens to look like one of Nintendo's most iconic franchises.
Here's some gameplay for you, too. The game can be downloaded in full, for free, here.
Chevy Ray Johnston
Since I only get one day a week to do this, I'd like to try and stuff as much as possible into it, for your benefit and mine. So there's this:
FAT WIZARD is a pretty simple concept, but one of the rare ones in the Indie World that gets fleshed out rather substantially. It not only provides a number of different mechanics, but also as many ways to use them. I know that we're far beyond the presupposition that flash titles can't be deep, elegant, or complex (aren't we? Yes, of course we are, of course), but FAT WIZARD is a nice bit of it all. It's part tower defense, part horde-mode, and all fun and games. Check it out here.

Francis Coulombe
Another title out of the Great Indie Game Jam Weekend is FrankieSmileShow's (Francis Coulombe) Station 37: a game about Fire. I don't want to spoil it for you. Just play the damn thing.

Rounding out this week's offerings Are FOTONICA (a trippingly fantastic FP adventure racer) Beret (a devilishly fun cutesy puzzler, work in progress) and the rather absurdly awesome Giraffamancer (yeah...just...try this one).

That's all for now! Should keep you busy until I finish up these projects I'm working on with some TIGsaucerers...wait, what?