Recently, Jake Gaskill and myself attended IndieCade 2010, a festival dedicated to showcasing the best and brightest the indie game world has to offer. Between the two of us, we saw a ton of impressive titles across all genres and styles, and we've put together a two-part wrap up of the games that we think you rabid indie games fans need to have on your radars.
Check out the highlights below, and be sure to watch our video coverage of the Indiecade Awards Show, so you can find out who the winners were. In the meantime, keep reading to enter the fun and bizarre world of the Indies.
By: Aaron A. Reed
Interactive fiction lovers may have been saddened by the death of Infocom back in 1989, but you'll be delighted to know that the genre didn't die with that legendary company. Instead, scores of independent game developers have been plugging away, creating their own titles. Which is where we come to Blue Lacuna, which was shown off at this year's Indiecade. There's no better way to describe this game than by calling it a beautifully written interactive novel. If the creators of Zork or Witness had a copy of Blue Lacuna travel back in time and appear on their computers, they would have wept openly.
Created by Aaron A. Reed, Blue Lacuna focuses on a traveler who is set to leave one world behind, and strike out for another. But they have to leave things that they've become tied to behind them, and this leads to a rich and emotional storyline. The game is dynamic as well, featuring dynamic descriptions, characters that change, and a system that asks what sex with and your significant other are in the game, setting the stage accordingly.
Here's an excerpt:
"With hands steady on the surface but somehow trembling deep within the bone, you take down the old battered clothes with something like reverence. As you slip into them you can already feel yourself start to let this world go, and the Call itches more deeply, turning your mind to the next world you must paint, the next place to be."
And so goes the adventure that is Blue Lacuna, which is also free to play on Mac and PC. This is one game that is definitely worth your time. Interested in creating your own text adventure game? Check out Reed's book, Creating Interactive Fiction With Inform 7 and you'll be on your way.
We talked about our love for this game in our Future of Strategy Games piece last week, and the same still holds true. This is an addictive simultaneous-turns strategy game where you out-strategize your opponents on a variety of war maps throughout different period in military history. Board game fans will particularly enjoy the game, which mixes elements from both Diplomacy and Axis & Allies.
Castle Vox includes maps spanning many eras and mythologies, such as the American Revolution, Hades, Japan, Napoleonic Wars, Native America, Outer Space, and the Roman Empire. Multiplayer modes allow both relaxed one-move-a-day games as well as fast speed wars. The map editor lets players create their own boards, so we're waiting on someone to create a floorplan of our building for all-out office warfare.
by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad
By: Ian Bogost
Not every game is meant to be played. Does that sound strange? Maybe. But it's definitely the focus of Ian Bogost's A Slow Year. It's a collection of four games, each meant to represent one of the seasons. It's not a game you play, per se, but you are meant to experience it, and the title actually ships with a book full of machined haikus. Some of which actually are meant to work as instructions that tell you how to "play" the game.
What's really nifty about A Slow Year is that it was built on Atari 2600 software, and you can actually order it as a custom cartridge, or purchase the book where it comes on a disc with Atari 2600 emulation software. Bogost is definitely a lover of the 2600, having written Racing The Beam, all about the Atari VCS, and A Slow Year is both a love letter and a pensive look across the winter landscape for the system.
by Frederik Andersen and Carina Randløv
Creaky Old Memory has you driving a little old lady named Tatiana around cluttered levels, trying to reassemble the disheveled pieces of her past. Each level involves Tatiana attempting to hang pictures back on her walls, and then figure out how these pictures affect the organ that she needs to play to advance each level. Confused? Don't be. Well, unless you're having issues with your own Creaky Old Memory.
On paper, I realize this sounds a bit wonky, but it's actually a charming little game that moves at a deliberate pace. In an age of twitch games, it's a nice change of pace. Parents and older games may be more intrigued by this,
Be sure and check out our Indiecade Wrap Up: Part One for the rest of the games that caught our eye.