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Fantastic Arcade Winners Announced With Awesome Trophies

The Fantastic Arcade Awards were handed out in Austin, Texas last night and Phil Fish from Polytron and Fez took home two awards (along with a copy of The ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection), while a smattering of others were awarded everything from the "Mandelbrot Award" to the "Most Punished For Lack of Ninjas Award."

Fantastic Arcade, now in it's second year, benefits from hosting both big name games like Starhawk from Austin's own LightBox Interactive, to middle-tier PSN titles like Journey, Closure, and Retro/Grade, and continues the run of the spectrum down to indie titles like Jesus vs. Dinosaurs and Owlboy.

What was equally as impressive as the games were the awards themselves, ranging from the personal Nintendo Power Glove of Fantastic Fest / Alamo Drafthouse head honcho Tim League himself, to a giant glass boot full of Shiner Bock beer, to a special Fez award cobbled together from Legos. Check out the full list of winners after the break, and stay tuned for more from Fantastic Arcade.

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Steam Midweek Madness Sale Features Five Indie Games For The Price Of One

If you're in the mood to play some awesome indie games this week then you should check out Steam's Midweek Madness sale where you can get five great indie games for the price of one. Steam is offering two different bundles: The Indie 2D Bundle and the Indie Strategy Bundle.

Both of the bundles are just $9.99 each, or around 80% off their normal retail prices. The Indie 2D Bundle features Swords & Soldiers HD, Bit.Trip Runner, World of Goo, NightSky, and NyxQuest. The Indie Strategy Bundle includes: Revenge of the Titans, Sanctum, Sol Survivor, Defense Grid: The Awakening, and Anomaly: Warzone Earth.

Midweek madness ends on Thursday, September 22 at 4 PM PST so if you want to get your hands on these deals then you better act soon!

Cissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure

If you're like us, you probably love Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure, a recently released indie game designed by a five-year-old, so you should be plenty excited about a recent Joystiq article that detailed four unlockable levels in the upcoming Xbox Live Indie Game They Bleed Pixels. One of these new levels features everyone's favorite pony-unicorn combos!

All hail the ponycorn!

They Bleed Pixels hits Xbox Live Indie Games later this year.

Source: Joystiq

Freaks vs. Geeks

When pitching this weekly indie column, I turned to the one idea that has permeated every article that I’ve written so far – get indie games into the hands of the people and they will demand more. For every complaint about a worn out title bought off the shelf, there’s an indie game that addresses that very complaint and does it well. Worlds you can never dream of and heroes that break molds instead of heads wait out there to be found. But finding them is a completely different question. As I mentioned in my last article, writers and bloggers started sorting through the shards of glass for diamonds. But there is still another way to get some of the best games you’ve never heard of into your hands – festivals.

Controllers and hands; there’s nothing more pure than that. Two indie game festivals released their lists of games that they’re showings. If the stars at night are big and bright, then maybe you can make it this week down to Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, home of the largest genre film festival and of the second annual Fantastic Arcade, which runs September 22 to 29. Kids on the West Coat will need to wait a couple more weeks for IndieCade to open up in beautiful Downtown Culver City on October 8 – 9. Of course, the sensible way to address these two festivals would be to run down their respective lists of indie titles to compare and contrast the narratives being woven by their choices.

Or we could just set up a Pit Fight. That’s right. In traditional internet-style, two festivals vie for dominance through bare-chested brute force. Two shall enter. One shall leave. The message boards will be lit on fire and be already bared the exits. Let’s get it on!

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Indie developer Arthur "Mr. Pondukian" Lee has found a way to spawn parallel universes to control time with his unnamed Screenshot tech demo. While Valve may alter gravity and space within Half-Life and Portal respectively, this game brings everything to a new level. Check out the incredible demo below.




What do you think of the Screenshot tech demo? Did it blow your mind, and would this be the next implementation you'd want to see in a Portal-esque game?

Source: RPS

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IndieCade's Indie Game Finalists Have Been Chosen

The finalists for the 2011 IndieCade Festival have been chosen. Only the cream of the Indie crop have risen high enough to be included. All of these games will be playable by attendees of IndieCade which takes place on October 8th and 9th. 446 games were submitted, only 36 were chosen, but there can be only one. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your games.

  • Antichamber—Demruth
  • Application Crunch—Collegeology Games, The Game Innovation Lab
  • At a Distance—Terry Cavanagh
  • BasketBelle—Michael Molinari
  • Bistro Boulevard—Fugazo Inc.
  • BIT.TRIP FLUX—Gaijin Games
  • Black Bottom Parade—SCAD
  • Deepak Fights Robots—Tom Sennett
  • Desktop Dungeons—QCF Design
  • FEZ—Polytron Corp.

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Japan Goes Indie – Sense of Wonder Night 2011

Right now, thousands of Japanese gamers prepare for their descent onto the show floor of the Tokyo Game Show. Lights, madness, and the sound of a thousand flashing cameras will echo the halls later this week. Afraid that indie games are becoming swallowed in the sea of bodies and lights, TGS set aside some of the greatest games that they could find for an evening that allows you to get your hands on the games while not losing your place in the Skyrim line. Sense of Wonder Night also lets some great games to get into the hands of fans without having to fight the crowds.

Typically, this part of the column would be set aside to regurgitate the games in attendance in a long list with a short description beside them. Now we’re doing things differently. The time for coddling is over. Now we must throw on our big puffy pants of thinking and look at the bigger picture – the festival itself.

Out of thousands of amazing applications, only a handful makes it to the show. From the limited group, we can gain insight in to the thinking process of the committee and what they think is important in the indie scene. Think of it as a thesis about games where you don’t have to write a single word – only play games. Sense of Wonder Night seems to be looking towards the future by broadening the gamer base through novel controls and international appeal.

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It's time for part two of X-Play's PAX 10 coverage. This year, the indie games we saw at PAX Prime were more incredible and innovative than ever. In this video, Blair Herter covers A Flipping Good Time, Atom Zombie Smasher, Snapshot, Solar 2, and Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony.

 

PAX Prime 2011 Top 10 Indie Games Part Two »


Out of this list I really loved the look and feel of Snapshot, so that's the one I'll be keeping my eyes out for. If you want to check out more from the PAX 10, watch our PAX Prime 2011 Top 10 Indie Games Part One video.

 

Indies

Robert Boyd in an interview with Edge Magazine stated that Zeboyd Games would be shifting their focus from Xbox to PC games. If the name sounds familiar, then you probably know the company from their critically acclaimed RPG titles Breath of Death VII and Cthuhlu Saves the World and who just recently announced that they will be developing the next episode in the Penny Arcade video game series. The switch to PC comes to no shock to anyone following this budding indie development team because a week after releasing both of their titles on Steam, they made more money online than their 18 month run on XBLIG.

Although money, interestingly enough, does not seem to be their main reason for moving to the greener pastures of Steam. The problem here stems from exposure – specifically being able to stand out in a sea of mediocre titles. Just trying to find the good indie games in the digital backroom of the marketplace is tough enough. Imagine trying to make any impression on potential customers when you have little to no advertising in that same digital backroom.

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Indie games are king of the castle at PAX Prime. This year's PAX 10  games were so innovative, fresh, and some times confusing, we had to break them down into segments. This segment includes games like AntiChamber and Fez, both titles I can't wait for.

PAX Prime 2011 Top 10 Indie Games Part One »


This year’s PAX Prime offered up plenty of AAA offerings for attendees to enjoy, but the bread and butter of PAX have always been board games and indie games, even if the convention center layout didn’t do indie developers any favors in terms of giving them the exposure that could lead to that one big break. Anyway, the point is there were quite a few notable indie titles on display at the show, and while I wasn’t able to see them all, I wanted to highlight a couple of the standouts so that you could proptly add them to your radars.

 Vessel

This stunning, fluid dynamics-based puzzle platformer has been on our radars for some time now, just around the time it was nominated for Technical Excellence at last year’s Independent Games Festival. At PAX 2011, I was able to finally get my hands on the game, and while I only had about 15 minutes to play, it ended up being my favorite game of the show. The art direction is jaw dropping, due largely to the slick, clean steam punk style that instantly sucks you in, and the level of detail that is packed into each of 2.5D planes is just remarkable.

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While everyone was out at PAX not learning about the release date of The Old Republic, the boys over at Microsoft announced the winners of the Build. Dream. Play. challenge. First place went to Solar 2, the Katamari meets asteroid crashing game. TIC: Part 1, robot platforming at its finest, took home a respectable second place while the DDR meets RPG, Sequence, finished in third.

I can personally attest that each of these XBLIG titles each deserve recognition as well your attention the next time you happen to be online with a couple of loose Microsoft points jingling in your pocket. But the grand prize winner was the one game I hadn’t yet played, Blocks That Matter. Give this puzzle platformer a whirl and you’ll agree that there’s no other game like it around.

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The Adventures of Shuggy, Limbo, 'Spolion Man: The Silver Age of 2D Side Scrollers

For about a ten year stretch of time I didn’t play a single 2D side-scroller. Not one. Over the last week I’ve played three. I’ve played dozens just this year. I’m playing them because they’re different and genuinely better than the vast majority of three dimensional games out there. But after beating both The Adventures of Shuggy and Ms. Splosion Man in a weekend, I had to stop and give some serious thought to what exactly has led to this Silver Age of side-scrollers.

I know you’re thinking that side-scrollers never really went away; they just moved to handhelds. And that’s correct in a way. But for many of us, save for our beloved JPRGs, the handheld is just something to play on the train until we get home to our consoles. The fact is that once Wolfenstein 3D brought 3D gaming to the forefront of gamers’ minds there was no looking back for a long time.

But that's been changing. Read on to find out why.

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Sometimes I get busy I miss a couple of projects here and there. With PAX, Indie Uprising and IndieCade landing on our virtual shores, I only have so much time to give you all the info you need to be on top of the indie scene. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s going on in the world of cutting age indie gaming this week.

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Cobalt: A New Third-Party Indie Game Being Developed By Mojang Studios, The Creators Of Minecraft

Mojang, the developers behind the ridiculously successful Minecraft announced that they're going to be working with Oxeye Game Studios on an indie title called Cobalt.

"We wanted to find studios who have our philosophy of developing games, which is staying close to the community and treating it as a service," said Mojang in a statement. "Today we're announcing our first game developed by a 3rd party: Cobalt by Oxeye Game Studios."

Cobalt follows the story of Agent Cobalt as he tries to learn about the Space Exploration Foundation's lost colonization ship The Seed at planet X9CSEC5.5B-blue, Trunkopia. Apparently the ship has disappeared after its subspace jump, and Cobalt has to figure out what happened. I think.

Check after the break for a teaser trailer that Oxeye Games released for Cobalt.

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