Papers, Please dominates IGF Awards at GDC 2014

Many great indie games and AAA titles featured at GDC 2014 were collaborative efforts from highly talented individuals. But Papers, Please proves that there is still room in the gamers' hearts for lone-wolf developers. With an usual narrative, Papers, Please captures the emotional toll of working as an immigration officer in a fictional dystopian country. Using detective skills and powers of observation, players can allow or deny refuge for immigrants trying to get into the nation of Arstotzka.

Lucas Pope drew from personal experience as an American living abroad and applied the skills he acquired at Naughty Dog working on … Read more

Shake your Groovy Tuesday

Do you hate your job? Is your boss a jerk? Are you an elephant on roller skates?!

Every year, the DePaul University Game Dev Program chooses a set of students to create an entry for the Independent Games Festival, and the results are usually impressive (see last year's entry Octodad). This year, the anthropomorphic-loving crew is back with Groovy Tuesday, in which you guide a roller-skating elephant on his quest to funkify his office--including furniture, lights, and coworkers--by tossing "plugmen" into heretofore unconnected music devices.

Still under development, the 0.9 version of Groovy Tuesday offers up … Read more

Independent Games Festival award nominees: Coming soon to a console or PC near you

[Update: The winner of the 2011 IGF Grand Prize was, not surprisingly, Minecraft.]

Months before popular indie game Limbo was a critical and commercial hit on Xbox Live, in-the-know industry watchers were well aware of the game, thanks to its multiple wins (Excellence in Visual Art and Technical Excellence) at the 2010 Independent Games Festival, an awards show held each year during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The nominees come from all over the map, from already-released indie games to works in progress that are far from sure to ever get a commercial release. Some are PC games, … Read more

Scenes from GDC 2010

With the 2010 edition of the Game Developers Conference winding down, we've put together a short photographic tour of our week, from Sony's PlayStation Move launch to the booth-filled expo hall. Though surprises were few and far between, we did pick up on some new lines of perceived wisdom from our fellow attendees in the form of trends and themes to watch out for.

Indie games looking for bigger audiencesOne highlight of the week was the Independent Games Festival Awards, which celebrated small, indie projects. Many of these games are or will be available as iPhone, Xbox Live, or PC downloadable games, and though we thought there were too many side-scrolling platform games, there were also many very creative ideas on display.

The move toward digital distribution is having the same effect on the video game industry as it did on the music industry several years ago. Small, independent developers, with tiny budgets and teams, can bypass publishing middlemen and sell directly to the consumer (or close to directly--the owners of much of this virtual retail shelf space, including Apple and Microsoft, still act as gatekeepers).

If you want to check out a few of these indie games, Monaco, a four-player co-op game, took top honors at the awards show.  We also liked the photographic mystery game Trauma and the atmospheric side-scroller Limbo. (Disclosure: My spouse, AOL Games Editor in Chief Libe Goad, is a member of the IGF judges panel.) … Read more