5 frightening indie games

This has been a banner year for big-budget horror games: Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima's widely acclaimed Silent Hills P.T. Demo, Resident Evil veteran Shinji Mikami's The Evil Within, Ridley Scott's Alien: Isolation. But indie shops are on the scream team, too -- check out our picks for the top 5 most terrifying of 2014.

Lurking ( WindowsMac)

In Lurking, you must escape an asylum and avoid capture by the twisted residents, using only your hearing and wits. You must rely on echolocation, each sound you make revealing more of the world you're … Read more

9 apps for the 4th of July

We celebrate the Fourth of July with backyard BBQ and "Independence Day" reruns. But the holiday's about honoring America's fiercely independent spirit and the patriots who fought for our enduring political freedoms. Nothing symbolizes the spirit of independence better than fireworks, which have been part of Fourth of July festivities since 1777. To find, photograph, or even play with fireworks, check out our picks for the best fireworks-themed apps.


Not sure where to go for the best view of the fireworks? Eventful (iOS) is like Yelp for local activities. Get alerts and search for nearby … Read more

It's the end of the light bulb as we know it

In 2007, the US Congress under President George W. Bush passed the Energy Independence and Security Act. Key among its provisions was a new series of regulations mandating the gradual phase-out of the manufacturing, importation, and sale of inefficient lighting. We've already said goodbye to 75- and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, and on January 1, 2014, we'll be bidding adieu to 40- and 60-watt bulbs as well.

The move is intended to kick-start a new era of longer-lasting, more efficient lighting, and according to some, it's a move that's long overdue. After all, incandescent bulbs waste … Read more

The 404 1,298: Where we're the last to leave (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- From Usher to jellyfish: What was new at this year's Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.

- Social etiquette do or don't?: The ol' Irish farewell.

- Is this the first arrest filmed on Google Glass?

- Speaking of citizen journalism: you'll never eat at Golden Corral again.

- RadioShack tries out new concept store.

Episode 1,298


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Google's July 4th doodle celebrates dogs, not controversy

July Fourth is the day we celebrate being a true American.

Some will choose to barbecue animals and watch fireworks. Others will hack into their neighbors' wi-fi, just to see who they've been e-mailing lately.

However you choose to spend the Fourth, you have to take one little look at Google's Independence Day doodle.… Read more

Apple said to be enticing indie labels for iTunes Radio

While Apple has sealed the deal with the three major music recording labels for its upcoming iTunes Radio service, the company is now looking to lure independent labels.

The tech giant has reportedly been talking to various indie music labels, letting them know how the royalty pay scale will work on the new service, according to the Wall Street Journal. Labels will be paid on how many listens each song gets, along with ads that Apple sells.

According to the Wall Street Journal, labels will get 0.13 cent every time a song is played and 15 percent of ad … Read more

The 404 1,211: Where we're down with GDC (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- A what, where, and why primer on the Game Developer's Conference from guests Meggan Scavio and Simon Carless.

- The 15th annual Independent Games Festival opens its Audience Award voting window, now through March 1.

- Nominations open for 2013 Game Developers Choice Awards.

- Unity Engine coming to BlackBerry 10 smartphones, BlackBerry PlayBook.… Read more

Amazon, Independent Publishers Group reach settlement

Amazon has reached a settlement with the Independent Publishers Group over sales of the e-book versions of the nearly 5,000 titles distributed by IPG.

In February, Amazon stopped selling digital versions of titles distributed by IPG, which represents more than 500 publishers, owing to a disagreement about terms. As The Wall Street Journal points out in its report (subscription required), publishing terms cover such things as wholesale pricing, payment requirements, and marketing.

The Journal paraphrases an unnamed source as saying that IPG's terms, in February, were not as good as those from rival distributors. But IPG's president … Read more

Indie games steal the spotlight this spring

Sure, the future of gaming may see the end of used games, but it's also ushering in a wave of independent and download-only titles that may not have otherwise seen the light of day.

Current-generation consoles have provided independent studios with accessible platforms like Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) and the PlayStation Network (PSN) that exposes their work to millions of gamers, similar to what the App Store has done for iOS developers.

Microsoft has even taken it a step further with its XNA initiative, ensuring that literally anyone can create a game.

The widespread embrace of these titles has encouraged others to follow suit and has paved the way for indie classics like Braid, LIMBO, Bastion, Minecraft, and most recently, Journey.… Read more

Google remainders its independent e-book resales

Google is nixing the reseller program that falls within the Google Books platform -- effectively cutting off an additional revenue stream (and possible lifeline) for independent booksellers.

Scott Dougall, director of product management and digital publishing at Google, explained on the Google Book Search blog that based on results to-date, "it's clear that the reseller program has not met the needs of many readers or booksellers."

This change will help us focus on building the best ebooks experience we can across hundreds of devices with millions of books. Books will continue to be a major content pillar … Read more