IndieSider #16: Cubot by Nicolas Pierre-Loti-Viaud

Posted in IndieSider by on Jan 21st, 2015 9:00 AM

Cubot is a puzzle game with a calming, minimalist aesthetic and a difficulty level that quickly ramps up. Released originally for Android, then for iOS, and finally for Mac, PC, and Linux via Steam, it has earned consistently positive reviews across all platforms.

Cubot is the work of one developer, Nicolas Pierre-Loti-Viaud. In this interview, he describes how he chose the presentation style, the challenges he's faced in porting the game to multiple systems, and how the game has evolved over time and what we can look forward to in his future games.

Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

This interview is conducted through Antoine Vignau of Brutal Deluxe. Transcripts of the interview in both English and French can be found below the video.

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IndieSider #15: Never Alone with Grant Roberts

Posted in IndieSider by on Jan 7th, 2015 9:30 AM

Never Alone is a puzzle-platformer for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. It is a collaboration between E-Line Media and Upper One Games to adapt the culture and oral history of the Iñupiaq community. Up to two players play as a young girl named Nuna and an arctic fox to overcome numerous arctic obstacles while exploring the stories of Robert Cleveland and unlocking videos that share this people's traditions.

Lead game designer Grant Roberts shares the access his team had to the Cook Inlet Tribal Council, what other entries in the "world game" genre were an inspiration, how else the cultural insight videos could've been integrated into the gameplay, and what other heritages might be adapted into future games.

Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Links mentioned in this episode:

IndieSider: Indie Games of the Year

Posted in IndieSider by on Dec 31st, 2014 9:00 AM

Happy New Year's Eve! So many indie games were released in 2014, no one person could've played them all. So for this audio-only special episode of IndieSider, I've recruited Matt Conn of GaymerX, Sabriel Mastin of Indie Haven, and Emma Clarkson of BostonFIG to a roundtable discussion where we share our picks for Indie Game of the Year in three categories: mobile, desktop, and console. Along the way, Matt and Emma debate the merits of Gabriel Knight 3, Emma and Ken reminisce about working at GameStop, Matt and Sabriel do their best Boston accent imitations, and we make New Year's resolutions to play the games we wanted to play in 2014 but never got around to.

Listen to the show below, or download the MP3 from iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Click past the jump for links to the games mentioned in this episode.

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My gaming collection artifacts

Posted in News by on Dec 22nd, 2014 10:35 PM

I am not one to part with my toys; once I have purchased a console, game, or peripheral, it stays in my library forever. This would explain how I've amassed over a thousand physical games for nearly two dozen different platforms.

I don't keep my entire collection in one place, though. Some of it remains where I lived when I acquired it: my parents' basement. It's a site I recently found myself alone in as I performed computer maintenance on my parents' Macs and iPads. What to do while I waited for these automated tasks to finish? Go excavating, of course.

In the course of a few hours, I unearthed countless treasures: old NES and SNES games, imported Super Famicom titles still in the box, Nintendo World Championships prizes, Blockbuster promotional signage, and more. Armed with only my iPod Touch, I snapped and tweeted twenty photos. I enjoyed sharing these memories of long-forgotten games, both good and bad, and discovering some prizes I didn't even realize I had.

Those photos can be seen in the below gallery or in a Storify that collects the tweets. Fortunately, I don't need these photos by which to remember these artifacts: they're a part of my permanent collection.

IndieSider #14: Framed by Loveshack Entertainment

Posted in IndieSider by on Dec 17th, 2014 9:00 AM

Framed is an interactive graphic novel from Loveshack Entertainment. Rearrange the panels of this noir-style comic book to change the order in which the action occurs. Will the spy run headlong into the police — or will he slip down a hallway, evading detection? You the player decide with panels you can drag-and-drop, rotate, and reuse.

In this interview, Framed designer and composer Adrian Moore discusses the influences that led to this unprecedented game, the role narrative plays, the different genres and game mechanics the team experimented with, and how the mobile indie market harkens back to the earlier days of his career, developing Populous at Bullfrog.

Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Links mentioned in this episode:

IndieSider #13: This War of Mine by 11 bit studios

Posted in IndieSider by on Dec 3rd, 2014 9:00 AM

In traditional war games, players assume the role of a soldier, fighting the bad guys and saving the day. But in reality, not everyone affected by war is a soldier. In This War of Mine, 11 bit studios simulates the experience of being a civilian in a war-torn country. By day, you make decisions about how to manage your meager resources to take care of your team; at night, you send your best runner to scavenge for supplies — and hope she makes it back.

In this interview, senior writer Pawel Miechowski explains how his studio created This War of Mine, the research that went into making the game authentic, what lines they decided they could and could not cross, and what the developers hope players get from the experience.

Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Links mentioned in this episode:

IndieSider #12: A Bird Story by Freebird Games

Posted in IndieSider by on Nov 19th, 2014 9:00 AM

A Bird Story is a one-hour interactive narrative from Freebird Games, available from Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux. With no spoken dialogue, no written text, and little gameplay, A Bird Story instead focuses on storytelling and soundtrack, bridging the gap between To the Moon and its sequel. In this interview, Kan Gao of Freebird Games discusses how he tells a story without words, why he chose this medium for his tale, and the themes and experiences he hopes to convey.

Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Links mentioned in this episode:

IndieSider pairs Let's Plays of indie games with developer interviews. New episodes air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format on YouTube or as audio in iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

IndieSider #11: Qbqbqb by Rezoner

Posted in IndieSider by on Nov 5th, 2014 9:00 AM

Qbqbqb is a two-dimensional puzzle game that takes the traditional match-three mechanic and puts a spin on it — literally! Blocks are dropped onto a planetoid that players rotate left and right. Each planet is a different size and features its own synthesized techno soundtrack, to which the falling blocks contribute their tones. Qbqbqb includes both co-op and versus modes (local play only) and a colorblind mode.

Qbqbqb, which is now available for PC, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, was developed in just one weekend by a single artist. In this week's IndieSider, we speak with Przemyslaw Sikorski, aka Rezoner, about how he programmed the game under such constraints, how Tetris inspired him, and the indie game development scene is like in his native Poland. Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Links mentioned in this episode:

IndieSider pairs Let's Plays of indie games with developer interviews. New episodes air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format on YouTube or as audio in iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

IndieSider #10: Shadowgate by Zojoi

Posted in IndieSider by on Oct 29th, 2014 9:00 AM

Shadowgate, the classic point-and-click adventure, returns in this modern reimagining from Zojoi. Explore Castle Shadowgate from a point-and-click adventure, mastering weapons and spells with which to solve puzzles and defeat wyverns. Originally released in 1987 for the Macintosh and most famously for the 8-bit Nintendo in 1989, a successful Kickstarter campaign has brought this modern Shadowgate to Mac and Windows via Steam, featuring an updated user interface, new original illustrations, and a reorchestrated soundtrack based on the original.

Karl Roelofs, design director at Zojoi and game designer for the original Shadowgate, talks about returning to the franchise, retaining the original spirit while updating it for today's audience, and future games coming from Zojoi, including Déjà Vu and The Uninvited. Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Links mentioned in this episode:

IndieSider pairs Let's Plays of indie games with developer interviews. New episodes air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format on YouTube or as audio in iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

IndieSider #9: Spirits of Spring by Minority Media

Posted in IndieSider by on Oct 15th, 2014 9:00 AM

When I want an example of a video game that deals with a powerful subject in a creative and meaningful way, I point to Papo & Yo, which served as a metaphor for growing up with an alcoholic father. Now that game's developer, Minority Media, has released their next game: Spirits of Spring, a game that deals with bullying. You play as Chiwatin and his friends Rabbit and Bear as they try to keep evil crows from destroying the Spirit Trees that bring spring to the cold reaches of northern Canada. Can you protect yourself and your friends? Is the only way to defeat your enemies to become a crow yourself? Find out in this game,
now available for iOS for $4.99.

In this week's IndieSider, I interview Ruben Farrus, the game's creative director, about how children will be able to relate to the game's remote setting, Minority Media's history with bullying, and how he measures "success" in terms other than sales. Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes or Stitcher.

IndieSider pairs Let's Plays of indie games with developer interviews. New episodes air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format on YouTube or as audio in iTunes.

IndieSider #8: Super Win the Game by Minor Key Games

Posted in IndieSider by on Oct 1st, 2014 12:00 PM

Super Win the Game is the commercial sequel to the 2012 freeware game You Have to Win the Game. Featuring gameplay and aesthetic homages to Zelda II, Startropics, Metroid, and more, the game features platforming exploration without combat — no head-stomping, no fireballs, no weapons, but plenty of other power-ups, like snorkels and double-jump boots. An optional CRT emulation mode will curve your screen and add scanlines!

In this episode of IndieSider, I interview Minor Key Games co-founder J. Kyle Pittman about the decision to make a commercial sequel to a freeware game, which classic titles he borrowed from, why he doesn't use the term "Metroidvania" or developer tools like Steam Early Access and Kickstarter, and what the younger generation of gamers think of CRT mode. Watch the video below, or download the audio edition from iTunes or Stitcher.

Links mentioned in this episode:

IndieSider pairs Let's Plays of indie games with developer interviews. New episodes air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format on YouTube or as audio in iTunes.