“For all the massive growth the gaming industry has seen over the past few decades (with thousands upon thousands of titles released into the wilds), it’s surprising to see that so many games still cling to such Neanderthal objectives. Run. Jump. Shoot. Kill. Annihilate. Thinking far outside of the box, the folks at indie studio thatgamecompany set out to break away from the status quo of violence, and instead focus on crafting gaming experiences revolving around emotion and expression. In doing so, they’ve found success while also blurring the boundaries between games and art.”
“It’s not quite as hard to get into game-making as it once was. In recent years, the barrier to entry for hobbyist game development has lowered quite a bit, thanks to the work of enthusiastic bedroom programmers and a bustling online community willing to guide newcomers with tutorials and helpful downloads. Having the right tools and the drive to create is often all you need to get rolling in the indie gaming world these days, but what if you don’t have the right tools? For some, like Adam “Atomic” Saltsman, the solution was to make the tools.”
It wasn’t until I played Shoot 1UP last year that Mommy’s Best Games’ work first popped up on my radar. The game’s crazy 1UP mechanic that boosts your squad of fighters instantly is pretty cool, but it’s the ridiculousness in the game’s visual design that really hooked me. At one point you fight a massive uterus-thing. Then there’s the giant MechaLilith with her detachable missile boobs that shoot more missiles out of the nipples. Amazing. I caught up with Nathan Fouts last spring at PAX East to chat about Grapple Buggy, but this week’s Indie Spotlight column delves deeper into the inner workings of Mommy’s Best Games. Enjoy!
This month’s installment of my indie-gaming developer spotlight column over at GameSpy highlights the insanely charming and quirky Zombie Cow Studios. Much of the feature discusses some of the behind-the-scenes stuff from their recent game Privates – a bizarre educational game revolving around blasting STDs inside vaginas and anus (anuses…ani? What’s the proper plurar for an arse-hole?) while providing important info about the nasty stuff.
Check out the column here at GameSpy, and stay tuned for a new installment next month!
“When I first met the guys from indie studio Gaijin Games not too long ago, we bumped into each other in a packed warehouse in Brooklyn that was hosting Blip Festival 2009 — an annual celebration of wild new music being made by artists using homebrew software running on old-school gaming devices like the Game Boy, NES, and Commodore 64. The evening was filled with high energy 8-bit audio revelry cranked out at maximum volume by chip musicians like Nullsleep, Bit Shifter, Bubblyfish, and many others. Gaijin’s presence was no coincidence; these guys dig quirky retro-tinged music, and it’s one of the core driving forces behind the games they create.”
“Toronto hasn’t always been the indie game development Mecca that it’s grown into today. Just under a decade ago, studios in the city were scarce, and many budding developers had to leave Toronto to find solid work. Sick of competing for the meager handful of game dev job openings in town and unwilling to relocate away from home, a group of enthusiastic game makers set out to change things. After a few years of working on a slate of mobile phone projects, indie studio Capybara Games has settled into a steady groove crafting offbeat games about rainbow-puking critters, puzzle jousting combatants, and pixilated touchy-feely warriors.”
“Freeware used to be a completely different animal back in the earlier days of home computing, but the birth of the Internet and the more recent advent of blazing-fast connections speeds have changed things completely. The Flash gaming scene has since exploded, giving bedroom coders and startup indie studios a shot at having their games played by millions of players. That’s a win-win for players looking to get in some short bursts of gaming. But how does one stay afloat simply making free browser-based games on a full-time basis? The folks at Nitrome Limited have it figured out.”
Folks who frequent my little cubby hole on the net here know I’m borderline obsessed with the indie gaming scene in all its various shapes and forms. I’m excited to announce the launch of my new monthly column for GameSpy that explores the indie gaming world and highlights interesting developers. My first installment covers indie startup studio Fire Hose Games and their awesome upcoming debut Slam Bolt Scrappers. Also, the team just announced the game is going to be a PSN exclusive and is expected to launch in early 2011. Here’s a blurb from my column and a link below:
“As far as ringing endorsements go, it’s hard to ignore a game that’s been enthusiastically described by wide-eyed passersby as “kind of like Tetris, except with a bunch of flying dudes trying to beat the crap out of one another.” While huge, elaborate booths trumpeting hot AAA titles drew large crowds at this year’s inaugural Penny Arcade Expo East, a constant rotation of eager players also lined up on the show floor to check out an early demo for Slam Bolt Scrappers, the debut project by independent Boston studio Fire Hose Games. Very few who sauntered over to the meager booth had even heard of the small studio — but by the end of the weekend’s festivities, a growing buzz about this curious and colorful little indie brawler had infiltrated the farthest reaches of the convention center.”