If you haven’t heard of locally made, crowd-funded point-and-click game Stasis by now, you’re either living under a rock, or you should be. It’s a 2D, isometric point and click adventure that marries a Ridley Scott-esque aesthetic and story to The Dig-like mechanics – which should already tell you that it’s awesome.
Last Thursday I had the good fortune to attend one of the first screenings of the video game documentary, Us and the Game Industry, organised by Make Games SA (MGSA) and the Labia Theatre. I was blown away by the number of indie followers, supporters and actual developers that attended - the atmosphere was positively festival-like!
Games have taught me a wealth of useful titbits over the years: Zombies are suckers for head-shots, bikini Mithril armour can fend off arrows, battle axes, magic missiles and fireballs and princesses are never imprisoned in the castle you're laying siege to. But the most recent addition left me intrigued.
Every now and then someone has to come out and tell us that there are no new things under the sun, that people are lacking in creativity, and that gaming is too reliant on successful formulas. So, basically the same criticism that has existed around all art forms for ages. The latest critic is Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of Kirby who is currently working on Super Smash Bros.
Jonathan Blow, the developer of indie-darling mind-bending, time-warping platform puzzler Braid and long-in-development The Witness is often heralded as a figurehead in the indie development scene. Only he thinks most indie games are terrible.
Don't be fooled by Sony and PlayStation's size - they still have love for indie games. In fact, they are punting four indie games on their blog!
I’m seeing a lot of potential in the Playstation 4. Granted, it’s potential that’s going to benefit people with faster ADSL lines, but it’s there nonetheless. Whether a dedicated gaming console such as the PS4 can exist and still remain successful remains to be seen, but so far, it looks good. Game streaming, social functions making the entire process quicker, faster and less annoying are some of the key aspects here, but it’s all about the games at the end of the day. Sony’s Mark Cerny describes the PS4 as being the “most open console” possible. And it looks like indie game developers are going to share some of that love.
SO WHAT’S EVERYONE PLAYING RIGHT NOW? Say what you like about the state of gaming today, but people are always going to vote with their wallets. And when you’ve paid some serious cash for a certain game, you’re pretty likely to spend many a night playing it, while your loved ones ask you to come back, because you’re breaking the family apart with your constant nights spent playing My Little Pony Online and I’m drifting again. Xbox number man Major Nelson recently revealed the Top 20 list of most played games for 2012, and quite frankly, no one is going to be surprised at the results.
It’s been the year of the Indie pretty much since the get go. From Steam releases to Kickstarter to Greenlight, the industry and community has shown Indies great love. The genre has changed forever and for the better, producing some of the year’s best games, that’s right, I’ve said it: Best! Out of all the amazing titles, the hard boiled gunplay and skull crashing close combat victory goes to…
The lovely Anna Marsh has 13 years of experience in the videogames industry and has a most impressive gameography. This lady has worked for Sony, Creative Assembly/Sega and Eidos as well as Crystal Dynamics. She is the former Creative Designer of the Tomb Raider franchise and has worked on brands such as Hitman and Alien. Needless to say she is legendary! I had the tremendous honour of being able to do an interview with her.
Right now? You’ve got about 13 hours left to get your hands on the rather incredible Humble Indie Bundle V; a collection of some of the best games independent developers have on offer - for as much or as little as you’d like to pay for them.
How many gaming festivals are held in South Africa? I’ll give you a hint. You can count ‘em on one hand. SO when something new and exciting comes along, you can be sure that we’ll let you know about it.
After all, this one sounds A MAZEing.
Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has been popping up in the news quite frequently as of late, thanks to rumours of a Psychonauts sequel and his Kickstarter initiative for a new independently developed game proving to be a huge success.
It’s been a massive win for Schafer so far, with the gaming industry realizing that the fans are more than willing to donate towards a game that the bigger publishers are hesitant to finance.
With such initiatives paving the way for smaller, more creative titles to be developed, it puts the larger publishers in a negative light, but Schafer thinks that this is not so, as he explained that producing a new game was a risky move for both parties in the current economic climate.