Games Indie Gaming and Seattle
posted by September 24 at 12:15 PMon
Wii Sex? We’re getting there:
The Dark Room Sex Game is a rhythm game of sorts—shake your Wii Remote with the second player with a sense of mutual rhythm, and you win. No graphics—only horny audio cues indicate whether you’re “thrusting” at the right pace or not. Though it’s silly, it’s actually a genius twist on rhythm games—rather than steadily pressing buttons, you’re forced to invent your own rhythm and then dynamically change it alongside another player. Makes Rock Band look pedestrian. (By the way, this game’s not for the Wii; you have to trick your PC into recognizing your Wii controllers for this to work. Sorry, grandma.)
Though this game is available as a free download, you might prefer to wait until October 10th to see a crowd embarrass themselves with it. The game will be publicly demoed with 24 other indie-gaming contest finalists at the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games, held this year at Bellevue’s Open Satellite gallery space. The main festival lasts two days, while the indie game competition will stay at the space until October 17th.
Sadly, the festival is pricing its panels and talks out of mainstream attendance—$250 for a full pass? Yeesh. But the week-long game showcase will be open for only $10/day, which is perfect. It costs that much to play for maybe ten minutes at GameWorks—and the games here will be infinitely cooler. In the past year, IndieCade has vetted recent indie hits like Braid, N+, and Everyday Shooter before the rest of us caught on, so there should be at least a couple of soon-to-be-smashes at Open Satellite’s showcase just down the block. In a few minutes of perusing the competitors, I’ve already been blown away by The Unfinished Swan, in which you have to paint the world in front of you to reveal your path and solve puzzles. Might not be refined as a full game yet, but their proof of concept is dazzling.
IndieCade hasn’t yet posted the full list of competitors, but gaming blog Joystiq apparently has the list, as they’re posting impressions of the games every day this week. I’ll be sure to get my grubby hands on the games next month as well.
This is the second big indie-games competition around town in as many months—the other one, the PAX 10, finally announced its winner this week. No shocker to me, The Maw took top honors. This cartoony delight will see retail release in the first half of 2009 on downloadable services like Xbox Live. Other runners-up at the PAX 10, particularly the genius magnet-puzzler Polarity, will be showcased at IndieCade as well.
PAX was swept under the rug by outlets and people alike as a niche festival, but the event’s focus on indie gaming was quite telling. If IndieCade can follow up on the momentum, who’s to say Seattle won’t look more attractive as a region that appreciates and encourages the next wave of small game developers—the ones who take chances with ideas like multi-touch Tetris and journalists embedded in Palestine?
The market’s changing because of downloadable games—from games on mobile phones to money-sucking MMOs that are flattening the rest of the market. Cheaper, humbler, and smarter games will be the inevitable future. Fests like this give our city a chance to claim dibs on this new kind of “indie.” Or, at the very least, to shake Wii remotes and moan in public.