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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Indie Gaming and Seattle

posted by on September 24 at 12:15 PM

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.

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Wait, so they've created a wii sex game in which players can only hear feedback, and must both be present in the same room...? Did it occur to anyone that they could just HAVE SEX?

The only viable reason for a sex game on the wii would be for phone-sex type stuff, or for those who can't get laid through conventional means. (and thus, are playing by themselves.) Anything else is pointless.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | September 24, 2008 12:45 PM

For an extra 10 bucks, you can sign up for public sex with a vacuum cleaner at Bellevue Mall, with an audience from Sbarro.

Posted by uncle baggy | September 24, 2008 12:52 PM

@1: You tell Guitar Hero fans that they should just play real guitars too, don't you?

Posted by Gloria | September 24, 2008 1:05 PM

@3 naw... the real world vs video game debate is a slippery slope; follow the logic far enough, and you're bitching about people playing Tiger Woods instead of real golf, and GTA instead of performing an actual carjacking. :)

I'm merely stating the obvious- if you've got two people in the same room who're comfortable enough playing a sexual video game together, why not go for the real thing...? The only way to make this "game" worthwhile is internet support and a solo mode (not to mention graphics).

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | September 24, 2008 1:15 PM

The game's FAQ is sort of funny:

A sex rhythm game?! Are you perverts or something?

No, we’re just European.

Are there any plans for a sequel?

Yes, “Revenge of the Uterus” will be released in approximately nine months, unless external circumstances force us to abort the effort.

Posted by litlnemo | September 24, 2008 3:20 PM

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