The Games We Want To Play

The Games We Want To Play

Recently Netflix revealed that it looks at torrent services to see what movie and TV shows are in demand in a given area. When I look at the indie game scene I wonder if “big” publishers look to steam, mobile and the crannies of the internet for similar insight.

Apples and Oranges? You may be thinking that torrents reflect consumer needs while indies represent content creators.

What’s the difference? The average twenty-something indie developer has disposable income in his future, and we know he LOVES games. As many indie developers as there are, isn’t that very community a big enough slice of “core” gamers to measure consumer desires?

The very definition of an indie developer is an individual or small team making the games they want to play.

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What’s So Good About FEZ?

What's So Good About FEZ?

I finally played FEZ last night on Steam and my expectations were modest; based only on what I had seen in Indie Game: The Movie and the elevator pitches of other gamers. I also heard that it was a game of exploration-something I love.

As soon as I began walking through the FEZ universe it was obvious that the developer had higher standards than most.

Let’s get specific with a bulleted list!

  • Many games use a SNES-inspired aesthetic but the ususal result is inconsistently pixellated sprites mismatched with an unlimited number of colors and “some chiptunes track” playing in the background. In FEZ the visuals have a beautiful color palette and specific style and the retro visuals are actually part of the story and gameplay. The music is original, purposeful and helps create an atmosphere.

  • The platforming is fun! Which is rare thanks to the floaty physics we have apparently accepted as the norm. The jumping feels right and the level design accents the control perfectly.

  • That’s another thing, great level and game design! You are slowly introduced to a modest set of mechanics that you follow like a trail of bread crumbs to the next satisfying reward. The level design introduces new experiences as the easily-grasped and fun control stays the same. This is how it’s done!

  • A sense of mystery without question marks: The game explains how it works through level design and via conversation with a little helper. It’s not overdone and it never takes control away from you. But, there is mystery in the world, the characters and the conversation. You will stumble upon things and not know what and why they are. Your imagination will fill in the gaps and euphoria will flow through your body like a delicious gravy (maybe this was just my experience). Books are loved because of the information you are not given.

    I’ll update the post if this opinion changes but my first time with FEZ left me wondering: Why do so few indie games have this level of quality?

  • We Need Standardized Controllers for Mobile Devices

    Clever Controller Pun

    I was hoping Apple would announce an official controller at their iPhone event today. It’s conceivable since they revealed iOS 7’s little-touted controller API when announcing the new operating system a few months ago (current controllers use the keyboard API.)

    The Apple brand could standardize mobile controllers and open the door for playing apps on Apple TV–and who doesn’t want a brand new console?

    I love touchscreens and the gaming innovations that have followed, but if Apple unveiled this console, which aside from building the controller hardware would only require a software update for Apple TV, they could disrupt the games industry all over again.

    Numbers Memory Match Submitted

    Numbers Memory Match, the latest app from my team at Eggroll Games, was just submitted to the App Store.

    This video features a build about three generations previous to the final. It was created, as all our apps have been, with the Corona SDK. It uses the engine from our last app for menus, options and aesthetic but has completely new gameplay. My goal was to make the best memory matching gameplay on the App Store. I think we’ve accomplished that with the caveat that it is aimed at parents of children learning numbers and counting. We are planning on using this matching engine in a future title aimed at general audiences.