In Part 1 of our IndieCade 2011 finalists coverage, we rounded up media and links for ten of the thirty-six finalists. Almost 450 games were submitted for consideration this year, across a host of gaming platforms including games for consoles and PC, as well as devices like mobile phones, Kinect, and iPad. All 36 finalists will be honored at a Red Carpet Awards ceremony to be held Thursday, October 6, and prizes will be awarded to the winners across a variety of different categories.
We’re continuing to bring together the trailers (if available) and links to the official project websites. The second batch, including thirteen titles, can be seen after the jump, and you can stay tuned to Indie Games Channel this week for the final batch of IndieCade 2011 finalist media. You can also find Part 1 of our coverage on the IndieCade 2011 finalists, here.
Gamestar Mechanic – E-Line Media
Notes: Gamestar Mechanic is a title geared towards grade-school and middle-school students that teaches core principles of game making. Gamification is on the rise, and Gamestar Mechanic applies the process to actually making games. Rather than focus on the technical side of things (like writing game code), Gamestar Mechanic teaches players about some theories of game design, and provides them with WYSIWYG tools to bring their visions to life. The games can then be shared with the community for others to play and provide feedback. Provided that a game about making games doesn’t create some sort of paradox in the space-time continuum, Gamestar Mechanic is exactly the kind of game I wish were around when I was in high school.
Geobook – levitylab
Notes: Levitylab’s Chaim Gingold has developed a cool project called Geobook, an interactive primer about Geology. More book than game, Geobook is an interactive textbook of sorts that conveys basic geological concepts through the use of text supplemented by interactive illustrations. A pretty fantastic idea, right? It also serves as an important reminder of how effectively infusing game-like interactivity into a learning environment can make it easier (and more fun) for students to learn new concepts. Geobook is aimed at a younger audience, and is meant as more as an introduction to its “rocking” topic, but the concepts it employs could certainly be applied to create virtual books about any number of topics.
Halcyon – stfj
Notes: Developers Zach Gage and Kurt Bieg are bringing their iPad game Halcyon to IndieCade this year. Part puzzle game, part music game, and part toy, Halcyon asks players to match colored currents travelling along a series of predetermined pathways. A current can be redirected to another pathway with a simple finger-swipe, and the action ramps up until dozens of currents are on-screen at once. Halcyon is currently available for iPad on iTunes for $1.99.
Hero Generations – Heart Shaped Games
Notes: Currently playable in beta form on Facebook, Hero Generations is described as a “strategy/artgame” where players build a legacy by living the lives of multiple generations worth of characters. I booted up the beta version with the intentions of checking it out for a few minutes, and had to force myself to step away some twenty minutes later. The game plays a bit like a casual roguelike, with each turn aging your current avatar until it’s time to stop chasing monsters and settle down to make yourself an heir. There are townships to be upgrades, treasure and loot to find, and mates to woo, and the game seems to pack a surprising amount of depth on top of being very replayable.
Hohokum – Honeyslug and Richard Hogg
Notes: Hohokum’s blend of art-style and free-flowing gameplay had me intrigued back when I first laid eyes on it. The colorfully upbeat and bizarre game has “players control a colourful space worm, winding through a city under attack to rescue its innocent citizens on its back.” Hohokum’s puzzles and design have grown out of developer Honeyslugs’ close collaboration with artist Richard Hogg.
Improviso – GAMBIT
Notes: Back in my college days, I studied acting and writing at UCLA’s school of Theater, Film, and Television. That’s why GAMBIT’s Improviso is especially intriguing to me. It’s a co-operative multiplayer game about improvisational acting and directing. One player takes on the role of Ted–a journalist investigating an alien cover-up–and the other plays as the director, “selects scenes, chooses the soundtrack, summons special effects, and controls the supporting cast: the Scientist, the Alien, the Government Agent, and the Little Girl.” Improviso can be downloaded for free for PC and Mac from the GAMBIT website.
Johann Sebastian Joust – Douglas Wilson and Friends
Notes: Certainly one of the more physical IndieCade finalists on-tap this year, Johann Sebastian Joust is a music and motion-based jousting game that uses PlayStation Move controllers and smart-phone accelerometers. No television or monitor required! Some in-action examples of the game–developed by Douglas Wilson in association with the Copenhagen Game Collective (B.U.T.T.O.N.)–can be seen in the trailer. In a nutshell, players must keep their own controller as still as possible while simultaneously trying to jostle that of their opponents. The proceedings are scored to a remix of Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous BWV 1047, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, Movement ii (Allegro) by Nifflas, and the changing tempo of the song determines how sensitive the accelerometers are at a given moment. I saw an early live demo at this year’s Game Developers Conference, and it already seemed very different and fun.
Kiss Controller – Georgia Tech
Notes: Plastic guitar controllers have nothing on Hye Yeon Nam’s Kiss Controller, but I wouldn’t expect to see it at retail anytime soon. In this co-op game, two players make out with each other using “a customized headset that functions as a sensor receiver and a magnet that provides sensor input.” The official site explains: “One person has a magnet on his/her tongue and the other person wears the headset. While they kiss, the person who has the magnet on his/her tongue, controls the direction and speed of the bowling ball for 20 seconds. The goals of this game are to guide the ball so that it maintains an average position in the center of the alley and to increase the speed of the ball by moving the tongue faster while kissing.”
Loop Raccord – Nicolai Troshinsky
Notes: “Inspired by the work of Peter Greenaway [The Pillow Book] and exploring traditional video editing techniques,” Loop Raccord tasks players with arranging disparate video clips together to create the “illusion of continuous movement between them.” Developer Nicolai Troshinsky’s is attempting to fuse traditional cinematic editing techniques in a way that lets the player create unique audio-visual narratives using pre-existing footage. An “improved and expanded” version of Loop Raccord is expected to hit iTunes in “late September / early October.”
Ordnungswissenschaft – Till Wittwer, Marek Plichta and Jakob Penca
Notes: “Ordnungswissenschaft” – pronounce it at your own peril – is another physical game entry for IndieCade this year that focuses on one of gaming’s oldest pastimes: procedural crate stacking. Ok, to be fair, they’re boxes, not crates. Players are given a rigid list of instructions to follow, and can only determine when to execute their next order. Within the confines of the unbreakable rules, “players have to apply their human intuition and their wit in order to influence the course of the game and win.”
Papa Sangre – Somethin’ Else
Notes: Developer Somethin’ Else describes Papa Sangre as utilizing the “first ever real-time 3D audio engine implemented on a handheld device.” It’s an impressive technical achievement, and one that fits in with the game’s premise quite well. Presented entirely using audio (the game has no graphics), Papa Sangre sounds like a survival-horror adventure game of sorts, in which the player is trying to rescue a loved one and escape “an afterlife that takes the form of a malevolent, unpredictable carnival: imagine a Mexican graveyard on the Day of the Dead — with the lights off.” Beware the monsters.
PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew – Incredible Ape
Notes: PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew, takes the 2D side-scrolling platfomula, and gives is a funny and unique party-game twist. A heroic spaceman must navigate and blast his way through the game with the help of two players acting cooperatively. Rather than traditional controllers, each player has only a microphone that is used to make the hero do different things. If you’re looking for a very cool, inexpensive co-op game (and happen to have a couple of spare mics around) PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew can be downloaded from Xbox Live Indie Games for 240 Microsoft Points ($3).
Play Kalei (formerly Kaleidoplay) – Load Complete
Notes: Play Kalei (once known as Kaleidoplay) is a casual puzzle game for iPad that uses real-world photographs to create kaleidoscopic images that the player must match using simple touch-based controls. It looks like good old fashioned pick-up-and-play fun with an intuitive interface that welcomes regular gamers and non-gamers, alike.
Be sure to check back with us soon for the third and final part of our IndieCade 2011 finalist media roundup.
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