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Independent Games Festival 2008

Independent Games Festival Round-Up

It’s that time of year again. Halloween is just around the corner, the consoles are all having price drops in preparation for Christmas, and all the squirrels in the park around my flat seem to be dying for some reason.

Oh, yeah, and the Independent Games Festival is underway for the tenth time.

IGF is a yearly highlight of the gaming calendar for many, including myself. I don’t mind admitting that I’m utterly addicted to indie games and love the experimental and innovative twist which they often follow.

Organised by the CMP Game ground (which is itself formed of Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra and GDF), the festival itself was created to showcase the efforts of some of the best independent games developers and to encourage innovation in game design. The festival, which has been running since 1998, has grown steadily in popularity and is seen by many bedroom coders as a great way to get into the spotlight.

Take Nuclear Monkey Software for example, a little known independent company which entered the 2006 festival with a game called Narbacular Drop, which won the Student Showcase section of the festival. The game was lauded with so much praise in fact that Gabe Newell of Valve had a look at the interesting portal technology used in the game.

Independent Games Festival 2008
Games like Portal were born when the developers gained acclaim through the IGF Festival

You can probably see where I’m going with this, and soon enough Nuclear Monkey Software was incorporated into Valve and set to work on a brand new game in one of the best gaming franchises the PC has ever seen.

In fact, the history of IGF is littered with success stories. Games like Darwinia, Alien Hominid and N+ were all obscure, independent titles until they scooped up fistfuls of awards and were thrown into the big leagues thanks to simple, but passionately produced and well polished gameplay.

So, with that in mind, we’ll be looking at the line-up for this year's festival and giving our opinions on some of the 170+ games which stand out to our trained eyes. Which are the ones to watch and why? Which developers have brains of coding gold and which ones have just ripped off pong again?

Independent Games Festival 2008
Some indie developers have used IGF as a springboard for their studios, later creating blockbusters like Defcon (above)

We’ll be telling you as we look at the best and brightest games in this year's line-up. Some of them are wacky, some of them are scary, some are educational and some barely even qualify as a game because of their experimental nature – but that’s what indie games are like.

I suppose we’d better get on with it then.