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Boston Festival of Indie Games

Fri, 09/28/2012 - 07:52 — ErinAS

This past weekend I spent some time on the MIT campus at the Boston Indie Games Festival. It was an interesting showcase of a wide range of games their site described as "...a celebration of independent game development with emphasis on the New England region. Boston Festival of Indie Games seeks to support and showcase the efforts of independent game developers by providing a free public event that encourages attendees to share and interact with games in various media, including video games, location-based games, tabletop games and interactive fiction. Produced under the non-profit auspices of Be Epic, a Boston-area live action games production group, Boston Festival of Indie Games is focused on creating an intersection between community, academic and independent interests in game play."

The place was packed with a wide range of ages, skill levels and games. I was only able to attend for a few hours so I focused on the video games being showcased. Here are some standouts for me:

Game With the Most Potential
Rite by FatherOctopus
This booth had a line the every time I tried to get my hands on a controller to play. The game is still a work in progress but was definitely the most unique concept I saw on the floor. It’s a puzzle game that creates multiple copies of each space that you need to navigate simultaneously. As if that weren’t mind bending enough, you can only have one of the copies survive the level so you’ve got to make the gut wrenching decision of which to save. It kind of made my brain hurt but in a good way.
Cutest Game
Jack Lumber by Owlchemy Labs
Being that I’m a sucker for terrible puns and cute animals with googly eyes they pretty much had me at hello on this one. It is your basic touch screen and slice stuff game. Though it is slightly more challenging since you can only slice the logs end to end. I really liked both the games' art and story. It didn’t hurt that their staff manning the booth were super friendly even at the end of a long day.  
Wait! How Did I Not Know About This Game Already?
Resonance by Wadjeteye Games
Point and click adventures are my favorite genre so I wasn’t really sure how I never heard of this studio that already has several games under its belt. I guess it’s one of those "they’re so indie you’ve never heard of them" situations. Anyway, they were showcasing Resonance and I had a chance to sit down and play the demo. I was easily absorbed into the games' story right away. I only played long enough to see the story unfold through one character but I look forward to checking out how it all comes together playing as different characters. I’d love to hear 2old2play’s thoughts on if they played any of this studio’s games. I’m kind of overwhelmed on where to start with so many interesting sounding titles to choose from.
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Game I Wish I Had More Time to Play
Dark Scavenger by Psydra
I only had a few minutes to play this demo as they were kicking everyone out of the exhibit halls but what I saw I liked. It featured a fun art style with old school still images. I really liked that it combined an adventure game and a RPG. I’m trying to work my way up to more complicated RPGs (I beat Costume Quest all by myself!) so I think this game will be another good one for me. It had lots of cool humor and sight gags. I’m looking forward to more of that playing the full version. After this festival I’m going to have a lot of reviews to write!
Only at MIT by Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Part roguelike, part stealth game, part puzzler, is a game about robbing Silicon Forest’s hottest new 'World Wide Web' startup while simultaneously being its best customer. Explore a vast procedurally generated rain-office as you use only your wits (and any loose cash) to climb the corporate vine, tamper with shareholder dollars, and avoid carnivorous middle-managers."
Unfortunately, I can’t find any links for this game. I believe it is a student created work in progress. I never heard of “roguelike” games before so I was intrigued by the concept.  From what I gathered from the student I talked to its basically a RPG with levels that randomly generate. The levels are never the same if you die. They usually use ASCII graphics but this looked like it was done in something like Flash (or probably actually Flash since Adobe was a sponsor). I really liked the dual mechanic of simultaneously climbing the corporate ladder while robbing the company and having to manage both those goals at once. It had lots of cute animals running around looting the office. Again, puns and cute animals (especially monkeys) in your game will get you everywhere with me!
Overall, it was an awesome festival with lots of interesting games. It’s exciting to see a lot of the types of games I like to play still being created. You just have to know where to look. All the developers and the attendees at the festival were super friendly. It's a unique experience to interact with the people who work directly on the games and to be able to give feedback and suggestions when they’re still works in progress. If your city does any kind of indie games festival make the time to check it out or head to Boston for ours next year! Support your local nerds!
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