Cory mentioned this campaign when it first launched, but the team behind the charity-driven Humble Indie Bundle 2 -- which lets you pay what you like for five top-tier indie games -- have now added all six games from this year's previous Indie Bundle, if you donate more than the overall average amount. That means that for at least around $7.60 (you choose how much goes to the developers or organizations like EFF and Child's Play), you get eleven games: World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, Penumbra Overture and Samorost 2 from the first bundle, along with newcomers Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, and the newly released and super-stylized Revenge of the Titans. Further unlocks like this are also expected -- the Bundlers have also just announced that Titans will go open-source if donations reach $1.75 million in the 2 days remaining in the campaign. Click here to contribute! (Humble Indie Bundle 2, illustration by the ever-amazing Nikklas Jansson via Amanita)
I'm not the greatest at this whole self-promotion gig, but a quick update to note that it's just been announced that I'll be joining the 2011 Independent Games Festival as its new chairman, taking over for Simon Carless, who's done a fantastic job of making the festival the premiere place to showcase the home-grown talent that's changing the way we think about games, year after year. I've been doing my best over the past couple years (primarily thanks to Boing Boing and their help getting Offworld off the ground) to shine as strong a light as possible on the people struggling to make beautiful things every day, and needless to say I'm thrilled that I get to be a part of the organization that made World of Goo, Crayon Physics, Fez, Braid and -- via Student Showcase winner Narbacular Drop -- even Valve's Portal the notable names and successes they are today. All my usual writing work will continue, as will a few other upcoming tricks I've got up my sleeve for bringing amazing new games to light! Anyway, OK!
Topping our list of anticipated Xbox Live Arcade games but still off too many radars elsewhere, Offworld returns from a day at Scotland-based Denki with a behind the scenes look at the making of their upcoming word-battler Quarrel (above), from its cardboard and tiddly-wink origins to the 'magic wool' now running underneath. Elsewhere we saw the Tri-Islands of Monkey Island rendered in the hyper-poly pushing engine behind Crysis and early PC transforming robo-shooter Thexder coming to the PSP, and got a glimpse into the art and design behind the fantastical heavy-metal world of Brutal Legend. We also saw the wickedly blood-drenched pixels of Cactus's low-bit Life/Death/Island and Valve's amazing/ly swift response to a fan-made Team Fortress 2 canine class, shoes fit for Okami and high concept Pac-Man and Tetris wearables, and purchased a two-disc collection of Blip Fest 2008 performances -- possibly the best catalog of the top chiptune players released to date. And our 'one shot's: Bioshock 2's Mr. Bubbles meets Mary Blair, and 40 artists collaborate on a magic-mile-long mega-Mario Kart illustration.
With the launch of Retro Remakes on Offworld, we started a straw poll to ask: what's the one remake you'd most like to see appear on consoles or handhelds, with the results to be tabulated and published at the end of the week. We also read the latest official response on the disappearance of an Xbox Live Arcade version of N64 classic Goldeneye 007, and celebrated the 25th anniversary of UK space-exploration legend Elite (above) with developer Frontier. Elsewhere we put together a high-res gallery documenting Indies Invading Austin -- the two days of the inaugural Indie Games Summit at GDC Austin -- and began rounding up the reasons why you should be attending LA's Oct. 1-4 Indiecade conference/exhibition, with appearances by Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi, former MIT games head Henry Jenkins, and flOw/Flower creator Jenova Chen. Finally, we saw the horrific visage of the Teletubbies invading Left 4 Dead, watched an epic fan-made video of game characters invading Earth, Cloverfield-style, and our 'one shot's: Spacesick's awesomely designed Game Buddy, and the cranio-facial reconstruction of what your head looks like after too much Tetris.
Recently on Offworld we took an in-depth look at the games coming to both Wii and DS throughout the beginning of 2010 that you should be paying attention to (above), including new versions of Maxis's Spore -- which has just received a new, surprisingly full featured Flash version of its Creature Creator utility for your web perusal, in anticipation of the upcoming games. We also saw indie fave Infinite Ammo show off an affecting debut video of their upcoming puppet-girl opus Marian, as Team Meat also debut the first trailer for their brutal WiiWare platformer Super Meat Boy: a must see for its all-replays-at-once feature demo near the end. Elsewhere the animators at Aardman take on the DS's new sketchbook cartoon app, Rez and Lumines creators Q unveil a love-connection-puzzle game for iPhone, a man brilliantly mods Half Life 2 to use only mouth-sounds, James Kochalka's Game Boy Advance album hits iTunes, and Taito unveils an arcade game that simulates the impotent rage of the angry dad. And our 'one shot's: Nathan Barley/Dead Set's Charlie Brooker gets into games, Konjak captures the end of Mario's quest, our well-spent childhoods, and open season on invaders.
With Austin's Game Developers Conference fully underway, Offworld's got updates on a few of the Indie Games Summit sessions nearest and dearest to its heart, with my own 'New Indie Hotness' show and tell (above), where I ran live demos of seven of the best up and coming indies you need to play (with the help of a special guest star), and a look behind the smash success of Colin Northway's Flash construction kit Fantastic Contraption. Elsewhere we saw Namco tease a screenshot of its upcoming iPhone version of Keita Takahashi's PS3 game Noby Noby Boy, LucasArts revealed the gorgeously illustrated dream world in its new Lemmings-esque downloadable Lucidity, From Software showed off its upcoming PS3 exclusive 3D Dot Game Heroes -- an 8-bit Zelda inspired adventure pixel-popped into glorious 3D, and Metanet (behind Flash hit ninja sim N) announced Office Yeti, their Skool Daze meets Rampage workplace game. Finally, former Spore tech lead Chris Hecker announced he'd be going indie with Spy Party, his "asymmetric multiplayer espionage game about subtle behavior and deception", we watched the winner of the Super Mario artificial intelligence contest, art/game/culture shop Attract Mode opened its doors, and for our LA readers: indie musician Chris Schlarb will be performing live versions of his tracks for the upcoming Night Game tonight at the Slow Sound Festival. And our 'one shot's: Iggy Pop rocks Lego, the Alien origins of Machinarium, Super Mario's Twin Towers, and 3D Tetris of the Magic Eye kind.
Is the games industry missing an opportunity to let concept artists rule the roost? In his latest Ragdoll Metaphysics column, Jim Rossignol points to both success stories and missed opportunities where letting artists spearhead the game either did bring or should have brought the game closer to art, and calls for a new industry arms race to create the best "watercolour FPS games, painterly RTS games, and oil-painting strategies." Elsewhere, 09/09/09 was a double-header day in games: less celebrated for the 10th anniversary of the cut-down-in-its-prime Dreamcast, which Sega celebrated by announcing a return to Sonic the Hedgehog's roots with a new hi-def 2D game due in 2010, while a group of indies announced Rush Rush Rally Racing, the first new Western-made game for the console in many years. But 09/09's more prevalent significance to The Beatles didn't go unnoticed by groups other than Harmonix (with the unleashing of The Beatles: Rock Band), as chiptune collective 8-Bit Operators unveiled "WANNA HLD YR HANDHELD", a 20-track 8-bit Beatles cover compilation, nearly half of which they're streaming ahead of its release. Finally, we listed the 4 things gamers need to know about Apple's Rock'n'Roll keynote, saw two years of glorious technical failures in the making of Polytron's Fez (above), heard Montreal art/game collective Kokoromi would be bringing their indie showcase to GDC, and our 'one shot's: Silent Hill artist Takayoshi Sato does Salome, and a look at the anatomical/biological innards of the Wii-mote.
Recently on Offworld, German developer Exozet revealed not only the first screenshot for the upcoming official iPhone version of Catan, but also opened a limited number of beta applications to the public, meaning you might be getting your hands on the game much earlier than expected. Elsewhere, Adam Saltsman proved out just how successful rapid prototyping is and announced an iPhone port of his already widely viral one-button game Canabalt, ngmoco finally revealed its online arena iPhone FPS Eliminate with an interesting take on microtransactions, and Capcom showed more of its fantastically illustrated diminutive DS sequel Okamiden (above). We also went behind the pixel/Rubiks with a video interview with guerrilla artist Invader, saw the Max Max-ian shooter Borderlands go all Christian-Bale-flip-out, found a collection of stunning custom Team Fortress 2 figures, ordered Famicom and Pac-Man business card holders, and our 'one shot's for the day: the BeatlesBox 360, and the most invulnerable he-Link the Legend of Zelda will ever see.
Even with yesterday's holiday, we still caught up on some of the weekend's biggest news from PAX or otherwise, as Twisted Pixel -- the indie dev behind the recent fantastic one-button Xbox Live Arcade platformer Splosion Man -- unveils Comic Jumper, a superhero run and gun that will change its style as you, well, jump between comics from PowerPuff to Sin City. Elsewhere we saw oversized, super-punching blob-mech-fighters invading WayForward's remake of the NES original A Boy and his Blob, a new WiiWare Gauntlet-esque action game take on Pokemon, and the first video of the gorgeously Miyazaki-ish world in WiiWare LostWinds sequel Winter of the Melodias. Finally, we took the latest work in progress look at Power Pill (above), the upcoming ultrastylish iPhone collaboration between Fez creators Polytron and Marian creators Infinite Ammo, and our 'one shot's for the day: variations on a Slime, and Metroid in Lego.
Recently on Offworld, this weekend's Penny Arcade Expo opening has brought with it a tidal wave of new game details and announcements: Ubisoft crosses Splinter Cell with Keyboard Cat, Grasshopper's No More Heroes 2 goes 8-bit (on purpose), 2K reveals BioShock 2's multiplayer in motion, Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert's DeathSpank gets its debut trailer, and Valve show off Left 4 Dead 2's undead clown-inhabited Dark Carnival. Elsewhere, we saw Vectorpark's brilliantly serene Flash toys Levers and Acrobots come to the iPhone, Crappy Cat creator VanBeater lend his talents for the iPhone's Bear on a Wire, Farbs (aka. the guy who quit his job via Super Mario Bros.) teases his fantastic space shooter Captain Forever, and Capcom/Clover's gorgeously ukiyo-e inspired Wii/PS2 game Okami get a new sequel for the DS. Finally, we got an accidental look into the sex lives of NES programmers via hidden messages in ROMs, covered our eyes for Kurt Cobain's shockingly awful/disrespectful appearance in Guitar Hero 5, and got a post-mortem on Guitar Hero typography, and our 'one shots': India gets Invaded, and Dance Dance American Revolution meets Dance Dance Industrial Revolution.
Quick -- how many games in the industry's long history can you name with a female lead? In her latest One More Go column, Margaret Robertson says the fact that we "run out of entries for the Great Gaming Leading Lady Pantheon before we run out of fingers is just plain odd" and asks, "Are we really saying that we can't find a viable way to make games that turn 51% of the world's population into heroes a goer?" Elsewhere on Offworld: huge indie news, as Derek Yu's procedurally-generated rogue-like platformer masterpiece Spelunky is announced for Xbox Live Arcade, and LostWinds -- the gorgeously gentle WiiWare debut game from Elite creators Frontier -- prepares for the Winter of the Melodias, its season-shifting sequel. Two classic Hudson franchises are also due for revivals, with hex-strategy game Military Madness/Nectaris announced for the iPhone and prehistoric underdog mascot Bonk comes to PS3/Xbox 360/Wii, and Gaijin Games announces the latest in its retro-futurist rhythm series with the pixel-collecting nothing-expanding beauty of Bit.Trip: Void (above). And our 'one shot's of the day: Rolando artist Mikko Walamies teases his intergalactic next, and the new face of Grand Theft Auto creators Rockstar: tigers with lasers, fire-breathing grizzlies, and stunt-jumpin' polars.
Officially now back at my Offworld post (following a long break away to the Bay Area, that, most excitingly, saw me complete the first leg of the journey through the infinitely fascinating reality game The Jejune Institute), we return with some catching-up coverage that includes breakneck stunt-man simulator Canabalt -- a five-day stripped-down Experimental Gameplay entry from Adam Saltsman -- a game whose one-button simplicity completely belies its action/sci-fi flick inspired roof-top leaping thrills. We also found the first details on DeathSpank (above) -- the upcoming Diablo/LucasArts adventure mashup from former Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion creator Ron Gilbert, and discovered that a remake of classic multiplayer strategy game M.U.L.E. was in development, including an upcoming port to the iPhone. Elsewhere we saw new footage of Offworld-favorite 2D/3D platformer Fez, Nathan Fouts' gloriously garish Grapple Buggy, and dug through a flurry of new announcements from Nintendo with new color DSis/Wii Remotes and an updated Wii Opera browser now available for free. Finally, we saw a tiny custom (Shadow of the) Colossus Munny, and an NES Ghostbusters instruction manual T-shirt, and our 'one shot's: Olly Moss's gorgeous new prints for This American Life-inspired games podcast A Life Well Wasted, and Vera Bee's carny/sideshow illustrations make their LittleBigDebut.
With Nintendo's Metroid Prime Trilogy -- all three Metroid Prime games collected on a single disc and updated with Wii controls -- just released this week, we spent the day with Austin-native developer Retro Studios to learn how the classic franchise fell into their laps, the process of re-interpreting it in first person, and how to read Nintendo's haiku-like approach to game development. Elsewhere on Offworld, we took an extended look at two of the best games released in recent weeks: the similarly classically Metroid-esque Xbox Live Arcade game Shadow Complex, and the fantastic downsizing of the Rock Band experience with Harmonix and Backbone's PSP game Rock Band: Unplugged. Finally, we took a straw poll to determine whether the average gamer really is 35, overweight and depressed, and then investigated whether Bejeweled could fight that depression, saw the bloodbath that is Diablo III's new monk class, and took a trip into The Dark Spire -- a ten-dollar DS dungeon-crawler that you might have missed.
Could the Left 4 Dead and Half-Life universes ever converge into one uber-Valve-geography? In Jim Rossignol's latest Ragdoll Metaphysics column, Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek has said the idea's at least been internally bandied about, as part of a wide, wide ranging interview that also covers the mixed messages and missed opportunities that spawned the Left 4 Dead 2 boycott, and why AI constructs make him depressed. Elsewhere on Offworld we saw even more newly announced games coming out of the ongoing GamesCom conference: Lionhead returning with Fable III, top-down zombie shooter Dead Nation, which will apparently have individual countries competing to fully eliminate the undead virus, more of Sony's PSP cult cute platformer Loco Roco, and Hudson's The Tower of Shadow, in which you play as the shadow. We also saw a fantastically unlikely official new contest to create the best Elvis techno cover/remix on your DS, listened to Metroid metal cover album Varia Suite, played the latest NES demoscene ROM, and saw both Alice's Adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom, and Spider creators Tiger Style showing us tomorrow's game development studio, today.
The biggest news recently on Offworld will have been Sony's announcement of a new $299 Slim-model PS3 (though with the caveat that it no longer supports Linux), and the additional follow up news of its 'minis' line of smaller, affordable PSP games (many taken directly from the App Store itself, no matter how hard the company denies it's not competing with Apple) will probably provide us with an entire new virtual platform to cover in the coming months. But elsewhere, with the European GamesCom conference in full swing, we saw a wide range of new trailers and video footage: Beatles: Rock Band, Lego Rock Band, Brütal Legend, LittleBigPlanet's new water filled world, indie WiiWare port And Yet It Moves, and legendary freeware shooter Tumiki Fighters on its way to the iPhone. Finally, we saw the first official Plants Vs. Zombies T-shirts, found the most sublimely bizarre patent illustration for Sony's emotion-detecting engine and its perfect distillation of What Modern Comedy Looks Like (above), saw Interplay and Gameloft reviving Earthworm Jim for a number of consoles, previewed Kind of Bloop -- the 8-bit Miles Davis tribute album due for wider release tomorrow, saw Space Invaders crop-pixels, and mourned the earthy death of 8-bit.