Link Dump Friday №269


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Link Dump Fridays

DoraWallets everywhere are quivering in fear of the big sales going on this week. It seems like indie developers are gunning for your free time with a vengeance, and if you take advantage of all these deals as well as the upcoming titles planned for release this year, you're not going to have much time for the basic necessities like work, sleep, cleaning, and seeing the Avengers again. (Which Avenger was your favourite? TRICK QUESTION. They all are!) So kiss your productivity good-bye this week, but after indulging in some of these games, we bet you're not going to miss it that much anyway.

To The MoonThe Prize is Tears Freebird Games' powerhouse of indie story-telling To The Moon is one of the finest experiences you can have on your computer. The game follows two doctors with equipment able to alter memories, who visit a dying man who wishes to have his mind changed so that he falsely remembers having accomplished his life's wish... to go to the moon. Naturally, however, the job proves more complicated than that, and the journey you'll go on to discover the truth is by turns frightening, funny, and emotionally potent. So we're giving you a chance to win one of three free copies! To enter, just leave a comment here telling us what your personal favourite story in an indie game is. Winners will be chosen at random and receive an e-mail alerting them when they are selected. Contest rules: Entries must be submitted by May 31st, 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5). Winners will be announced shortly thereafter. One entry per person only. You must be at least 13 years of age or older to enter. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Bring your own tissues and epiphanies.

Bundle in a BoxAdventure for a Song Indie developers love you. If the consistently high-quality and complex games that they put out isn't proof enough for you, you also have things like the new Bundle in a Box, whose debut Adventure Bundle allows you to get up to seven stellar adventure games for a low minimum price. In addition to the latest game by Jonas Kyratzes, you can also snag Gemini Rue, Ben There, Dan That!, Time Gentlemen, Please!, and more. All of them are exceptionally high quality titles you should be proud to pour into your entertainment feeding trough, and if you do snag this bundle, we encourage you to consider the value of the games and the time, effort, and money the developers put into making them for you when setting your price.

Because We MayThe Newest Indie Gaming Holiday is Apparently Maymas Look at you, with that wallet all burdened with that disgusting... cash. Let's do something about it, shall we? From May 24th to June 1st, you can pick up a huge amount of fantastic indie titles on the cheap. The Because We May sale event organised by Ron Carmel offers up games from a staggering 180 developers who have agreed to discount their titles. In addition to PC/Mac releases, there are even a ton of games for iOS and Android on sale as well, with the option to purchase direct from the developer or on Steam for many titles! With games like Defender's Quest, World of Goo, Dark Scavenger, Costume Quest, and many, many more, this is one sale that is seriously gunning for your free time and spare cash, and you should definitely check it out. If you're a developer who wants to join the promotion, it's not too late! Just hit up this page for more information.

OwlboyFeather-Brained He Ain't, But Feather-Headed... Ever have one of those moments where someone produces something of such amazing beauty and creativity that you know you need to eat their brains to gain their powers for yourself?... no?... uh, no reason. If you're into action-adventure games at all, then you seriously need to check out DPad Studio's upcoming Owlboy, which puts you in the shoes of a little owl lad named Otus who sets out to defend his village from sky pirates and gets wrapped up in something even bigger. The game is due out this year, and the trailer should get you excited enough as it is. BUT WAIT! There's more! Windows users can even download a playable demo to check out the gameplay! This one looks like it's going to be something special, so be sure and keep your eye on it.

The CaveTeamwork, Spelunking, Ron Gilbert, and Dragons Ron Gilbert knows what you need, and what you need is side-scrolling, puzzle-solving adventure in the upcoming Sega-published title, The Cave. (No official site as of this writing.) The game follows a bunch of playable characters searching for treasure in the titular location... which also serves as narrator for the whole experience. That's right... the Cave talks to you. Each different character class has different abilities, and you'll need to utilize them to get around different hazards and solve puzzles with teamwork. The official announcement trailer is absolutely gorgeous, and should more than get you excited for the game when it hits in early 2013. Come on, caves are fun! Nothing terrible ever happened to anyone in a cave! It'll be fine.

The Journey of EkoKids Today, Savin' the World and Whatnot Admit it. You've always wanted to go on a really big adventure and discover something amazing, but unfortunately, unless you're rich and backed by a huge research grant (or willing to risk some fun infectious jungle diseases on your own) there's not too much opportunity for that on a grand scale these days. New indie developers Pixel Cows want to change all that with The Journey of Eko, an upcoming 2D action RPG about a young boy in a huge open world packed with dangers, treasures, quests, and a whole lot more. It's extremely ambitious to say the least, but it looks and sounds great. Check out an alpha demo video here, or the developer's 3rd place winning Ludum Dare entry Tiny Shards which is billed as "some kind of miniature version of The Journey of Eko".

NaGaDeMo30 Days of Lunatic Absurdity Hey, game developers! You're big. You're bad. You're talented! And now's your chance to feel the crunch of a deadline with the debut of NaGaDeMo! In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month, June has been declared as National Game Development Month and the challenge has been laid at your feet. Can you create one finished game in a month? If you're willing to throw your hat in the ring, you have from June 1st to June 30th to give it a shot, and the official website is there to help you with a great community, resources, and more. Unity 3D has even offered free licences to participants, so make sure to register if you want to take part. A month might not seem like a lot of time, but judging from the jaw-dropping awesomeness that Ludum Dare has birthed in the past, we might just see some really amazing stuff come from this one.


Do you know an upcoming indie project or some community gaming related news you think deserves some attention? Send me an e-mail with LINK DUMP FRIDAY in the subject line at dora AT casualgameplay DOT com with the info, and we'll judge it with the all-seeing glare of our own self-importance for inclusion in a future Link Dump Friday article!

14 Comments

dsrtrosy Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 12:52 AM

I don't know if To The Moon is available for Mac as well as PC, but in case it is:

My favorite story in an indie game has to be the implied story in Samorost. Without words, the creative folks at Amanita design truly changed my life...and definitely my perception of what "gaming" was.

I love the story of the little fellow on his journey to save his planet from hitting an asteroid (planetoid). Each character and scene he interacts with is both familiar and fantastic, and the story is allowed to tell itself in whatever way the player imagines it. Playing this game was an assignment in a writing class! It certainly evoked emotions in me reminiscent of books like "A Wrinkle in Time" and "Voyage of the Dawntreader".

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Batman55 Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 2:01 AM

My favorite story in an indie game would have to be Botanicula, the story of four characters that lived in a tree. Terrible creatures invade their home and it's up to them to save the day.

The story is simple but packed full of charm and surreal events. It shouldn't be missed!

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My favourite story will be from Bastion, post apocalyptic story about the character kid who is trying to rebuild the world and unravel the mystery behind the calamity. Story told thru narration and the combination of colorful game enviroment very unique style of its own.

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Alk3Catch22 Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 8:51 AM

My favorite story is from indie game Braid. I love that Tim is trying to save the princess from an evil monster,

but it turns out he is the bad guy.

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The Banker's Nephew Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 11:40 AM

Not 100% sure if it's indie (sure looks like it, though) but Umineko no Naku Koro Ni will always have my favorite story of all time. Some of the later games drove me to tears, and Beatrice's

fake turn to the side of good

was one of the most shocking plot twists ever.

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dsrtrosy Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 12:35 PM

You guys might want to mention that Bundle in a Box is exclusively PC. Hugely disappointing!!

So, to appease my sorrow, I went to the other "sale" and spent all the money I would have spent on the bundle on new iOS games!

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thisischriskelly Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 4:04 PM

My favorite indie game story is Dear Esther, because it creatively tests the boundaries of concepts like "story" and "game."

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gorgeousplanet Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 7:14 PM

I too enjoyed the story of Braid, such an innocent game on the surface, but who woulda thought... My fiance even enjoyed watching me play it!
I would consider the Longest Journey an indie game. I've always been compelled by the theme of magic/fantasy vs logic/science, and April Ryan was a great character to boot.

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My favorite indie game story is from an odd little free RPG called Leo & Leah. It's a story about a young lion whose sweetheart is kidnapped by poachers, and his journey to go rescue her. It starts out a bit too carefree for comfort (Leo can eat tiny creatures to restore his health, and most of them cry about how they don't want to die, but the tone stays pretty happy) and the quest to rescue Leah motivated my character much more than it motivated me, but as the game went on, some things changed.

Things start to get unpleasant. Though the game still acts like everything is fine, it gets more and more unsettling. Characters die who don't deserve it. Some really creepy things are treated like business as usual, which makes them even more creepy. Love interest Leah is still the most undeveloped part of the game, and that started to feel very, very strange.

Then the bottom drops out and the unpleasantness comes out full force. Leo's dropped into a genuinely scary setting, and the game stops pretending it's supposed to be nice. Things are bleak. Things are creepy, and that's even before he goes into the surreal nightmare area where he meets a distorted Leah who talks about things like cannibalism as an expression of love. It becomes apparent that maybe Leo's been having some reservations about this too. He doesn't want to die looking for Leah, and he's starting to think that maybe he just won't be able to find her no matter what he does. He feels guilty about everything else that's died- he's even starting to take the tiny animals he's been eating more seriously, and from then on the game gives you the option to not do that.

And then, suddenly the hope comes back. Leo carries on looking for Leah not because he's afraid of failing, but because he loves her and he knows the only thing he can do is try- and because of that, "even if he dies, it'll be okay." The game never tries to be "nice" again, but it's hopeful, and the two eventually reunite and are happy together.

It's not a perfect game, and it has a lot of flaws. But that last part is really inspiring to me.

(spoilered for personal rambling, not because it's necessarily spoilery}:

I have pretty severe anxiety. Sometimes I'm fine, sometimes I'm a total mess and I can't help but freak out about all the ways something can possibly go wrong. Sometimes it's really hard to ignore that fear, even if things probably will work out. The idea that it doesn't necessarily even matter, because if you're trying your hardest to do what you know you need to, it's already okay... that's really beautiful to me and it's something that helps me when trying to talk myself out of worrying isn't enough. I'm not sure if anyone else even remembers this game, but it's meant a lot to me because of that.

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Akarroa Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 9:23 PM

I hope non-download games count, because despite the wide selection of difficult choices, Jonas Kyratzes' games are whimsical and intricate enough to get me every time. The Fabulous Screech actually finished with me sobbing heavily while holding my cat, managing to garble out words of affection and how much I would love him forever as he struggled to break free from my vise. Not my proudest moment, but still a fantastic storyline in my opinion.

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mrmaxmrmax Author Profile Page May 25, 2012 9:43 PM

My favorite story in an indie game was in Passage.

After reading the review on JIG, I started it up and decided to walk directly right the entire time to explore the game. Since it would only take five minutes, I figured that I would run right until the game ended, and then try other things like walking up and down.

So, running right, I ran into my wife and we kept walking. I watched as they aged and felt my eyes welling up as life's certainty approached my characters. I kept my characters walking until she died. As her tombstone scrolled off the screen, I fought the urge to go back to stand next to it; "I'm just seeing the limits of the game first," I tell myself.

When the game ends, I feel a wave of regret crash over me. I look to the left edge of the screen as the first tear drops out of my eye. I remind myself that it's just a game and wipe my eyes before starting again.

I walk down into the maze and find a treasure chest before I realize I can't see anything past my tears. I'm still thinking of the tombstone I left and how lacking the length of life seems. I quit the game and delete it.

Since it came out four and a half years ago, I haven't played it again. I don't think I can. But I still think about the sorrow and the fear of loss I felt that day because of Passage. That was the last time I ever though of something as 'just a game.'

Maxwell.

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My favorite indie game story is Amnesia The Dark Descent.

The story begins with the character awaking up in a dark castle with no memories of who he is and shortly finds a strange letter from someone who knows him, telling him that he have to kill the baron of the castle. The letter is from himself, terrified of his doings in the castle he chose to forget to be able to redeem himself of the evil he as done.

It's amazing how captivating the story is from the beginning and this is an important factor in horror games, to get the interest of the players before scaring them away.

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lunaticwraith Author Profile Page May 27, 2012 2:10 AM

My personal favourite indie game story happens to be LIMBO, but really that's very little to do with the specifics of the plot/story rather than moods and emotions that the game evokes. The game puts you in the shoes of a nondescript black silhouette with no instructions, text or backstory to clue you in on your circumstances aside from the fact that you seem to be in a dark forest.

From then on out, as you continuously move from left to right, puzzling, pushing and dying, you slowly begin to tease out the world around you, and pass through its various memorable environments, all without an overlying traditional plot arc. What I'm saying is that LIMBO is basically an interactive David Lynch movie. It puts you through a dark miserable place, shows you scenes and scenes that touch on our own primal instincts and fears without ever holding your hand or explaining anything that is going on, right up to its bizarre, obscure ending.

The game understands exactly what makes gaming stand out from other forms of media: its interactivity provides the opportunity to write your own story and discern meaning from whatever clues or information the game hands out. With that said, I have not played DayZ, the runaway success of a mod of Arma II, but I suspect I would love it for this exact same reason.

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Splinterchaos Author Profile Page May 28, 2012 12:07 AM

That's a hard one. Can I pick two... or three? Pleeeease?

There's Braid, which on the surface was beautiful and charming, but underneath was far more... unnerving.

Or Sorry Babe This Just Aint Your story, which I initially didn't know if I should feel unmanly for playing seeing as it is a visual novel-thing. But who cares! It's freaking brilliant! :D

Then there is Machinarium, which through its majestic music, storytelling and amazing artwork captivated me.

They are all fantastic to me.

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