The Indie Supper-Singing Spectacular

By Alec Meer on November 4th, 2010 at 1:00 pm.

Pweeeeeeease

So many wonderful indie games, so little unwonderful time. How is RPS to cover them all? Well, making their devs do the hard work for us is a start. A few days ago, we put out a call on the Twit-witter-wotter: tell us, indie developer man/woman-person, in around 100 words, why we should turn our sentinel gaze upon you. So some did. Here’re the funnest entries received, or at least those that came closest to fulfilling the mandate of “incredigood words.”

We make no claim as to the quality of the titles in question: that’s for you to find out. Our interest in this instance is in pretty, strange, psychotic or otherwise worthy collections of syllables. Will they cause you to play these games? Let’s see…


Ordered entirely at random by an idiot (that’s me), here are the 10 Chosen.

(Those entries without attractive screenshots are such because their senders flagrantly ignored my instructions to do so, by the way. Pah!)

1. Ziba:

Fish Listening to Radio is a 4-player, ukulele fueled derby. It’s an intense spectacle frequented by the whoops and groans of players and spectators enthralled by a rapid fire festival of skill, accident, cooperation and murderous competition. And player 2 is a “Trouser Fish”. Attack of the Show loved it on XBOX before we added online multiplayer, ranking and made it free on PC.

Optional mode: 4 hands on the keyboard. Cozy, communal, slightly erotic?

2. Alec Stamos:

You should play Space Captain McCallery Episode 2 because you play as a space pirate fighting dinosaurs. You should play it because it’s a top-down action adventure game, and there are not enough of those. You should play it for the in-game hallucinogens. Also, the exploration. There’s much that is hidden in the game, and you could be the first player to find it. Did I mention dinosaurs? It’s got cool music too. You should play it because it’s probably the largest indie game I’ve made, and I’ve put a lot of work into it. Also dinosaurs.

3. Robin Clarke:

You should play our game Garden Gnome Carnage because you’ve always wanted to steer a building on wheels to swing a shades-wearing, Christmas-hating gnome through the air on a bungee cord to knock Santa’s sleighs out of the sky and lob bricks at elves and get airstrikes baked for you by the princess and call in reinforcements and shake off the elves scaling your walls and coax the magical cat down your chimney and control the wind direction and blow all your bricks off in a surge of blind architectural fury.

Haven’t you?

4. Arvind Raja Yadav:

The A.Typical RPG is a peculiar mistress,
Tis a tale of college friends in distress,
The gameplay unique, the universe the present,
It’s releasing soon, be ready for it, peasant!

5. Rob Fearon:

1983. We didn’t need colours. We didn’t have a bloody choice, did we? Lucky if we got more than black and white.

The future holds pretty colours. It has to. I’ve seen Tron, Disney wouldn’t lie.

2010. What do I get? Shit brown, piss yellow, orange and bloody teal.

Not good enough, games industry.

Well, if you’re not going to sort it, I will. Let’s take this outside. I’ll be Giant Haystacks, you be Big Daddy, let’s rumble.

I’m making games with pretty colours because you won’t. You let me down.

FishFishBangBang has pretty colours. It shits rainbow hearts.

That’s my future.

6. Hanako Games:

What a cute little girl! She fights walking compost heaps in randomly generated dungeons, digs through trash for spare change, sells beer to swaggering warriors, gets paid to ‘party’ with men, and tries to marry a prince who may or may not be her biological brother… or she’s an angel of a schoolgirl who goes to church regularly and donates money to hospitals, if you play her that way. The graphics are shit (I drew them personally so I can say that!) but the game is addictive and you can play for under five bucks.

7. Charlie Knight:

You should play Scoregasm because it’s a fun, exciting and hugely varied non-linear shooter for Windows, Mac and Linux, but if that isn’t enough to convince you, here are some other features that may or may not be in the game:

• Live Jazz soundtrack by wirelessly channeling the ghost of Miles Davis into the person next to you
• Advanced facial recognition technology allows hot buttered toast to be ejected from your CD drive every time you look hungry.
• Optional, feature length commentary by an aroused and over familiar Brian Blessed.

8. Chris Steward:

“Players who love epic strat games should buy Sword of the Stars because the series bundle is a steal, hardcore players are still getting surprised four years later, the AI can beat the lead designer, our aliens are actually alien and not slightly tweaked carbon copies of one another, and randomized tech trees are the shit. Genetic algorithms have never won a war when a sado-randomizer is involved. Also, it links to Sword of the Stars 2: The Lords of Winter, out next year – now is the perfect time to get to know the SotS universe! Repensum est Canicula, baby.

9. Igor Hardy:

One shouldn’t look too lightly upon Snakes of Avalon. Sure, it’s full of sulky, talking beer mugs, stuffed animal trophies that turn out to be your good and evil consciences, and pig-like monsters asking you from movie posters to bring them toilet paper, but it’s also an exploration of themes of alcohol addiction and childhood trauma presented in the form of Hitchcock-style suspense story filled with fiendish surreal puzzles. Creepy murders, jazzy soundtrack and Citizen Kane homages only add to the flavor. Play it, or you’ll never know what Arthurian Avalon has to do with all this.

10: Christiaan Moleman:

Guppy is a game about swimming. You’re a small fish. It’s a big pond. Try not to get eaten.

It’s about how fish move, weaving through the water… Hide in the shade of a lily, then venture into the open in search of food. Use the environment to your advantage and move deftly to avoid predators.

So there you go. CHOOSE YOUR GAME(S).

We’ll probably do this again at some point. Keep an eye open. PREPARE.

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53 Comments »

  1. MadTinkerer says:

    LOOKING FORWARD TO IT

  2. Arvind says:

    OMG number #4 is me

    *cries*

  3. Jon says:

    Number one way to make me buy your product:

    Have a demo.

    Sword of the Stars looks like my kind of thing but I’m not going to spend £18 for the collection from Play on the chance I don’t like it.

    • Urael says:

      Number Two way to make me buy your product:

      Make it good enough that people consistently leave good forum/blog comments about it.

      That’s how I actually bought mine, after reading the heaped tablespoons of praise being dropped into RPS’s lap whenever the game – or any 4X game generally – was mentioned. And lo, my purchase was entirely justified! Okay, I like 4X games very much anyway so odds were I was going to enjoy this one but I was unprepared for just how much I’d enjoy it. I’m now REALLY looking forward to the sequel!

    • Lucas says:

      @Jon: SOTS has multiple demos! From the wiki: http://sots.rorschach.net/Demo

  4. Mashakosha says:

    A thrilling read, to be sure. I’m going to have to have a look at these when I get home as college is entirely unproductive today.

  5. BaronWR says:

    Garden Gnome Carnage is excellent, in a WTF kind of way. Still my first choice when I need to unproductively waste five minutes…

    • Oozo says:

      I didn’t know it so far, either, but yes, I want all of the things they described.
      Is Flash the soil on which might grow a spiritual successor to the British Surrealism in games of the 80′s? There’s one gnome that might make us think so.

    • JellyfishGreen says:

      The description above for #3 Gnomes is great. I do want to see airstrikes baked by princesses.

      And you nearly had me with “shits rainbow hearts.” Then I looked at the screenshot and my eyes hurt. It’s much too appropriate.

  6. Barts says:

    Go, go Garden Gnome Carnage!

    Most excellent game, now available as a flash thingy. I wrote a review of it long time ago (clicky, clicky on my nickname – there’s a trailer in the post).

  7. tomwaitsfornoman says:

    I love Sword of the Stars. It’s like Civilization in space. With space pirates.

  8. Moth Bones says:

    Yes, but which is the game with the kitten?

  9. CMaster says:

    So, I downloaded Space Captain Mcallery, episode 1, because yeah, top down adventure games can be awesome. Sadly Captain McAllery seems to be on more of a “shoot the shit out of indigenous wildlife” trip than an adventure, which got a little disappointing and dull. May go back to it though.

    Guppy is exactly what it says on the tin, and fucking hard for it. Can’t help but feel the movement might feel a bit more natural (and controllable?) on a thumb stick than the arrow keys. Any support for that?

    Went to cute knight’s page and was “Oh god the cheesy animé-style art. The simple click button and raise stat gameplay! Ahhhh!” and ran away.

    Oh, and think that The A.Typical RPG sounds interesting.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      No controller support at this time. To be honest I kinda doubt that would be a comfortable way to play it. Mostly the feedback I’ve gotten so far is that there’s definitely a learning curve to the controls, but they work well once you get the hang of it.

    • Alec S says:

      Yeah, episode 1 was pretty combat heavy. I put more of a focus on exploration in episode 2, although it’s still got a fair amount of combat.

    • Hanako says:

      Like I said – I drew the graphics myself AND I CAN’T DRAW! Luckily for me, many people really do think it’s a fun game if you squint enough to look past the art, and the sales from that gave me enough money to actually pay people who CAN draw. At least a little bit.

      But if you detest anime completely, you’re going to be out of place on my site. :)

    • CMaster says:

      @Hanako – it’s not that the art is an especially bad example of the style (and it is noticably better in the screens of the Deluxe version). It’s just that over cutesyed animé style is one thing I really dislike. (I actually enjoy some animé as television. Most “animé clichés” in art annoy me however)

    • CMaster says:

      @Alec S
      I guess it’s just not quite what I was hoping for. I was expecting lots of puzzles, exploring and creepiness. I found an open-world top down shooter. If that’s what I’d had in mind, maybe I’d think it was great.

    • CMaster says:

      @Ninja Dodo (saw this earlier, but figure I should carry on the dialogue). Not sure – I think that waving the stick back and forth would be a reasonable analogue of waving a tail back and forth. I though I’d got the hang of the controls a few times, but then as soon as I thought that, I smashed straight into a rock or predator.

      Did you spend a lot of time watching fish in a pond at some point in your life? The game does do a good job of reminding me of my time sat by a fish pond.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      Hehe, well I wanted a dog when I was little but I was allergic so that was a NO. Instead we had an aquarium. That might explain it. :)

      I still crash into rocks myself sometimes. If you avoid going at full speed all the time it’s easier to avoid obstacles.

      I have a feeling repeated side-to-side thumb movements on an analog stick would mean instant RSI, but I could be wrong. Personally I’ve found it plays best on laptop-esque keyboards with shallow buttons. It’s harder to play on big chunky keys that take more effort to press.

  10. nikos says:

    Sword of the stars: “our aliens are actually alien and not slightly tweaked carbon copies of one another”.

    Ha! I see what you did there…

  11. Mike Waters says:

    I really love all the indie features you put on this site – I definitely want to see more indie-RPS like this :D

    good job, chaps.

  12. adonf says:

    Lolcats on RPS ? The word’s definitely coming to an end !

  13. Lewis Denby says:

    I can vouch for Snakes of Avalon. Surreal, quietly brilliant stuff.

  14. HotSake says:

    Speaking of Civilization in space, if that’s your bag, you really must check out Stardock’s Galactic Civilizations. Don’t be misled by the handling of Elemental; GalCiv is the reason people put so much faith in them and were so let down. Tom Chick wrote a great AAR on a marathon game, which I am too lazy to find a link for.

    • Toony says:

      I think you meant Tom Francis’ ridiculously good GalCiv diaries for PC Gamer (no offense to Tom Chick, but this isn’t something he could write)

      [url=http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=161570&site=pcg]Diary 1[/url]
      [url=http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=195920&site=pcg]Diary 2- Part 1[/url]
      [url=http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=198344&site=pcg]Diary 2- Part 2[/url]

    • DrazharLn says:

      A friendly man from the internet appears and fixes your links.

      Diary 1
      Diary 2- Part 1
      Diary 2- Part 2

      He is very handsome.

  15. Josh W says:

    So, why all the fish?

    Some fish-themed game challenge happen a couple of months ago and these games got built off it? People who like fish write good marketing stuff? The hivemind has an unsightly fish bias? Statistical anomaly?

  16. Garrett says:

    Shits rainbow hearts? Fucking sold.

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  18. José Rafael de Souza says:

    I’ll go with “Sword of the Stars”, because that’s the bast goddamn use of latin I’ve seen so far. And by far.

  19. AyAitch says:

    I highly suspect Alec Stamos of being a reader of Dinosaur Comics. The love of dinosaurs is a clue, but the “Also:” construction seems really telling.

  20. Unaco says:

    I knew that GUPPY sounded familiar to me, and then I remembered this…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IAY8jFgKso

    It’s not a game… It’s called SWIMMY, and it’s a simulation environment for looking at the neural circuitry responsible for rhythmic Fish locomotion, based in the NEURON environment (which I am using for my PhD).

  21. Cronstintein says:

    “Advanced facial recognition technology allows hot buttered toast to be ejected from your CD drive every time you look hungry.”

    ^Wins

  22. General George says:

    “Repensum est Canicula”?

    “Paying back (payback) is a small dog?”

    • Arathain says:

      Canicula is of course the feminine form.

      One of the things that impresses me most about SOTS is how deep all the background lore really is, and how well written. There are huge threads on the official forums devoted to the various races and key bits of story, where the writer answers all sorts of in depth questions about the different cultures. It’s really quite cool.

    • General George says:

      Since when is “canicula” the feminine form? It’s the diminutive, soldier! The star Sirius is also referred to as “Canicula”, and that ain’t no bitch, it’s just a small dog!

      Latin didn’t distinguish between male and female dogs. Both are “canis”. Later, they sometimes added “femina”. I guess “Repensum est canis femina” sounded sexist or something. It’s always better to sound stupid in that case, I guess! Payback is a small dog!

      Dismissed!

  23. Saul says:

    Tried Snakes of Avalon. Promising story and good music, but got stuck after two minutes. Clicked everything, but can’t work it out.

  24. icemann says:

    And no mention of Bipolar, which I emailed the site about over a month ago. Tsk tsk.

  25. CWalker00 says:

    Garden Gnome Carnage is bloody RIDICULOUS and FUN. More of this please.

  26. Prashant Tripathi says:

    Keep it up Arvind Raja Yadav , hoping to create new milestote . Best wishes .

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