RPS Indie Awardoramarama

The Eurogamer Expo has been and gone, but RPS’s brain-dumps about the games therein will continue over the days to come. YOU WILL LISTEN AND YOU WILL BELIEVE AND YOU WILL UNDERSTAND.

One of the things we did at the Expo as well as play games, however, was judge some games. Specifically, the 12 splendid titles selected with the help of the good folk of Mudlark to form the Indie Games Arcade. 12 games. A few good-ish men. Security guards who didn’t want us to have an awards ceremony at a stand featuring our own logo. Whatever would we do?

Well, the first thing we did was play them, and then talk about them. These were them:

Gemini Rue, Joshua Nuernberger
Fractal, Cypher Studios
Okabu, Handcircus
Frozen Synapse, Mode 7
Revenge of the Titans, Puppygames
Tiny and Big, Black Pants Game Studio
Scoregasm, Charlie Knight
Nidhogg, Mark Essen
Skulls of the Shogun, Haunted Temple Studios
B.U.T.T.O.N., Copenhagen Game Collective
Swimming Under Clouds, Piece of Pie Studios
Hohokum, Honeyslug

Honestly, they were to a one excellent, and you should keep tabs on them all. Three games made the RPS approv-o-lymph glow just a little more vivaciously, however. Three games. A few good-ish men. Security guards who.. oh, I said that already.

So we settled on a format of two Honourable Mentions and one Grand Prize Mega-Winner. It was tough. Really tough. Tough like the skin on the face of an 80-year-old sea fisherman. Tough like the toes of that cat that had its amputated legs replaced with robotic ones.

Skulls of the Shogun (Haunted Temple Studios) and Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games), you are strong and honorable, and we salute you. And so we did, in fact, presenting each with a ceremonial glove with which to gently caress the first prize trophy. That sounds demeaning in retrospect, actually. It was, I assure you, meant to be celebratory. They seemed to think so too, fortunately:

Definitely not celebratory was the arrival of showfloor security just after I’d used my megaphone to blare goodwill at the goodly chaps at Mode 7 Games. Told to clamber down from the table I was stood on and to cease and desist all megaphonage for spurious and absurd health and safety reasons, it totally disrupted proceedings and meant in my panic I was horribly cursory towards Skulls of the Shogun, which I continue to feel very bad about. It is no reflection on your game, chaps.

Here’s what it looked like before their thoughtful intervention. As you can see, thousands of lives were endangered:

No matter. Summoning a gruff (i.e. weedy) bellow that actually proved louder than the megaphone, I proceeded, Haunted Temple got their well-earned glove, and then we could turn to present the winner with his trophy.

The winner wasn’t bloody there, of course, because the winner was Messhof from America – who quite understandably had not undertaken the trek to London to spend three days telling confused/disinterested console shooter fans how to play the excellent, excellent, excellent two-player swordfighting game Nidhogg. Nidhogg!

In Messhof’s absence, we presented the trophy to a masked and bespectacled man (pictured atop this post) who almost certainly wasn’t a former member of RPS’ staff.

I’ll be sharing the wonders of Nidhogg in a separate post shortly, but leave you with this video and a cast-iron promise that it’s incredibly funny and thrilling to both play and spectate.

Congratulations, Mr Messhof. I’m still working out how, exactly, we can post you the below spiky glass trophy:

Thanks to all the games at the IGA, and to all those who played them.


  1. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    Boo, security staff, boo :(

    I was all geared up to be championing Frozen Synapse but after playing Nidhogg I was in love. I’ve genuinely never laughed my arse off as much while playing a game.

  2. Jimbo says:

    Shoulda chosen the cutlass.

  3. The_B says:

    I say next year, we get Alec to announce the winners by diving into a shark tank to fight it for the nominations while Quinns rides a motorcycle on fire to present the trophy to the worthy winners.

  4. Unaco says:

    Sounds like there was drama at the Awardoramarama! This has reminded me I still need to check out Frozen Synapse (I’ll pencil it into my diary for December, but I should have picked it up when I had lots of spare cash. At least the Beta and free friend key deal is still on), and now need to check out Nidhogg (maybe Q1 next year). You guys are too good at highlighting such quality games.

  5. sonofsanta says:

    RPS approves of Michael Jackson Themed Indie Encouragement?

  6. Auspex says:

    Nidhogg was as baffling as it was entertaining and would have been my choice too. Every time I thought I’d figured it out something new happened.

    “Did I just throw my sword at you?”
    “How the hell did you just disarm me?”
    “How the /hell/ do I escape this bloody worm thing?!”

    Good times!

  7. HexagonalBolts says:

    Can’t we just have, like, an RPS festival or something?

    • Simon says:


    • James G says:

      Yes! Another thinkosium!

    • Auspex says:

      The problem is that both the Thinkosium© and the RPS Meet-o-chat© were KG’s babies.

      Will the mighty Quinns be able to take on the most intimidating of Kieron’s duties: that of organising opportunities for drunken rambling?

      *Insert your own “couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery joke here”*

    • The_B says:


      Actually, Quinns couldn’t organise an ironing championship in a dry cleaning outlet.

    • Auspex says:


      That’s unfortunate then as, judging by the RPS Meet-o-chat©, ironing is not hugely important to RPSers.

    • The_B says:

      I should also point out Quinns couldn’t organise the formation of steel in a carbon factory for the same reason.

    • Auspex says:


      That’s unfortunate then as, judging by the RPS Meet-o-chat©, smelting is not hugely important to RPSers.

    • Butterbumps says:

      Let me just suggest an alternative name for such an event, The RPStival. Or “Ar-Pee-Estival”, if you like to combine phonetics with unsavoury urinary references. And who doesnt!?

  8. Lewie Procter says:

    It is my life’s quest to escape Nidhogg.

    One day I will make it.

  9. pakoito says:

    Typo -> seperate

  10. Brendan Caldwell says:

    The Nidhogg worm gives me the night terrors.

  11. Mike says:

    Is the mask part of the Marvel deal, Kieron?

  12. Vitamin Powered says:

    Nidhogg was amazing.

    Skulls of the Shodan was pretty sweet as well, though my blitzkrieg faltered in the face of Kieron’s “I’ll be over here, collecting the healers” technique.

  13. Temple to Tei says:

    I don’t read this at work to do work. And by work I mean googling things.
    Do we have a list of the 12 worthies?
    Ok, found a list -but they aren’t hyperlinked! Good grief.

    Oooh, they had ‘Tiny and Big’ there? Anyone play? How deformable is the terrain?
    So many games say they have deformable terrain, but then there are always limits.
    And now it occurs to me what is just so appealing about Minecraft.
    Truly deformable terrain. And reformable come to that.

  14. Melf_Himself says:

    I played the trailer at work without sound, but it seems, like, 2-player original Prince of Persia where you are both simultaneously the hero on one side and the endless stream of mooks on the other. Neat-o.

    • DrazharLn says:

      That’s exactly how I thought it looked.

      Looks like orange goes left and yellow goes right. I wonder if the levels are actually symmetrical and you backtrack as one or another player wins or whether you walk off the edge of the screen to the room you needed to progress from before….

  15. Rei Onryou says:

    Wow, the second post where I’ve been in the pictures (and technically mentioned – a goodish man in this case) in as many days. I should be the RPS model or something.

    Nidhogg was truly a standout. It was hilarious playing and watching it. It reminded me of the old school Worm games around the PC. Half the fun happens when things go wrong and you can’t help but laugh.

    Another worthy mention was B.U.T.T.O.N. Because fucking with your friends never gets old. Also watching Kieron squish Quinns never gets old. I guess he needs more iron in his diet. *da-dum-tish*

    • tKe says:

      That’s twice you’ve been in the way to me being pictured on the esteemed RPS. Knee and Top-of-head just isn’t enough.

      That said, at least I managed to beat you in the end.

      Nidhogg was so good, my cheeks hurt afterwards.

      Face cheeks.

      From smiling.

  16. KingCathcart says:

    Hey, that’s my photo at the top of the post! Honestly, you put something on twitpic and its as if you some how posted into the public domain for any one to look at and use as they please.

    All great games – Nidhogg is amazing for being such a frenetic hoot. Frozen Synapse and Skulls of the Shogun also look excellent.

  17. cAS says:

    It’s Titans not Ttians!

    • Harbour Master says:

      I’m afraid you’re going to have to change the name to match RPS. That’s the way of things. House rules.

    • Tei says:

      Ttians sounds like a torret defense game with giganteous actecs gods, and you play as the spanish, and your currency is gold doblons (the basic weapon is the turret canon). It actually make sense, because actects gods are covered in gold, so …of course, the spanish want to kill then all.

  18. Robert says:

    So, the masked one is actually RPS’ version of a booth babe?

  19. Cronstintein says:

    Oh man, the two runner-up games look really good. I might have to get in on that!
    Not sure what’s going on with nordogg.

    • Matzerath says:

      Frozen Synapse is great!

    • Cronstintein says:

      Well RPS, you did it to me again, I went and bought frozen synapse. Pretty freakin sweet. Now why couldn’t the new x-com use something like THIS instead of going FPS…

      seriously good game though, anyone who joins from this feel free to send me a challenge anytime =)

  20. Oozo says:

    That trailer of Nidhogg alone made me donate money to the Babycastle Kickstarter-project.

    I like to think of it an investement in an awesome alternate reality, where there are indiegame-arcades in even the most mundane beer tavern: Just imagine how great it would be to play a game of, say, Nidhogg while in line for taking a leak! (Or, preferably, just after having taken a leak…)

    That said, I wonder if Nidhogg was not basically made for arcades – that means the teaming with random (or not so random) strangers who happen to share a room with you; it really makes me all giddy for the old days when there were lines of people waiting, coin in hand, to challenge the current champion of Street Fighter II (yeah, I’m old enough to remember that…)

    Looking forward to hearing more of it – like, if and when it will be released to the general public.

    PS If Messhof really did that game 100% in Game Maker, I’m going to have a little cry over there in the corner, surrounded by my miserable attempts to put the program to good use.

    • Dominic White says:

      Game Maker has been used for about half of the huge indie hits we’ve seen in recent years. Iji, Hero: Core, Hydorah, Spelunky, Battleships Forever and many, many others. Nidhogg is positively primitive by comparison, tech-achievement wise.

  21. mondomau says:

    We spent about 10 minutes playing Nidhogg on the Friday before we realised there were buttons for ‘jump’ and ‘stab’.
    No, really – up to then, we’d just been running at each other and changing guard postions or rolling around.

    Once we found out how you actually play, we were laughing our asses off – thoroughly entertaining game and definitely deserved to win the prize.

  22. F4T C4T says:

    The Indie Arcade was the best thing at the show I thought. Nidhogg seemed like a clear winner from the start in my eyes; not only from playing it but the whole time I was there people were laughing, shouting & having a great time with it. I saw what I assume was a young guy and his mother there and they were both loving it. Great to see.

    Skulls of the Shogun was awesome too. Deserved the honourable mention. Although my girlfriend who I played against isn’t used to turn based games and thought it was slow paced, she still enjoyed it.

    Having already bought and played Frozen Synapse a while back I was struck by how much nicer it’s looking now. Not having played it for a while it was a little tricky to get into on the stand. I’d completely forgotten the controls and felt a bit awkward as one of the Mode 7 guys was behind me (Robin as it turned out. Nice guy). I need to update my build and get a game of that going again though. Good stuff.

    One last thing. They need better/bigger signs with the games name on them next time. So many people were asking me what the games were called while I was there and it was pretty hard to find out some of them!