The Indie Devs You Won’t Hear About At E3

Why do those big knuckleheads get all the attention? We all know about the yearly blockbusters of Ubisoft. And we can all see the behemoth that is EA. Yes, yes, they’ve got a new FIFA, that’s great. But look away from these giants for a moment and you can clearly see the eco-system of game development harbouring thousands of other organisms. In the spirit of our newly launched ‘anti-E3 campaign’, here are some of those organisms.

Nathalie Lawhead

Who is this? Comedy game maker and creator of the desktop potato.

Describe her stuff in a single sentence… Bizarro cyber-nonsense with a penchant for explosions, obsolete interfaces and manic sound effects.

What makes her so special? If you grew up with a 56k modem and have torrential flashbacks of terrible games on Ebaum’s World every time you hear the dial-up tone, then you’ll be about 50% of the way to understanding the appeal.

What should I play? Try to create the perfect reptile in Anatomically Incorrect Dinosaurs, download the ARMAGAD fake desktop full of mysteries, or just go to tetrageddon.com and try to survive the onslaught.

Brendan Patrick Hennessey

Who is this? Interactive fiction writer who is funny.

In a single sentence… Absurdist social sketches with hidden emotional snares.

What makes him so special? He somehow manages to write dialogue as whip-quick as cinema in the 50s without sacrificing any of the humanity of his cast. Not only can you relate to many of these characters, you might actually want to be their friend.

What should I play? Try the coming-of-age camp story BIRDLAND, or it’s “kinda sorta prequel” Bell Park, Youth Detective.

Strangethink

Who is this? Maker of “computer dreamworlds” and colour enthusiast.

In a single sentence… Procedural art galleries and monstrous museums all filled with the brightest, hottest pinks, the fiercest yellows, the most shameful, sexy purples.

What makes them so special? Apart from the assault of colour, there’s something relaxing and intriguing about exploring these worlds and getting to know them, or picking up a gun and attempting to paint something odd by firing it at a canvas.

What should I play? Fire loony paint guns in Joy Exhibition, or go on an abstract exploration of the Mystery Tapes.

Jo99

Who is this? French adventure game creator and artist

In a single sentence… Scene after scene of vivid, super-detailed ruins, explored by silent, strong heroines that smile in the face of angry snakes.

What makes her so special? You only need to look at the artwork of these point-and-click games to appreciate what makes her series of tomb-raiding adventures so good.

What should I play? The whole Adventures of Miss Libellule trilogy, starting with The Queen of Snakes.

Kitty Horrorshow

Who is this? A horror game developer who is, by her own account, made of blood.

In a single sentence… Deeply unsettling mini-worlds where nothing feels quite right and where you certainly do not belong.

What makes her so special? In the era of Five Nights At Freddy’s and all its attendant clones, there is something refreshing about a horror game that doesn’t rely on jump scares. These games creep up on you slowly and rattle your brain, not your instincts.

What should I play? Explore the haunted house of Anatomy, or collect a disassembled memoir in the desert of Chyrza.

thecatamites

Who is this? If you still haven’t read us harping on about Stephen ‘thecatamites’ Murphy, then you don’t DESERVE to know him.

In a single sentence… Handcrafted Gamemaker madness without end, without respite, without purpose…

What makes him so special? There’s a odd humour to thecatamites’ writing that lies somewhere between absurdity and academia. The worlds he makes are self-contained asylums of weirdness, his characters are fond of pointless dithering, and most of the time you can’t see the narrative thanks to all the tangents.

What should I play? Go for JRPG fan favourite (and Undertale predecessor) Space Funeral, explore the mind-bending Crime Zone or witness the trial of the century in Murder Dog IV.

Look out for more of our anti-E3 propaganda in the days to come!

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16 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Does anyone have a secret stash of the games Strangethink has removed from the internet?

  2. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Playing BIRDLAND now, and it’s great.

    • Matt_W says:

      Birdland won pretty much all of the Xyzzy Awards for IF this year. I kind of bounced off of it. It struck me as a surrealist romance simulator, which maybe just isn’t my thing. But many people seem to love it, and his writing is great.

      • Premium User Badge

        Andy_Panthro says:

        The surrealist humour was particularly good, I was chuckling away at some of the dream bits. I wouldn’t categorise it as a romance sim, that’s just part of the story. More of a choose-your-own-adventure.

  3. Catterbatter says:

    I had to check and see if thecatamites had anything to do with Pokey the Penguin. And the answer is no.

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    caff says:

    Anatomy (by Kitty Horrorshow) is worth a look. It’s cheap for what it is – just keep playing it, and don’t give up like I did. Surrealist horror almost at its best.

  5. dorobo says:

    Keep posting such things in the midst of E3’s I thank you for that.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Yeah, I have to second that. It’s good to hear something other than news from the E3 hypemachine.

  6. Louis Mayall says:

    Hear hear

  7. vrittis says:

    E3 is not the bestest of time to release or try to push new stuff, but between the release of Brigador and Honey Rose trying to go for greenlight I hope we can get some light in their direction :)

  8. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Just played through Birdland and it’s marvellous. Thanks for the recommendation!