Indies in Due Time: 150,000 Served Edition – May 2, 2012

150,000 page views in ten months.  Wowzers.  I know I do this every milestone and I’m sure you’re all sick and tired of it by now, but I have a lot of people to thank.  Thank you Dave Voyles of Armless Octopus and Kris Steele of Fun Infused Games.  They ran the 2011 Indie Game Summer Uprising, and without their support and suggestions, I strongly doubt anyone would have ever found this site.  Both guys encouraged me to get involved in the Uprising by interviewing participating developers.  I admit, my interview skills were mediocre at best, but it helped me find an audience, and I will forever be grateful to them.  Dave especially, who has offered so much support.  Funny enough, I met Dave back in 2000 when we used to play NBA 2K1 against each other on the Sega Dreamcast.  I was 11 years old, and he knew me as “that annoying person who plays as the Golden State Warriors and quits whenever she’s losing by more than 20 points.”  Thankfully I’ve since matured into the well-respected chain-cussing, dick and fart joke pseudo-critic I am today.  Maybe “mature” wasn’t the right word.

I would like to thank two people who interviewed me for their websites, giving people a chance to see a slightly different side of me.  That would be Bruno Barbera of Italian gaming blog Recenopoli and Taylor Iscariot of Albatross Revue.  I would like to thank all those people who have linked to me on their blogs, websites, and forums.

I want to thank my incredible boyfriend Brian.  I don’t know why you put up with me, or where you find the infinite patience you have in dealing with me, but I’m so lucky that you have it.  I am the luckiest person in the world, and you’re proof of that.   I love you Brian, with all my heart.

I want to thank all the developers who have accepted me as a part of their community.  I’ve heard a couple of them use the term “valuable” with me in a non-hostage/mail-order-bride context, which is pretty cool.  Big thanks to Ian Stocker, Alex Jordan, Scott Tykoski, George Clingerman, Shahed Chowdhuri, and Adam Spragg for their contributions to my site, Tales from the Dev Side.  It’s because of the encouragement of developers like them that I strive to do better for the Xbox Live Indie Game community that has treated me so well.  You guys make me feel special, and I won’t forget that.

Finally, I want to thank all the new friends I’ve made through Indie Gamer Chick.  I’ve never been the most social person, and don’t have a lot of what you would call “friends.”  But I’ve met some awesome people through here, and I think I could call them my friends.  Guys like Alan C (tea drinking limey bastard), who never fails to make me laugh.  Tim Hurley of Gear-Fish, who is like the ultimate little ego-booster, and a hell of a writer too.  Nate Graves, who is like the big brother I never had, and you should send him stink bombs until he returns to writing at Gear-Fish.  Cyril of Defunct Games, who is always there to argue over silly bullshit with me.  I don’t know what the future holds for my site, other than continued growth (fingers crossed) and maybe a Pulitzer Prize for best use of vaginal jokes.  But, no matter what, I know you guys will be my friends long after Indie Gamer Chick ceases to be.

Alright, I’m done now.  No more sappy bullshit.  Onto the trailers!

Escape from Robot Doom 2

Brian: I found this one.  It’s an engine demo, but..

Kairi: Oh fuck.  Brian, this is the sequel to Escape from Robot Doom.

Brian: And?

Kairi: It is probably one of the worst Xbox Live Indie Games I’ve played yet.  I never even got around to the review because I couldn’t stand to play it for more than five minutes.  It’s currently in the Katch-Up queue.  I’ll review it tomorrow.

Brian: What was so bad about it?  It looks spectacular!

Kairi: It was pretty, but the controls were so bad that it was nearly unbelievable.  I can’t believe anyone would release a game that controls that poorly.  It could honestly contend for the worst game I’ve ever played in my entire life.

Brian: That looked like a 3rd person game.  This seems totally different.

Kairi: If it is different, the developer should name it something else.  Nobody who played the first would even demo a sequel to it.

Brian: It couldn’t be that bad.

Kairi: Oh yea?

Kairi turns it on and lets Brian play it.

Brian: Oh my God, why?  Why does this look so good and play so horrible?

Kairi: It’s the video game equivalent of a jewel-encrusted hand grenade.

Aron 2: Mysterious Troubles

Kairi: I never played the first Aron game.  In the interest of fairness, I’ll add it to the Katch-Up queue.

Brian: That’s downright decent of you, Kairi.

Kairi: Pssh, it’s not like anyone has voted on it in weeks.  I didn’t even bother with it last Thursday.

Brian: Someone is bitter again.

Kairi: I think it looks okay.  Generic as shit, but it seems playable.

Brian: I think it will probably be too plain for you.  Remember how you reacted to Oozi?

Kairi: Yea, but the series did grow on me.

Brian: It’s a gaming tumor.

Miranda

Brian: Developer describes it as an Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet style game.  He calls it a “Thrustvania.”

Kairi: That sounds like the name of a Twilight-themed porno.

Brian: The developer probably should have named it Thrustvania.  Miranda is a terrible name for a video game.

Kairi: Agreed.  If you can name your game anything, why pick something that is not memorable or catchy in the slightest way?  It would be like calling a game “Drywall” or “Seaweed.”  There’s a reason they called “Legend of Zelda” what they did.  Because a game called “Link” would have never sold.  Hell, “Legend of Link” would never have sold.  I truly believe that.

Brian: It does look neat.  At first, it seems too basic, but then you see all the three-dimensional movement, and it seems cool.

Kairi: It does seem cool, but the graphics are nowhere near as good as they need to be to even get consideration for DreamBuildPlay.

Brian: How good do they have to be?

Kairi: You know all those pictures of Steve Balmer with pit-stains?

Brian: I’m almost afraid to answer that, but yes.

Kairi: To be considered for Dream-Build-Play, you have to move those stains about three feet south, and creamier.

Brian: Duggggahhhh.  Kairi, if I signed you up for charm school, would you actually go?

Kairi: Why would I want to do it a second time?

Little Monsters

Kairi: This is exactly the kind of physics based games I love to play.

Brian: Me too.  On my phone.

Kairi: That’s where I was going too.

Brian: It still looks fun.

Kairi: Agreed.  I can’t wait to play it.

Brian: You know what the best part is?

Kairi: What?

Brian: No Fred Savage.

SNAKESTER

Brian: Found this one, it’s just a demonstration of the co-op, but it’s a neat take on a common game.

Kairi: So it’s the Snake game, but without straight lines.  That actually is kind of original.

Brian: And the use of co-op is different too.

Kairi: When we play this, ten-to-one says you’re the person who fucks up.

Brian: Hey wait a second there Mrs. Dexterous.  You’re the one falls in more pits than anyone else when we play Dungeon Defenders.

Kairi: Yea, but that’s like, you know, in the thick of combat.

Brian: Bullshit!  You do it between rounds.

Kairi: Well, yes.  But those ledges can be narrow.

Brian: It could be as wide as the fucking continent and you would still figure out a way to fall in.

Dreamland

Kairi: Another Dream-Build Play trailer.  This one is certainly prettier than Miranda.

Brian: Name is equally generic though.

Kairi: Yea, Dreamland is sort of an overused term in gaming.  It would be like naming something “Adventure” or “Super” and leaving it at that.

Brian: There was an Atari game called “Adventure.”

Kairi: I know, but that came out in the 70s, so it probably invented the concept of adventuring.

Brian: I’m pretty sure there were adventures before the 70s.

Kairi: Really?  Name one.

Brian: Marco Polo.

Kairi: What does a swimming pool game have to do with this?

Brian: Please tell me you’re fucking with me.

Kairi: Always.

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The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

11 Responses to Indies in Due Time: 150,000 Served Edition – May 2, 2012

  1. Congrats! I just peer reviewed Aron 2: Mysterious Troubles and it’s a pretty fun game. Controls aren’t as tight as I’d like them to be and at the start there is a lengthy cut scene catching you up on the plot that I found a bit boring but other than that I found it to be a really enjoyable game. Can’t wait for you to hit the next milestone!

  2. brandontheindiemine says:

    Congrats on the milestone. For smaller sites like mine that really gives us something to shoot for, as well as the knowledge that it’s attainable.

  3. Robot Doom 2 really does need to be called something else. The original had the worst controls I’ve endured in years. Prettiness isn’t enough, people! If you sculpt a statue of Athena out of a mass of goat feces, its visual artistry doesn’t make it any less a heap of shit.

    Of the others, Thrustvania (I agree, Miranda should be called that) could be fun but visually looks dull as an accountancy manual printed in grey on grey paper. Dreamland could go either way, but I’m getting really tired of the MS Paint thing. I don’t know what all these XNA devs use for their graphics, but it always has this cheap, high school IT class look.

  4. CJ says:

    Hey don’t be hating on MS paint yo! lol It’s not the best out there, but it’s a basic program that gets the job done. I use both that and Paint.net.

    I’ve seen people make some great art with MS paint(the mona lisa for example), and I’ve seen absolute shit made with it. Same with GIMP, Paint.net, Graphics Gale AND Adobe Photoshop. The only differences are the feature sets. You can make great stuff in any of these programs(good stuff does take a little longer in MS paint though!)

    What I think people are really complaining about(but can’t put their fingers on it), is the very simplistic art style. Especially when they’ve played lots of games with very detailed, well-drawn sprites(by whole artistic teams). They look at Dreamland and go WTF?

    • For me it’s not the simplistic art style. Whether they’re drawn in Paint or anything else, a lot of XBLIGs have a glossy, ‘moving cutout’ sort of look that I associate with Paint, rightly or wrongly.

      I try to cut indie devs some slack for their artwork. As the guy from Boddicker Games said recently, when you’re a solo dev you have to provide every aspect of your game, and being a competent programmer doesn’t mean you’re a competent artist. But I’m always torn between understanding the dev’s predicament and looking at the game as a pure consumer.

      • Maybe the devs who make awful but pretty games and the ones who make fun but ugly games should get together.

      • Kairi Vice says:

        I actually said to Brian it looked like paper-machete cutouts too. I don’t mind the art style. I’m just looking for good games. As long as the graphics don’t get in the way of gameplay, which does happen from time to time.

        • I don’t really care about how pretty a game is (I still play one of the ugliest games I’ve ever seen, ‘Pirates!’ on the NES) but there’s something about that Paint-like style that really aggravates me.

        • Leon says:

          Thanks for the inclusion there Kairi. As for the graphics, creating something similar to cartoony paper cut-outs was the original idea for the game. I guess it’s not for everyone, and I can certainly understand that. When you have to do the same animation for each of the views (front, back, left, and right) for walking and attacking, death animations, and more for well over 20 enemies (plus many other assets), sticking to a simpler art style helps considerably in the long run. I’m certain that everyone would like to have Disney quality animation, characters, and backgrounds in all of the free games on WP7, but I just don’t think I could have done that within the time frame that we have been working on this one (also zero budget, but we just enjoy making games…lol). Considering that it’s an RPG, a lot of time also went into creating the rest of the little stories and other characters that you will be talking to throughout the game. A game is a lot more than just it’s looks, so only time will tell if others enjoy the combination of everything else once it’s released.
          On the other hand, the next game already has a completely different art style and might be just what a few others are looking for. Everyone has their preferences with the games that they play.

  5. Congrats on 150k! I’ll say it again, you’ve earned every one of those views. Now, 300k or better by the end of the year. No pressure.

    And, consider this an official Katch-Up vote for Aron’s Journey in Dreamland. I played it for the Rundown last year (had to go back to see my thoughts on it though), and, apparently, it’s an alright game from what I saw of it. The sequel looks to be… different than the original.

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