September 22 will see a countless number of gamers, fans, and developers assemble on the MIT campus to celebrate local Boston indie game makers and their love of making games. The full-day festival will feature video and tabletop game demos, activities, an art show, and a game jam and is all free of charge.
Journalist Leigh Alexander and computer historian Jason Scott will be the festival’s two keynote speakers. Alexander’s speech is titled “Preserving Genres in Indie Games” and will discuss experimental and innovative design in indie games. Scott’s speech, “A Look at ‘Get Lamp'” will discuss his documentary on the history and success of text-based games.
Below is a list of the thirty-six featured games made by both Boston-area studios as well as students from the MIT GAMBIT Game Lab.
Wadjet Eye Games
When a brilliant particle physicist dies unexpectedly, the race is on to secure his terrible new technology before it falls into the wrong hands. The lives of four playable characters become entangled as they fight against the clock to find the dead scientist’s secret vault. The suspicions they harbor, the memories they guard, the connections they share – all will converge as these four ordinary people work together to prevent a potentially cataclysmic disaster.
Use the supernatural powers of Jack Lumber to massacre the forest and make Granny proud in this time-warping line-drawing log-slicing pun-filled lumberjacking mashup.
Point-and-click adventure with RPG elements.
Electric Coffee Games
A first person puzzle adventure set in a unique environment to explore. Focusing on the interactions between light, darkness, and an interactive immersive environment, Photons is designed from the ground up to provide the player with a memorable experience. The player explores a previously inhabited island in search of a means to establish a new colony for man to live in peace, else lose themselves to the insanity caused by the darkness. As light is the most essential thing in the world of Photons, it is only fitting that the player uses light to explore the world and uncover the mystery of the island. By using a special flashlight, the player will beat back the darkness and explore new regions of the island and the facilities that lay dormant. The goal of Photons is for the player to be immersed in the world. The experience is what is truly important. To that end, the visuals have been carefully chosen to give the sense of presence emphasizing the feel of the world and situation that the player finds themselves in. Photons is being developed using the Unity3D game engine, and has been invited to the international game design competition at the Fun and Games Conference in 2012. It is slated for release in 2013 and will be available for the PC.
Don’t Blow It!
Don’t Blow It! is a cooperative physics puzzle platformer for up to 4 players, locally or over a network. Work together like never before by throwing your friends around, building human towers, and synchronizing your actions in order to reach the goal in a variety of themed levels. It’s not just about cooperation, though. Compete to collect stars and silly outfits, some of which confer bonuses, and some handicaps. When time ticks down and defeat is imminent, friends will turn on one another in a scramble to avoid being the guy who “Blew It”. Don’t Blow It! is designed to be enjoyed by friends of any age.
PWN is a head-to-head competitive hacking simulator that aims to recreate those exciting and hilariously fake action movie hacking scenes. You and a computer (or human opponent) compete to capture a 3-dimensional grid of network nodes and can outsmart each other with clever traps like viruses, backdoors, and network spikes.
Girls Like Robots
Girls Like Robots is a romance, adventure, puzzle game about seating arrangements! Every piece is a person to be made happy by seating them near friends. Balance a crowd of girls, robots, nerds, lady bugs, tennis thugs, baked goods and more.
Recently, scientists discovered the Higgs particle. Why was it so tough? Turns out, he didn’t want to be found! In Agent Higgs, a puzzle game on iOS released in June, you take the side of Higgs, keeping him hidden from view. Your tools are the known particles: electrons, muons, neutrinos, and more. Sliding these particles around, you’ll solve challenging puzzles based on the rules of particle physics. Along the way, learn about the particles and their interactions. Agent Higgs is designed for all lovers of science and is approachable enough for a novice, but meaty enough for an expert to enjoy.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A cellular automata gone wrong! Conway’s Inferno is a puzzling game in which the player is tasked with using deterministic disasters to eliminate a species. Based on a prototype built for the 2011 Global Game Jam, the iOS version of Conway’s Inferno features over 50 levels of sadistic fun.
It’s another glorious day in Sunnyland, and everyone’s as gleeful as can be. At least they will be until poor Nimbus the rain cloud comes along. Guide Nimbus all the way through Sunnyland, letting him rain down on the Flowers (they love rain!) but keeping everyone else dry (they hate it!). Rack up points, earn wacky collectables, and maybe even make Nimbus smile‚ and if you do, you’ll be on cloud nine!
Lost Marbles is a puzzle platformer in which your goal is simply to get to the end of each level as fast as you can. To do this though you’ll need to control up to three marbles at once, using them in tandem to navigate hazards and solve puzzles. Each marble has unique attributes and ways they can help the other marbles. Ever wish Blizzard’s SNES classic The Lost Vikings were done in 3D? Well this is the basic idea they had when making the game!
Shade is an experiment in surrealism and psychological fear. It begins as a classic “room escape” scenario; but that’s not how it ends. This iOS edition is updated with in-game feelies and Game Center achievements.
Amelia vs. The Marathon
Trouble Impact, LLC
Attempt to beat your best marathon time while your running rival’s henchmen try to slow you down! A linear, replayable 10-15 min adventure in which you must dodge obstacles and defeat a sequence of characters as fast as possible to get the best marathon time. Battles are short, turn-based fights with timing mini-games that determine the power of your attacks. Obstacle dodging sections appear between the battles and allow you to regain some of your lost speed. When you’ve completed a race‚ start over again to try to beat your best time using the skills and strategies you have learned.
Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller
Phoenix Online Studios
Episode 1: The Hangman Cognition is a thought-provoking mystery following Erica Reed, a Boston-based FBI agent, haunted by the unsolved case of a serial killer who took her brother’s life. Taking a turn for the strange, Erica investigates with the ability of post-cognition, sensing an objects past with a mere touch. What unravels is a much greater, much more complex and enigmatic mystery, as it becomes clear that someone knows her secret.
Gimbal Cop is an asynchronous multi-player racer/track creator. One player flies through space leaving a trail behind him, and the others follow along trying to catch him! Targeted at iOS/Android devices, the game maximizes the use of tilt controls and competitive gameplay to deliver an experience completely new to the mobile scene. Players can also join a game from their Windows or Mac with the option of hooking up their mobile device as a controller. As the Architect, explore a universe full of narwhals and potatoes while laying down track in the style of an Octopus Tentacle, Western Thoroughfare, CandyLand, LavaLand, and many more! As the runner, collect boost and try to stay on top of the track’s bends and turns in order to catch up with the architect at the head of his twisting tendril. Come up with a cool-looking track? Well, of course you did! Share the design with your friends online and race on it again, and again. On the PC, armed with the (free) Unity game editor, save your favorite tracks and edit their shape, adding extra doodads.
The Hold is a first-person 3D puzzle platformer that takes place inside of a massive MC Escher-like spacestation. Users must navigate the absurd space, solve puzzles, shift gravity, and maintain perspective as they try to escape.
Prime’s Quest introduces Prime, a young and charismatic teenager searching for his kidnapped grandfather in a post-apocalyptic Earth. This puzzle adventure game takes the beloved sokoban style and adds fresh and innovative mechanics coupled with handmade puzzles to add a new twist to the beloved genre.
Moonlight: Mistress of Mischief
Moonlight: Mistress of Mischief follows the adventures of the titular character as she ransacks her way through multiple castles with ever increasing odds stacked against her. Though a classic puzzle game at first glance along the lines of Crusher or Pac-Man, Moonlight also has stealth mechanics to up the challenge. Keep clear of guards, turrets, traps, and more. Hide in crates and shank unsuspecting guards in the back with your trusty knife. Collect all the gems you can and find the way out of each room.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Part roguelike, part stealth game, part puzzler, Jungle.com is a game about robbing Silicon Forest’s hottest new “World Wide Web” startup while simultaneously being its best customer. Explore a vast procedurally generated rain-office as you use only your wits (and any loose cash) to climb the corporate vine, tamper with shareholder dollars, and avoid carnivorous middle-managers.
What if a camera captured more than just an image? In Snapshot, that’s exactly what Pic’s camera does. It actually absorbs objects into photographs, removing them from existence! Paste one of your pictures back into the world and see all of your captured objects come tumbling out. Capture even the most unusual objects: doors, light, even copies of yourself! Travel through four unique worlds, collect beautiful and elusive objects, and overcome the most challenging puzzles.
Track is currently a multiplayer 2D shooter game. Players are bound to the Track, and must fight to the end in order to achieve victory. This is a game like no other.
2D puzzle platformer. A single-player game with two characters focused on perception and exploration.
Giant Evil Robot
Retro style, stealth, 2D platformer.
The swarm has gained sentience and must escape from captivity! Guide the cloud of nanobots through a puzzling science facility using the swarm’s abilities to condense, expand, and even split!
In Button Brigade, the buttons that control the game are actually a part of the game world. Delivered through a top-down world with touch controls, players will help an audacious robotic worm escape from the very factory that created it. The factory is home to hundreds of buttons that can be used to solve puzzles created by the scheming factory foremen, as well as defeat hostile worms.
Shape Shatter is a sandbox puzzle game that appears extremely simple, but clever players will detect a hidden deeper layer of psychological experimentation. On the surface it’s a casual game about finding patterns and optimizing choices, but as players progress further and become more addicted to the game mechanics it begins to raise interesting and difficult questions about the nature of game design and player motivation.
A puzzle-platformer which plays with multiple dimensions and death.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Downwards is a innovative puzzle-platform game that uses your iPhone/iPod as the controller in new ways. A dangerous virus has infiltrated your device! Guide Upbot, the cute and fearless antivirus robot, through the digital world of your device by leading him around with your finger and turning the phone to get him to his destination. With over 20 challenging levels and a charming digital aesthetic, Downwards is a fun and exciting game experience for iOS.
Subatomic Studios, LLC
Get ready to DEFEND THE WORLD! The biggest sequel in tower defense history is finally here: Fieldrunners 2 has arrived! From Subatomic Studios, creators of the award winning classic strategy game, comes an all new adventure that was years in the making. Build epic mazes out of powerful weapons to defend the world from the invading fieldrunners!
Worldwide Death Party
Super Ghosts, LLC
An action/adventure RPG with procedurally generated story and content. Art by Juan Carlos Andros and Sheldon Ketterer. Music by Eirik Suhrke (Spelunky XBLA) and Jasper Byrne (Lone Survivor).
Super Ghosts, LLC
A simple 1-4 player party game about shooting bandits and collecting gold. Go Prospecting on the viscious desert frontier with your friends, or Duel against them. Made in C# with XNA for the Xbox 360.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
You are Captain Bubbles, sent to the hideously square planet Erf by your father to pave the way for invasion! Throw Erflings into the path of your spacecraft by sliding Erf’s surface back and forth. Smash as many Erflings as you can, whilst avoiding crashing into their powerful hats, and the mysterious force they call “love”.
Go Home Dinosaurs!
Fire Hose Games
T-Rex wants steak. T-Rex wants YOUR steak. Are you gonna let him take it? No way! Go Home Dinosaurs! Prevent hordes of marauding dinos from crashing your party in the world’s premier BBQ defense simulator, Go Home Dinosaurs! Lead your gopher army into BBQ-protecting-battle; build your battlefield using puzzle piece shaped weapons. Unlock and discover new weapons as you continue to keep those dinos at bay! Enjoy bite-sized levels with family-friendly graphics in Go Home Dinosaurs!
Neocolonialism is an online multiplayer game for 3-6 players about global financial ruin. Play as a capitalist and extract as much money from the world as possible‚ but ideally, more than your buddies are extracting. It is a game of world domination that does not have nukes, but does have austerity packages. It is not a serious game, but it is a sarcastic game. In a world full of ostensibly topical games, this one pretty darn topical. If you play it, you will buy and sell Bonds, vote in Parliament, divest into Swiss Bank Accounts, and screw over people.
The Boston Festival of Indie Games will be held Saturday, September 22 on the MIT campus. For more information, be sure to visit their website.