Every month, as part of the regular monthly meetings of the Austin, TX independent game community JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do a very casual & chatty rundown of the ten or so games from the previous month for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are presented here on Venus Patrol for your reference, each fully-annotated, -linked, and off-the-cuff blurbed, in addition to their home on the JUEGOS RANCHEROS site.
See more posts about: 50 Short Games, A Fistful of Indies, Broken Age, Eliss, Eliss Infinity, Global Game Jam, How Do You Do It, Jazzpunk, JUEGOS RANCHEROS, Nidhogg, Octodad, Pale Machine, The Banner Saga, Threes
It’s been nearly four years since Mark Essen’s tug-of-war fencing game Nidhogg first emerged, seemingly fully grown as the perfect lo-fi brawler that none of us knew we needed until it was in our hands. Originally commissioned for the first No Quarter — NYU Game Center’s annual public-multiplayer-focused exhibition — and then known as Raging Hadron, the game was soon re-named after the Norse snake-dragon horror that ends each round and submitted to the 2011 IGF, where it took home the festival’s Nuovo award, on top of two nominations for both excellence in design & that year’s grand prize.
And then the beast slumbered… with only tiny (and, for some, maddeningly rare) further glimpses at public exhibitions put together by hyper-local indie groups Toronto’s Hand Eye Society and our own JUEGOS RANCHEROS, the game was soon cemented as one of videogames’ best spectator bloodsports for all who were lucky enough to be present, but largely avoided public gaze — until a mid-2013 appearance at fighting game mecca EVO signaled that it was finally nearly ready for public consumption.
Following quickly on the heels of & fitting beautifully in amongst Matt Thorton’s TowerFall & Teknopants’ Samurai Gunn as part of a multiplayer renaissance & still one of the most anticipated multiplayer games, Nidhogg has just been released for Windows on Steam, with Mac & possible console ports to follow in due time.
I talked with Essen about what the past four years of incubation have been like, and what people who’ve only played its earliest iterations can expect from the finished game — including two of its most major additions: online multiplayer and a robust single-player AI.
So, what’s been keeping you busy since your IGF win back in 2011?
Grad school, then part-time co-teaching Intermediate Game Design with [Waco Resurrection and The Cat and The Coup co-creator] Peter Brinson and my own class on experimental mobile games — both at USC Interactive Media & Games program — as well as contract work, side projects, and making & tweaking games for festivals and museum or gallery shows.
I have been working pretty consistently on Nidhogg all this time, it’s just that some weeks got one day a week, and others got eight days a week.
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]
Multiplayer games have been undergoing a beautiful renaissance over the past couple years, and we’ll be bringing three of the best examples to Austin’s North Door next Thursday, May 2nd, at 7:00PM, as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents Monaco, Towerfall and a brand-new version of Nidhogg.
A long-standing staple of JUEGOS RANCHEROS events, we’ll be celebrating the debut of our first permanently-installed TEXATRON cabinet by bringing a brand-new version of Messhof’s brilliant lo-fi sword-fighter Nidhogg, complete with a visual overhaul, a fantastic new soundscape, and a stack of new moves that’ll make this round feel fresh, even if you’ve faced off against a local rival a thousand times before.
We’ll also be debuting Towerfall, the “retro archery platformer” by Canada’s own super prolific developer Matt Thorson, who you may recognize from his frequent contributions to Adult Swim, including Give Up Robot, Fat Wizard and, most recently, Planet Punch. Fans of Spelunky‘s deathmatch or Beau Blyth’s Samurai Gunn will feel right at home here.
And last, but certainly not least, we’ll be featuring Pocketwatch Games’ long-anticipated and just-released multiplayer heist game Monaco — winner of 2010′s IGF Grand Prize, and near-universally praised as a new gold standard in multiplayer games.
Everything will be kicking off Thursday, May 2nd, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public — come drink, play, and meet the people changing the way you think about videogames!
After well over a year of build-up and preparation, the day has finally come: Austin indie collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS has officially given the first of its TEXATRON machines a permanent home at Guzu, Austin’s new best designer toy/art/comic shop & gallery.
What this means for you is that now you can go play Messhof’s still-unbelievably-highly-anticipated Nidhogg, for free, whenever you want, during Guzu’s operating hours — as well as a slew of other games on the Winnitron network, including special 2-player builds of Canabalt & Super Crate Box, and much more.
The installation is just the first of what we hope will be many more to come, as well as the prelude to many enhancements to the Winnitron’s front- and back-ends to make machines like the TEXATRON perfect cultural-outreach machines to bring interesting, beautiful videogames to a wider and cross-cultural audience.
If you’re in Austin, drop by Guzu at 5000 N Lamar Blvd — just next door to Austin Books & Comics — and be sure to browse around for a legitimately amazing selection of books & toys while you’re there. Keep your eyes on the TEXATRON site for more news about upcoming locations, and investigate the Winnitron site if you’d like to bring machines like this to your own town.
Here’s the major lede buried in this video showcase of all the games coming November 24th to VERSUS — the live music/game/amazingness mega-show being hosted at Rotterdam, Netherlands venue WORM: a brand new look at what creator Mark ‘Messhof‘ Essen has been cooking up under deep cover for the past couple years with his still-commercially-unavailable swordfighting cult-hit Nidhogg.
While the main thrust (no pun) seems to be the same, you’ll see new arenas and updated versions of the one you’re used to, new dynamics, and a new sorta kooky-eyed version of the game’s titular wyrm starting at around the 10 second mark.
Not to be too far upstaged, the event will also be bringing a number of the games much ballyhooed about around here, including Fernando Ramallo & David Kanaga’s Panoramical, minimalist racing game Chalo Chalo, Beau Blyth’s Samurai Gunn (also sporting a freshly updated tile set), and Super Space ______, a “couch co-op arcade shooter about competition, cooperation, communication and the democracy of physics”.
You can find much more about the lineup and event specifics via WORM, which having watched this trailer I’m now deeply despairing about missing.
Another location-specific update: Portland-area readers will want to clear off their Friday nights for XOXO Fringe‘s arcade, a free-to-the-public event starting at 7PM at Union/Pine, as part of the recently Kickstarted XOXO arts and tech festival, created by Andy Baio & Andy McMillan.
This very website curated the selection of games available at the arcade, which will include Messhof’s Nidhogg, Ed Key & David Kanaga’s Proteus, Noah Sasso’s Barabariball, Terry Cavanagh’s Super Hexagon, Die Gute Fabrik’s Johann Sebastian Joust, the very first look at the new game from Big Bucket, the team behind the 2010 iPhone/iPad/Mac game The Incident, and more.
Below the fold, I’ll stick video of all of the above for the uninitiated, so you can see what you’re getting into. I unfortunately couldn’t make it out to the event, so take lots of pictures for us! See the official XOXO Fringe site for more information.