This is a guest blog, written by videogame and music Exile – Rob Martino
Rob made it to PAX EAST this past weekend, and had this report from the Indy Game scene.
In the gaming world commercial titles like Call of Duty and Assassins Creed get all the spotlight. Though at PAX East its time for the indie games to shine. The indie companies are the highlight of this conference. They come from around the world, to show, a lot for the very first time there games. Its amazing to see so many developers have great new ideas. Here is a highlight of some of them, so please check them out.
Time Surfer for iPad/iPhone/Ipod touch is from Kumobius Games. One of the developers, James Greenway, talked about the game and how speed and trying to not run out of “time” is your main objective. The interesting game mechanic is that you can rewind time. This reminds me of Braid, which is an excellent indie game. The difference is that speed is so crucial in Time Surfer that rewind is a huge benefit. The game has a retro feel, and is sure was hard to pass up playing at PAX. Its out now, so go check it out
McDroid comes from the Orc Must Die! Realm. Your objective is to protect your mother ship, against waves of enemy’s. Its developed by Elefantopia led by Laurent Lavigne. What really got me was Laurent’s story on the music. Laurent’s father friend is a musician, so Laurent recorded him playing just guitar for the game music. It sounds great, and gives a deserted feeling while playing the game. Since its just you out in this world it works perfect. Laurent walked me though the game, and its I really enjoyed the art style and game play. Check it out its on Steam’s Greenlight, so go vote!
Big Fly Baseball has finally taken baseball fans, such as myself, to the more arcade style of sports. While NBA Jam is such a staple of this genre, Big Fly Baseball is giving it some competition. Co-Founder of Metal Head Software, based out of Victoria BC, Christian Zuger, lead me though the PS3 demo of the game. Although he stated it was in pre-alpha built, the game played and looked great. I even managed to hit a home run out of the stadium. The game had an extremely easy pick up and play feel, which is a relief because MLB 13, the show was the opposite. Baseball fans everywhere should look forward to this game. Release date TBA
Legend of Dungeon for PC/Mac/Linux/Android/OUYA is a 4 player coop randomly generated dungeon crawler. Robot Loves Kitty lead by Alix Stolzer and Calvin Goble, brought me back to my earlier years of gaming with friends. They had a setup of 4 live players at there booth. Although I was playing with 3 others strangers, we were working together. We were hacking and slashing our way though with items being able to be passed around. It was so much fun! After the play though developer Calvin stated “My face hurts from smiling so much”. This game is looking really good, and I will be doing a full review very soon. Its on Steam’s Greenlight, so go vote!
Dragon Fantasy Book II is a 16bit RPG from Mutekicorp. The game looks great, but while playing I talked to Devin Nixon, who worked on the music for the game. The music is chiptune. Chiptune music uses the music chips from old game systems (NES, Gameboy,etc.). Devin is a part of the group Crashfaster, which is does chiptune music. Devin is a great musician and it was nice to hear about the music side of the game. From the music I heard its really amazing, and it holds true to the vintage sound. Check out Devin and Dragon Fantasy Book series.
Gamebook Adventures takes me back to the days of the make your own adventure books. This is idea is headed by Tin Man Games. Coming out of Melbourne Australia, this bring this genre into the tablet. Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies was the title on display and I really enjoyed the story. The atmosphere of the story had great surprise and suspense. Helping out at the booth was Kamina Vincent, who is an aspiring programmer in Melbourne. We both agreed that indie games like Gamebook Adventures and others, should be taken just as serious as AAA titles. Check out all of these titles mentioned above.
Other then checking out games I did want to write out one panel I attended. This was a panel called Behind the Music of Blockbuster Video Games. It was run by Emily Reese of Top Score podcast. On the panel were some of the most known video game music composers. It consisted of Jason Grames (Tomb Raider, Dead Space 1-3), Jack Wall (Lost Planet 3, Call of Duty Black Ops II, Mass Effect 1-2), Kevin Riepl (Gears of War), Garry Schyman (Bio Shock Series), Greg Edmonson (Uncharted Series), and Inon Zur (Dragon Age 1-2, Fallout 3). This for me was extremely inspiring, to hear their love and support for music and the gaming community. Being a composer myself, Jason Graves and Greg Edmonson, talked to me about composing, and how it a challenge for all of us. Being that Uncharted is some of my favorite music, I respected Greg and Jason’s words. So please check out all of these games/composers.
Overall PAX east is one of the great events of the year. The indies are so great, and should be supported by everyone. It is amazing to see so many great games, new tech products, tabletop games, and best of all people. PAX always feels at home, a way for gamers to enjoy the community. The fans are so supportive and passionate about this event, that hopefully it goes on for years to come.
Rob Martino is a drummer/percussionist/composer based out of New York City. He musical directs the musical All Hands On Deck, and composes/performs with his group Speed of Three. He is an avid gamer on PC and PS3. He enjoys co-op and indie games.
He is on the left in the photo.