Tag Archive | Indie games

Pizzapocalypse 20XX (Made for Ludum Dare 27)


A retrofuture visual novel, mashing high fantasy with modern subculture. Made for Ludum Dare 27, with the theme ’10 Seconds’. You are Alana Sorayama, codename Neon Berserker. A bounty hunter by trade, you are about to confront an evil Glam Necromancer and his nefarious scheme to destroy all pizza in the world!

Art by Wicked, story and coding by Nathan Blades.

Music is by Kevin MacLeod. Sound effects ripped from The World Ends With You.

Made in Ren’Py. Check out renpy.org for more information about the engine.

You can download the game directly from Ars Lingua here, or you can got to the Ludum Dare submission page.

Subversion Through Destruction: Embracing The Queer Power Fantasy


This feature was originally written for One Hit Pixel and can be found here.

Sometimes you just feel like breaking something.

Sometimes, you’ll feel better once you’ve absolutely dominated your aggressors, laid waste to the weak, and are told that you’re a force to be reckoned with. Doing that down the pub on a Friday night will put you in a holding cell, but thankfully we have video games to provide that experience instead.

It’s the power fantasy, being whisked away to somewhere where you’re stronger, smarter and more capable than what you can achieve in meatspace, and you’re awed for it. It’s probably the easiest experience to obtain in our current gaming landscape – almost every action game is about empowerment beyond your normal means.


However, this empowerment comes in precious few flavours. Either you’re a dashing white guy with a cocksure attitude or you’re a grizzled white guy with a macho attitude.

It’s not random coincidence – the image of the ‘bald space marine’ been an in-joke among gaming enthusiasts for years. To indulge in a power fantasy in a game is to invariably be straight, white and male.

Being only one third of those things, I find those experiences rather restricting in multiple ways. From a purely academic standpoint, having the same protagonists regurgitated is woefully trite. But emotionally, it’s rather chilling – even alienating – to not see someone like you act in a role of power.

As a black person, am I not allowed to see myself lead (in ways other than raw muscle)? As a gay person, am I not allowed to goddamn see myself in any capacity?

Fortunately, Porpentine’s games raise two middle fingers to that, with long fake nails and chunky diamond rings.

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Truth or Ludum Dare: How I Survived the Game Jam

Ludum Dare, Indie Games, 10 Seconds, Pizzapocalypse 20XX

This feature was originally written for One Hit Pixel, found here.

Over the last month, I have transformed.

I went into the cocoon as a mere journalist, and emerged as something strange, new and beautiful. A games developer.

The best part is, you can too – all it takes is a mixture of gentle encouragement and a games development event to give you a good hard kick up the ass.

Enter Ludum Dare (The vowel in ‘dare’ is long, like in ‘car’, so my witty headline doesn’t work, but whatever), an indie game making event that happens a couple times every year, and most recently on August 23rd-26th. People from all over, professionals and newcomers alike, step up to the challenge to make a game over the course of a weekend, adhering to a special theme.

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Thought Police (Made for Ludum Dare 29)

Thought Police, Ludum Dare, Indie Games, Nathan Blades, Aryn Clark

Thought Police is a neon-noir visual novel made for the 29th Ludum Dare game jam, made around the theme ‘Below the Surface’.

Out of over 2,000 entries we scored 54th in the overall rankings!

Content warning for blood and a handful of f-words.

Thought Police, Indie games, Ludum Dare, Visual Novel, Nathan Blades, Aryn Clark

You play as Alexis Brambilla – a detective inspector for the richest and most technologically advanced police force in the world. You have been given access to their latest research project – an interrogation room that can give you real-time feedback on a subject’s emotions.

What might you uncover when you put it to the test?

There are 3 bad endings and one true ending to find! Getting them isn’t hard, but I hope you enjoy the experience, irreverent dialogue and probably unsubtle political standpoints.

Words, coding, and backgrounds by Nathan Blades. Character art by Aryn Clark. Music is from Incomptech.org, and a brief clip from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. Sound effects are from freesound.org.

Made in Ren’Py. Check out renpy.org for more information about the engine.

You can download the game directly from Ars Lingua here, or you can got to the Ludum Dare submission page.

Serial Gaming: Fighting Games

This article can also be found on One Hit Pixel, here.

I’ve loved fighting games for a long time. I’ve never been great at them – most of the time I’m not even good at them – but they bring about such excitement and tension. The kind of hollering at the screen you can only manage when it’s about a toe-to-toe duel with larger than life attacks. I’m an ardent pacifist in real life, but in King of Fighters, I’ll stain my hands with your blood.

That said, until very recently, I didn’t quite appreciate how games within the genre have such important differences. At the moment I’m playing Persona 4 Arena, Skullgirls, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2; but I admit that I approach them all mentally in a rather similar fashion.
At their core, all fighting games (the good ones, anyway) follow some basic tenets: movement and spacing, the attack/block/throw strategic triangle, and even how the HUD should look. The other differences feel aesthetic, maybe even inconsequential.
Then I discovered Salty Bet.

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Tech Talk: Seeing Sounds and the ‘Art Game’

 This feature can also be found at the South West Londoner, here.

Singing Ribbons is a new art installation by Matthew Maxwell for the iPhone generation. A series of paintings consisting of bold stripes of colour can be scanned by a special mobile app that converts each stripe into notes sung by a soprano.

Really, it’s an awesome concept. On a basic level, it’s a great form of interactive art. The works come alive with what you bring to the gallery, and the results leave with you. We are clearly far to prone to forgetfulness to simply remember the exhibit.

From a technological perspective, it takes the idea behind QR codes (Those ‘square barcodes’ that most smartphones these days can read), and explores it in a refreshing way. It’s no surprise that Mr Maxwell works in software, but has an education in fine art.

Beyond that, I think it’s an interesting demonstration of Synaesthesia, though that may not be intentional.

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