Celebrating the Adventurous and the Indie in Berlin’s Gaming Scene, Fri+Sat

There’s no question independent gaming has found its voice. But it’s increasingly finding something else: a scene. And that doesn’t just mean people huddled quietly around glowing displays in quiet isolation. Artists, advocates, and aficionados gather to celebrate gaming as an art form, as an event. It’s not just some aesthetic or nostalgic experience of gaming, either, as with the explosion of 8-bit: people are gathering for love of mechanics. And as the game mechanic and art venture in new directions, that is an exciting time for digital visual and interactive culture, generally. One such hub is A MAZE. Centered …

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Faraway, a New Procedural Audiovisualtastic Game from Eliss Creator, in Teaser

Steph Thirion is back. The talented maker of Eliss, an iOS game that devilishly challenged players and stunned ears and eyes with goodness, Steph now has something new to tease. Faraway is, like Eliss before it, a one-man opus. Gameplay, visuals, and sound are all designed by the artist, making for a uniquely singular aesthetic vision. With procedural content and a narrative involving a comet in a starscape, it looks like yet another in a small but growing vanguard of games that take on the role of part game, part A/V album – slash – experience. From developer Steph: I …

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In Wake of London Fire, Organizers Answers Questions About Supporting Indie Labels

London’s Rough Trade Records shop is an anchor for the independent music scene in the UK. And they have an online presence, too — a good way to support your favorite label in the wake up what for many smaller outlets could be a devastating loss. Photo (CC-BY) Radio Saigón. The first rule of giving is that you need to make sure that the entity to which you’re giving is actually asking for support. In the wake of a devastating fire started during London’s rioting that wiped out a Sony warehouse, indie labels are indeed asking for such support, says …

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Platforming as Musical Interface: Jonathan Mak Shows Sound Shapes for New PlayStation Vita

Load up an Ableton set or mix samples, and you’re already in the domain of interactive music. With joysticks and arcade buttons and other controls, the blending of game and musical interface into generative compositional fusion is even clearer. It’s little wonder many electronic musicians take an interest in the nexus of gaming and music. Any discussion of interactive music scores for games would be incomplete without Jonathan Mak. His self-produced title Everyday Shooter used classic top-down space combat as a musical experience: not only do sound effects in the game act as musical elements, but even the flow of …

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Indie Music Devs Band Together with Deals on Synths, Effects, Tools, through 5/23

Game makers and (particularly Mac) utility developers have joined forces to do various bundles of their software. I have to say, I generally like the model – particularly the fantastic Humble Bundle of indie games. That collection not only encouraged people to try adventurous (often experimental) independent game titles, but gives some of the proceeds to relevant charities. Linux users have been buying up the bundles disproportionately, contrary to the idea that they won’t spend money on software, and some of the developers even set a goal to earn enough money to open source their tools. (The open source software …

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Inside Handheld Game Art: The Art Style and Making of Swords & Sworcery, Superbrothers Pixel Cinema

Visualist? VJ? Live cinema? Here’s a new one for you: Input Output Cinema. And while IO Cinema has already found a niche in the indie Toronto scene as “an ambiguously pluralized and irritatingly cryptic audiovisual art and design organization,” it now has its first blockbuster game. Superbrothers: Swords & Sworcery EP on the iPad is big – Angry Birds big, only with, erm, a very different visual sense. That’s before an imminent release for the iPod touch and iPhone has even come to fruition, sure to open it up to even more casual gamers. (I can’t wait to see it …

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Inside Handheld Game Art: The Art Style and Making of Swords & Sworcery, Superbrothers Pixel Cinema

Visualist? VJ? Live cinema? Here’s a new one for you: Input Output Cinema. And while IO Cinema has already found a niche in the indie Toronto scene as “an ambiguously pluralized and irritatingly cryptic audiovisual art and design organization,” it now has its first blockbuster game. Superbrothers: Swords & Sworcery EP on the iPad is big – Angry Birds big, only with, erm, a very different visual sense. That’s before an imminent release for the iPod touch and iPhone has even come to fruition, sure to open it up to even more casual gamers. (I can’t wait to see it …

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Hawken, Upcoming Indie Mech Game, Stuns Eyeballs; Learns Lessons from Model Kit Building and Kitbash

The craft of photorealistic gaming has risen to astounding heights, but look-alike art direction can overshadow its technical achievement. Not so with an extraordinary-looking indie title called Hawken. The mech combat first-person shooter, built in the Unreal Engine, is crafted in a way that speaks to the possibilities of digital technique to spin imaginary worlds, and to build integrated aesthetics. As Technical Lead Jon Kreuzer told PC Gamer, the nine-person LA studio reused components to construct the world of the game: “Many parts of the levels are created by combining re-usable building blocks into unique structures, which can allow new …

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An Alphabet of Abstract Animation: 26 Short Films by Mirai Mizue

For the past 26 days, an animation a day has appeared in my inbox, as animator Mirai Mizue has uploaded a short animation every day through the path of the alphabet. The works are musical animated poems of sorts, brilliant expressions of the connection between motion and sound, music and movement. A brief bio: Mirai Mizue is a representative figure of the new generation of abstract animation in Japan. His films have been shown in more than 100 festivals in about 20 countries. His strong obsession towards cells forces him to draw every frame with surprising density. His rhythmical animation …

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Inventive Wit of Spy Films, Proof Commercial Work Can Aid Art

Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo. Making Of Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo. Surrealist René Magritte had the best academic training, but his early works are viewed by scholars as being derivative – and you probably haven’t ever seen them. It seems that his work after the academy, as a commercial sign painter, designer, and even wallpaper creator (really), were part of what made Magritte the artist we know now. What painting signs gave Magritte was a concise wit, a compactness of message – and the rest is history. At a time when digital visuals are deeply …

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