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Indie Week: Talking To The Top Contenders

[Welcome to Indie Week at gameinformer.com. We’ve got a full seven days of indie game coverage leading up to the 2010 Independent Games Festival Awards. Check the hub daily for new previews, interviews and other coverage of the top independent games of the year.]

We've said it before and we'll say it again. The Independent Games Festival is a big deal for autonomous game developers. The ceremony recognizes 20 finalists in six unique categories; accolades are given for excellence in visual art, audio, technical execution, innovation and overall design. Additionally, one lucky developer leaves the Bay Area with the Seumas McNally Grand Prize – securing the ceremony’s top honor and a lofty $20,000 prize.

More important than any monetary reward, however, is the platform that IGF provides. Contestants garner the attention of consumers, critics and potential publishers, all interested in the fruits of their long and sometimes ill-publicized labor.  Indie darlings such as Braid, Castle Crashers and World of Goo owe a great deal to the IGF for this exact reason, and pay it forward each year by educating and inspiring future leaders in the indie sphere.

Scoring a nomination for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize is no small feat, and the five 2010 contestants are all deserving of their nods. We had a chance to play all five titles and shared our impressions throughout the week. Now we take some time to chat with the minds behind the madness, discussing the pros and cons of being an indie developer and touching on their opinion of "mainstream" games.

The Recap
It’s one thing to read a preview penned by someone far removed from a game, and another thing entirely to hear direct from a developer their goals and aspirations for a pet project.

[Joe Danger]
“In our game you play as Joe Danger. He was once the World's greatest Stuntman, but since then he's had some nasty crashes and eaten a few too many hamburgers. It’s the player's job to take him back to the top of his game. Cue Montage! He needs to thrill the crowd by pulling death-defying stunts to reclaim his title of Master of Disaster and teach his rivals a lesson, the reckless ‘Team  Nasty.’ He's basically a cute, hapless little dude who's never walked away from a stunt, literally.

“I guess it’s a racing game, but it’s secretly a platformer, and also one where you are holding a combo and constantly thinking about your score as well as exploring. We want to recreate that childish joy of the first time you took a toy motorbike, doused it in lighter fluid, lit it, and launched it at high speed over your carefully constructed ramp out a second story window. You can take on your friends too and build your own levels to share with them.”

Sean Murray, Managing Director, Hello Games


[Monaco]
“Monaco is a co-op stealth game in which a team of outlaws pull off impossible-seeming heists by using each thief's unique abilities.  You can play with up to four players on one screen or over the internet, and you can make your own levels and share them with your friends.”

Andy Schatz, Pocketwatch Games

[Trauma]
“At first sight Trauma is somewhat similar to a first-person point-and-click adventure. You navigate through a series of photographic still-images and solve puzzles. However there are a lot of unique things about Trauma such as real-time 3D transitions and a gesture-based input system. But apart from technological details, the thing that I think will surprise most people is its mature story and a focus on mood and visuals rather than actual puzzle solving."

Krystian Majewski

[Super Meat Boy!]
“You're a boy made of meat, a fetus in a jar stole your girlfriend who's made of bandages, you save said girl using your little stubby legs.”

Edmund McMillen, Team Meat

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