When we think of video game developers and publishers we often consider the industry giants like Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo, or perhaps we think about the independent studios gaining in steam and popularity. But one thing that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention is the geographical diversity of some of these studios. Of course we're familiar with some of the bigger companies like Ubisoft, which hails from France but has offices all over the world. I've always thought it was pretty cool that CCP Games was based out of Reykjavík, Iceland. I'm fascinated with independent studios and titles, which is further amplified when they come from unique places - places we seldom think of for their video games.

I've been playing this pair of games on Steam lately. They're that sort of game that are fairly basic in terms of gameplay, but they wind up being fun and addictive. You tell yourself you'll play one more round or five more minutes...and 30 minutes later, you're still stuck on the same level and you're still telling yourself that you're going to quit, oblivious to the fact any amount of time has passed since you last said this.

The two games are essentially the same, one is the original, the other the sequel...but really they are the same game. The graphics are slightly improved in the second, as you might expect. They are loosely based off of an old game called Qix. Apparently it was originally an arcade game, but I played it on the NES.

The objective of Qix is to fence off, or "claim", a supermajority of the playfield. At the start of each level, the playing field is a large, empty rectangle, containing the Qix - a sticklike entity that performs graceful but unpredictable motions within the confines of the rectangle.

Well, the name of these spin-off games is Fortix and Fortix 2. They're available on Steam and three bucks will get you the pair of them (one is $1.99 and the other is .99). They have achievements and Steam trading cards (one of my favorite features of Steam).

The games are clean and simple, but pack an artistic flair and solid audio tracks. If you enjoyed Qix you're sure to enjoy these games, and if you haven't, well you might still like them too. They rely on a medieval setting - so there are lots of little dragons, orcs and catapults - but the point of the game remains to carve off sections of the map without any of the obstacles touching you or the line you're on while you're in the middle of cutting. It sounds easy and it mostly is. Until you get greedy and try to carve off too much in one pass.

I was impressed enough with the game I decided to find out who developed it and where they are located. It was a company I wasn't familiar with from a place I wouldn't have guessed.

Nemesys Games

You can kind of gauge how much of an indie game studio is by how much you can find out about them on the Internet. And there isn't a lot. They don't even have a Wikipedia page. But, like their games, they do have a simple, clean and inviting website that tells a little bit about who they are as well as provide info pages for their other games I didn't know about.

Nemesys Games is an independent Hungarian game developer company that was formed by dedicated and skilled game development experts, in 2004. We are a team of 17, including project managers, coders and graphic artists, boasting over 100 years of combined game development experience. Our game Fortix 2 made it to the finals of the Indie Game Challenge at DICE in 2011.

The fact they are an independent studio from Budapest Hungary doesn't really influence their games, but it is interesting to see some solid games being produced from a place you probably don't really think about when you think about video game studios. If you read their developer blogs and some of the other content on their websites, you get the sense they are a friendly bunch and every bit as passionate about games as the rest of us.

I blogged earlier this month how 2014 was likely going to be the Year of the Indie Game for me, and with games like Fortix and Fortix 2 leading the charge (I've finished the first one and half way through the second one) I'm pleased with the progress so far. Nemesys Games has done a great job breathing a little innovation into a simple game from the past, and for three bucks for two games, what's not to like.

Check out the Nemesys Games website here.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Go Seahawks!