Monday, January 31, 2011

Interview: Donny (Codestar Games)

"Hello, I'm Donny, also known as Kaikimi , head developer at Codestar Games. We're a small independent game studio with an assortment of games we are currently working on, one of which is my long time project: FrostFire."

Today, I had the pleasure of sitting down (so to speak) with Donny and talking about his current projects, his inspirations, and various other things I've probably forgotten about that you can find below.

What got you interested in pursuing game-making?
KAIKIMI: Well, I love the idea of building a world from scratch. Just the feeling of creation is what makes me pursue making games. I've played games ever since I was 2 years old and got my first SNES, but it wasn't until some time around middle school that I started making characters for games, which led me to learning how to do pixel art and finally jumping into programming to do things with my pixel art.

Yeah, you do have quite the talent when it comes to pixel art.  Any reasons as to why you chose pixel art over other forms as your style of choice?
KAIKIMI: I've been rooted in doing pixel art for around 6-7 years now. It's what feels natural to me for a game. CG art is nice and all in its own sense, but a good number of the games made with it feel too stiff to me. Pixel art has a greater ability to convey dynamic motion to me. I've played around with doing 3D as well from time to time, but it just seems too time consuming for me to work with.

And that sense of dynamic motion is definitely apparent in the artwork of your current game, "Project FrostFire."  Would you care to give a little summary of what the game's all about?
KAIKIMI: FrostFire is a dungeon crawling/adventure platformer that features the main character, Nicolas, struggling against the forces of the evil King Cold. He must travel through the world in search of magical scarves that give have power of making one's inner ambitions into reality. On the way, he meets a cast of unique characters ranging from angry bosses to music pirates. The game features an assortment of weapons and items that unlock hidden treasures and help Nicolas throughout the game.  To be honest though, the development of it is being put on hold for a new project of mine.

New project, eh?  Would you like to say anything regarding that?
KAIKIMI: I'm keeping it a tad hush-hush at the moment, but I can give out a couple of details.  The game is short; only 5 levels.  The genre is "fast paced run-and-gun beat em up platformer," and it's going to be the first game released by Codestar Games.

My interest is piqued!  Any details on possible release dates, or is it an "It'll be done when it's done" affair?
KAIKIMI: I can't particularly gurantee an exact release date, but I would love to say it will be coming sometime around this summer.  I've actually gotten some help on it from Codestar's newest member: Intermission.  He's our new character artist/pixel artist.

Well, I have to say, I can't wait to get my hands/download bars on this.  Back to a little bit about FrostFire, though.  This seems to be quite an ambitious game.  Have you come upon any particularly big roadblocks during the development process so far?
KAIKIMI: My biggest roadblock on the game thus far has been my solidarity. I chose to work on the game myself to have it as a testament to what I can do as a game developer. The game seemed to grow more and more over time, which is what led to me to working on my new project. I actually realize the scope of the game would impede my development for quite some time, and in that time I wouldn't have anything out from me for anyone to play. The development process is very time consuming because I have to handle all of the programming, scripting, writing, music, pixel art, CG art, music, and level design all by myself.

Fun fact: The same engine being used for FrostFire is also being used for my new project.

Are you proud of your work on the FrostFire engine?
KAIKIMI: Yes, very much so. It was the biggest part of the development process thus far. I've basically turned Game Maker on its head and made it into a very robust system. It allows me to work with pretty much everything outside of Game Maker which reduced the load time on the engine allows for great resource management. I've written an external level editor that I call FrostByte that can handle anything I dish out at it. I've also made a scripting language for myself called FFScript which handles most of the character, NPC, and cutscene code externally from Game Maker.  The engine is very dynamic and has even been used in the development of TSRODIUS (more info here) to make a Gradius-like game, with all the functionality of the original.

You clearly have to have to have a thorough knowledge of the ins and outs of Game Maker to be able to create something like that.  How long have you been using the program, and what made you decide to use it as a development tool?
KAIKIMI: Game Maker was what I initially started out with from the get go. It's basically what taught me the ins and outs of programming logic. I'm using it currently just for its ease of use. I've also worked with other languages ranging from C/C++, java, C#, and even Lua, but I've stuck with Game Maker just for sentimental value I suppose, heh. Although I actually did port the FrostByte level editor over to C# at one point just as an experiment. I can assure you though, with my commercial ideas I plan to release in the near future, I am likely to leave it behind.

If the Codestar Games team continues to grow in size, do you see yourself ever picking FrostFire back up and finishing it, or is it something that you think might be too big to undertake?
KAIKIMI: The future is kinda clouded with FrostFire at the moment. I'm actually hoping that Project LITL, our next project, will pick up some popularity and possibly be a good game to expand upon in the future. However, after its release I can say that FrostFire will first on my list of development priorities.

Looking forward to seeing both projects reach completion!

Some random other questions:
Inspirational figures?
"Art wise, it would have to be Konjak"
KAIKIMI: I'd have to say that notch (of Minecraft fame) has been a good inspiration for me development wise, because he's pretty much living the dream of all of us at the moment. Art wise, it would have to be Konjak (creator of Noitu Love 2), he's a very talented artist and really knows how to convey his pixel art skills in his games.

Games: Art/Not art?
KAIKIMI: Art is creation. When I'm making a game, I don't do it for just the gameplay. I want to portray an experience to the player through the worlds and stories I create. I think all art is just a means of giving someone an experience through whatever medium the artist chooses.

Game development snack(s) of choice?
KAIKIMI: I've got to say, I'm a sucker for pretzels and Mountain Dew. However, I'm trying to cut back on the Dew as of recently for my health, heh...

You can find out more about Codestar Games and their current projects at the Codestar Games Blog and on the Project FrostFire thread on The Spriters Resource.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Newcomer: BabbityRabbity

In case you haven't already noticed the beautiful header illustration to the Yume Nikki review, this blog now has a new artist!  BabbityRabbity is going to be the guy behind any and all illustrations in the upcoming articles, reviews, previews, and interviews until he gets bored or loses the will to do any more.  So please, if you haven't already, give him a warm welcome!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Yume Nikki

I find many things disturbing; war, disease, famine, poverty.  There's a small bit of comfort in knowing that I'm fortunate enough to not have to experience any of it.  However, there are things that disturb me more than any of that; things that happen every night, even if I should choose to forget about them the morning after.  Dreams.  There are a vast amount of things in dreams that don't make any sense to us.  Why is that dog floating?  How did this hole get in my hand?  Though it's the dreams that are most unknown to us - the images and thoughts that our subconscious brain hasn't prepared us for - that make up our worst nightmares.  Why do you think babies are crying constantly, even weeks after they're born?  They're confused; overwhelmed by how unfamiliar they are with the world around them.  Scared.  It's this fear of the unknown that is subconsciously present in all of us, and the way Yume Nikki utilizes it makes it one of the most disturbingly accurate recreation of the world of dreams that I have ever seen or played in any form of media.

 There are a few small tutorial tips displayed at the beginning, after which you start the game  The first room you find yourself in is a small, bland-looking apartment with a bed, a desk, and a television set with a Famicom plugged in.  If you try to go out the front door, the girl shakes her head.  Going out on the balcony won't do you much good, either.  Looks like you're confined to this tiny space.  No way in, no way out.  You're starting to feel a little bit drowsy.  Can't hurt to get in bed and just relax a little bit, so you climb snug under your covers and fall asleep...

You open your eyes.  The room seems - different - somehow.  The Famicom is missing, the TV static has been replaced with an eye that stares eerily at you.  The dark, foreboding skyline that used to be behind your balcony has been replace by a strange desert wasteland.  Something is terribly, terribly off.  Your only real option at this point is to go through that door in your bedroom.  And that's when things start to really get crazy.

The door room (pictured left) serves as the "hub world" in your exploration of dreams.  Each door leads to a different part of your dream.  They give a general idea of the theme of the world it leads to, but you generally won't know what it is for sure until you enter though one.

The primary goal, although never stated by any of the game's minimal instructions, is to wander around the dream world and collect each of the 24 "Effects" scattered about.  Some are very useful and essential to progression, whereas others simply serve as cosmetic changes with no use at all.  Sometimes, the areas or NPCs that give them to you have nothing to do with the effect itself.

In order to play Yume Nikki, you'll have to suspend all disbelief.  Nothing makes sense in this game.  There is not a moment where something won't confuse you, bewilder you, or genuinely disturb you.  Dismembered legs that hop around, hands with eyes in them, bird-like creatures that follow you and send you to an inescapable area, disembodied heads that send you to a strange looping landscape; the game provides no shortage of scenery or NPCs that don't seem to serve any sort of purpose.  Not only that, but the majority of the game is just spent wandering around.  Much of the areas seem hauntingly empty, and some rooms are set to loop infinitely, so you'll find yourself back in the same place without even knowing it.  The ambiguity of the dream world adds a chilling feeling of isolation that follows you around the whole game.  And that brings me to the one area Yume Nikki excels in: making you feel uncomfortable.

Despite the harmless appearance of your character, Madotsuki, the game is about as grim as grim can get.  It almost seems like the creator threw a shroud of innocence on a truly unsettling creature.  You won't feel scared at any one point as much as you will be disturbed.  There are many moments that will make you a little bit uncomfortable while playing.  In particular, an odd rainbow creature you encounter that seems to have an odd obsession with stroking a metal pole.  You can't interact with it, and it just runs through a continuous loop of moving its arm back and forth.  Some areas can't even be passed without stabbing a creature first, causing it to emit a shrill scream before fading away.  This game really emulates the experience of dreaming well in that the places that make the least sense are the most upsetting.

But the real creepy-factor in Yume Nikki comes from the dialogue, or rather, lack thereof.  Aside from the text that comes up during the beginning of the game, and the occasional boxes that pop up when you collect an effect, not a single word is displayed on-screen.  None of the NPCs have anything to say, there are no text box descriptions for various objects; the game is completely dialogue-less.  Madotsuki's own mind is an alien world in of its own, as not a single thing in it seems to understand or have any interest in speaking with her.  The eerie music only heightens that overall feeling of isolation brought about by the strangeness of world around you.

Through all of the bleak scenery and themes in Yume Nikki, there's an ever-present depth that has me wondering about everything around me.  The ending, which I'm not going to spoil here, is dark but powerful.  Like an author might use strong words to convey messages, the creator of Yume Nikki uses some strong and disturbing imagery and gameplay to convey the messages found in the game.  There's an unsung sort of beauty to the way this game is presented, and the bond the player forms with Madotsuki is stronger than I've experienced with any other heroin.  This is not a game for the faint-of-heart, and most certainly not one for children.  Besides suffering from a couple issues like aimless wandering and lack of direction, Yume Nikki is a title I highly recommend for anyone serious about games, art, or brilliant pieces of media in general.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Knytt Stories

There are a select few games that impress me.  There are even less that really blow me away.  Today, it's easy to get lost in the sea of high-budget mainstream titles being released.  So many people are playing shooters and RPGs with a massive amount of levels, stats, ranks and other crap that it's become easy to lose sight of some of the simpler games.  In the '80s and '90s, there was no need to be the king of graphics or deliver a Hollywood blockbuster experience to the players.  Games like Metroid, Earthworm Jim and Sonic really proved that you don't need to emulate different mediums to be a great product.  One of the things I think modern mainstream developers seem to forget is that games aren't all about story and characters.  What separates video games from the rest of entertainment is the involvement of the user to create the experience.  It's hard to take in the atmosphere to a game when some grizzled soldier or companion is egging you down a linear storyline.  Knytt Stories, by independent developer Nifflas, takes this sad mold that modern developers have created and shatters it into a million beautiful pieces, proving that simplicity comes out over complexity any day.

The story in Knytt Stories is really something you won't care much about.  You play as Juni, and you've got to shut off this machine that's draining all the color from the land, blah, blah, etc, etc.  And yet, there's still an awe-inspiring sense of beauty that's present throughout the whole experience.  But how?  What's this?  A beautiful game without an emotional moving story to drive it?  Yes.  And it's this very absence of narrative that makes for one of the most memorable one and a half hours I've ever spent playing a game.  Because, you see, Knytt Stories doesn't use story as some sort of crutch to keep the player interested.  The design, ambience, and settings work in glorious harmony to produce an incredibly immersive atmosphere.

If anything stands out in this game, it's the sheer lack of any sort of pressure to complete it.  No bosses, no areas that become inaccessible, no time limit to complete any one task in any given amount of time.  It's really an unparalleled sense of freedom.  Knytt Stories uses this freedom of movement to encourage the player to explore the world around them.  And therein lies the most wondrous part of the game.  Navigating every nook and cranny of the vast landscape isn't necessarily vital to the completion of the game, as there are many rooms that serve no purpose other than being part of the atmosphere.  But the thing is, exploration never once feels like a chore, but rather a grand adventure.  You'll start out wanting to collect all of the power ups to make moving around easier, but once you travel to another zone, that extended jump ability will be on the bottom of your agenda.  Instead, you'll come up to a wonderful golden sunlit valley and stop thinking about the trinkets you have to collect.  Your mind won't be filled with anything but a desire to see more of this beautiful alien world.  Power ups become but tools to help you achieve that desire.  The feelings of wonder that Knytt Stories evoked within me were unlike anything I've ever experienced in any medium.

The music is gorgeous.  When I first started the game up, I was worried that a clashing style of music would destroy the atmosphere for me.  But when those sweet, gentle, ambient sounds started hitting my eardrums, the jaw of the Zen portion of my brain dropped, to put it lightly.  The soundtrack fits the gameplay and atmosphere like a glove.  It was almost like the game was literally rubbing silk on my ear.  The music never interrupts the gameplay in the least, and each area has music that is perfectly appropriate for the setting.  Combined with some subtle-but-noticeable soundwork (the patter of Juni's feet, gentle tapping while climbing, sounds of jumping and impact, etc), the results create a soundscape that I fell in love with the instant I started walking about.

There aren't enough good things in this world I could use to describe Knytt Stories.  The design, the music, the sense of exploration, there is so much that has been done right here that it's nearly impossible to say anything bad about it.  After you finish the main game, I'd highly recommend you check out some of the expansions Nifflas has put up on his site.  Nifflas is a brilliant gamemaker, but to simply title him as that would be an injustice.  No, this is art.  And moreover, it's a game that doesn't try to be art.  No pretentious story, no abstract messages, none of that.  Just one little, beautiful playable work of art.  I would go on, but then the rest of the review would just seem like rambling.  I think you all know what's coming next.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Super Mario Bros. X

There are three things that will never stop happening in this world: Birth, death, and the creation of Mario fangames. There have been countless Mario fangames uploaded to the 'net in all of its years of existence; some good, some bad, and some abysmal. One could probably spend days upon days just sifting through the pages of downloadable/flash games about the fat red plumber. There are too many to keep track of at this point, and their numbers are growing rapidly. "So," you might be asking yourself, "where does this 'Super Mario Bros. X' thing fit in?" Hit the jump to find out.

There are literally tons of different Yoshis that you can ride around on.
Wow. Where to even begin with this one? At its core, Super Mario Bros. X is a game that really knows what it is: a Mario game. Some of the main problems I've come across with other fangames based on the Mario franchise is that they seem to have identity issues. The developers hide their crappy, buggy platformers and dress them up in a Mario skin to draw gamers towards them. And the sad thing is, it works 90% of the time. Games that bear no gameplay relation to Mario get millions of views, purely because the online gaming audience feels safe with a familiar name. Super Mario Bros X. doesn't just accept its identity, but embraces it. This clear love and devotion towards preserving the source material is evident in every aspect of the game. Players can slide down hills while pressing down, Yoshi gains the power of whatever koopa he eats, characters like Peach, Link and Toad play almost identical to how they were played in their native games... There are so many little things that the developers really nailed right on the head, from the physics, to the Yoshi riding, to the plant throwing. The attention to detail is spectacular, and it most definitely shows.

Elements from every part of the Super Mario series can be found in this game.
 The gameplay here is, as expected, standard Mario fare. The physics just click right off the bat, and the pixel-perfect platforming from Super Mario Bros. 3 has been faithfully recreated in every respect. The jumping feels right, the running feels right, and I always felt like I had complete control over my character. The power-ups from all the original games are there - mushrooms, fire flowers, even the deadly poison mushroom from Lost Levels makes an appearance - but there have also been an arsenal of new items and power-ups put at the player's disposal. The Ice Flower, the Billy Gun, the Hammer Plant, the Propeller Block, and many more add unique twists to what would normally be standard Mario gameplay. Want to open a ground block, but don't have a shell to do it? Just ice that spiny and slide him into it. Impossible-looking wave of enemies? Just snatch that blue plant and start hammering away.

Enemies from nearly every 2-D Mario game imaginable populate the world of SMBX. From the Shy Guys of Subcon, to the fire-breathing piranha plants from Super Mario Bros 3, they've pulled all the stops with the NPCs in this game. With such variety in enemy patterns, and such a large number of power-ups to take 'em down with, the possibilities are near-endless. The enemies are never too hard, but some provide a fair bit of challenge (like the flying koopas/paragoombas that home in on your location in one swift swoop), much like a soup that is prepared at a perfect temperature. It burns your tongue, but only gently, and it still makes your stomach feel warm and cozy afterwards. The enemies are hard, but just hard enough to provide that satisfying sort of difficulty.

In case I haven't made it completely clear in the review so far, variety is the name of the game in Super Mario Bros. X. The levels are incredibly diverse, each one an experience in of its own. Every stage has a unique flair to it, and no two play even remotely alike. The level design, for the most part, is as brilliant and authentic as it can be. In most worlds, there are stages that are throwbacks to games of old. For instance, a level in the "Super Mario World" section of the game starts out as a perfect representation of level 1 in SMW. It later branches out into a level of its own, though, offering a whole different experience. The pure creativity of most levels is really some awe-inspiring stuff. One of my favorites, Retroville, takes graphics and design elements from the first couple Mario games and blends them together beautifully. It's this sort of stuff the really makes you admire the work that the creator dumped into this game.

Battle Mode is hilariously fun.
 In addition to to the gameplay, the graphics are very well mixed together. There isn't terribly much to say here, as all the graphics are ripped, but they blend together wonderfully, and there isn't any noticeable style-clashing to be seen.

Some of the best moments come from the co-op and battle modes, though. In 2-player co-op, you and a friend can play through any worlds you have downloaded. The screen seamlessly splits depending on where your partner is, and it's tons of fun to work together to complete each level. If working in harmony isn't really your thing, Battle Mode has you covered. It's essentially a game where the objective is to use whatever means necessary to defeat your partner. Be it chucking hammers, freezing and tossing, or throwing them off the side of a cliff, there's loads of fun to be had. There are a fair amount of battle levels readily available, but the community is always expanding the selection. One gripe I have about multiplayer is the lack of an accessible online option. I'd love to be able to hook up with someone over the web if I happen not to have someone to go on a 2-player romp with. There is a method to play online using the level editor, but it's really a chore to go through the process over and over again.

Nostalgia, anyone?
What if you want to make a fancy level of your own, though? The built-in level editor comes with all of the tools you need to make a great level. The accessibility and ease in which you can create a fantastic stage of your own are spectacular, and you'll never feel overwhelmed by the properties of enemies or special "zones", as an easy-to-understand manual is included in the folder with the game. Another neat feature is the option to dynamically edit your level, while you're playing it. I personally find it satisfying to go around and erase all the enemies on my screen, create a path across an uncrossable gap, or just wreak havoc on the the place in general. This style of level editing also eliminates the need for frequent testing, as you can just add things you see fit as you make your way through the level. Add in custom music and graphics support, and you have yourself one fantastic editor.

The ability to edit levels while playing them is a major drawing point.
 The music in this game is, of course, a bunch of tunes from Mario games new and old, but there are some songs from other games that also carry some flair of their own. The music is used well, and the sounds in general are very charming. The developers chose their sound options well.

Before I wrap this review up, I feel there's something worth mentioning: This game is HUGE. And by huge, I mean there's enough content to last you a lifetime. "The Invasion 2," the campaign world that comes bundled with SMBX, will take you around 5-6 hours alone. I've been playing for around 3-4 hours now, and I've gotten less than 50% through. Add in the battle modes and an ever-growing list of community-made levels, and you have yourself a game that would easily be $15-$16 if it was being sold by Nintendo, all for the price of free.

The developers managed to wrap up this beautiful package with an elegant bow. The presentation in this game is very pleasing and professionally done. The menus emit a sort of early Nintendo-esque feel, and the HUD, text and overall balance of visual/audio elements make this one finely done piece of electronic entertainment.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Review: Runman: Race Around the World.


In 1991, SEGA introduced the world to Sonic, a furry blue hedgehog with an addiction to speed (and not just the drug variety).  The world was blown away by the concept of a speedy platformer, and SEGA overwhelmingly beat out Nintendo during the fiscal year of the game's release.  By 2009, however, Sonic had run clear off of everyone's radar.  His games had become boring and gimicky, and it seemed speedy platformers were forever dead.  No one could have predicted what would happen that Fall, though.  One little star offered a glimmer of hope for the starving genre, and on the 1st of October, Runman: Race Around the World dashed into the scene to revive this dying breed of games.  And, with the collaborative efforts of Matt Thorson and Tom Sennett, it truly became a wonderful piece of electronic entertainment.

This game teaches you some valuable life lessons.
Right from the moment you see the intro screen, you know you're in for a lighthearted, whimsical adventure.  And whimsical it is indeed.  From the vibrant colors of a smiling valley to the welcoming dark blue color of space, the Microsoft Paint aesthetic is incredibly charming, and will never let you stop smiling while you're playing.  It feels like the kind of art a preschooler would draw, and the consistency gives of a wonderful playful aura that makes this game more fun to look at than many triple-A titles on the market.  But the graphics alone aren't what really make this game.  Oh no, far from it.

Even the timer has a mouth in Runman.
 The controls in Runman are really something to marvel.  Z to dash, X to jump, and arrow keys to move around.  Sounds simple enough, and really, as far as control schemes go, it is.  But as with any exceptional game, it's not the arrangement of controls that matters, but how you use them.  Runman starts out in a very happy looking mountainous region, with some tutorial tips and standard stuff you would expect from most games.  Right from the get-go, it's extremely easy to just pick it up and get right into running, and you'll be bouncing off of walls and dashing at the speed of really fast in no time.  However, you'll find that through the course of the game, you'll be having many difficulties mastering and timing every keystroke correctly.  But don't you worry now!  There's a lot of time to get your technique perfected.

Well, that tree certainly doesn't look happy.
The game is split into around 35 levels, which are further organized into 6 "zones," each with its own unique flair.  Runman does a great job with spreading out additions of new obstacles to conquer, and you'll probably find yourself encountering 1 or 2 new interesting level doo-dads in each zone.  Depending on the score you get, combined with the completion time, you're given a medal for your performance in each level.  Gold being the best, and bronze being the worst.  If you find yourself completely bombing a zone, or not getting enough medals in an area, the game lets you revisit old areas to try to beat your best time.  If you really like one of your runs, or you want to see how many times you can beat your personal best, you can save and load "ghosts" - or previous recordings of yourself - and race against them.  You can also download friend's ghosts, if you want to truly see who's the better racer.

Looks like victory ain't gonna come easy for this runner.
The difficulty tends to spike erratically at some points in the game, and you might find yourself bashing your head against the keyboard when you clear an entire zone without a single medal.  Indeed, Runman is a challenging game, but it's challenging in a good way.  There's no consequence for death (except for on boss levels), no demotivational words or messages, and the game gives you constant praise for doing well (with words like "Awesome!" and "Great!" being displayed for pulling off impressive combos or filling up your dash meter).  The developers really did a wonderful job of giving the players incentive to finish every level, and despite some insane difficulty in a couple areas, I was always inspired to keep going.

At the end of each zone, you'll face a boss that fits the theme of the area.  The boss designs are wonderfully creative, but the general idea of all the boss levels is pretty much the same: Run away from them as fast as you can before they catch up to you.  They're basically just regular levels, but with the added pressure of finishing the level before the boss gets you.  You will die many times in these particular encounters, I assure you.  But finishing the level after a slew of tries is always rewarded with a feeling of satisfaction.

Overall, Runman a wonderful game with some great level design, tight controls, and creative aesthetics.  My one gripe with the game would be the erratic spikes in difficulty, but all in all, I think that can be looked past, as this truly is a fantastic free game.  You'd be a fool not to pick this one up, especially when it won't even cost you a dime, but I'd highly recommend you throw some money Matt and Tom's way.  Sonic better watch himself, because there's a new runner in town, and his name is Runman.  Godspeed, little yellow star.  Godspeed.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

So, what is this exactly?

Well, you may just be sitting on that little chair of yours, looking at this blog and wondering to yourself, "What the hell is this thing?"  Well, let me fill you in on a little information from some handy online dictionaries first.

in·de·pen·dent  adj.
1. Not governed by a foreign power; self-governing.
game 1  n. 
1. An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime

Oh, so now you might know a little bit more about the purpose of this blog, eh?  Why yes, this blog is, in fact, one that reviews independent games!  Mainstream games get enough coverage by all of those big media outlets, so I figure it's about damn time someone started reviewing some games from the indie market.  A lot of this blog is for the purpose of showing people how many free games they're really missing out on.  The first review of a little game called Runman: Race Around the World will be posted tomorrow, with a handy download link to go along with it.  So please, stay tuned for more!