Thomas Was Alone is an indie puzzle platformer created by one-man development team, Mike Bithell (with music by David Housden). In the game, the player controls a cast of colourful quadrilaterals as they venture through the computer program they were created for, seeking an escape, or at the very least, the definition of what “escape” means. As unassuming as their names – Thomas, Claire, and John for example – their simple character designs and innocent curiosity belie the fact these rectangles are in fact the first AI’s to gain consciousness, and whether they can realise it or not, their existence has forever changed the world.
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Over the past several years there has been an ongoing debate regarding art and video games. While most will acknowledge that painting, photography, books, music and movies can all come in forms that we call ‘art’, there have been very few video games that have been accepted into that category.
While one could draw a loose connection between Timecop, Clive Cussler novels, and Far Cry 3, games analogous to To Kill a Mockingbird or The Grapes of Wrath are few and far between. Developers thechineseroom’s Dear Esther, an Indie ‘interactive experience’ based on Valve’s Source engine, is attempt to elevate video games to the status of art.
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Independent game enthusiasts can rejoice as Indie Game: The Movie has been added to the Netflix (US) streaming service. Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary that follows indie developers Team Meat and Polytron – who developed Super Meat Boy and Braid respectively – as they developed and struggled to get their games out to the public.
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Indie developer Freebird Games describes their latest title To the Moon as “an indie Adventure RPG, about two doctors traversing through the memories of a dying man to fulfill his last wish”, but this game so much more than that.
This game offers a wonderful mix of high concept story, touching character and low brow humour. The 3 to 4.5 hour journey it takes to navigate and transform the memories of a dying man is well worth setting out on.
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