Something About Japan indie special: 4Gamer’s best of 2012, and highlights from Comiket 83

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While the Japanese gaming industry was still creaking back into gear after the New Year’s break, this year’s set of IGF finalists was announced, showcasing some of the best and brightest western indie talent. Famitsu covered the news, calling them “a whole load of creative games you’ve never heard of!” This week, I’d like to return the favour and highlight a few exuberant and experimental indie games from Japan you almost certainly won’t have heard of, first from 4Gamer’s review of the year in indie games, and then from the Comiket convention in December.

The rise and rise of the indies, and why they’re finally a legitimate alternative to the mainstream

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A faint stirring on some obscure blogs, and some thought-provoking links emailed around the Deus Ex and Thief teams at Ion Storm in 2003: those are my first associations with the words ‘independent games’. There were a handful of disorganised hobbyists and recent college grads interested in our hallowed industry, standing outside the ivory tower, and making intriguing things by themselves. Within a few years, the movement had picked up momentum and was taking on a character of nonconformity and invention. We saw a steady trickle of games with titles such as Teenage Lawnmower, games about being blind that had no graphics, and heaps of brash pixellation. There was a ‘scene’ with contributors all over the map, and dedicated forums such as TIGSource. But how much legitimacy was being produced?

We’re picking the 50 best game developers in the world – which would you choose?

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Yesterday, we introduced the Edge Developer Awards, a new, annual list of the leading studios working in videogame development. While the EDAs will be judged by Edge’s editorial team – and we’ve already begun that process – we’d still like to hear which studios you think should make the list. So share your thoughts with us – they may even make it into the publication of our EDA article as part of Edge issue 250.

Adam Saltsman and Bennett Foddy on the rise and rise of indie

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In issue 248 of Edge, out November 22, we discuss the rise and rise of indie with two of its greatest exponents: Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman and QWOP maker Bennett Foddy. Here, we present additional material from that meeting, the pair covering topics such as Greenlight, the increasing popularity of physical gaming and why many motion-control games fail as spectator events.