You have to love Instant Netflix. On those late nights where you can’t fall asleep, it just seems to know exactly what to recommend to you to help you pass the time. But this isn’t about Instant Netflix, though I do thank it for the recommendation. This is about Indie Game: The Movie.
Indie Game: The Movie takes place with three indie developers who are in three very different situations with their games. The men behind Braid, Super Meat Boy and Fez are all profiled in this documentary exploring the world of indie development and the trials associated with it.
Jonathan Blow talks about life after having a successful indie release with Braid and the effect it has had on him. Team Meat, a duo comprised of Edmund McMillen and Michael Refenes, are shown from midway through their development process until the release of Super Meat Boy on XBox Live. Finally, Phil Fish chronicles the trials and tribulations he went through in the extended development process of Fez.
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Last year, we took a more traditional approach with our Best Video Games of 2009 article with categories such as Best Music Game or Best Action Platformer. This year we are going to depart from the traditional and give what we think are categories that truly deserve to be rewarded their due.
Best Use of Zombies / Best Downloadable Content – Red Dead Redemption “Undead Nightmare”
The ultimate “What If” scenario brought forth to one of the best games of 2010, “What if the undead invaded the old west?” And the answer doesn’t just involve a lot of people dying. There are horses of the apocalypse, big foot, some hard choices to be made and people turning on or abandoning their fellow man left and right.
This awesome story told over the revamped look of Red Dead Redemption using characters players have already grown to know, love or despise makes Undead Nightmare not only the best zombie game of 2010 but also the best exmple of DLC for the entire year as well.
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Games have just gotten too easy. It’s a fact. Back in the NES days, players were given limited health alongside limited lives in an effort to have players spend more time playing levels over and over again due to the limited amount of space available on the game cartridges.
Now, gamers seem to be all about instant gratification. They want to race through levels in record time so they can move on to the next game. Super Meat Boy bucks that trend by providing one of the most challenging and entertaining games to come to the XBox Live Arcade since N+ or Braid.
When talking about Super Meat Boy, it is impossible to mention it without discussing the game’s unusually high level of difficulty. In many games, it could be said that difficult stages or areas are unfairly created to hinder a player’s progress, such as the trials during Dante’s Inferno that required unrealistic combo scores and other such tasks. Super Meat Boy on the other hand is a rewardingly challenging experience.
Literally only being able to run and jump, players must traverse levels as Super Meat Boy (or various other unlockable indy characters) to reach their girlfriend Band-Aid Girl. When playing Super Meat Boy, you will die. A lot. There is no health and one wrong move on your part spells splattered meat being rained across the level. It is just how the game is designed. Luckily, most levels can be beaten with a perfect run through in roughly thirty seconds. So while it may take ten minutes to make it through a level, the levels themselves are not long at all.
The controls are basic but very right. Holding jump longer makes Meat Boy jump further while adding in a run first extends the distance even more. Meat Boy can slide down walls and wall jump due to his sticky composition. But our squishy friend has no natural defenses to the buzzsaws, lava, jelly-like creatures or walls of salt and hypodermic needles that cover the maps. One touch and he’s gone. But the way the game controls, it never feels like it isn’t your fault when you die.
A player knows they are to blame for their own demise and as a result, completion of these levels feels increasingly rewarding instead of cripplingly painful. Even more rewarding is watching a replay of all your little Meat Boys traversing the level after completing one letting you see just what mistakes you made during your play through and seeing just what your perfect run looked like.
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