PAX East 2011: Boston Indie Showcase – Smuggle Truck

The unique thing about PAX and PAX East as compared to all other conventions is the strong presence of independent gaming on the show floor. This year, three exceptional indie titles are being featured in the Boston Indie Showcase, and I took to the floor to check out what these games were all about.

Available for iPad, iOS, Mac, and PC, Smuggle Truck was the first indie game I tried out for myself at this year’s PAX. With very simple controls, you drive a truck full of refugees through side-scrolling barren wastelands, dark caves, and terrifying forests, all in the hopes of reaching the border without losing all your passengers. The path is wrought with obstacles as well as hills and valleys that test your skills against physics.

Smuggle Truck has caused a certain amount of controversy, but don’t let that steer you away, because this game is a ton of fun. And in talking with the game’s creators, the game is less about pointing fun at illegal immigrants and instead does an incredible job of critiquing the absurdity and difficulty of entering the country and legally becoming a citizen.

Inspired by the story of a friend hoping to immigrate to the United States, the creators wanted a fun way to expose people to the issues surrounding immigration, and due to the media controversy caused by the fine editorial staff at Fox News, the game has gotten enough exposure for people to start noticing it.

This game sold me quickly on its simple learning curve, creative art style, and satirical humor. If you’re still at the con, hop over to the Indie Showcase, talk to the creators, and try the game out for yourself.

Today I’ll be checking out the two other games in the Showcase, Snapshot and Blinding Science, so keep checking back right here for everything you need to know about these two additions to the indie gaming scene.

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