China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Indie Video Games Are More Than Just Minecraft

Video games come in all shapes and sizes, and blockbuster series such as Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty and Rockstar GamesGrand Theft Auto can be fun in their own elaborate ways. But on the flip side is independent, or “indie” video games, in which each title is often the brainchild of one or a few talented persons at most. While these games don’t always provide a high degree of spectacle, all feature interesting ideas or idiosyncratic touches, making them unique and unlike much of what’s available in the mainstream.

Phil.Jan2.MinecraftThis past weekend, I got to immerse myself in indie video games, courtesy of the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, N.Y. Together with IndieCade, an international festival that promotes video games as a vehicle for artistic expression, the museum is hosting an exhibition, Indie Essentials: 25 Must-Play Video Games, that shows off a variety of games that have been developed outside the major publishers. Among those displayed was Mojang’s Minecraft, which began life as a Swedish programmer’s side project, but has since grown into a cultural and commercial juggernaut.

(I could wax poetic all day about Minecraft, which allows users to build and share amazing homemade structures in a geometric sandbox world. But better yet, check out our recent Minecraft commentary, written by our outstanding editorial assistant Kara Faulk, for a more in-depth look at the hit game.)

The Minecraft installation drew its share of spectators, but there were plenty of other cool games on-hand for visitors to both play and experience. Many have been available on home consoles through the PlayStation Network and other download services. Here’s some of my favorites from the exhibition, but please note, this is in no way a comprehensive list, and anyone curious about the full roster of IndieCade games should check out Museum of the Moving Image’s event web site. [Read more...]

Sony Releases New Video Game Collections In Time For the Holidays

Sony released its Ratchet and Clank video games collection, which is a re-mastered version of the classic Ratchet and Clank games from PS2 in 1080p with 3D support. The collection includes Ratchet and Clank, Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando, and Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal. The Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal game allows for online multiplayer support. The collection also features full PlayStation Network Trophy Support. Players will also get a free 10th Anniversary Ratchet and Clank Avatar.

Sony also released LittleBigPlanet Karting. Players can get behind the steering wheel and get ready to race through tracks, discover unlockables in 3D environments, and battle in karting arenas. The game also allows players to pick-up items and weaponry and to customize tracks, karts, weapons, and Sackboy costumes using the in-game editor. Players have the option to download designs built by players around the world.

Journey: Collector's Edition for PS3

Sony also presents its Journey Collector’s Edition for PS3. The Blu-Ray Bundle features exclusive titles, new content, and previously released digital content. The bundle also features a thirty-minute behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Journey, creator commentary, three mini games from thatgamecompany, concept art, and screenshot galleries for all three games, original soundtrack, PS3 dynamic themes and wallpapers, PSN avatars including 8 exclusive new Journey avatars, official game trailers and developer diary videos, and reversible cover art.