The 2nd annual Boston Festival of Indie Games (BFIG) took over the MIT campus in Cambridge on September 24th. This year promised to be bigger and better as the organizers took to crowd funding via kickstarter to get more space, more games, and still keep attendance free for the gaming masses!
I covered the event for 2old2play last year but since the only people who read our front page are the other writers and my mom here’s their run down of what its all about:
Boston Festival of Indie Games celebrates independent game development in New England and neighboring regions. Our goal is to create an accessible environment for everybody who enjoys and appreciates games in whatever shape or form, both as players and game developers. The festival seeks to support and showcase the efforts of independent game developers in a free public event, offering games in different formats: video games, location-based games, tabletop games and live role-playing games, amongst others. Games featured demonstrate both the emerging and established talent of the game community in the American northeast. Festival invites attendees to become game developers themselves, by participating in game jams, creating their own board and card games, and attending screenings and lectures on the process of making games. Produced under the non-profit auspices of Be Epic, a Boston-area live action games production group, the Boston Festival of Indie Games fosters an inclusive community of academic, professional and independent developers creating games for the people. Boston FIG was conceptualized by members of Boston Indies, and brought to life via a community effort in collaboration with major stakeholders in the Massachusetts-area gaming community.
If you’re lazy or hate italics the short version is:
We Don’t Need No Stinking Board Games
This year I had a lot more time to explore which was great since it was spread across a few buildings of the campus. My main focus was on the video games but I did check out the board game area as well. It was in a large but un air-conditioned room which would have reinforced any stereotyping about gamers being smelly. But they definitely had some cool stuff! I got a hands on look at Cards Against Humanity’s ‘Bigger Blacker Box’ due out this fall. And Ice Cubris was extra exciting in a room that was at least 80 degrees! I would have loved to have sat and checked out Funemployed but the need for fresher air prevailed!
Video Killed the Radio Star
Video games had a much larger area this year occupying the MIT gymnasium. I think their angry beaver athletic team logo might be my new favorite thing!
So right video games! There was a lot of stuff I had seen last year that had made great progress. Father Octopus’ Rite had a bunch more playable levels and still a long line to check it out hands on.
Another I enjoyed last year was Phoenix Online. Their final episode of Cognition hit Steam September 19th and I’m working on a play through. Look for a review of the excellent series to date soon. I really hope they don’t screw up the ending!
I was also happy to see more new adventure games. I plan to check out Route 28 Studios who not only had adventure games but French Canadian accents and super cute art!
An even more indie new adventure game I’m really looking forward to is The Beard in the Mirror. An adventure game that involves pirates written by fans of Lucas Arts and Sierra?! After watching their greenlight trailer I’m mostly just mad my husband and I didn’t do this first!
If adventure games aren’t your thing and you go more for simulations, Soda Drinker Pro was on hand. I was way jealous their developer was drinking an actual Bonus Soda!
And for a super realistic simulator Depression Quest was exhibiting complete with a sort a blanket fort for an almost too realistic experience of what it feels like to not be able to get out of bed.
Silly Rabbit, Video Games are for Kids!
Being that we’re 2old2play there are probably many of you that want to encourage your kids to become gamers at an early age. Well the indie scene has you covered! There were lots of kids and lots of games that would appeal to a younger age group.
My favorite of the field was Puzzle Axe. Touch device jigsaw puzzles help you avoid your mean older sibling toppling over all your hours of hard work. Bonus points for animated cut scenes as puzzle completion rewards.
Another standout was educational titles from Test Tube Games. Brings back memories of my years playing Math Blaster and Carmen San Diego. Octopuses, monkeys and dinosaurs to teach kids about science?! Sign my nieces and nephews up!
Muzzy Lane was another interesting one. If Texas is the controller all of our textbooks, at least a game studio in Massachusetts seems to have cornered the edutainment games market. Hopefully indoctrinating impressionable young gamers on a critical thinking with their titles which cover things like government civics, math, and history.
Make a vacation out of it!
New England is beautiful in the fall and this is a great excuse to visit! The indie games festival was even better in its sophomore year. Only growing pain complaint was a bit of a mix up between their mobile app, printed schedule, and posted signage on the timing of keynotes and speakers. I totally missed out on finding out what Dante Hicks from Clerks has to do with video games.
Lots of fun games, nice people, and humbling to see it all while roaming the hallowed halls of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. If you want more info on any of the games I mentioned or the many more at the show check out the list from the digital showcase.