Mozilla's Darrin Henein writes about his decision to release his side project, the iOS game Lastronaut, completely free - no ads, no in-app purchases. He describes the game as "a love-letter to an industry". His co-creator is Stephan Leroux.
Locomalito describes himself as "a free developer of NEW TRADITIONAL VIDEO GAMES", and his games- all freely downloadable- bear that out. "I grew up with arcade gaming values", he says, and he wears his influences on his sleeve while creating his own style. From the horror platforming of Maldita Castilla to the autoscrolling shmup Hydorah, Locomalito's games have that old school feel- beautiful pixel art, music by frequent collaborators Gryzor87 or RushJet1, and a difficulty which is challenging, yet fair. Each game also has downloadable posters, trading cards, box art, and more to complete that old-school feel. [more inside]
Terry Cavanagh's indie hit VVVVVV was an instant success, melding a Commodore 64 look and feel to a difficult but forgiving platformer whose only controls are move left, move right, and reverse gravity. The second edition of the game expanded from Windows and OSX to Linux, and added a level editor which could be used to make and export custom maps. Today, Cavanagh has announced VVVVVV: Make and Play Edition, which contains only the level editor and the ability to play custom levels, and which can now be downloaded for free for Windows, OSX, and Linux.
Fire Point is a free downloadable puzzle-platformer (Windows only, sorry) with retro graphics and a cheerful chiptune soundtrack. Use your fire hose and ladder, along with portable fire extinguishers, to fight fires and rescue people from the blazing infernos! A trailer is available here.
For about three years, the A.V. Club ran Sawbuck Gamer, a regular column reviewing the week's most notable free and cheap games across all platforms, from web games to handhelds to console downloadables. It's a treasure trove of content, especially since more literary sister site The Gameological Society took the helm, and it's publicized great desktop projects like the luscious platformer Frogatto (previously), feature-rich Super Mario Bros. X (previously), the evocative faux-web Digital: A Love Story (previously), interactive fiction gem Rover's Day Off, and the hyperkinetic RunMan: Race Around the World (previously). But if you're in the mood for something more immediate, why not start with a list of all the original column's free A-rated online titles? [more inside]
Treasure Adventure Game is a free 2D game of exploration on the high seas from independent developer Robit Studios. Dig, sail, fight, and dive across dozens of islands in search of a lost treasure. Download link here.
Prepare to feel old: Quake III Arena came out nearly ten years ago. Prepare to feel young again: Quake Live can be played in your browser for free. The long-anticipated beta opened to the public yesterday. John Carmack says that they hope to be improving and polishing the game for the next decade. [more inside]
CNet's Music site is one of my favorite sources of often surprisingly good independent music. As I write this, I'm listening to Zo Wanti Music's Lost Ship, a mellow New Age environmental piece that is very nice and relaxing. They have an enormous selection of music here, but one of the oddest and sometimes most rewarding to pick through is the game soundtracks/musical scores section. The artists listed here all compose music for video games (or have in the past). It's strangely fun to listen to some of their pieces and wonder what game that could belong to.
Muslim Massacre. Satire or just for shock value? You decide. Windows only.
Trigger Happier "Trigger Happy is a book about the aesthetics of videogames — what they share with cinema, the history of painting, or literature; and what makes them different, in terms of form, psychology and semiotics. It’s offered under a CC license, for a limited time only. I’m not sure how limited that time will be, so grab it while it’s hot." [drm-free pdf]