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Clip Analysis: Video from the 1999 Independent Games Festival

Clip Analysis: Video from the 1999 Independent Games Festival (photo)

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The Independent Games Festival’s been going strong for more than a decade, showcasing the most exciting and innovative games development. And while everyone agrees that the current indie dev scene is vibrant, it’s also got its own tensions and controversies, like “Who or what is indie?” and the degree to which it’s acceptable that indie devs should tether themselves to console manufacturers.

But, all of that falls away when you watch the video below. It rounds up the finalists from the 1999 IGF and watching it kind of amounts to watching the baby steps of indie game developments and the fruits of those labors.

GDC Vault – 1st Annual GDC Independent Games Festival Finalists Showreel

A few things are notable when watching the clip above:

You can still see a few of the hallmarks of the garage development scene of the 1980s and 1990s in the video. Certain titles bear the name of a single designer, which tends to happen less and less nowadays.

As far as I can tell, all the title are PC releases. That would make sense with the way that consoles were locked down 11 years ago. Though relatively small and obscure did show up, titles published on the original Playstation, Super NES or the Genesis were a lot more subject to the capriciousness of the Sony, Nintendo or Sega’s approval processes.

The relatively straightforward FPS game is the biggest surprise here. While recent years have had first-person perspective indie games, they’ve been sparse and have almost always been wry commentaries on the tropes of the genre.

How many of these companies still extant? The only names I recognize are Vicarious Visions and Human Soft. The former’s gone on to make big games for Activision, including the recent “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2” while the latter seems to specialize in licensed titles and handheld ports for portable platforms like the PSP. Neither has any recent original titles to their name.

The side-scrolling platformer genre-to which indie all-stars like “Braid,” “Super Meat Boy” and “Limbo” belong-seems to be barely represented in the 1999 reel. “Boobies” looks like a hybrid jumping/flying game. The genre breakdown is fascinating, though: you’ve got a strategic vehicuar combat game in “MindRover,” a real-time strategy game in “Resurrection,” flight simulation with “BFRIS,” third-person flight combat in “Fire and Darkness” and All of these trend towards either content or presentation styles that were once very popular but that you just don’t see that much anymore, even in the indie space. That said, I might still give an updated version of “Fire and Darkness” a go.

Finally, this is one long-ass reel. Nine minutes is a long time to ask anyone to sit at an awards ceremony. As someone who’s got a few GDCs under his belt, I’m glad this has changed.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

ecoli-computer

IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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via GIPHY

We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

via GIPHY

The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

via GIPHY

They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

via GIPHY

Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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