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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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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…