I was giving an interview to a journo from Moviescope magazine today, for a piece he was putting together on the interplay between interactive entrainment and film. His controversy-generation angle (because, seriously, sometimes we all need one) was "Are games Film 2.0?". Clearly the answer's 'no' - games may have taken some of film's audience, but they never will nor should replace any other industry. However, I think one of the insights he found most interesting was my stressing that just as cinema has Hollywood vs art film, games have AAA vs indie scenes. It's something even studio execs within our industry often fail to recognise.
A crucial corner of that scene, naturally, are products like Braid, and Darwinia, and Limbo. It's indescribably fantastic that important, artistic, independent games can now turn a profit for the first time in our industry's history. Those games wouldn't exist, however, were it not for their short, free, web-based cousins blazing the frontiers.
Let's celebrate that.
Take a Walk
Canabalt, the music stops jarringly every time you screw up, reinforcing the value of that often overlooked element of video game design.
Don't Shit Your Pants
I Can Hold My Breath Forever
An underwater platformer that pits your desire to explore against a tight oxygen countdown, this is a touching tale of with predictably a slightly nonsensical ending that I'd interpret as commenting on the blind draw of true friendship.
Aether is one of the earlier projects from the professional indie darlings behind Super Meat Boy. It's a rambling discussion of childhood seen through the cartoon perspective of a child exploring the universe on the back of a giant sling-shotting blob thing. Of course it is.