Indie developers help define a new generation of gaming at E3

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Los Angeles (CA) - The E3 playing field was undoubtedly dominated by veteran industry heavyweights such as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. However, a consortium of independent developers known as "IndieCade" showcased a number of titles that could help define the future of alternative gaming.

For example, Dear Esther, which focuses solely on an interactive narrative, offers players a radically new approach to traditional RPGs and first-person games.

"This unique Half Life 2 mod is basically Myst without the complex puzzles. There is no way to die and the player is not forced to endlessly seek out keys, open doors and search for treasure," an IndieCade rep told TG Daily. "Without these obstacles, the protagonist is able to concentrate on piecing together an intricate storyline about Esther, which unfolds with stunning graphics and realistic audio. This interactive narrative is slow paced, with very little occuring in any 'traditional' game sense. Each narrative trigger arbitrarily selects one of three 'fragments,' making every visit to the island certain to tell a different story."

Indie developers help define a new generation of gaming at E3

Dear Esther is set on an unnamed island in an unknown age. Yet, there are indications that something is amiss, as the coastal region seems to be polluted by a mysterious substance. The player also learns that the island was once inhabited by settlers in possession of a single bible, which appears to have been stolen by a misanthropic monk.

Dear Esther was launched on in July 2008 and has been downloaded nearly 13,000 times. The game also made the top 100 of Moddb's Mod of the Year and was granted an honorary mention for Best Music at the 2008 Machinima Awards.

It should be noted that IndieCade offers support and links to a variety of independent games, including:

  • Dark Room Sex Game - A multiplayer, erotic rhythm game without any visuals, played only by audio and haptic clues.  
  • Democracy 2 - Based on a complex neural network, the game simulates the motivations, loyalties and desires of multiple personalities.
  • Tank Universal - Tank Universal creates a huge virtual "Tron-like" world where the players takes part in immense 3D tank battles involving scores of units.
  • The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom - Harness time-bending abilities to cooperate with, compete against and disrupt your past, present, as well as future selves.