Indie-cent Exposure #4: Not Indie-cent Exposure #4

November 14, 2010

If you’re an aspiring indie developer, a regular reader of this column or a human being who values their continued existence, you’d damn well better read this:-

Welcome, friends.

It is my task to inform you that this week’s edition of Indie-cent Exposure, a whimsical and highly fictionalised look at the state of independent gaming in the 21st Century, has been postponed until further notice.

This is for your own protection.

Four weeks into our shared journey through the world of indie games, it has occurred to me that some of you may already have picked up your tools and set up shop as independent developers. As such I feel duty-bound to prepare you for action in the event that your gentleman’s honour is threatened by a fellow game-maker.

In such a case, it may be that you feel a sense of rising panic. You must not allow these feelings to control you. Stifle them; bury them deep below your proud facade, better to return as a physician’s disorder of some sort than as a shameful case of the willies. As a safeguarding measure, you may wish to commit to memory the appropriate retaliatory moves, laid out below in accordance with the Independent Developer’s Code of Honour.

In order to retain your good reputation and avoid further embarrassment in extending a challenge to your opponent, you must obtain the following:-

Single velvet glove, one.

Brown paper bag, one.

Small retainer, filled with gasoline, one.

Box of matches, one.

A sizeable portion of own excrement, or that of a trusted companion.

Having made these preparations, you would be well advised to follow these recommended steps to the letter:-

a)      Confront your opponent in a public place; for instance the lobby of your favourite hotel, or the relative safety of your own smoking room. Throwing the velvet glove at the feet of your quarry, announce clearly and loudly the offence they have caused you, your intention to do battle with them, and your commitment to upholding Indie Kombat law.

b)      Arrange the excrement in the brown paper bag, placing the resulting package on the doorstep of your opponent’s lodgings at dawn. Combine your remaining prepared items to set the bag alight.

c)       Return to Stage a), repeating the process until your opponent accepts your challenge.

Once a challenge has been accepted, it only remains for the two combatants to agree on a mutually beneficial set of ground rules. For an example of conventional rules, take a look at the recent bout between Andrew Brophy and Greg ‘Banov’ Lobanov.

Note the probably deliberate misspelling of ‘Bropy’ above. This is one of the more subtle exponents of what has become common Indie Kombat practice: trash talking.

Please try to remain calm.

Through the study of key examples, you should be able to come up with two or three emergency trash templates, ready to adapt to the situation as necessary. Read closely the following extract, written by Brophy on October 4th, one day after battle was declared.

Anyway, I figured I’d get started with a simple comparison. Now, the rules state that we need to use elements from our opponent’s past games. Looking over banov’s (sic) past ‘work’, I noticed I have nothing to work with. Seriously – a ball of yellow… ‘goo’? A bitchy assassin? Hell, the only good thing out of his weak collection is that cowboy (and I came up with that character).

So, it looks like banov has actually got the jump on me when it comes to source material (sure, the majority of my games last a few minutes, but they are ideas all the same), but his inability to come up with an original concept will be his demise.

Already you will have noticed important differences distinguishing the trash talk of Indie Kombat from that of WWE. Verbosity takes the place of violence. Trademark one-liners are out; in their place, figures and well-researched examples of the opponent’s questionable merits. In fact, if you are to train yourself in the arts of trash talk, it might be more useful to look to another famous source for inspiration.

Master the art in the mould of Tornado team and you will be well along the path to emerging from Kombat with your honour intact.

As a secondary objective, it might be an idea to have a great game in the bag*. In the October Brawl referenced earlier, Andrew Brophy failed to submit a completed game before the agreed deadline, losing by default. Had he released his “Zelda rip-off” on time, however, it’s unlikely his efforts could have competed with Banov’s sublime Escape from the Underworld.

It’s difficult to discuss the game’s success without resorting to spoilers. Suffice it to say, Banov not only managed to mimick rival Brophy’s exploration platforming “shtick”, but topped off the experience with a cold meditation on the blindness of revenge. In victory, displaying an aloof awareness of the competition’s pettiness is shrewd indeed. If the chance arises, you may also wish to mouth useless platitudes to your defeated opponent: “Don’t worry, all the best games have bugs”, you might say. “I’ll buy you a drink.”

Hmm. Of course, if you can trash talk your opponent’s face into the dirt, that’s good too.

Working on this game for the last month has been a thrill, and I am really proud of it. With its release comes an immaculate chorus of “oh snaps,” raining down from the heavens onto a befuddled, defeated Andrew Brophy. This is victory. This is glory. This is Indie Kombat.

That concludes today’s information session. Indie-cent Exposure will resume next week, and be about the death of the self, or something.

*NB: This metaphorical bag is fundamentally different to – and should be kept separate from – the paper bag used earlier.


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