Space cowboys in Marfa, 'Angry Henry,' and how you can help Greenlight local developers
By James Renovitch, Fri., May 23, 2014
Here in Austin, we like to think of ourselves as a little bit country and a little bit extraterrestrial. So if we host a game jam (i.e., a challenge for developers to make a game in a short period of time), a space cowboy theme is just about right. Local indie game collective Juegos Rancheros and game culture website Venus Patrol have put out a call to anyone to make a game fitting that theme between May 24 and June 8. The best games will be put on display at the Marfa Film Festival in early July. More jam info will be posted at www.itch.io/jam/space-cowboy-jam, but you can email email@example.com if you're too excited to wait. We understand.
It's one thing to make a game quickly, it's another to let everyone watch you do it. That's what local developer Shay Pierce has done for the last few weeks. He took a break from a larger project to spend 20 days coding and illustrating a game he calls Angry Henry and the Escape From the Helicopter Lords Part 17: The Re-Reckoning (aka AHatEftHLXVII:tRR). The ordeal is over now, and the game has been submitted to the App Store, but you can still watch his daily streams from those 20 days at www.twitch.tv/shaymakesgames if you really want a sense of what it takes to make a game. Spoiler alert: It's hard.
Local developers Renegade Kid have had a roller coaster of a month. Their Kickstarter campaign for horror survival game Cult County fell far short of its goal and spawned several editorials about what went wrong, making armchair marketing experts out of most anyone with access to comment boards. Even with the team's solid reputation developing for Nintendo and a strong background in the genre, it seems the stars just weren't aligned for Renegade Kid. They bounced back quickly, however, with the release of Moon Chronicles for Nintendo 3DS last week.
If giving actual dollars to a local game is not in the cards, you can support the scene another way. For those unfamiliar, Steam is the platform for PC and Mac games. It's the PC equivalent of the App Store, and to be distributed by Steam can be the difference between a handful of people seeing your game and it being accessible to the entire gaming world. Developers must be established or have their game go through a Greenlight process to be distributed. You can log on and vote for these local games looking to get Greenlit: Saam Pahlavan's 2D world-flipping Disorder, Minicore Studios' space-dog serial The Sun at Night, Brian Bonnet's first-person platformer Teknedia, and the multiplayer back-and-forth battles of Capsule Force from Klobit are all well worth the upvote.