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Kyle Orland

Sure, every game has an ending of sorts. For a certain class of classic game, though, that ending was always of the "You Are Dead Ha Ha Ha!" variety. From Robotron 2084's ever-increasing robot hordes to Missile Command's memorable "THE END" explosion, you went into these games knowing that failure was not just an option, but really the only option.

Then there are the games that seem like they should go on forever but, for one reason or another, just don't. Whether it's because of a coding error leading to an unintentional "kill screen" or a simple design choice stopping an otherwise never-ending series of loops, a lot of games that seem unbeatable at first glance can actually be conquered in one way or another.

To be clear, these aren't just games that are hard to beat (though most of them are incredibly difficult). These are games that, by all rights, shouldn't have a victory condition yet eventually reach a point where it's technically impossible to keep playing even if you don't fail in any way. Enjoy.

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The Museum of Modern Art in New York has announced what it calls the "seedbed" of a video game collection: 14 classic titles spanning the last three decades. The games, including Pac-Man, Myst, EVE Online, Dwarf Fortress, Portal, and Canabalt, were picked as "outstanding examples of interaction design," whether because of the way they encourage certain behaviors in the player, play with space, time, and technology, or provide a unique aesthetic experience. They'll be installed in March of 2013, and MoMA says it plans to eventually bring the total collection to about 40 titles. Currently, Minecraft, M.U.L.E., Grim Fandango, and several others round out the wish list. It's an echo of the Smithsonian's temporary Art of Video Games exhibit,...

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bednarz writes "The Smithsonian's 'Art of Video Games' exhibition opens today. To kick it off, they're holding a three-day festival with panel discussions, live action gaming, and crafting activities. 'Video games allow us as human beings to explore our dreams, our fears, our thoughts, our morals, and engage with each other in a way that no other medium allows us to. I find that inspiring and beautiful, and I am so happy to be alive during this time. We are going to experience, I think, one of the greatest surges of artistic intent in human history, and I believe that the majority of it will come through video games,' said Chris Melissinos, former Sun exec and guest curator of the new exhibition."

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This week on "Best Of Indie Games," we take a look at some of the top independent PC Flash/downloadable titles released over this last week.

The goodies in this edition include a time-travelling 2D platformer, a new release from Recettear publisher Carpe Fulgur, an XBLIG title featuring a purple goat and a friendly rat, plus a 2011 Global Game Jam submission that tasks players with controlling all characters within each level simultaneously.

Here's some recent highlights from

Game Pick: 'Off The Leash' (Big Pixel Studios, commercial indie)
"Off The Leash is a game where you steer a pack of runaway dogs by tilting your iOS device left and right, dodging obstacles and grabbing collectables on your way."

Game Pick: 'Timeslip' (Smudged Cat Games, freeware)
"Timeslip by Smudged Cat Games is a time travelling 2D platform game where you are caught in a continual time loop, forever travelling back in time to encounter past echoes of yourself."

Game Pick: 'LaserCat' (MonsterJail, commercial indie)
"LaserCat is a multi-screen adventure game inspired by classic European computer titles like Jet Set Willy, though MonsterJail assures that it's a more casual experience than its often brutally difficult forebears."

Game Pick: 'Fortune Summoners' (Carpe Fulgur, commercial indie)
"Fortune Summoners is a side-scrolling action-RPG that cites gameplay inspiration from the 16-bit era. The game boasts a 25-hour main storyline, and includes plenty of post-game content and sidequests for players to explore afterward."

Game Pick: 'Loondon' (Flip-And-Tale Games, browser)
"Brief, beautiful and poignant, Loondon might be less of a point & click adventure game than it is an interactive story but that doesn't change the fact that it is absolutely gorgeous."

Game Pick: 'Somyeol' (Brain Connected, commercial indie)
"Created during 2011's Global Game Jam, Somyeol by Brain Connected is an inventive title in which players control all characters within each level simultaneously."

Game Pick: 'Escape Goat' (MagicalTimeBean, commercial indie)
"In Escape Goat, a purple goat must solve puzzles and navigate tricky single-screen dungeon layouts with the help of a friendly rat, who can climb steep walls and squeeze into tight passages."

Game Pick: 'Rainbogeddon' (Nitrome, browser)
"Nitrome's latest browser game, Rainbogeddon, is a single or local co-op experience that essentially crosses Pac-Man with Bomberman. The basic goal is to survive long enough to collect all of the pills on the level."

Game Pick: 'Brand' (Nine Dots Studio, commercial indie)
"In Brand, players are tasked with a simple objective: refining and upgrading a sword until it's 'fit for a king.' Players have multiple upgrade paths to take, and are able to choose among many different combinations of powers and abilities along the way."

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MrSeb writes "An Italian researcher with a penchant for retro games — or perhaps just looking for an excuse to play games in the name of science! — has used computational complexity theory to decide, once and for all, just how hard video games are. In a truly epic undertaking, Giovanni Viglietta of the University of Pisa has worked out the theoretical difficulty of 13 old games, including Pac-Man, Doom, Lemmings, Prince of Persia, and Boulder Dash. Pac-Man, with its traversal of space, is NP-hard. Doom, on the other hand, is PSPACE-hard."

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nyannyanstack2.jpgToday's collection of independent game links includes more Ludum Dare links, indie game news, and reviews from around the 'net. (image source)

Starfruit Games: play 'Nyan Nyan Stack'
"Over the weekend I worked on a game for Ludumdare 22 on the theme of 'Alone'. The original upload had some critical bugs, but I've fixed that now and made it available on Mac and browser too."

Bryce Neal's Ludum Dare Entry: Take care of the trees
"It's sort of like a short and sweet nugget of a story-driven moody rogue-like [with two endings]. I think it comes off pretty polished for a 48 hour game. [It's rouge-like] because of the visual presentation: no animation, tile-based, flat front-on porfolio shots of characters, using lexiconic artwork rather than realistic artwork."

Chevy Ray: Ludum Dare 22 - FlashPunk Roundup!
"Here's a roundup of some of the FlashPunk games made in only 48 hours over last weekend. If you've never taken part in Ludum Dare before, and are interested in developing games, all the source code for these games is available to you!"

Gnome's Lair: A Bagfull of Wrong for Free!
"Just follow this link to the Bagfull of Wrong and grab some of the best arena shooters ever accompanied by a fantastically weird take on Pac-Man (only with pretty colours)."

Freidrich Hanisch's Ludum Dare Entry: Soliloquy
"In this game you are split. You are one person, alone in a lifeless world - but you have two souls, which have to work together."

TIG Tunes: Big Giant Christmas EP Review
"Yesterday (Dec 20th 2011) Big Giant Circles (aka Jimmy Hinson) release an EP called the Big Giant Christmas EP. It's all about Xmas tunes that have been converted into chip-tune/fakebit tossed into modern synths with the usual classic instruments for your listening pleasure."

ToastSoft: XOP Ultra Bundle
"The XOP Ultra Bundle is a collection of two awesome shoot-em-ups, XOP Ultra and XOP Black Ultra...As a bonus, you'll also get the soundtracks to both games, as well as two digital artbooks with selections of the original hand-drawn art used in the games, and never before seen art and enemy designs!"

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Dungeon Defenders Delves DLC (For Free)
"[DLC] includes four new skins for the Apprentice, Monk, Squire and Huntress, new 'holiday-themed weapons' and a 'mission where you must deliver Christmas presents to random locations and defend them, ending in an epic boss fight with the evil Mega Snowman!'"

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Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, and the usual round-up of interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source).

Adventure Gamers: Dave Gilbert Interview
"There will probably be two more Blackwell games after Blackwell Deception, for a total of six. I don't want to keep the fans waiting forever for me to finish the story, and I don't want to get totally sick of it before I get there."

Desura: Alphafunding for Indie Games
"The idea behind alphafunding is simple, fans get instant access to their favorite games with the understanding that the game might be buggy and isn't complete - but frequent updates will add polish over time. The developers can then fund the games continued creation, giving supporters early access to the latest and greatest content."

PC Gamer: This week's best free PC games
"This is a good week for those of you who like Pac-Man. Elsewhere, there's a first-person shooter that has no right to be as enjoyable as it is, and a first-person puzzle game that I'm sort of breaking the rules for. Read on for this week's freebie picks."

Develop: Crowdfunding indies make $20k in five days
"A US-based indie studio with just four active employees has raised more than $20,000 in five days through a successful crowdfunding initiative. Hundreds of people pledged donations to help fund development of an iOS and Android title called Star Command."

Forbes: Mojang Founders Notch and Jakob on Minecraft
"I am a huge fan of Minecraft, and I was excited to be able to get a chance to interview Notch and Jakob via email about Minecraft, Scrolls, and the business of independent gaming. Here are their thoughts."

1UP: Second Person, Behind Bastion's Unique Narrative
"Few games are as much about you as Supergiant Games' Bastion, a game that is simultaneously steeped in some of video game design's oldest traditions at and impressively forward thinking. It is the way Bastion tells its story first and foremost that earned it such wide praise when it was released during the summer of 2011."

Pixels or Death: An Interview with Supergiant Games
"We recently had the opportunity to speak with Greg Kasavin, creative designer and writer for Bastion over at Supergiant Games. We picked his brain for insight into the creative process that spawned such a unique title, and were fortunate to receive some very insightful commentary in his reply."

TruePCGaming: A Brawe New World Interview
"TruePCGaming had the chance to interview the fine folks at Cateia Games, developers of the humorous adventure game, Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World. You will get their opinions on various aspects of the PC gaming industry and details of the development of Kaptain Brawe."

Indie Games Searchlight: Roundtable (audio)
"We discuss how one goes about making their own game including learning programming, formulating your ideas, gathering a team, and challenges you face when making a game. Guests featured this week are Chris DeLeon, founder of HobbyGameDev, Joe Larson, and William McDonald of SuckerFree Games."

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