Posts with ‘PhilFish’ Tag

IGS ’09: The Art of Independent Game Promotion

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: March 26th, 2009

Fish & Chips. I mean, Kyle.
Photo by Rebekah Thompson Saltsman, Official TIGS Photographer

Kyle Gabler of 2D Boy and Phil Fish of Polytron gave an excellent presentation at this year’s IGS on marketing and PR for indie developers called The Art of Independent Game Promotion—a top ten list of ways to gain publicity without losing your soul. At least, I heard it was excellent. I had to miss it.

Which is why I’m now linking you to Offworld’s thorough coverage of the talk.

True to point #7, Phil hooked TIGS up with the exclusive very first crack at the new Fez trailer a couple hours later. (Thanks again, Phil!)

IGS ’09: The Indie Game Maker Rant

By: Derek Yu

On: March 24th, 2009

Phil Fish

(Photo courtesy of Infinite Ammo)

12:02 – I finally got into this session, which was supposed to start at 11:45ish. It’s PACKED, mostly because nobody from the previous session left. The basic idea, which was conceived by Phil Fish (Fez), is that various game developers get up and rant about something, anything, for 5 minutes. Phil was the MC for the session, and also participated.

Coming in late, I unfortunately missed Heather Kelley‘s rant – it was ending as I came in. Mark Johns just got up. He reminds us that he’s the creator of Shit Game, and is thus in the best position to talk about games and art. Some highlights of his rant include his assertion that critics of games as an art form, like Roger Ebert, will someday die and a reference to the somewhat notorious article about messhof in the New York Times. (One hopes that the NYTimes, which is in attendance, takes the mention in stride.)

12:05 – Steve Swink is up. He’s a designer at Flashbang/Blurst and also one of the IGS organizers. His rant is titled “Ethical Game Design.” He’s talking about personal freedom by using furries as an example. (Looking up at his scattered manbeard, I think he might be one!)

Steve equates ethical game design at least in part with making use of our freedom by creating worthwhile activities. “Don’t make the video equivalent of fast food and cigarettes. Don’t waste people’s fucking time.” “Worthwhile” is obviously kind of a difficult thing to define. Is it social? Is it about changing our way of thinking? Is it happiness?

And then Steve’s time is up.

12:11Infinite Ammo‘s Chris Lobay just got up. He has a film background, so he’s tying auteur theory to game development. He argues that independent game developers all fit the mold of the auteur. Game development, he posits, should not be decided by committee.

12:16Erin “Ivy” Robinson starts by revealing that she’s working on a new game called “Puzzle Bots.” And hey, now she’s talking about humor in games and using the TIGSource Demakes Compo as an example. Hold Me Closer, Giant Dancer is shown on screen and gets some hearty chuckles out of the crowd.

She just did a “dramatic reading” of Gears of War 2. Marcus Fenix and Augustus Cole wax poetic about how many metric shit-tons of locusts must be down there. Somewhere, an undead Marcel Proust facepalms.

Erin talks about some modern examples of mainstream games which employ humor, including Little Big Planet and Spore. She ends by talking about satire and the awful PETA game Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals. It’s Majesco’s straight-faced response that draws the most laughs.

12:21 – “Those crazy artists from ”“>Tale of Tales” are up! Auriea Harvey opens by saying that this is “a slightly meditative conceptual rant about being an indie developer.”

Auriea and Michaël wonder openly what it is that indie developers are independent of, exactly? They are taking turns reading out loud the various possibilities (which are displayed on the projector with occasional images). I can’t write them all down, but here are a few of the things they’re mentioning: game publishers and developers, time spent with loved ones, clothing, sexual orientation, web 2.0, C++, Shigeru Miyamoto, CliffyB, ideologies, morality, success, air, Edge Magazine, Steam, XBLA, language, Final Fantasy, TIGSource Forums, love, pets, Simon Carless (who I’m sitting right next to), mortality (a picture of Paul “rinkuhero” Eres accompanies the slide), Google, debugging, object-oriented programming, and finally, whether or not games are art and whether the audience thinks they are pretentious for making their rant.

They’re walking off with a simple picture of the Earth on the projector. Phil Fish says “Thank you for that. I mean it!”

12:25thatgamecompany‘s Kellee Santiago wants to talk about that step “after games are art.” She’s comparing games to radio and television.

In what strikes me as a very Obama-esque moment, she rallies developers to work together to bring about change in the games industry.

12:32 – Mare from metanet takes the rant to a more directly practical area by talking about why demos are important. Her main point is that there are cons from the developer’s perspective, but not from a consumer’s perspective.

12:34 – Raigan, the other half of metanet, proposes some solutions to making 3d games easier to create. He talks briefly about using simple shapes like boxes, non-photorealistic rendering (e.g. NPR Quake), and post-processing (e.g. Textmode Quake).

12:38 – “Up next: me,” says Phil. He says he couldn’t think of anything, so he’s taking requests from the audience. Someone asks him what the most important thing about Fez is for him, and he fumbles a bit before exclaiming that this was a stupid idea.

Someone then shouts out “What’s wrong with the IGF?” Which is probably the best thing that could have happened at this point. The rant begins.

IGF is broken! ”">[Pixeljunk] Eden should not be nominated for IGF." Phil says the rules for entry are “hell” of vague. “I have a problem with a guy entering IGF who created Star Fox for fuck’s sake. What if portal was entered in IGF? Would anyone here have a problem with that?” He asserts that he likes the game itself, but compares Erik Svedäng’s Blueberry Garden, which was made by a single guy in a bedroom or basement, with games backed by large companies.

“The [IGF 2008] Art Award for Fez made me.” Phil mentions young developers on TIGSource who don’t even have $100 to spend on the IGF admission fee. “What’s 100 dollars to Q-Games? It’s like a fart.” He thinks Eden’s submission was a “cynical marketing campaign” meant to promote their upcoming expansion pack (to be announced at GDC later this week).

12:42 – Simon Carless gets up and walks to the podium with a smile on his face. “Are you going to stop me?” asks Phil (sincerely, I should note, and not like a guy going crazy on PCP, as you might read it).

Simon addresses the audience and says that he’s the director of IGF. He wants to clarify that Eden was submitted long before the expansion had been announced.

Phil ends by saying that he’s so proud of being indie, that it kind of drives him nuts that it’s so hard to define.

12:44 – In response to Phil’s rant, Matthew Wegner comes on stage briefly to mention that there are 22 finalist games, some of which have bigger teams than Eden, and suggests that we celebrate how wide the spectrum of IGF finalists is.

12:45Petri Purho is attempting to do the impossible – to make a game in the 5 minutes allotted to him for the rant. The room, already pretty riled, applauds wildly. “This is the indiest thing you can do,” exclaims Petri. Somewhere in the distance, a wolf howls.

Petri’s got Visual C++ open on his screen. “I already have a basic framework…” It crashes as Petri tries to compile it, to laughter. Erik Svedäng got people to write game ideas onto slips of paper for Petri to use in his game. The first idea is pulled out of the bag.

“…Peggles?” The audience seems to generally think that this is a shitty idea, so they pull out another one. “Ragdolls.” Okay… Petri starts coding away like a madman, cursing like a Finnish sailor. “FFFFFFUCK. This is the worst idea.”

With 2 minutes left, Petri tries to compile, but there’s a bug. “Fuck.” After a couple of tweaks, success. A wireframe ragdoll falls from the top of the screen and hits the ground, to the cheers of the crowd.

“We still have to add Peggles to the game.”

With roughly 1 minute remaining, Petri stands up and beats on the keyboard like the drummer on a Nordic slave ship. Even though we’re indoors, a warm breeze somehow makes its way into the room and unravels his ponytail, sending his flaxen hair waving as Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries is pumped in through Moscone’s humble speakers. Code is scrolling across the screen like it’s The motherfraggin’ Matrix. Men and women alike unconsciously lift their shirts and display their chests to this… this… Finnish demigod of game development.

But even Odin himself couldn’t beat these odds – the final grains of sands are making their way to the bottom of the hourglass.

“Cactus, help me!”

And the young Swede jumps on stage and the two of them create what can only be described as Ragnarök on a laptop. A game made in 5 minutes. About ragdolls. And Peggles. It is done.

Phil returns to the podium as the duo are carried away by a heraldic griffon. “Welcome to the first and probably last indie game rant.”

Somewhere in the distance, a stag whispers its final breath and dies alone in the forest: “Indie Games.”

Polytron Corporation Acquires Fez

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: January 25th, 2009

Fez Screenie

Hurrah, the Polytron site is live! And I’ll be darned if it ain’t the slickest thing ever. More good news! Fez is planned for a 2009 release. Here’s the press release, direct from Polyplex One:

Montreal, Thursday the 22nd of January , 4:29pm, Montreal


The Polytron Corporation is proudly excited to announce its friendly takeover of Fez!

The venerable multimedia multinational giant today announces it has taken control of the production of highly anticipated indie darling sensation Fez. The rights to the game were transferred from indie darling sensation collective Kokoromi, who demanded nothing in return but a dream, and a wish.

Winner of the 2008 IGF Excellence In Visual Arts Award, Fez also features 2008 IGF nominated design innovation.

Polytron is vibrating with glee at the prospect of bringing it’s much needed decades of experience in the field of computer entertainment to Fez, and its team.

Confident in its dedication to the project, Polytron projects a release in 2009.

More screenshots here. (Check out the new and also improved art style!)
More press after the jump.

About Polytron:

Worldwide leader in the field of polytronics, The Polytron Corporation is a name you can trust for all your electronic computer entertainment needs.

About Kokoromi Worldwide:

Worldwide game/art party leader Kokoromi an experimental game collective formed by a rare union of Montreal gamemakers and curators to promote games as an art form and expressive medium worldwide.

About Excellence In Visual Arts:

Fez won it.

About Fez:

We’re making it.


By: Derek Yu

On: August 16th, 2008

Gamma 3D

Alright! Gamma 3d, the highly-anticipated sequel to Gamma 256, has been announced! Gamma 256 was an extremely successful indie game party hosted by Phil Fish and Kokoromi. Users were asked to submit low resolution games, and some awesome stuff came out of it, as well as one of our most beloved memes (hint: “pidgeon-hunter-killer”). You can see photos of the event here, courtesy of Mr. Ivan “toastie” Safrin.

The call this time is going out for games that use stereoscopy. In other words, games you need red-and-blue 3d peepers for. Submissions are due by October 15th, and the actual event is taking place on November 19th, in beautiful Montreal. As usual, TIGSource is proudly hosting the official Gamma thread, for all your Gamma discussion.

See you there!

The 1UP Show, Featuring Phil Fish

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: February 22nd, 2008

Here is an indie-centric episode of The 1UP Show, featuring an interview with the ever awesome Phil Fish — now an IGF winner at long last.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with a few of the 1UP folks since I’ve been here and, I gotta say, it feels good knowing there are people who “get” indie games within the mainstream press. (Also, they’re pretty cool to hang out with.)

FUN FACT: Cactus is older than I am.

Fez Teaser Trailer

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: October 10th, 2007

At long last, the great Phil Fish has unveiled in-game footage of his IGF contender Fez.

Early on he had mentioned a big, secret element to the gameplay… but people say that kind of thing all the time, yeah? Usually it’s some gimmick, or something not as great as they imagined. Not so with Fez. Once you experience it, you realize it’s not only no gimmick — it’s an entirely new and compelling experience.

I cannot wait to play the finished game!

It’s fun looking back now and noticing the little hints Phil dropped along the way… If you had a keen enough eye, you probably could’ve figured him out.

Awesome job, Phil and Renaud!

Watch the video. DISCUSS.

UPDATE: Fish just released a new shot of the game showing off their 3D 2D rendering tech, which they call “Trixels.” (Not voxels, I swear!) Check it out here.

Notice how every “pixel” (trixel) is rendered in 3D. Very cool.

UPDATE II: Fez programmer Renaud explains Trixels vs. voxels, and a bit of Fez’s gameplay, on the Kokoromi blog. (Thanks Petri!)

Kokoromi 2.0

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: July 30th, 2007


On the topic of Phil Fish, Montreal-based experimental indie game development collective Kokoromi (profiled here in This Magazine) just launched their new site. It’s nice — you should check it out!

As for Fez, Phil linked me to a corrected version of the infamous “somethig” screenshot. (Which, I agree, deserves to be a meme.) Fix your lookin’ balls on it here.

…I liked the old one better.

Early Preview: Fez

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: July 27th, 2007

Pick 'somethig' up, why don't ya?

Just as Shih Tzu is indie gaming’s ambassador to the East, Phil Fish is indie gaming’s ambassador to hipsters across the galaxy. And also French-Canadians, I guess. Yeah.

Anyway! Phil has revealed, on these very forums, his latest project. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “It’s got to be some impenetrably abstract piece of art-game nonsense, right?” Not at all! Why would you think that?

The game is (tentatively) called Fez and it features a wee dude with a fez all done up in pixely, low-res beautifulness like everyone secretly adores (Phil included). While very little has been revealed of the gameplay itself, we do know it’s a “puzzle/platformer/explorer” with some super-secret twist. Also, provided this screenshot isn’t a red herring, you will be able to pick thigs up.

Fez is being developed by Phil Fish and Renaud Bedard, with 6955 on music. There’s a possibility it might be freeware! Check out the ongoing thread right here.

Be sure to complain about the use of gradients.

Update: Phil has blessed us with a high-res, corrected version of the screenshot, which can be witnessed here. Praise be to Fish!

GDC: Everyday Shooter

By: Derek Yu

On: May 11th, 2007

Check out this great video
(source: Tim W.) where Nikki Inderlied talks to Phil Fish and some other guy about Everyday Shooter. Dammit, it is no coincidence that (ES developer) Jon Mak was absent during the video… these guys are totally working for him as PR!

I love the part where Nikki asks Phil whether he thinks Everyday Shooter should have won the grand prize, and he gets a little bit nervous. You know why that is? It’s because I was standing right behind the camera with my shirt off, holding a baseball bat with a rusty nail through it… all like sweating profusely with my eyes bugging out… blood all dripping down my mouth because I just chewed off the head of John Romero… my nipples all pierced with CliffyB’s earrings… CliffyB’s actual ears on a necklace around my neck…

Wait, what, where was I? Oh yeah! Jon Mak is a P-I-M-P, and Everyday Shooter is a rad game. Totally deserving of its wins… which were very many!

True life adventure: some drunk guy at a party at GDC talked to me for an hour before I realized that he thought I was Jon Mak. I politely corrected him:

“Dude, I’m Jenova Chen.”