Brows furrowed, I inhaled deeply – my attention focused on the task at hand: protecting my ‘city’ from destructive alien hordes spitting forth balls of fire. With my quick wit and deft reflexes, I annihilated their impending numbers, shooting down smaller minions and larger bosses, getting tripped up by demonic skulls and finding relief when, at long last, I was able to advance to the next level. After 16 intense levels, I finally caved in. Not too bad for a first try at “Interstellar Invaders,” an 8-bit creation of Dan Silber (@wierdgamedev), one of the 14 independent video games featured at DC’s first BetaCade 001 DC on Thursday night.
Some of the games, like “Interstellar Invaders,” were still in the early stages of development, ranging from pre-alpha to beta stages, with a few ironing out kinks and others consuming input to aid in the further creation of their completed programs. Held in Laughing Man Tavern’s Game Room, the event boasted a lively gathering of gamers, developers, and enthusiasts alike, coming together to share ideas, give feedback on developing games, drink, eat, get prizes, and have fun.
Highlights of the evening:
Chesire: A Super Mario-esque game that features the player as a Chesire Cat, collecting clubs (icons from playing cards, reminiscent of the Red Queen’s playing card henchmen) and advancing levels by teleporting through wormholes. The background, although stationary, was an unobtrusive collage of images of Wonderland, complementing the theme of the game.
Space Warfare: Infinite: With a campaign mode, PvP options, and other features in development, the galaxies in the procedurally generated map were already mesmerizing despite the alpha-stage-level of this game. With intentions of having two human races, and an alien race doing their best to lay waste to Earth, I can’t wait to see the finished product of this 3D creation fashioned by Badger Head Games (@badgerheadgames).
Tap Invasion: An 8-bit game created by Badger Head Games, this funky 8-bit program got my thumbs-up after I found the difficulty in having to double-tap (and sometimes triple-tap) my enemies in order to kill them. In this 2D space-themed game, your task is to protect your city and kill the invading aliens that enter in through the top of the screen – it got really intense when they began to descend mid-screen, spewing forth from extremely large boss-aliens and sending my fingers into a screen-poking frenzy.
Drinkard: This game (which is actually featured on XBOX LIVE apps) made by The Unallied corralled the most laughs of the tablet-based games during BetaCade. I’m sure you’ve figured out that it’s a drinking game – with various ‘kards’ to pull to keep the game afloat, the point is to keep your “BAC (Blood Alcohol Level)” as low as possible with different “tests” to gauge your level of sobriety – tests that have you doing everything from push ups to keeping up with your line of sight.
Clash-Cup Turbo: Garnering the most excitement, Root 76’s colorful ‘couch game,’ was one of the best games featured on Thursday, played with console controllers vs. traditional keyboards. With different PvP options, up to 4 players get to annihilate each other with turbo charged bats on colorful maps that aren’t displeasing to the eye. The character designs were among my favorite of the 14 games that were featured, with samurais and a devilish monitor-head guy that just looked like he had a secret move that would enrage his opponents. Although the game has been in the works for a little less than two years, the two-and-a-half-men team is working hard to release the game within the year.
Dwarf Madness: In this XBOX-based digital journey cooked up by The Unallied, players kill zombies and dedicate their energies to collecting gold to upgrade weapons and their characters. In the online portion, players compete with others to beat daily goals of global high scores within different categories.
My favorite game? Wizards Inc.
Created by @NotTerrible, this PvP casts the players as Wizards who are not only great spellcasters, but are also CEOs of huge corporations. Their employees, huge, boxy hunchmen-types, are our pawns, making up the front lines and rushing to defeat our opponent’s employees. By collecting the souls of dead employees, I accrue currency to upgrade my own skills and buy fantastical objects such as health potions and huge monsters that wreak great havoc on the playing field. The icing on the cake is that you must defeat the guard towers prior to demolishing your opponent’s main base – you can’t just go straight for the base. Asif, who brought the game to be showcased at BetaCade, mentioned that more levels will be added as well as objects on the playing field and upgrade options. I can’t wait for that!
DC’s first BetaCade, dedicated to bringing together the independent video game scene in the DC Metro Area, was obviously a success and we look forward to seeing these games progress – until next year!