Year Walk, Device 6 and The Sailor's Dream developer Simogo has released a free interactive short story entitled The Sensational December Machine.
They're not the only indie games you should care about but they're some of the best: finalists for this year's Independent Games Festival - the Oscars of the indie world - have been announced.
The main event, the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, will be contested by The Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe); Papers, Please (Lucas Pope); Don't Starve (Klei); Device 6 (Simogo); Jazzpunk (Necrophone); and Dominique Pamplemousse in "It's All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!" (Deirdra Kiai Productions).
The Stanley Parable and Papers, Please finished as two of Eurogamer's Games of 2013.
We've had our say on 2013's best video games. And so have you. Now, it's the turn of the developers, the makers of the virtual experiences we so love. Read on for the games of 2013 according to the creators of the likes of Super Meat Boy, Assassin's Creed 4, XCOM, Oculus Rift and more, complete with Twitter bios.
On developer Simogo's mysterious island, a word is worth a thousand pictures. Device 6 tells the story of Anna, a girl who awakens to find herself adrift in a tower set on on a spar of rock. As she starts to explore her surroundings, the sentences that construct her narrative begin to stretch out across the iPhone screen and form corridors, rooms, and battlements. It's a landscape you travel by reading. Turn left, and the text you're following turns left too, while paragraphs describing elevator journeys rise or descend with the thrum of a shuddering counterweight. The plot steadily unfurls into a map that you trace with swipes of your finger, leading you past mysteries stated and unstated, through puzzles both visible and hidden.
As with this February's Year Walk, Simogo displays a peculiar knack for conjuring isolation and recently vacated spaces, although the earlier game's church gates and tree stumps are replaced here with Bakelite telephones and hissing reel-to-reels, while fairytale illustration is traded for a blend of infographics and gorgeous old Penguin Books cover art. There's a touch of Cing's back catalogue to Device 6, and the whole production's been cold-filtered through 60s espionage TV, too. As Anna's journey drifts over territory initially staked out by Patricks McGoohan and Macnee, as codes are broken and dormant machinery roused, Simogo's game becomes the closest thing you'll probably ever get to playing a numbers station.
The developer's clearly moved on since Year Walk, although the games definitely feel like fellow travellers. This time the narrative's even quicker to fold back on itself, eventually entangling audience and creator and even the hardware the whole thing's playing on. The medium is a message here, although you'll need to replay the game several times, possibly with a pad and paper, to get that message down in full.