I've been playing a lot of indie games recently and looking into a lot of the developers behind them and I've realised that indie developers often seem to be generally cool people in one way or another. Indie gaming in the last few years has really taken off and is home to some of the most exciting ideas and people in the industry. Because of this I will begin to do posts looking more into indie games and the people behind them. This will probably not be a weekly feature in the way at Replay or Minecraft Monday is but it is certainly something that will become quite a regular feature. Unless you all hate it.
For my first week I want to look at a man named Terry Cavanagh. Terry Cavanagh is an Irish born developer who is now based in Cambridge here in the UK. He works primarily in Flash and makes relatively small but fantastically entertaining games. He develops his games for a multitude of platforms with some of his games, such as VVVVVV, appearing on PC, Mac, Nintendo 3DS and, soon at least, IOS devices.
His games, such as VVVVVV and Don't Look Back often use very simple ideas and design features. For instance Don't Look Back uses only left and right movement, jumping and shooting and all of the graphics are either in red, black or white. VVVVVV uses a similarly basic colour scheme and is also a platforming game but is notable for not featuring a jump button. Instead of playing through the levels by jumping over obstacles you control the gravity in the room you are in to manoeuvre your character, this gives an incredibly familiar feeling genre a fresh twist and its these little innovations and ideas that make Cavanagh truly great.
Terry's games are also known for being crushingly difficult, indeed Don't Look Back is without a doubt one of the hardest platformers I have ever played. This doesn't ruin the fun though because, mercifully, there is a checkpoint at the beginning of each section so you don't have to suffer through the monotony of playing through an entire level again just to get back to where you fell to your death/got bitten by a snake/impaled on a spike. Yeah, there are a lot of ways to die in Don't Look Back. He also uses a similar mechanic in VVVVVV which also stops this game from becoming soul destroying.
Of course these aren't the only games Cavanagh is famous for, there's other awesome games like Super Hexagon and Judith but its VVVVVV and Don't Look Back that really caught my eye and made me interested in him in the first place. In fact Don't Look Back is currently free on the App Store so you should probably all go and download it and give it a try after reading this.
If you want to know more about Terry and his games you can visit his website at: http://distractionware.com/blog/