RE:BIND

Oh dear, 1000 Followers on Twitter. It may not seem like a huge benchmark to many sites, but it is the main metric by which we have measured our work for the past year.

RE:BIND started as a gentle homage to Indie Critique greats of the past decade, and an experiment in alternative media. With the challenges facing indie coverage in today’s industry, we asked what would be the most effective means of adapting to the ever transforming and intimidating landscape:

Finally, we have our answer.

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Harken back, to the era of floppy disks and shareware, when a gallon of gas only cost you a $1! Hear me, and yearn again for the days of billboard sprites, the fidelity of 16-bit graphics! Be whisked to the golden year of 1996, and imagine (if you can) a game built on id Tech 1; the original Doom engine, hacked and slashed to serve the needs of a FPS/RPG hybrid. In this fantasy, picture it being… I don’t know, perhaps, high fantasy meets low tech? And behold! You are picturing Strife!

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Bryce Bucher & Ayden Machajewski‘s “1Boss1Battle1Button” came out of nowhere, a visually striking reminder of a long lost era in once cutting edge graphic design. Built for the Game Maker’s Toolkit 2019 Jam, the dynamic duo set out to put a fresh rhythm twist on the competition’s theme of “Only One”.

The result is a passionately clever minimalist platformer that stirs the imagination and demands a reflection on the bold stylings of a design trend known as “Factory Pomo“.

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To the northwest of France is a peculiar island, inextricably with a history linked to Europe yet somehow insistently apart from it. It’s a land known for it’s modest social sensibilities while being driven by imperial ambition ever since the Romans receded from its sandy shores. This desire to be recognized, to be known and respected, to be tame without being tamed is deeply entrenched within the culture of Britain.

And while the invaders may have left, it seems the Empire never did. The wounds inflicted by Julius Caesar’s violent invasion continued to fester underneath the land, infecting the course of British history from that point on. Long before colonizing the world, England needed to unify and consolidate its own back yard in order to power it’s conquest of the globe.

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Over the last few years, we’ve been seeing a surge of interest in the rendering styles of late-90’s consoles: the PlayStation, Saturn, Nintendo 64. It provides a framework that allows for lo-fi titles to come across as more polished rather than seeming lazy, doing wonders for plenty of solo developers out there. Low poly counts, tiny textures meant to stretch and blur to accomodate CRTs, leading to smaller, self-contained games that allow for a greater breadth of artistic expression to reach fruition. From this, dozens of microindies have emerged making a name for themselves as trailblazers of this new frontier of visual nostalgia.

Enter James Wragg (@LovelyHellplace) and their latest release, Penitent Dead, made for the Haunted PSX Gamejam. Unlike a lot of the other entries, this title is not so much an out-right horror game or thriller, but more so an exploration of space and time.

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It’s always a strange moment when a new customer shows up at your bar and asks for a recommendation. You get a read of their personality, the sort of food they ordered, then finally ask them their preferences, a question inevitably followed by the old familiar phrase: “I don’t drink much coffee, what would you recommend?”

After offering a few options, they pick one or simply ask you to, and you get to work. There’s a certain mixture of emotional high and terror as you slide the drink across the counter and wait to see if their capricious tastes find it satisfactory. In that second, the only thoughts running through your mind are, inevitably, “Did they like it? Did I mess this one up?”

It’s a feeling unique to tending any kind of bar, whether coffee or liquor, that Toge Production‘s Coffee Talk recreates with vivid authenticity and elegant simplicity.

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Amongst the loping slopes of the valley resides a message. Scrolling over it reveals microprose, a small story wrapped up in atmosphere and emotion lasting maybe 120 characters. It’s the kind of fragmented storytelling native to Twitter, jumping into an interaction or story far removed from most of its context. Things are quiet, a lull between songs. You ruminate a bit and begin scrolling on to another place, another mood.

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