Opinion
13 Comments

Learn how to copy, and know when to steal

There's nothing wrong with copying the work of other games, or other genres, the important thing is to know why you're copying, and do something interesting with your own product. "Look at the game you are thinking of copying, the one that got all those YouTube views, and look at why it worked, the decisions and choices, the objectives," Volume and Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell wrote in a recent blog post. "How the surface of the game achieved the outcome, and then come up with something different that may duplicate some of that success." He describes a meeting where his then boss asked how to make a Minecraft game, and instead Bithell sat down and made a list of what Minecraft did well. He was focused on why it was a success, instead of simply looking to rip off the topical...

News
50 Comments

PlayStation Store offering 20+ games at 99 cents each in weekend flash sale

Two dozen PlayStation 3 and PS Vita games, many of them normally priced around $10 or more, are on sale for 99 cents during a PlayStation Store flash sale. The sale runs until 3 p.m. ET on Monday so gamers have a little longer than the weekend to scan the list and choose. Available titles include Machinarium on PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, Papo & Yo (PS3), Thomas Was Alone (PS3 and PS Vita), Dyad (PS3), Tekken 2 (PS3, PS Vita and PSP) and Syphon Filter, Syphon Filter 2 and Syphon Filter 3 (all on PS3, PSP and PS Vita). The full lineup with links to the games' pages on the PlayStation Store, is available at the link.

News
8 Comments

Thomas Was Alone's Benjamin’s Flight DLC hits Windows PC, Linux, Mac for free

Benjamin's Flight, the former Playstation-exclusive add on episode for Thomas Was Alone, is now available for free on Windows PC, Mac and Linux for owners of the game. Steam users can access the new content via the scenario select screen for any Steam copy of Thomas Was Alone. The episode features a new script, voice over work and two new soundtrack compositions. "Benjamin's Flight takes place before the events of Thomas Was Alone, and tells the story of the first AI to discover something very dangerous: Hope. Armed with a new jetpack ability, he'll go hunting for the strange glowing light he's long admired from afar," its description reads. Thomas Was Alone's recently released iPad version received Benjamin's Flight earlier this month. The full game, which PC sales surpassed 1...

News
6 Comments

Thomas Was Alone's Benjamin’s Flight DLC arrives free on iPad today

Thomas Was Alone's recently released iPad version expanded today with Benjamin's Flight, the geometric game's free, story-based downloadable content. Benjamin's Flight tells the story of a younger version of the game's titular hero, who, on a quest for the Fountain of Wisdom, meets several new companions. The DLC from developer Bossa Studios is available through a free update to those who've already purchased the game and includes 20 new levels and a jetpack. To celebrate the DLC's release, Thomas Was Alone is also on sale for $5.99 in the iOS App Store. For more on the game, be sure to read Polygon's review. You can also read our interview with creator Mike Bithell to learn how Thomas Was Alone made its way from PC and PlayStation to iPad with Curve Studios' help.

E3 2014
12 Comments

At E3, indie games are set to sparkle

With hardware manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft falling over themselves to present hot indie games at their conferences as well as indie showcase initiatives like IndieCade, there has never been a better time to sample the best games created by small teams and individuals. It's impossible to do justice to the many indie games at E3, and those lurking at the perimeter, showing off their precious creations in rented suites, but here are just a few examples that are likely to garner attention and admiration in the days ahead. The Witness From Jonathan Blow, the maker of Braid, a PlayStation 4 console exclusive that delivers originality and charm. Players explore a lush island in first-person view, solving logic puzzles along the way. The Witness, ready to launch any time...

News
14 Comments

Thomas Was Alone surpasses 1M copies sold

Thomas Was Alone sales have now surpassed 1 million copies, developer Mike Bithell announced today on Twitter. Bithell originally released Thomas Was Alone on Mac and Windows PC in July 2012, but the platformer began to sell particularly well once Curve Studios and Bossa Studios ported it to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, where it launched last April. The following month, it debuted on Linux. As of August 2013, total sales had topped 700,000 copies. According to Bithell, the bulk of Thomas Was Alone's 1 million sales came when it was offered at a discount, in a bundle or in other promotions. "So stop your [1 million] x $10 math right now," he said. Bithell also clarified that the 1 million figure does not include PlayStation Plus downloads, which would push the total "a fair bit...

News
12 Comments

Thomas Was Alone dev on console 'credibility' power of curation

Thomas Was Alone was released for PC in 2012, but it wasn't until it was announced for PlayStation devices that the game saw "a ridiculous sales boost," developer Mike Bithell told Gamasutra. The independent developer attributes that phenomenon to the way some players perceive consoles. "It's really interesting, the credibility consoles still have," Bithell said. "It's actually a badge of honor to those people. I know Thomas Was Alone gained an incredible amount of 'mindspace,' or whatever pretentious bullshit term a marketer would use, because it was out on console. And I saw a ridiculous sales boost just because, the second people saw it was coming to PlayStation, it became a 'real game' for a lot of people." To Bithell, that means that a combination of curation and appearing...

News
8 Comments

YouTube star Northernlion gives advice on how indie devs can succeed on video

Letourneau started by noting that YouTube stars have become "some of the biggest influencers and biggest personalities out there" in the world of gaming and yet simultaneously "a niche that's still untapped." To prove his point, Letourneau put up logos for major gaming publications like IGN, GameSpot and Kotaku. "You probably all recognize these," he said. Then he put up logos for three of the top gaming video creators on YouTube: TotalBiscuit, OfficialNerdCubed and TheRPGMinx. He pointed out that together these three reach millions of viewers, but they aren't as instantly recognizable — and as such not as frequently contacted by developers. "These three YouTubers can single-handedly get your game greenlit and drive sales if they like it," he said. To further demonstrate this,...

News
25 Comments

Tomb Raider, Thomas Was Alone feature in free PS Plus offerings for March

Six games across PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita will become free downloads for PlayStation Plus subscribers during the month of March, Sony announced today. PS4 users with a PS Plus membership can download Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, previously announced. The top-down shoot-'em-up is coming to PlayStation 4 on March 4 through the PlayStation Store for $14.99. The three PS3 titles that will be available free to PS Plus members in March include Mike Bithell's puzzle platformer Thomas Was Alone, Superflat Games' psychological survival adventure game Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut and Crystal Dynamics' action-adventure title Tomb Raider.  Free PS Vita titles for subscribers include Capcom's action role-playing game Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite and Zipper...

News
38 Comments

Despite Volume's male hero, it still aims to challenge the notion of masculinity and heroism

But for former Bossa Studios lead, there are other ways of challenging the masculine heroism that makes up the lion's share of video game narratives. There are still stories starring men worth exploring, he says, despite what he calls "the boringness of the standard chiseled beefcake with the big gun." Bithell's plans changed substantially in pre-production of the game, he said. Initially, he intended to release a new heroine-led title following the launch and later success of his first independent release, Thomas Was Alone. This, he said, would be a way to experiment with writing for a new gender after developing Thomas' titular character. "When I sat down to come up with the story of Volume, and who would be its characters, I of course had to decide on which gender the protagonist...

Thomas Was Alone Releases
North America
  • Windows
    • Released 07/24/2012
    • Publisher Mike Bithell
    • Developer Mike Bithell
  • Mac
    • Released 07/24/2012
    • Publisher Mike Bithell
    • Developer Mike Bithell
  • PlayStation Network
    • Released 04/23/2013
    • Publisher Curve Studios
    • Developer Mike Bithell
    • Score 8.5
  • Linux
    • Publisher Mike Bithell
    • Developer Mike Bithell
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