The Independent Games Festival, or IGF, has been growing at a healthy rate, with each subsequent year featuring greater and greater numbers of entrants to its main competition.
The 2014 competition is no exception, attracting 656 entrants, up from last year's 589, according to the official site. The entrants range from the Kickstarter-funded turn-based strategy RPG The Banner Saga to Vlambeer's recently-rebranded Nuclear Throne (formerly Wasteland Kings) and well-regarded sci-fi roguelike 868-HACK.
Unlike some other competitions, the IGF's main competition doesn't restrict itself to entries from any given year, which explains the presence of well-established titles such as Dejobaan's music game 1... 2... 3... Kick It (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby), which has been around in one form or another since 2010, and titles that aren't quite finished yet such as Assault Android Cactus, Chroma and Cloudbuilt.
One of the oldest games on the list, however, is ten-year-old Web-based multiplayer role-playing game The Kingdom of Loathing from Asymmetric Publications -- a game that first came out back in 2003 and has been in "public open beta" ever since that time.
In case you've never had the pleasure of playing The Kingdom of Loathing, it's a deeply satirical game that pokes fun at the tropes of role-playing games and heroic fantasy in general, substituting the more conventional, predictable aspects of its inspirations for self-consciously ridiculous things. The main currency you use in the game is simply "meat," for example, and available character classes range from Seal Clubber to Turtle Tamer via Pastamancer. The game is largely text-based and consists almost entirely of clicking on static images, then reading the results of your actions, but the actual content is so amusingly written that the whole experience becomes alarmingly compelling very quickly.
You're not alone, either; while the game isn't quite a full-blown persistent world MMO, there are means of collaborating with other players, and a chat system that insists you demonstrate your ability to use grammatically correct English before it will let you communicate with others. Its basic structure actually hasn't changed all that much over the years, but the amount of content available to explore has continued to expand as time has gone on, and loyal players continue to check in on a daily basis.
You can give Kingdom of Loathing a go and help celebrate its 10th anniversary here, or check out the other 655 IGF entrants for 2014 here. Any titles you think are particularly worthy of note? Feel free to share!