Digital Revolution at the Barbican – Indie Game Space


I’ve just got back from the Digital Revolution exhibit at the Barbican where there was loads of interesting things to play and interact with.

I spent a good chunk of time in the Indie Game Space, a blue caged play pen for young and old alike. I got an opportunity to play a number of games that have been on my radar for a while but I haven’t had the opportunity to try out.

I think there is an issue with the way games are often exhibited which conflicts with the way I have generally played games throughout my life, but that is the subject for another post.

The Unfinished Swan

This game hooked me immediately and, if it was not for the lack of time and other games on offer, I think I would have quite happily sat and played this right through to the end. I had seen game-play videos before, but I’d not seen the opening section which explains why you are playing the game, who your character is.

To briefly summarise, you play a young boy whose mother has never finished a painting. After she dies, you’re allowed to keep one painting, your favourite, ‘The Unfinished Swan’. One day you find the canvas blank and a door you have never seen before open up, you enter that door and the world of the blank canvas.

This character background gives an aesthetically beautiful game with an interesting game mechanic a deeper sense of narrative, of hope, anguish, loss and adventure.


This is a weird game, weird in a good way. I like puzzle games and I like the physics bending architecture that the game takes place in. I only got to complete the first few sections before I moved on to try something else, but mainly because I’m not sure how much it would stand up to replay and I would like to have an (almost) entirely unique experience of playing through it.


To be honest this game, or rather interactive experience, did not instantly grip me. I appreciated what it does in terms of visuals, and generating scenery but there was not quite enough to grab me in that moment. Maybe there is more to it that I did not see as I was in a gaming frame of mind.

Papers Please

I read about this game everywhere and finally a opportunity to play it, however, as there was no keyboard I could not find a way to navigate back to the start menu to really have a go at it. I’m still waiting to try this properly.


This feels like it would be a great game to just put on an whittle away at in the small hours. In the time I had I did not quite get to grips with the bombs but I would gladly spend some more time to master them and the rest of the game.


I only got to try this game on single player mode and though grateful for some AI to compete against I really feel that this is the sort of game that needs two people, and a room full of spectators to gasp, grown and laugh as you play through it.

Tower Fall Ascension

This game is again really a multi-player game but I managed to get a pretty good understanding of it just using the one character. Jumping on the heads of things, falling through the bottom back onto the top of the screen and the aesthetics of this game gave it a great old school arcade type vibe. I’d very happily spend a day playing through this with a good friend.

There Shall Be Lancing

Worse than playing a great two player game against the AI, is trying to control two game pads at once to understand how a game works. This game again seems like it would be a great game for a room full of people, but I did not get anywhere close to a proper experience of it. However, I definitely would like the opportunity to do so.

There were a few other games in the Indie Game Space, of the top of my head I can remember: Journey, Fez, Bit.Trip, Attack of the Mutant Camels, and Cave Story. All of which I have had at least a brief opportunity to play before.


2 thoughts on “Digital Revolution at the Barbican – Indie Game Space

  1. Tom

    Hi, Thanks for the info. I had forgotten the names of two games i played there. The first was Proteus, so thanks. But i’m still stuck with the other. It was a very colourful and energetic space shooter, with shapes that could be collected and attached to your spacecraft. Did you play it, or know the title??



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