caves.jpg The indie, miniature, or otherwise 'niche' publisher is certainly starting to flourish in these 'end times' (joke!), and since a few have appeared over the past few days, weeks, and months, we thought we'd give them some brief shout-outs.

- Most obviously, you may have heard of Cinemaware Marquee, which is a slightly odd use of the classic 'It Came From The Desert' developer/publisher's name to brand 'indie'-style U.S. retail debuts for a number of interesting European-sourced PC titles, including Space Rangers 2 (though, according to several threads, it has the decidedly controversial StarForce copy protection on it), the wacky Neighbors From Hell, and a neat maritime-sim 3-pack.

- Also newly formed is Bay Area publisher Graffiti Entertainment, part of larger firm Signature Devices, and notable because it has signed South American GBA RPG Mazes Of Fate, a good-looking first-person dungeon crawler that is "the first Latin American game ever [officially] done for a Nintendo console."

- Finally, and somewhat controversially, there's mini-publisher Variant Interactive, who have set up with some grand plans, mentioning PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Live Arcade debuts for some of its indie titles, including a claimed 2007 PSP release for a conversion of Cave Story, Pixel's beloved 'dojin' game. However, a stormy thread over at GAF alleges that "Pixel did not agree to give them any source code but didn't mind what they were doing under the assumption that it was going to be a freeware project." No confirmation to this, but we'd still love to see a souped-up Cave Story on handhelds.