IndieCade Invades SMC

IndieCade Festival is a Phenomenal Success

The IndieCade Festival is an international event dedicated to recognizing independent games from around the world. This fun-filled festival draws industry insiders, designers, artists, players, and fans from around the world to play and preview the games, as well as to meet like-minded people from the gaming community. Every October, IndieCade is held in a different location in the Los Angeles area, and this years location was the Santa Monica College Center for Media Design (CMD).

Attendees played new creative games, attended workshops, networked, participated in various social activities, and many took part in an in-depth game developers summit with legends from the gaming industry. Many of this years games tended to teach loftier ideals, informing participants, while at the same time keeping them entertained, with titles such as “Drawkinoid,” “Kleptocracy," “Shapes & Beats," and “One Hand Clapping." 

Multiple awards are given every year for innovative impact in areas such as Interactive Design, Experience Design, Aesthetic Design, and Social Issues. IndieCade Choice Awards, IndieCade Developers Choice, IndieCade Grand Jury Award, and IndieCade Jury Prix are some of the awards developers could walk away with. A few are chosen by media and audience members, and some voted on by IndieCade Festival nominees.

The IndieCade Grand Jury Award recognizes "IndieCade’s Best.” This Years award went to Bluebeard’s Bride, which is an investigatory horror tabletop roleplaying game based on Bluebeard fairy tale.

IndieCade Jury Prix is awarded for separating itself from the pack through its craftsmanship, innovation, and /or design. This years winner was Kleptocrat. Kleptocrat is a unique game of strategy and tactics, based on real-life patterns of money laundering and offshore structuring that have been used by actual corrupt public officials. The game aims to educate the masses on money laundering and offshore structuring work, and the award confirms its aim was accomplished.

Indie Cade has an “Impact Award” which honours games that tackle or offer a method for discussing social issues in a whole new way, games that reach new areas or communities, or games that make a marked impact on society.
This Years impact award went to “The Game." It presents the practices of several prominent seduction coaches (as well known as pick-up artists) through the format of a dating simulator.

The "Innovation in Interaction Design” award honours the specialized craftsmanship and innovation necessary for engagement within games. "TendAR" is a mobile gaming app. The installation combines environmental storytelling, AR and emotion/face recognition technology.

The Innovation in Experience Design award, which honours the craft or design of the game that provides a unique, curated experience went to a game called "Asta Grande." Asta Grande is a drop-in, drop-out crowd game for 30 people. It’s a pretend auction of legendary items mediated by a digital interface that is used by the auctioneer to present the lots and keep track of players’ objectives and funds.

The award for Innovation in Aesthetics Design honours unique, immense or sublime experiences, be it visual, or by taste, touch, sound or synesthetic combination. The Nishan Shaman game won this year's award. The storyline follows an ancient tale passed down by ethnic minority groups in Northern China. Our protagonist, the Nishan Shaman, is a female shaman who delves into the underworld to rescue the soul of a young boy. 

iThrive Find the Kind Prize is awarded to games that contain examples of kindness which go beyond mere dialogue choices and resource management, but which approach the idea of kindness thoughtfully and sincerely. "I WAS HERE” took this year's prize with its first-person narrative walking simulator game where players get a voyeuristic and intimate look into the lives of others.

This year "IndieCade Choice Award," voted on by media and audience members attending IndieCade Festival, went to “One Hand Clapping."
One Hand Clapping is a puzzle platformer that requires players to sing into their microphone to solve musical puzzles.

Lastly, the "IndieCade Developers Choice Award," voted on by nominated IndieCade Festival developers was given to "BlindFold." BlindFold is an area control party game where players take turns writing words on a sheet of paper and manipulating the sheet (through folding, unfolding, flipping, and tearing it) to ensure that only their own words are face up and fully visible during scoring. The catch, however, is that players must take their turns while blindfolded!

Despite the rainy weekend, the crowd was jubilant, cheerful, and from an outsiders perspective, seemed like a phenomenal success.