I attended this past weekend IndieCade’s first East Coast début at the Museum of Moving Image where game designers, academics, journalist, experts, lovers, and enthusiast were able to play indie game demos, sit-in on panels from game experts, interact with new gaming platforms, and partake in-game design workshops. Packed into 3 days, the festival was mind-blowing. Panels ranged from Game Design workshops to talks by leading experts such as Jesper Juul.
Jesper Juul is world-renowned and influential game theorist and Visiting Assistant Arts Professor at the New York University Game Center. He has written many books such as half-real (MIT Press, 2005), A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players (MIT Press, 2009), and his new book coming out this Friday The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games(MIT Press, 2013). His panel “You Don’t Seem Happy! Video Games and the Philosophical Problem of Being a Sore Loser” dove deep into the understanding of failure in video games and why people continue to play them even after the experience.
Attending a Game Design workshop, I had hoped to do what I do best; observe, document, and learn. Yet, that isn’t what happened. Jumping into the constructs of actually designing a game from scratch left me with an invigorating feeling of not only accomplishment but an exigent yearning to partake in more game designing. Our group had members from ages as young as 9 all submitting amazing ideas to making the game. When it was all over, I took a picture of the notes on our game “Gem Quest” to one day proudly frame it in my office.
Showcasing in a large area of the festival, more than 20 independent games were playable to attendees. Among them were finalist, nominees, and submissions from IndieCade 2012. It was an amazing sight to see game from digital to physical, multiplayer to single player, aesthetic to simplistic, whacky to creative, commemorating the mix of brilliance, amusement, and metamorphosis the gaming world is prospering into. The games showcased were Tengami, Guacamelee, Hokra, Botanicula, Cart Life, Thirty Flights of Loving, Bloop, BlindSide, Unmanned, Dyad, Armada d6, Splice, Find Me A Good One, Vornheim, Gorogoa, The Stanley Parable, Spelltower, Bloop, Reality Ends Here, International Racing Squirrels, and Chroma Shuffle.
Ouya, the Oculus Rift, and Sifteo had ongoing booths for anyone to try new tech emerging in the gaming industry. Managing to try the Oculus Rift after its successful Kickstarter campaign made my heart flutter. With its high field of view, low-latency, and stunning resolution the price-friendly virtual reality head-mount display (or VR-HMD) was a fantastic addition to the festival. It was a plus to have the opportunity to play Ouya’s library of indie games while waiting for the Oculus Rift!
IndieCade East will absolutely out-grow the Museum of Moving Image by next year. I do have to mention, it became impeccably hard to either get in to panels with not enough seating or when panels were back to back with one having started too late and the other too earlier. Regardless, the close-nit environment created an infallible pleasant and promising panorama view of the potential the independent gaming community has. In no way, shape, or form should any game scholar, designer, or anyone in between miss out of the next IndieCade East.
Narz is CEO/Founder of Girl Gamer Vogue and Tech and Game Editor at KnickerBocker Ledger.