One of the biggest problems I have with indie games is the exposure. We have PAX, Kickstarter, and Steam Greenlight, but how do we truly know if one’s worthy our time? I present to you the gaming equivalent of the Sundance Film Festival, IndieCade - an event so indie, that a man whose been following the industry and writing about the industry just got word of it. IndieCade has it all for the underfunded and underexposed developers – keynotes, meet and greets with other game makers, and plenty of opportunities to interact with publishers and institutions in helping a developer out. We the gamers can smile at the exchanges going on; however, we want good games.
What the Golden Joystick and the eye-rolling VGAs do to all the games we know very well, IndieCade does too, but tailored in far less generic terms. No award for best motion-controlled game, best multiplayer game, or the cringe-worthy best “Action Adventure” game here. The IndieCade accolade isn’t just to show off and brag about; it’s revolving back to the exposure of the games. Think of it this way: would you pick the one with the award or without? Look further to see the 10 winners.
Grand Jury Award – “The Jury Award allows IndieCade’s Distinguished Award Jurors to select a game that they feel deserves a special citation for overall excellence. This could be a game that couldn’t fit into any other category, but the Jury each year determines the criteria for assignment of this award.”
Trailblazer Award – “The Trailblazer award is for distinguished accomplishment over a career of game creation, and recognizes those personalities without whom many of us would have never fallen in love with the field. Past recipients include: Tim Schafer (2010), Megan Gaiser (2011)”
Special Recognition Award – “This award honors the finalist that uses the medium of games in a way that elicits the elusive, yet universal, experience often associated any work of true art.”
The Stanley Parable (a fantastic Half Life 2 Mod, I strongly recommend this one)
Technology Award- “his award honors bold and unexpected experiments with the affordances of the medium that transform technology to magic.”
Interaction Award – “This award honors those games that consider the player, while at the same time allowing the player to forget they are one.”
Game Design Award – “This award honors the unique quality of gameplay that engages us with an experience or subject in that way only games can. This can entail a simple twist to a familiar genre, inventing a totally new mode of play, or the stellar execution of familiar mechanics.”
Impact Award – “This award pays tribute to independent games that have had/can have a significant impact on the gaming landscape. They may have social message, shift the cultural perception of games as a medium, represent a new play paradigm, expand the audience, or influence culture.”
Story/World Design Award – “This award honors the special craft of revealing narratives through interactions within an imagined world which players want to inhabit and explore.”
Visual Design Award -“This award honors the quality and originality of art direction and the ability of visual design to carry us to other times and places.”
Audio Design Award – “Audio is not only a way to create mood, feel and ambiance within a game, but are often a principle form of feedback, letting the player know her progress and performance in the game.”
Below, you’ll see the 34 games that made IndieCade’s list of finalists. Some you have heard of at the Indie Mega Booth at PAX, and some you’ll see in a review up now or later! Also, be sure to give a shot to any of these games/mods. FTL was an IndieCade finalist, if that helps sway your opinion.