IndieCade, the International Festival of Independent Games, celebrated the innovation of indie developers around the world this past weekend with their 2010 festival. Most gamers hear the praises larger companies receive for accomplishments such as the graphics of Uncharted 2, the gameplay of Super Mario Galaxy 2, and the sales of Modern Warfare 2. However, this celebration is different, because we now get to see the "little guys" receive their time in the spotlight.
The main focus of IndieCade is to give indie developers the recognition they deserve by giving out awards in 13 different categories. Winners of IndieCade will take home this funky statue, on what seems to be a Scrabble board. I wonder if you can drink out of it?
IndieCade isn't any different from other videogame conventions, with the exception of being dedicated to independent game development. Here you'll find many indie development houses networking with each other and previewing their projects with investors who may support their future endeavors. Some of these award winners you may have heard of, since they are pretty popular on XBLA and Steam, while others are completely new to many and are still in development.
Here are the winners of the 2010 IndieCade Festival:
- Gameplay Innovation Award: Continuity
- Technological Innovation Award: Miegakure
- Sound Award: Limbo
- World and Story Award: The Cat and the Coup
- Aesthetics Award: Spirits
- Sublime Experience Award: Faraway
- Fun and Compelling Award: VVVVVV
- Wild Card Award: B.U.T.T.O.N.
- Trailblazer Award: Tim Schafer
- Virtuoso Award: A Slow Year
- Vanguard Award: A Slow Year
- Jury Award: Groping in the Dark
One name that will stick out is Tim Schafer, who won the Trailblazer award, no doubt for his innovative work on popular titles such as the Monkey Island series, Pscyhonauts, and Grim Fandango. Limbo walked away with the sound award and given what we said in our review of the game, I'm not surprised it won.
A game that received more than one award was A Slow Year. This title is this described by its creator, Ian Bogost, as a "collection of game poems." A Slow Year is built for an Atari 2600, using it's graphics and size limitation of 4k. The developer is also planning to go the extra mile and release the game not only for PC and Mac, but also on a limited edition Atari cart with a set of poetry, all bound in book form. Retro game enthusiasts will be all over this one.
The last game that caught my eye was Groping in the Dark, and yes I admit I did have a brief chuckle at the title, but that was until I found out the game was bout a young girl who decides to escape from her kidnappers.
There is very little detail about this game, and the South Korean developer, Team Arex, says you play the game by "turning letters into images and images into meanings." This blew my mind and made me eager to try it out, however this game unfortunately is only available in Korean, so unless you're fluent in the language you're out of luck at experiencing this title. Team Arex is another development team aiming to prove that videogames can be an art form.
I personally feel that indie games, while small, can collectively push the industry forward with their innovation and creativity, and I'm glad they have their own place to promote this small but rapidly growing part of the games industry.
Ranters, what are your thoughts on indie games and the IndieCade festival? Are there any titles that you feel should've won an award? Let us know in the comments.