IndieCade, the premier international festival of independent games, has revealed the Official Nominees for the IndieCade Awards at IndieCade Festival 2015, to be held in Culver City, CA October 23-25.
The annual IndieCade Festival celebrates some of the most creative and diverse independent games of the year while also establishing a leading voice in the promotion, cultivation, and community of independent games development.
The 2015 award nominees feature 36 games on most major video game platforms, including PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, IomPE, Neurosky, Leap Motion and including Alternate Reality Games and Augmented Reality, as well as additional categories such as table top games, card games, sports, performance art, live action role playing, and even an interactive art installation.
Tickets for the festival are now available on the IndieCade website at http://www.indiecade.com/2015/tickets. The All Access pass grants admission to the Awards Ceremony, IndieXchange, the Professional Conference think:indie, Night Games, the Beer Garden Party and much more.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate the strongest, most creative lineup of independently developed games at the Festival to date, while at the same time, providing the resources, peer mentoring, and sessions that can help indie devs succeed,” said Stephanie Barish, chief executive officer, IndieCade. “This year we will fearlessly tackle topics that will push the boundaries of design, discuss intimacy and consent, and explore all of the unique viewpoints and diversity of independent games. To see what’s next for gaming, come join us at IndieCade Festival 2015!”
The Official Award Nominees for IndieCade Festival 2015 represent the best and most exciting indie games of the year, as determined by the IndieCade Jury. IndieCade jurors include past IndieCade finalists, professional developers, fine artists, researchers and academics, curators, journalists and game writers, and students with past game development history. This is truly a Festival for the indie community by the indie community.
All award contenders can be played in the Culver City Firehouse, which will be open and free to the public throughout the Festival weekend. Nominees include:
&MAYBETHEYWON’TKILLYOU [LIVE ACTION ROLE PLAYING] by Rain Bros: a performative empathy experience about being poor and Black in America.
60 Seconds! [PC] by Robot Gentleman Studios: As Ted, a responsible citizen and a family man, you are faced with THE NUCLEAR APOCALYPSE. With only 60 seconds left to impact, guide Ted in a mad, action packed dash through his house in search of his family and useful supplies. Each survival story will be different, with every day surprising you with unexpected events.
Aboard the Looking Glass [OCULUS, LEAP MOTION] by Henry Hoffman: a virtual reality, gesture controlled, sci-fi adventure game. Playing as Alice, you explore a deserted vessel in the past, present and future. Your hands are portals to different times, allowing you to affect the environment in time-bending ways. As you progress, your vision of the future becomes increasingly bleak.
Armello [PC] by League of Geeks: a grim fairy-tale board game come to life, full of swashbuckling adventure combining deep, tactical card play, rich tabletop strategy, and RPG elements. Wage epic single and multiplayer battles, cast spells, recruit followers, uncover ancient treasures and execute treacherous plots as you quest for the throne!
Codex Bash [PC] by Alistair Aitcheson: a problem-solving installation using four custom-made wireless buttons. Players must solve coded messages to determine the correct sequence for pressing the buttons before the virus reaches the mainframe. To find the sequence they have to decipher jumbles of symbols, solve a tangled maze or find clues in maps and circuit diagrams. Real-world props need to be used in the puzzles, and encourage the player to think outside of the screen and even recruit people watching to help them.
Consentacle [TABLETOP/CARD GAME] by Naomi Clark: a cooperative card game about trust, intimacy, and communication where two players take on the roles of a human being and a tentacled alien trying to negotiate a romantic encounter. Players draw and play cards that let them earn and invest tokens that represent trust and satisfaction in this inter-species liaison. Gestures, eye contact, divining your partner’s intentions and next moves, and salacious (but not explicit) illustrations on the cards all play a role in non-verbal communication and guesswork.
Darknet [PC, OCULUS RIFT] by E McNeill: a strategy/puzzle game in which you play as an elite hacker in cyberspace. Plug into the Net, installing viruses, injecting code, and tunneling through cybersecurity in an experience inspired by the classic cyberpunk vision of the future.
Donut County [PC] by Ben Esposito: a whimsical physics toy that explores negative space by giving players control over a hole in the ground. Every time you swallow something, the hole grows a little bit bigger. Play with the characters and objects (all driven by physics) to devour everything in the scene, combine objects for surprising effects, and solve puzzles by launching objects back out.
Eleanor of Ayer [ALTERNATE REALITY GAME] by Gelly Bomb Studio: a mixed reality, multiple ending mystery puzzle game that follows the murder case of Shovi, the vocalist of the fictional rock band LUNACY. Before his last breath, Shovi leaves a dying message reading “Wa”, leaving the band’s drummer Walrus to become a suspect. Customers of the cafe may request a tablet from the waiter and use it to solve various puzzles that will reveal the true murderer.
Engare [PC] by Mahdi Bahrami: Engare is a game about movement of objects.
Fabulous Beasts [AUGMENTED REALITY] by Sensible Object: Drawing on the laws of nature and the stories of creation myth, Fabulous Beasts is a digital / physical hybrid world-building game for two players, where every game is different and every world unique. Players take turns to stack objects into a balancing tower. Through the sensing platform the tower becomes the foundation of the digital ecosystem, which plays out wirelessly on a nearby tablet. Care must be taken when choosing which piece to add, as only a stable tower will ensure a sustainable world.
Find Maria Rivera [INSTALLATION] by Niki Selken: a narrative, puzzle-based installation which follows the story of the disappearance of a water witch from Visalia, CA. Find Maria Rivera explores themes of environmentalism, mythology, and CSI, leveraging responsive objects, web experiences and audio to draw in the participant in a mysterious and emerging story experience.
Her Story [PC/iOS ] by Sam Barlow: a crime fiction game that takes place entirely on the desktop of a 90s era police computer. Players search through a database of interview room video footage to piece together the story of a woman questioned seven times by the police. Players type words and the database checks them against her testimony, returning the clips where she uses those words. Watching clips, picking up on words and phrases, players take their own non-linear route through the story.
Home Improvisation [PC] by The Stork Burnt Down: a game about building crazy modular furniture. It is playable solo or with up to four friends working together. You can try to build the furniture correctly, or you can make new and terrifying furniture creations.
Kerbal Space Program [PC] by Squad: a multi-genre game where players create their own space program, building a space-worthy craft capable of flying its crew out into space. At their disposal is a collection of parts, which must be assembled to create a functional ship. Each part has its own function and will affect the way a ship flies (or doesn’t).
Kwaan [PC] by Ankama Canada: an online pocket universe, where players are active agents of Nature called Dwaals. The goal of KWAAN is to not let the server die – or the game will die. The server is personified by a capricious, gender-fluid sentient tree: every day, the tree will ask for gifts and challenges. If (s)he cries of sadness, he will drown the world in tears: the end. To oblige the tree, the players will have to use different poetic tools (summoning creatures, crafting flowers and building the tree itself), create rituals and contribute to an organic, breathing ecosystem.
Line Wobbler [UNIQUE HARDWARE] by Robin Baumgarten: a one-dimensional dungeon crawler with a custom wobble controller made out of a door-stopper spring and a five meter long ultrabright LED strip display. The entire game runs on an arduino, including sound, particle effects and 120+fps. The player navigates obstacles and fights enemies to reach the exit of a series of increasingly difficult levels. Movement is controlled by bending the Wobble controller left and right, while enemies are attacked by flinging the spring.
Memory of a Broken Dimension [PC] by XRA: The emulator of obscure research software is spreading across the internet, origin unknown. Following a trail of files littering the RELICS virtual desktop; the player must trespass into the ruins of a fragmented world, suspended within a frozen data stream.
Monarch [BOARD GAME] by Tilt Factor: the player is a daughter of the Queen, and her mother has lived out her years and will soon pass on the crown. The time has come to compete with siblings for the throne by demonstrating intelligence, compassion, bravery, and strength as leaders. Outperform the sisters to demonstrate ingenuity and strength. Choose strategies that will bring prosperity to the land and glory to the court. Defend the realm from threats and famine. Only the princess with the most majestic court will be named heir.
Museum of Simulation Technology [PC] by Pillow Castle: a game where the player is caught in an endless dream and needs to use a forced perspective power to re-size objects and escape.
Myriad [PC] by Bifrost Entertainment: a shoot’em-up that grows more beautiful the better you perform. Build the stage for your performance, shape the game space and soundscape with your actions. Bend time and space to your will. The rules are simple: Enemies chase you, but defeating them only multiplies their numbers. Defeated enemies expand your world – until you blow it apart in a gloriously destructive chain reaction that clears the screen, upgrades your weapons and lets you do it all again but bigger and better.
Nevermind [PC/MAC, IOMPE BIOFEEDBACK SENSOR] by Flying Mollusk: a biofeedback-enhanced adventure horror game that takes you into the darkly surreal world of the subconscious. As you explore the abstract world within the minds of trauma victims and solve the cryptic puzzles lurking within, a biofeedback sensor monitors your moment-to-moment anxiety. If you let your fears get the best of you, the game will become harder. If you’re able to calm yourself in the face of terror, the game will be more forgiving.
Plug & Play [PC, IOS, ANDROID] by Etter Studio: Explore the feelings of anthropoid creatures that go beyond sexuality and reproduction: love. PLUG & PLAY is a surreal play with plugs.
Prune [IOS] by Joel McDonald: a game about the beauty and joy of cultivating trees. With a swipe of a finger, grow and shape each tree into a unique piece of art while avoiding the dangers of a hostile world.
Puzzlets [AUGMENTED REALITY] by Digital Dream Labs: (children, ages 6-10) combines the appeal of classic platformers with the thinking of Chess in “Cork the Volcano” programming software (tablet/computer). Puzzlets are toy tiles that represent programming instructions. Children form solutions to bite-sized puzzles presented in “Cork the Volcano” with Puzzlets which are wirelessly sent into the videogame. It’s a game about feeling smart, creatively solving problems, and thinking like a programmer at the same time.
Red & Pleasant Land [TABLETOP RPG/BOARD GAME] by Zak S: a supplement for old school pen & paper role-playing games that allows you to play in a distorted world inspired by Lewis Carroll and inhabited by warring vampire lords, or any other place that might require intrigue, hidden gardens, inside-out-rooms, scheming monarchs, puzzles or beasts, liquid floors, labyrinths, growing, shrinking, duelling, broken time, Mome Raths, blasphemy, croquet, explanations for where players who missed sessions were, or the rotting arcades and parlors of a palace that was once the size of a nation.
SCALE [PC] by Cubeheart: a first person reality manipulation game about exploring environments by changing the size of the objects inside them. Instead of a gun, the player wields a device that can make any item any size. A tree, a wall, an enemy, a passing cloud, even the levels themselves are all “SCALEable”. Space is relative in the game so progress is as much conceptual as it is physical. The player cascades through different orders of magnitude. Secrets are hidden in levels of understanding and paths are concealed behind unrealized implications.
Seltani [PC] by Zarfhome Software: an experimental Myst Online fan text Twine MUD. It’s a fan riff on the (failed) Myst Online MMO; but it’s entirely text. It’s like an old-style MUD — you can explore, solve puzzles, meet other players, and chat. But the interface is brand-new: hypertext rather than command-line, with accessible Twine-style world building.
Sentree [IOS] by Glitchnap: Which of your friends can protect you with their eyes closed? Find out in Sentree – a mobile, local multiplayer game for 2 or more people that you play using a blindfold, phone, tablet and verbal commands while travelling through magical lands as a band of forest creatures that must work together to fight back the evil creatures that loom in the night.
Seven Day Band [PC] by Jeff Lait: Data Entry is the hard part of Roguelike design. So what if the user had to enter all the data? The result is Seven Day Band: an Angband variant that, through playing, you write. On the face of it, this is a terrible idea – entering reams of text before you can play would form an insurmountable barrier. Instead, the game engine is built to have stats be “undecided”, letting the game flow smoothly until a new decision is necessary.
Story Warriors: Fairy Tales [IOS] by Below The Game: Live the fairy tales like never before as you walk over the words, picking them up and bringing them to life. Go through the strange story of Bela, the protagonist, through classics fairy tales mixed and confused because of an evil master plan. Play in a world of words with the help of dwarves, princes and fairies, mixing up the unique and original gameplay even more, and play with words like you’ve never done before.
The Meadow [INSTALLATION, VIRTUAL REALITY] by The Meadow Group: a playable art installation that mixes virtual reality, set design and costume design in an immersive, physical, tactile experience. Using techniques from theater and installation art to help bridge the transition from consensual reality to the virtual world more gracefully and gradually than is usual, the piece uses experiential digital gameplay, environmental narrative, sound design and gaze control to create an encounter between the player and the inhabitants of a colorful and mysterious meadow in a forest clearing.
Throw Trucks With Your Mind [PC W/ NEUROSKY MINDSET] by Crooked Tree Studios: a downloadable first-person arena-based multiplayer combat game where you wear a headset that reads your brain to give you telekinetic superpowers controlled with your thoughts. The core game mechanic is crushing your enemies by throwing at them with your mind.
Tribal & Error [PC] by Grotman Games: You’re a robot sent back to observe the ancient times, but the Ice Age is coming and to save humanity you need to learn their language first. Observe, repeat and master the cavemen tongue. You observe and copy Cavemen symbols. Repeat symbols to the Cavemen in order to figure out their meaning. Translation can be added by your own interpretation and can be used to teach them new skills.
Walden, a game [PC] by Game Innovation Lab: a first person simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. The game begins in the summer of 1845 when Thoreau moved to the Pond and built his cabin there. Players follow in his footsteps, surviving in the woods by finding food and fuel and maintaining their shelter and clothing. At the same time, players are surrounded by the beauty of the woods and the Pond, which hold a promise of a sublime life beyond these basic needs. The game follows the loose narrative of Thoreau’s first year in the woods, with each season holding its own challenges for survival and possibilities for inspiration.
Wonderland: A Solvitur Ambulando Mystery [iOS] by No Media Kings: an audio drama set circa 1914, in Toronto’s rough-and-tumble Junction neighborhood. The end of each chapter poses a puzzle — solve it with what you learned in the previous chapter, and unlock the next one. But if you’re stuck, there’s an unusual hinting mechanic — you put your iPhone in your pocket and go for a walk… every 100 steps, one of the letters in the puzzle is filled in.
Applauded as the “Sundance of the videogame industry,” IndieCade supports independent game development globally through a series of international events highlighting the rich, diverse, artistic and culturally significant contributions of indie game developers. IndieCade’s programs are designed to bring visibility to and facilitate the production of new works within the emerging independent game community. Annual events include IndieCade East, IndieCade’s Showcase @ E3, and IndieCade Festival, the largest gathering of independent game creators in the nation. For more information, visit indiecade.com.