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Monday, October 7, 2013

IndieCade 2013: All There Was

IndieCade returned to the center of Culver City showcasing the newest titles in independent video games, table games and more over the weekend. We saw major game companies take focus with booths from Oculus VR, Nintendo and Sony. Independent titles from developers from around the United States and the world showed off their video games. Independent table games and big group games splattered the scene with community camaraderie and rivals being born. At night, things got risque with the always popular Night Games.  A huge assortment of titles were played by the TTDILA staff with interviews and demos of games that stood out, with over 120 titles not all could be played.

For previous coverage

Last Sunday night new winners from the festival were announced. Killer Queen Arcade won the Developer's Choice Award. An arcade game where up to 10 players can fight it out like Joust. TowerFall won the Media Choice Award. Up to four players can duke it out with arrows like Super Smash Bros in this archer brawler.

TowerFall Interview

The Audience Choice Award was won by Slash Dash, a ninja capture-the-flag game.

The Oculus VR booth had a line all day Saturday. So many wanted to try out the newest in virtual reality. Oculus VR is a cutting edge virtual reality company. The current device they make is placed on the head and is called the Oculus Rift, it goes over your eyes and immerses you in a 3D world. Multiple games were up for play including a simulation hacker game; an elephant going on a rampage and a airplane sim.

Oculus VR is not a developer, it's simply making the hardware. A deal with IndieCade led to a game jam where developers could make games in three weeks and submit them to win prizes. The winner of the game jam was E McNiel. He told us about his game Ciess, a hacker simulator and what it means to develop for the new system.

 E McNiel, Ciess Interview

Oculus Rifts were not bound to the Oculus VR booth, they could be found all over IndieCade. Strange new games have been made through a gaming platform called Project Holodeck, that not only uses the Oculus Rift but  sometimes uses Playstation Move controllers and Razer Hyrda tracking software for more immersive gameplay. Oculus Rift on it's own only covers your eyes.

Watch two friends of TTDILA check it out in Oculus Riffs

Moving from the yet to be released for consumers Oculus VR, we encountered the Nintendo booth. Nintendo was delighted to finally have a booth showcasing indie games featured for 3DS and Wii U coming from there eShop. Strange, odd, but all fun the games impressed all loyal Nintendo fans passing through.

Some Nintendo fans even develop games now. One being Yacht Club Games which Kickstarted its way into making Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight features a knight wielding a shovel and looks like an old-school Nintendo platformer. The former WayForward employees who founded the company thought the game was so much like an old Nintendo game they made a call to Nintendo and shortly after working out a deal will have it be in the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U and later on the 3DS.

Shovel Night Preview Demo and Interview

Titles from indie developers were on screen after screen of Wii U's and 3DSes. From last years IndieCade, we saw the return of the Samurai storybook game Tengami by NyamNyam. The game is now headed to the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U.  Seeing Tengami reach the Wii U a year later from IndieCade 2012 when it was just going for the iPad market was a pleasant surprise.

Tengami Returns To IndieCade

Some of the new properties were hard to master such as Dakko Dakko's Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails, featuring an annoying cat that would appear on screen to remind you when you didn't complete game goals on this shoot-em-up platform game.

Fan favorites like Retro City Rampage, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse and Treasurenauts from Renegade Kid, who gave us Mutant Mudds stood out on the 3DSes. Fans who demoed any of those titles or any Wii U title were rewarded with special Nintendo promo t-shirts made just for IndieCade.

Check out the shirts here

Sony, who had a booth last year, came out to show off its huge assortment of indie titles too. PS4s and Vitas and even PS mobile devices showed off a wide array of indie games to try.

Tearaway from Media Molecule, the same people who gave us Little Big Planet may have made the best PS Vita title yet with an arts and crafts platformer made entirely for the Vita. This game was made specifically for the Vita system from the use of the back touch pad to perform jumps to the front touch screen that lets you open doors for you character. It's one of the most compelling Vita games I've seen in a long time.
Check out a hands on demo of Tearaway below

Some older titles are making their way to PSN like Fez, Don't Starve with new editions of games like  Mutant Mudds Deluxe and sequels like Octodad Dadliest Catch, a game where you play an Octupus trying to pretend to be a man and be a good Dad. Controlling said Octopi is where the game gets fun or aggravating depending on your tastes, which hopefully don't include Octodad himself.

Table Games

Card games, board games, the more conventional game played out on a table, table not always required.

 There were many tabletop games to try during the day at IndieCade. TTDILA had to step into the newest version of Metagame. Metagame was once a card debate game only about video games. Now it's all about culture. Only 50 culture cards were out, 150 are planned when the Kickstarter goes up in a few weeks. We'll be sure to remind you.

You play by debating the cards your dealt over a specific question. Say, "What is first love?" , for example. You might have a card with Hungry Hungry Hippos on it or Helvetica, the font style. The other players have random culture cards too. You all put each one down and give a reason why you card is the answer by a critic. Those who lose a match, becomes a critic and the game gains more critics as more questions are answered. That's one way of playing, essentially it's a debate game.

Augmented Detective wasn't playable at IndieCade 2013, Mr. Smee from Wise Guy Events, the same people making Augmented Detective were. We met up with Greg Synder of Wise Guy Events and discussed the augmented reality game looking to be Kickstarted for play here in LA.

Check out our interview below

Indie Titles

Independently made video games

Pivvot by Whitaker Trebella was up for play in the digital selects booth. The ever hard to deal with epic strategic avoidance game caused many a player to go, "Ahh!".

Pivvot Whitaker Trebella Interview

Rogue Legacy, a game where death gives way to your children to keep on playing. Everytime you die in this dungeon platformers your child goes on with an ailment from the real world like being colorblind or terrible gas.

Rogue Legacy Interview

Rogue Legacy was housed in the Culver City Fire station that swelled with so many people it was like a burning building. So many different titles to chooses from including the time traveling Super Time Force from Capybara Games, coming to Xbox Live to the making social media waves Gone Home.

Super Time Force Interview

Out in the Digital Select tents were more titles including:

Potatoman Seeks The Troof, no it's not misspelled, that's how it's written, has you searching for the truth and dying many death before getting it. Trying to dodge birds laying eggs and other platforming annoyance will remind you of NES titles.

Tenya Wanya Teens had you button mashing like no other system with one button for each action, then those buttons switching actions. Controlling two kids in co-op in a not so average day of their lives had you peeing to flinging salmon at enemies to just brushing your teeth.

Edupalooza brought out the kid games and brought back Cain's Arcade like fun with its own cardboard arcade center. Kids and adults could make any arcade machine they wanted. Kids could learn a little about game making there.

Oculus VR isn't the only virtual reality experience out there. Innersphere VR showed of it's virtual reality all encompassing ball for free roaming inside a false world. Care to step inside?

Big Games

Games played in a large groups, some times outside.

Super Secret Spies by Arkadium puts a Fedora on your a head and sent you out over IndieCade. Each hat has a number on it. You and your team have to spot the other teams numbers while not having your hat number being found out. In ten minutes get to the other side of the map or don't bother. Causing a lot of twisted heads and many spies to sneak around booths all over IndieCade with daring.

Batonk! has you yelling at robots or really other players forced to wear robot hats and act like robots out on a big gameboard. You can't freely issue commands, you must command the hands your dealt by cards causing robots to "Batonk!" into each other and the game boards walls. Score points by having your robot make it into another players goal. The player with the most goals wins!

Night Games

Games with adult material, occurring at night at IndieCade.

Dark Room Sex Game


This naughty nite time game has you playing with a "friend" with two PS Move controllers. Flow in the right rhythm with them to here the positive sexy noises from your partner. Don't perform well and hear them get hurt. Voices can sound girl on girl or boy on boy and the old time favorite of man and women.

It drew in quite the crows of players.

To hear a play through click here, sounds graphic.

Constellation has you creating your own constellations as you peer upward at the stars and connecting them. Wield a PS Move controller and create your own myths and legends using the stars and see what others have created.

Constellation Interview

Star Wench harkens back to the days of choose your own adventure books. Choose which page to go to and find out what happens next in your story. Sadly, Star Wench endings are all bad for her which is your fun.

Crypto of the NecroDancer, DDR and killing zombies has finally been combined. A dungeon crawler where you control you character by dancing.

Papers, Please is about playing out your fantasy of being a 1980's immigration inspector in a fictional post USSR country and has never looked so good. This is a favorite title of TTDILA that can never make it to the 3DS for its adult content, even though it would fit perfectly on the system. Papers Please works by carefully inspecting documents in a time limit. A secret organization wants to tear down the government and wants your help. Terrorists can end the day early so get enough legal people in before time runs out.

Propinquity, where you must touch another opponent while staying in a projected area to earn points.

As a man who didn't know us at TTDILA passed by and asked us two questions, because we looked like we might know or at least that's what he said. We got the simple reason of what IndieCade is.

The first question: Is IndieCade an independent games festival?
The second: Are all these games made by independent companies?

To which we answered, "Yes" , and then we talked about later how he got into the festival, security should probably be more on top of that.

Yes, that's what IndieCade is. A festival celebrating independent games from indie talent and it grew this year.

The festival gets larger every year and next year it's assumed it will need more space then just the firehouse which is already getting too small.

Being amongst gamers outside, playing big games that aren't a normal past time in this city, unless Augmented Detective gets funded, and getting to meet the people behind the games keeps the festival alive.

A place where a gamer can enjoy themselves playing games in every fashion. It's not just new video games, playing outside with others and having a gamer community for short period of time to hang out with and interact with makes it such a special event.

We need a new generation of arcades, two days and one night aren't enough for LA to have so many talented game makers show off their work and so many people coming together to have fun.

Anyone for some PS Move jungle vine swinging? Move around on your light coded trail, don't get on another players color or you'll fall.

Extra photo gallery