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Monday, October 17, 2016

IndieCade 2016: Part 1 New Digs & Official Nominees

IndieCade died and was reborn over the weekend. Culver City was no longer the home of the independent games festival that I've cherished over the years. This year it was at USC, a college campus, a college campus that somehow has no decent nearby food or on campus eats and a lack of soda/water bottle machines. Stay classy, USC. You freaken wasteland.

Really, IndieCade is about the games and their were all sorts from board games to video games to get lost in. I'll be breaking down my faves and others I checked out. I'll also be judging USC as the new venue...immediately.


For venues and space I'm not going to give IndieCade a pat on the back. It was spaced out to a degree where it was hard to find what you were looking for. And because in other ways it wasn't so spaced out where people needed room to move and play. Minus more points for just not getting signs. Its been a few years now, you need to put up professional looking signs instead of a piece of paper and tape, IndieCade.

*The provided map wasn't great, it just seemed spaced badly...oh, wait it should've been upside-down, the perspective was the top being where Registration was, but most people and entrances were based the other way. It was confusing for non-regulars of the campus. It lacked signs.

The Official Nominees had no official sign that I could see; held in a two separate studios, there were some space issue that reminded me of the old firehouse where one could barely move in. I know Hyper Light Drifter won the Jury Choice award this year. I'm guessing that Jury didn't see it crammed between other competitors on a single laptop, no style for decor.
VR Selects was cramped

Walking through the VR Select and Official Nominee areas just brought me back to the getting-to-know-your-neighbor feel of previous IndieCades. Digital Selects had a somewhat nice open range, they've just got to space games further apart in the future.

Well, I've already complained that the food flat out sucks at USC and the surrounding area, as there is none. Thank goodness for The Order of the Oven Mitt, which won The Interaction Award.

The Order of the Oven Mitt is a tabletop, completely edible game for all ages that will get you laughing and strategizing while you satisfy your sweet tooth. You and another Initiate Knight move about the game board in a chess-knight style movements. Land on a Sacred Square to eat it according to the Sacred Ritual. Stop the other 

Sadly, The Order was packing up before we could really have a bite, that didn't stop another media member accidentally eating a character he wasn't suppose to. Luckily, the game is edible and does smell great.

Smells can sometimes bring back memories and so can porn. What did really well for bringing back 90's nostalgia was, "You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter." It won The Media Choice Award and did have a stunning mock-up 90's style computer room with VHS tapes and bad paintings your parents might have bought.

Set in a ASCII world you'll be stumbling around AOL to find this new fangled thing called Internet porn, hope you don't get a virus or someone catching you.

This game is only about fifteen minutes long and might have some more goodies like spam based on the porn you start choosing, we found out when we talked to its creator James Earl Cox the third while waiting to play it.

"It'll be the first game my brothers and I, that my media studio, Seemingly Pointless will be releasing in early 2017," James told me as he proudly watched people pondering his porn. We had to stop for a second as spam rang out of the computer, a noisy reminder to turn down the speakers in the olden days of the web, a lawless land.

Cox continued, "It tries to capture the anxiety of being a kid looking at porn for the first time. Something we purposely chose for this game was that all the art is ASCII's all ASCII. And one of the reasons we decided to do that, is that when you're looking at the art you can kind of see what's going on, but you don't quite get it."

"We took a look at a lot of modern porn sites, we had to look at how a lot were set-up, the images, the side-ads, how they do the whole lay-out...." We were interrupted by a women yelling, "Harder, harder!," from the game.

Another major difference is how fast images load; it's a game, but it's trying to be a fun game. 

There's some moments of paranoia; of a sound you hear behind you, is it your parents or is it nothing?

Get an early version of it here (NSFW) 

There was quite a few more games to see in Official Nominees, here's some photos

 I loved the art of Shackle more than the gameplay.

Didn't have a chance, but loved seeing a little kid play RIOT – Civil Unrest

As civil crisis deepens and inequality tears the very fabric of society the discontentment of the masses manifests itself in violent public disturbances and civil disorder. Play as the police or the angry horde as RIOT – Civil Unrest places you in some of the world’s most fractious disputes.