indiecade 2015

Indiecade 2015 Games Announced

on Tuesday, Oct. 13th

IndieCade, the annual International Festival of Independent Games held in Culver City each October, has announced the official selections for this year’s festival. Touching down in downtown Culver from Oct.23-25, this year’s festival features a mix of returning favorites, award winners, and intriguing new offerings across a plethora of genres.

Remember: IndieCade isn’t just about video games. There are “big games” which involve full physical participation, board games, and virtual reality experiments right alongside more “traditional” computer games. Whatever “traditional computer games” means these days. No one really knows. Isn’t that wonderful.

VR heads would be wise to show up and check out the selections on offer, which were curated in part by Brent Bushnell of Two Bit Circus and immersive journalist Nonny de la Peña. (Now that’s a couple of people who know VR.) If you’re lucky you’ll get your hands on experiences like the Proto Award winning I Expect You To Die and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.

Or maybe you’ll discover the next great award winning VR experience.

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Normal Valid Lives S&S image-3_0

Revenge of the Latte Fund (The Crowdfunding Beat)

on Thursday, May. 21st

2015 has been an interesting year for crowdfunding… at least it sure as heck feels that way to me. Big projects are back in vogue and there’s talk again about how “superstar” projects are messing things up for the little guys. More on that in a moment, first, because we’ve got our eye on the ball I thought we’d break out an old favorite practice: the Latte Fund.

The ten of you who religiously read our crowdfunding content here will remember the Latte Fund as a little thing we used to do at the end of our crowdfunding podcast. We’d have each of the panelists pick a project they thought was worth $5— the price of a fancy latte here in LA. That’s with tip, by the way.

I’ve kept my scanners online this week and have let a few PR pitches pique my curiosity, so here are a few projects that caught my attention, and one that is my pick of the week for the Fund.


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REVIEW: GameLoading: Rise of the Indies

on Thursday, Apr. 30th

Another indie film about indie games?

That’s the first thing I thought when I was pitched on the idea of GameLoading: Rise of the Indies, a documentary funded via Kickstarter that tracks a number of indie game developers in order to give a cross section of the international scene.

The sense of deja vu was strong: it was Indie Game: The Movie—an indie movie about indie games—which helped kick off the Kickstarter film funding craze a few years back, after all. GameLoading tackles the same topical territory. Yet where IGTM delved into the details of its subjects to tell a story about creativity the makers of GameLoading directors Lester Francois and Anna Brady take a wide angle approach.

This means that GameLoading is a less intimate film than IGTM, but while the later movie does an amazing job of unearthing the soul of the indie game scene Francois and Brady excel at giving a sense of the scene’s scope.


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Indie Van Game Jam Hits The Road with First Episode

on Monday, Apr. 14th

Here’s the pitch: three game developers hop in a van in Austin, Texas and travel to another city to interview some of their heroes. On the way they make a video game inspired by their interviewee’s work.

While in the van.

That’s the premise behind Indie Van Game Jam a documentary web series about indie games that puts the spotlight on a different studio with each episode. The team behind it, Binary Solo, took a stab at raising funds for the project on Kickstarter last year, but when that didn’t work they persevered.

Now the first episode is out in the wild. The first episode, and the first game. Each episode of the series will not only feature the video documentary, but alongside it will release a game from the roving game jam.

Episode one focuses on Chicago’s Rob Lach (Sphere, Pop: Methodology Experiment One) and features the Binary Solo jam It’s Not Me, It’s You. The game is a perspective twisting play on the first-person shooter genre, and is a delightful way to spend a few minutes on a foggy headed Monday.

Here’s to more game jams and vans from the Binary Solo crew.

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Source: ShiningRockSoftware

‘Indie Watch’: Banished Is Like SimCity Without The City (But With Cholera)

on Monday, Mar. 3rd

‘Indie Watch’ is the weekly indie game review segment from NPR’s All Tech Considered. Here’s a taste of the latest from Steve Mullis, Web producer at NPR. Follow their gaming Tumblr, NPR Plays.

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

That famous line, said by Tim Robbins in the film The Shawshank Redemption, perfectly summed up his character’s struggle and subsequent escape from the titular prison. It also, however, perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the game Banished, a new indie city-builder from Shining Rock Software.

The game places you in charge of a small band of villagers, banished from somewhere for unknown reasons, who are now tasked with starting their own town from the ground up. The goal is simple: survive. They must gather the proper resources, build houses, grow food and basically make a livable community so they can start popping out babies.

It’s this emphasis on simple survival that sets Banished apart from city-builder games that have preceded it.

Check out the rest of Steve’s review at All Tech Considered.

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NeverMind: The Game That Knows When You’re Afraid

on Thursday, Feb. 20th

When the refrigerator finally opened, I discovered that it was a doorway into a labyrinthine warehouse. Something not unlike a nightmare meat packing plant. I’m was there to uncover my patient’s hidden trauma, and the maze is frustrating that effort.

As my frustration mounts the maze begins to flood with milk, threatening to drown me. The lack of control causes a moment of panic and that only makes the flooding worse.

“The more scared you get the harder the game becomes,” Erin Reynolds, the game’s creator, warns players. That the game–NeverMind–is aware of a player’s emotional state at all is a major shift in the way games are made.


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Award Winning Indie Designer: Indie Games Are Facing A ‘Sea Change’

on Wednesday, Feb. 12th

Gamasutra’s Christian Nutt reports on comments Steve Gaynor–designer of the multiple award winning Gone Homemade at the D.I.C.E. game design conference this past weekend. Gaynor painted a picture of an indie gaming world that is facing its second big wave.

“The thing that I think is happening now that is going to make things interestingly different for indies that are trying to break in, in the next few years, is that the people who made these games are now making their follow-ups, and they are going to be made, marketed and perceived very differently,” Gaynor said.

As indie game developers find more success they are held to different standards, and Gaynor thinks they will find themselves in competition with each other for press attention and publisher resources.

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Doc Series ‘Outerlands’ Aims To Chronicle Video Game Culture

on Tuesday, Jan. 28th

“It’s still really hard to sell people on the idea that video games are more than just a toy and a pastime,” Matt Chandronait said to me from across the table of a Santa Monica cafe, “but that they are actually a culture.”

Chandronait (@talkingorange), who works in San Francisco as part of the game industry focused video production company Area 5, was in Los Angeles last week to promote his group’s newest project: a documentary series called Outerlands. The project launched a fundraising cycle on Kickstarter on Janurary 16th.

Area 5 wants to tell the hidden stories of video game culture, overleaping (IS THAT A WORD?) the business and consumer review-focused game coverage and landing on a formula that draws inspiration from public media programs like This American Life and Radiolab. (more…)

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TBS Front Screen

Winter is For Gamers

on Tuesday, Jan. 14th

Fall is usually the time for harvest, but this winter the crop of independent video games has been strong as crowdfunding seeds sewn long ago finally bear fruit.

The first notable release was the pre-Christmas arrival of République, the stealth action game from developer Camouflaj. Today two other highly anticipated, Kickstarter-funded, games launch.

First up–only for campaign backers for now– is the game that began the Kickstarter video game mania: Double Fine’s Broken Age. Split into two parts, the first half of Broken Age will be available for the general public on January 28th on PC, Mac and Linux platforms.

Available to all today is The Banner Saga–which is the work of Austin-based studio Stoic, who I had the pleasure of interview last year in their hometown.


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BEST OF: Austin Indie Game Journey

on Monday, Dec. 23rd

During the spring I was lucky enough to head to Austin, Texas home of one of the most vibrant indie game communities in the world. While there I spoke to a number of developers on the scene, some of which appeared in a story broadcast on National Public Radio.

Of course, not everything makes it onto the air. I interviewed the team at Stoic, whose Kickstarter-funded game “The Banner Saga” is still highly anticipated.

That interview was set up by Zeb L. West, who worked with some of the Stoic team when they were all at BioWare. At that same interview West spoke eloquently about the democratization of video game development.

This trio of stories are my personal favorites of the year.

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To Build The VR Education of Tomorrow One Scholar Turns To The Past

There are plenty of folks in the education technology field who are excited about virtual reality as the next great educational tool.



We’re Closer To Our Photorealistic VR Future Than You’d Think (INTERVIEW)

A look into the virtual world of tomorrow with USC researcher Paul Debevec.


Prepare Yourselves For The Personal VR Video Revolution

Virtual Reality is rapidly approaching a watershed moment.

Ralph Echemendia

Spoiler Alert: Hollywood Isn’t Taking Cyber Security Seriously (LA Film Fest)

Tonight at the Los Angeles Film Festival, squeezed in between movies and red carpet events, a symposium on Cyber Security is being held at the Grammy Museum.

Gumroad Rentals H

Rent Video Straight From Social Media Via Gumroad

The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.