The four day International Festival of Independent Games, better known as IndieCade wrapped up on Sunday. IndieCade, once part of the E3 Expo before being moved to Washington is now held in multiple locations across downtown Culver City. The festival offers a unique opportunity for independent developers to show off and talk about their passion and allows gamers to play and preview the latest innovative indie video games and rub shoulders with the game creators. The event is best described as a Sundance Film Festival of gaming.
IndieCade isn’t quite the rag-tag affair you might think it is despite many of the live action and highly interactive events. The festival kicked off with the awards ceremony, hosted by gamer culture icon, Felicia Day. Though, having the awards at the beginning of a festival may seem counter intuitive, the games are all submitted months in advance of IndieCade. Many of the big companies have gotten involved as well. Sony, a sponsor of the event had a huge tent showing off indie games on their Playstation consoles and software developer Adobe had a smaller tent where they extolled the virtues of their Flash program.
What really sets IndieCade apart though is that it’s really all about the artists who love making games. It’s a forum and sometimes a soapbox for developers to express themselves without the accountants and corporate officers forcing them to compromise. That’s not to say that business is not discussed. Much of the first day’s conferences cover the process of bringing your game through the development and publishing process. Unlike many other gaming events like the L.A. Games Conference and even the E3 Expo, IndieCade is really about sharing artistic vision.
Many gamers are sick and tired of the console publishers that seem to be following the movie business by only putting out sequel after sequel of previously successful franchises. Many of these publishers have also decided to increase margins by removing game manuals from your $60 purchase. On mobile platforms it’s even worse. Just about every title released by a big publisher is designed to figure out ways to keep customers paying throughout the game. Some of them are more cab meter app than game.
Though IndieCade has only been around a few years, it’s an important event that helps to counterbalance accountants and shareholders control of the game industry. For aspiring developers it’s a great tool to get a little visibility for your project and possibly funding. For their own reasons, even the big companies take a look at what’s being offered at IndieCade. Those that just love games get an opportunity to see how the sausage is made at IndieCade and even that is well worth the price of admission.
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