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IndieCade 2010 Wrap Up: Part Two

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Posted October 19, 2010 - By Kevin Kelly

 IndieCade 2010 Finalists Announced

Recently, Jake Gaskill and myself attended IndieCade 2010, a festival dedicated to showcasing the best and brightest the indie game world has to offer. Between the two of us, we saw a ton of impressive titles across all genres and styles, and we've put together a two-part wrap up of the games that we think you rabid indie games fans need to have on your radars.

Check out the highlights below, and be sure to watch our video coverage of the Indiecade Awards Show, so you can find out who the winners were. In the meantime, keep reading to enter the fun and bizarre world of the Indies.

Blue Lacuna

By: Aaron A. Reed

IndieCade 2010 Wrap Up: Part Two

Interactive fiction lovers may have been saddened by the death of Infocom back in 1989, but you'll be delighted to know that the genre didn't die with that legendary company. Instead, scores of independent game developers have been plugging away, creating their own titles. Which is where we come to Blue Lacuna, which was shown off at this year's Indiecade. There's no better way to describe this game than by calling it a beautifully written interactive novel. If the creators of Zork or Witness had a copy of Blue Lacuna travel back in time and appear on their computers, they would have wept openly.

Created by Aaron A. Reed, Blue Lacuna focuses on a traveler who is set to leave one world behind, and strike out for another. But they have to leave things that they've become tied to behind them, and this leads to a rich and emotional storyline. The game is dynamic as well, featuring dynamic descriptions, characters that change, and a system that asks what sex with and your significant other are in the game, setting the stage accordingly.

Here's an excerpt:

"With hands steady on the surface but somehow trembling deep within the bone, you take down the old battered clothes with something like reverence. As you slip into them you can already feel yourself start to let this world go, and the Call itches more deeply, turning your mind to the next world you must paint, the next place to be."

And so goes the adventure that is Blue Lacuna, which is also free to play on Mac and PC. This is one game that is definitely worth your time. Interested in creating your own text adventure game? Check out Reed's book, Creating Interactive Fiction With Inform 7 and you'll be on your way.

Castle Vox

Sillysoft

IndieCade 2010 Wrap Up: Part Two

We talked about our love for this game in our Future of Strategy Games piece last week, and the same still holds true. This is an addictive simultaneous-turns strategy game where you out-strategize your opponents on a variety of war maps throughout different period in military history. Board game fans will particularly enjoy the game, which mixes elements from both Diplomacy and Axis & Allies.

Castle Vox includes maps spanning many eras and mythologies, such as the American Revolution, Hades, Japan, Napoleonic Wars, Native America, Outer Space, and the Roman Empire. Multiplayer modes allow both relaxed one-move-a-day games as well as fast speed wars. The map editor lets players create their own boards, so we're waiting on someone to create a floorplan of our building for all-out office warfare.

The Cat and the Coup

by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad

IndieCade 2010 Wrap Up: Part Two

The Cat and the Coup is a documentary game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. During the summer of 1953, the CIA engineered a coup to bring about his downfall. As a player, you coax Mossadegh back through significant events of his life by knocking objects off of shelves, scattering his papers, jumping on his lap and scratching him.
 
More a piece of art than a real game, the Cat and the Coup is a brilliant way of shedding new light on an old subject, while turning it interactive in the process. You have to proceed through each one of the "levels" in the game by having the cat do something particular, and throughout the game you're learning about Mossadegh's life and the CIA coup that eventuallly removed him from power. Very engaging and surprisingly haunting.
 
By: Dain Saint, William Stallwood, Ben Ells
 
IndieCade 2010 Wrap Up: Part Two
 
From the creators of the award-winning game Auditorium comes Fractal, a new ambient music puzzler experience. Cluster and Chain your way through a pulsing technicolor dreamscape that reacts to your every move, while manipulating Fractals, creating Blooms, and expanding your consciousness at 130 BPM. At the surface, it is a mere puzzle game, but as you dig deeper, untold dimensions of expression unfold. Intuitive but complex, challenging but not harsh, Fractal is a truly engaging experience.
 
Remember Hexic, where most of you probably got your very first Xbox Live achievement? Fractal is a bit like that, but you're not pushing directly on the fractals. You're pushing on the spaces around them to slide and rotate them until they become blooms. But the problem is, you only get a limited number of pushes per level. Sometimes you'll see a very complicated level that says "4 Pushes," and immediately you'll think it's not possible. But that's where your OCD will kick in and force you to play. At $9.99 for Mac or PC, it's an addictive puzzler with beautiful music that'll keep you engaged for a long while.
 

A Slow Year

By: Ian Bogost

Not every game is meant to be played. Does that sound strange? Maybe. But it's definitely the focus of Ian Bogost's A Slow Year. It's a collection of four games, each meant to represent one of the seasons. It's not a game you play, per se, but you are meant to experience it, and the title actually ships with a book full of machined haikus. Some of which actually are meant to work as instructions that tell you how to "play" the game.

What's really nifty about A Slow Year is that it was built on Atari 2600 software, and you can actually order it as a custom cartridge, or purchase the book where it comes on a disc with Atari 2600 emulation software. Bogost is definitely a lover of the 2600, having written Racing The Beam, all about the Atari VCS, and A Slow Year is both a love letter and a pensive look across the winter landscape for the system.

Creaky Old Memory

by Frederik Andersen and Carina Randløv

Creaky Old Memory has you driving a little old lady named Tatiana around cluttered levels, trying to reassemble the disheveled pieces of her past. Each level involves Tatiana attempting to hang pictures back on her walls, and then figure out how these pictures affect the organ that she needs to play to advance each level. Confused? Don't be. Well, unless you're having issues with your own Creaky Old Memory.

On paper, I realize this sounds a bit wonky, but it's actually a charming little game that moves at a deliberate pace. In an age of twitch games, it's a nice change of pace. Parents and older games may be more intrigued by this, 

Be sure and check out our Indiecade Wrap Up: Part One for the rest of the games that caught our eye.

IndieCade 2010 Wrap Up: Part Two
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