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IndieCade Survival Guide: Who’s Who and What’s Where

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Posted September 27, 2011 - By Rob Manuel


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IndieCade Survival Guide: Who’s Who and What’s Where

What’s worse than going to a party and not knowing anyone there? Not being invited. Well guess what, you’re invited to this year’s IndieCade happening in on October 8 and 9 in Culver City, California. We got the invitation out of the way. Now, you just need to get to know some people. Below are five people/groups/games that you need to know about before attending one of the biggest indie game festivals around. I’ll be there too, but you already know me. I mean, we see each other like once a week. You probably can’t take much more than that. Right?

IndieCade Survival Guide: Who’s Who and What’s Where

Gaijin Games

You might not know the name, but you know the series – BIT.TRIP. Gaijin Games takes simple game mechanics, stretches them out in strange directions, and dresses the game up in mind-bending visuals along with a killer soundtrack. Time and time again, you will find these great games gracing the walls of IndieCade as well as a dozen other indie festivals around the world. This year, we get our hands on Bit.Trip.Flux, the final trip for CommanderVideo as he makes his way back home. The return trip also brings back the classic pong-style gameplay of Bit.Trip.Beat. If you get a chance and have a Wii, do yourself a favor and pick up all of the Bit.Trip Complete that little white box can take. Patience and a steady hand will win in these titles, but it’s an abundance of creativity and deep love of gaming that goes into making these great games.

Where to find them: Look for the lights and the dancing crowd in one of the galleries.

IndieCade Survival Guide: Who’s Who and What’s Where

Copenhagen Game Collective

Every group contains their own rowdy bunch of misfits that all the girls love and all the boys want to be. Just like N’ Sync and The Fireside Poets, the Copenhagen Game Collective brings together some of the craziest minds from around the world to ever to apply their craft to games. These bad boys and girls of coding have worked on titles such as Dark Room Sex Game, where up to four people can compete to reach “orgasm” first through rhythmic movement with Wiimotes, or B.U.T.T.O.N., a game where cheating is the only way to win. Johann Sebastian Joust, the title that made it to this year’s IndieCade, puts an iPhone in your hand and enemies all around you. Jostle your opponent’s iPhone and they get taken out, but your little bit of Apple technology is just as sensitive. Copenhagen Game Collective explores the player’s interaction with technology through play, masks, and lots of fun.

Where to find them: You can’t miss them. Colorful masks. European accents. Fawning girls.

 

DICE 2010: Naughty Dog Presentation »


 

Richard Lemarchand

Spend any amount of time with this man and you’ll know how passionate he is about indie games. Last year, I was fortunate enough to talk to Richard about said indie games. He sees the big picture – not just where indie games are going but how they fit within the industry. So when I heard that he would be giving the keynote speech at this year’s IndieCade, I could think of no one better to do it. And with his busy schedule, I’m rather surprised that he can make it. You see, Richard is currently working on his own game – Uncharted 3. Yes, the man who co-chairs IndieCade is also the co-lead designer on one of the biggest games coming out this Fall. If you get a chance, check out the keynote address this year. Richard is one of the most knowledgeable and well-spoken proponents for indie gaming today.

Where to find him: The keynote is on Friday morning. If you can’t make it, look for a rather tall British gentleman playing through some of the best indie games around.

IndieCade Survival Guide: Who’s Who and What’s Where

The Swapper

Sometimes it is hard to stand out among the giants of indie games. This year’s picks blew me away with game like FEZ, Skulls of the Shogun, and At A Distance making the lineup. One game caught my attention this year as I was dissecting the finalists – The Swapper. Imagine a game like Portal where you solve puzzles with a gun, but instead of portals, you shoot you – I mean, clones of you. As much as I want it to be called Michael Keaton: The Game, The Swapper exudes this mysterious and almost ominous presence through both look and design. You’re not just shooting out clones but also moving between bodies, often sacrificing the previous flesh bag for the next one. Like serial killers and farts, it’s often the quiet ones that are the most deadly. The Swapper may just be the surprise hit no one was expecting.

Where to find it: One of the many galleries around Culver City will have it. Look for one with an award.

IndieCade Survival Guide: Who’s Who and What’s Where

Big Games

I like big games and I cannot lie. (I’m so sorry that I just wrote that.) Not everything at IndieCade takes place across from a screen. When the sun goes down, the wild ones come out to play Big Games. These are games that don’t require technology as much as a few friends, a couple of props, and a willingness to act silly. This year, the good gents behind Humans Vs. Zombies, Gnarwhal Studios, lead the charge into the night with more HvsZ, Ninja, and Joust. Just a developers from AAA can learn from indie games, budding developers learn through interaction. Big Games goes to prove that you don’t need a flat screen TV just to have fun.

What To find it: Everywhere. For most of the games, come out after dark on Saturday.

Here’s What You Should Know About Indie Games

What You Should PlayEnviro-Bear 2000

Who is driving? Bear is driving! How can that be? You play as the titular Enviro-Bear in this game as you find yourself in a car and only minutes before hibernation. Run through lakes and bushes to fill up on food. Watch out for badgers. The game plays with real physics as you drive with only one paw controlling the gas, steering, and gearshift. It’s way tougher than it looks but amazingly fun.

What You Should PlayI Wanna Be the Guy

Team Meat, the boys who brought you Super Meat Boy, got their inspiration from this game. If that tells you anything, you should watch out. The game goes out of its way to make every passage seem impossible and throws in a couple of hidden surprises just to add frustration. Stronger men than you have fallen to their knees because of this game. Do you have what it takes to win?

What You Should PlayGravity Bone

This was one of the first games I played that helped me to understand the power of storytelling in gaming as well as helping to start my love affair with indie games. Short but powerful, Gravity Bone puts you into the square suit of a spy who is given missions to carry out at exotic locations such as a dinner party and an office building. To explain any more than that would be spoiling a beautifully created story that you experience through play.

IndieCade Survival Guide: Who’s Who and What’s Where
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