Tag Archives: indiecade

Best Emergent Trends (and Other Things) of 2012

MassEffect3 2012-03-10 05-58-46-15

Despite my best efforts, I have been unable to narrow this list down to anything that is in anyway manageable. It’s been a great year for games- especially indies. At this point I think it’s more useful to look back at certain movements in this year’s releases rather than specific titles.

Naturally, in the course of that, we’re going to be discussing plenty of titles. I started out creating this “game of the year” list believing I didn’t have much to say about this year’s offerings. The more I looked, the more I found was there. This has been a great year for the single-author game; for grassroots and fan-driven projects; for outsiders; and especially for animated discussions about the medium. In this I’m very much in agreement with Michael Abbott– I believe we’re going to look back on 2012 as another important watershed year for games and criticism. The only lingering question I have remaining is– did it sneak up on you too? Or did you already pick up on it months before?

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Burning Invaders: A Return to IndieCade

“I hope one day this thing is huge,” a young games journo tells me breathlessly. He wears a fedora and a pixel tie and I would peg him as not old enough to drink.

I frown. The kid has just finished bragging about “sneaking in” to his first E3 this summer, a so-called industry conference about which I have some pretty strong feelings. E3 is still not back up to its tottering pre-2007 top-heaviness but it’s still horrifically large, unsustainable in its girth and the inertia of its own technological obsolescence. I do not want IndieCade to ever resemble that.

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Space and System in Culver City: A Visit to IndieCade

Reposted from PopMatters Moving Pixels.

Culver City is one of the more curious neighborhoods of the Los Angeles sprawl, a sort of industrial version of Pasadena with much of the filmmaking history as Hollywood, but with only a fraction of its tinsel. Despite being wedged between Santa Monica and downtown, it feels distinctly suburban here, even just a tiny bit upscale–but still definitely middle-class, white-collar knowledge labor, not the town of either executives or bohemians. Even having lived almost exclusively in Los Angeles for the last five years, I’ve only visited two, maybe three times, and never before on (what might loosely be defined as) business.

I knew better than to expect anything on the scale of a major expo. The IndieCade independent games festival is only in its fourth year and is very much defined by its outsider status. While it does deliver a slick presentation, it isn’t the audio-visual heart-attack of E3. The term “adhocracy” –which Naughty Dog’s Richard Lemarchand used to describe his team’s development process at a Saturday panel– would seem to apply well to the overall structure of IndieCade. Games here exist pervasively and at the margins as much as they do in defined spaces, which well suits some of its featured games’ attempts to deconstruct and reconfigure play and space.

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