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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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