The IndieCade finalists each year are the perfect antidote to cynicism about triple-A, free-to-play and everything that annoys people about the modern industry.
This year's batch is no exception -- you can read the full list here.
For those unfamiliar with IndieCade, it's an annual event that claims to be the biggest independent game celebration in the States. It takes place every October in Los Angeles -- this year it runs from October 3-6 -- and showcases a variety of gaming experiences. Not just video games, either -- the entire festival is treated as something of a game, with button-collecting, tournaments, e-sports, physical games (think Twister and its ilk) and tabletop board, card and role-playing gaming.
Besides the games that are on display, the festival also plays host to interactive activities and entertainment, guest speakers and conferences, special events and, of course, the presentation of the event's awards.
Speakers this year include self-professed "queer tranarchofeminist" and Rock, Paper, Shotgun contributor Porpentine; Spaceteam creator Henry Smith; Obsidian's Chris Avellone; Braid and The Witness creator Jonathan Blow; visual novel author Christine Love and numerous others. It's pretty fair to say that the speaker list for this year represents an impressively diverse cross-section of the independent developer community, and there's sure to be some interesting discussions to be had on a variety of topics.
The big draw of IndieCade for a lot of people is the games, though, and the list of finalists is an interesting one that, as usual, includes both video games and more unconventional experiences.
Of particular note is a Kickstarter-funded project from London-based design studio Hide & Seek called Tiny Games. Tiny Games is a collection of "location-specific games" that you play in the real world. Delivered both through a real-world presence on signs and posters and a smartphone app, Tiny Games is an attempt to get people playing together using just the things they have on hand -- be it a coaster, a dishcloth or a pencil.
Another interesting-sounding experience in the finalists list is Perfect Woman, a "strategic dancing game for Kinect" from Lea Schoenfelder and Peter Lu at UCLA Game Lab. In the game, you'll make important life decisions by pulling various dance moves in front of Kinect, with your performance subsequently getting easier or more difficult according to how "perfect" the choices you make are.
Or how about BUDLR, a "four-player bomb blasting bonanza" with the curious twist that it's designed to be projected on a wall in a busy place and controlled via text messages?
Lest you're worrying that the finalist list is nothing more than games that might appear to the layman as "a bit strange," there's also a selection of somewhat more well-known titles in the mix, too. The well-received interactive story Gone Home is in there, for example, as is Capybara Games' pixel-art action game Super Time Force, popular "roguelite" Rogue Legacy and creative stealth 'em up Gunpoint. Wii U eShop title Spin the Bottle: Bumpie's Party is in there, too, along with former Ouya exclusive TowerFall, the emotional interactive poem That Dragon, Cancer and wonderful mobile party game Spaceteam.
There's too many games to do justice to in the space of a single article here, but suffice to say the final list is made up of some of the most interesting, creative and well-crafted experiences in the entire independent sector. You can read more about them on the IndieCade site, and you'll almost definitely hear more about most, if not all of them in the coming weeks and months.
Any games that particularly catch your interest from the ones on display? What would you like to see more of? And are there any titles in that list that just turn you off altogether?