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5 Highlights From #Indiecade15

Every year Indiecade hosts thousands of game developers and fans around the world who gather in Culver City, CA to celebrate and play video games. There’s copious amount of gaming across different genres, platforms and environments, real and virtual. The main takeaway from Indiecade 2015? Enthusiasm and renewed appreciation for the medium. Here’s a few examples why:

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5. Line Wobbler

Indiecade looks to be the yearly mecca for gamers looking for something new in games. The selection of nominees at the Firehouse this year showcased new innovations. With that said, Line Wobbler was my favorite out of the assortment. It’s a one-dimensional dungeon crawler played with a unique wobble controller made from a door-stepper string and a several metered long ultrabright LED strip display. Vine below.

For the Indiecade setup, the door-steeper string was slightly modified with a joystick base and topper but mechanics remain the same. You navigate through the colored LED obstacles and fight enemies using timed wobbles in order to reach the exit.

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4. Dames Making Games

At the Intel Games for Everyone tent, I spoke with representatives from the Toronto-based Dames Making Games, a non profit supporting female, gender neutral, and trans folks interested in making video games. It was enlightening. With a bit of time, I played Za Vas (To You), a dating game made from a Game Jam. Za Vas takes the nerve wracking idea of meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time and simulating ‘stress to impress’ in real time. Too often I wondered how games could channel human relationships and Za Vas is a good portrayal of just that.

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3. Virtual Reality Showcase – VirZoom

Virtual reality is the new craze these days and the team behind Virzoom have gone to incredible lengths in their setup to simulate what would it be like to fly on a Pegasus. The bike pedal, fans, and VR headset all work in tandem to simulate the Pegasus demo and it was all sort of jarring. In a good way, mind you. With a physical element of pedaling, the Virzoom offered a imagined but wholly real-like take on speed, especially when prompted to land. I’m interested to see how virtual reality can take the next leap into its own medium but examples like the Virzoom are a great litmus test in the potential of virtual environments.

2. Big Games

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1. Night Games – Pixel Prison Blues

The developers behind Killer Queen showed up at Night Games to debut their latest effort, Pixel Prison Blues. Known for their arcade throwback, local multiplayer social games, BumbleBear Games newest game is a homage to cops and robbers meets Dig Dug, quickly drawing the Indiecade crowd’s attention. Participants take opposing sides and the rounds are relatively quick, depending on either party. The inmate’s objective is to find and capture as many bags of loot to bribe the corrupt warden for escape. The opposing faction, corrections officers are tasked to stop this from happening and must catch every inmate to earn the win condition. The unique component in all of this is the controller, which is played through an smartphone app. Players can direct the character left, right, up, and down in addition to activating power ups. This proved to be a crowd favorite and I am excited to see more of the Pixel Prison Blues experiment in the near future.

All photography by Trevor Stamp. Full Indiecade gallery here.

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