IndieCade 2016 – The Official Award Winners
#IndieCade16 was once again larger than its predecessors, this time taking over the University of Southern California’s legendary School of Cinematic Arts. And this embiggening applied to nearly every aspect of the festival. There were more overall games on display, and the VR presence was much larger than the one featured last year.
Despite the huge presence of new technology (from such VR innovations as SoundStage and Mindshow and the Twitch-powered FPS horror gameshow ICU), there was also an increase in the number of decidedly off-screen experiences: table-top games, LARPing and Room Escapes have always had a presence at IndieCade, but this year brought such productions to the foreground and showed them evolving into even more directions.
The awards ceremony directly reflected this effect, with a bold mix of analogue social experiences taking top prizes: Threadsteaders‘ unique sewing machine-operated version of Catan, Order of the Oven Mitt and its dessert-chomping mechanic and Hamlet-Mobile creating a profoundly intimate theater experience that is unique for each viewer.
Games exploring the dynamics of civil conflict seemed almost connected to one another, including RIOT – Civil Unrest, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday and Keep the Candles Lit).
Make sure to check out our up-front videos and pics from the event on IndieGameReviewer’s Instagram.
IndieCade16 – The Winners
by Disney Research Pittsburgh
Described by IGR’s Adam Fimio as “Settlers of Catan on a sewing machine,” Threadsteading is a two-player hex-based strategy game with a unique interface: a Singer CE-200 sewing machine, complete with embroidery attachment and customized controller. Each player has a unique design, in this case a flower or a spiral, and upon deciding the direction of the next town to overtake, press a directional button. The machines, long distant progenitors of the modern computer’s mechanistic structure, then stitch out the player’s avatar over a hexagonal grid in pursuit of imperialistic glory.
Award for Interaction
The Order of the Oven Mitt
Gird your loins for strategic battle and insulin resistance with this completely edible table game. Who is stuffed to the gills first, must submit to the victor.
Developer’s Choice Award
We Are Chicago
by Culture Shock Games
Delivered as a fairly traditional first-person narrative game, We Are Chicago combines video game storytelling with a documentary approach that attempts to provide a more nuanced view of people of color by focusing on real-life experiences in inner city Chicago.
Award for Story/World Design
Diary of a Spaceport Janitor
by Sundae Moth
Despite the intentionally mundane nature of its premise – janitorial work – this science fiction clean-up simulator won over fans and judges with its psychedelic sci-fi approach to pixel art and setting alike.
Award for Game Design
by Capital W
Turning a cargo van into a mobile theater and bringing game-inspired interactivity to classic Shakesperean drama, this series of short dramatic vignettes – each performed for an audience of one or two people – explores grief and human emotion via an innovative adaptation of Hamlet.
Media Choice Award
You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter
by Seemingly Pointless
This game combines ASCII art and interactive fiction to simulate an adolescent computer user’s first encounter with online pornography. Sound uncomfortable? That’s the intention.
IGR’s Adam Fimio called this smartphone simulator’s approach to government blackmail and the use of private citizens as agents of state intelligence “a cautionary tale for anyone thinking that their social media interactions are private.”
of Cyan Worlds
Cyan Worlds CEO Rand Miller is best known as the mind behind legendary puzzle game Myst and its successors. Miller’s influence on the entire genre of first-person narrative puzzle games can’t be overstated.
Hyper Light Drifter
by Heart Machine
IGR writer Evan FP called this fast-paced but tactical action RPG “a beautifully surreal – if occasionally punishing – experience.”
Visual Design Award
by Corazon Del Sol
It’s only fitting that the 2016 winner for Visual Design is a game portraying the life and influences of three generations of visual artists: developer Corazon Del Sol, her grandmother Eugenia Butler, and her mother, Eugenia P. Butler.
Audio Design Award
by Logan Olson
A complete music sandbox in virtual reality, this application is equally suited to professional musicians and people who just want to bang on the (virtual) drum all day.
Game Changer Award
Toni Rocca (GaymerX, Read Only Memories)
Audience Choice Award
by Expressive Intelligence Studio
This large-scale, installation-based game simulates a historically realized small town via improvisational actors. By tasking players to deliver the bad news of a relative’s death to their next of kin, it also explores emotional connections and the role of death in the contemporary psyche.
Grand Jury Prize
1979 Revolution: Black Friday
by iNK Stories
Emotionally intense but based on true stories and historical facts, this choice-driven narrative game thrusts players into the world of the 1979 Iranian revolution.
Indie-Game-Freak and Adam Fimio contributed substantially to this article and coverage.