IndieCade Festival 2015 Awards Honor the Best Indies of 2015

IndieCade, the premier international festival of independent games, honored the winners of the 2015 IndieCade Awards at an event last Thursday evening, during IndieCade Festival 2015 in Culver City. In addition, the annual ‘Choice Awards,’ which are voted on by the attending media, developers and audience, were also presented.

This was our biggest and best IndieCade Festival ever and our amazing award winners reflect the incredible growth, creativity and diversity among indies that the Festival aims to foster, said Stephanie Barish, chief executive officer, IndieCade. Never before have independent developers been so critical to the health and success of the larger game industry, and we’re proud to celebrate and honor so many of the best the world has to offer.

Details on the award winning games can be found online on the IndieCade website

Winners in each category included: 

Trailblazer Award

BRENDA LAUREL Brenda has worked in interactive media since 1976 as a designer, researcher, writer and teacher. She also worked in research labs at Atari, Interval Research, and Sun Labs where she was a Distinguished Engineer. She co-founded Telepresence Research, a VR research and production company, in 1989 and based on her research in gender and technology at Interval Research (1992-1996), she co-founded Purple Moon in 1996 to create interactive media for girls. She designed and chaired the Graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (2001-2006) and the Graduate Design Program at California College of the Arts (2006-2012). Most recently she served as an adjunct professor in Computational Media and research associate in the Digital Arts and New Media programs at U. C. Santa Cruz. As Principal of Neogaian Interactive, her current work focuses on design research and strategy focused on helping clients incorporate diversity, social justice and earth justice in their work.

The Grand Jury Award

HER STORY [pc/ios ] by Sam Barlow: a crime fiction game that takes place entirely on the desktop of a 90s era police computer. Players search through a database of interview room video footage to piece together the story of a woman questioned seven times by the police. Players type words and the database checks them against her testimony, returning the clips where she uses those words. Watching clips, picking up on words and phrases, players take their own non-linear route through the story. 

The Visual Design Award

MEMORY OF A BROKEN DIMENSION [PC] by XRA: The emulator of obscure research software is spreading across the internet, origin unknown. Following a trail of files littering the RELICS virtual desktop; the player must trespass into the ruins of a fragmented world, suspended within a frozen data stream.

The Audio Design Award

MEMORY OF A BROKEN DIMENSION [PC] by XRA: The emulator of obscure research software is spreading across the internet, origin unknown. Following a trail of files littering the RELICS virtual desktop; the player must trespass into the ruins of a fragmented world, suspended within a frozen data stream.

The Game Design Award

LINE WOBBLER [PHYSICAL GAME] by Robin Baumgarten: a one-dimensional dungeon crawler with a custom wobble controller made out of a door-stopper spring and a five meter long ultrabright LED strip display. The entire game runs on an arduino, including sound, particle effects and 120+fps. The player navigates obstacles and fights enemies to reach the exit of a series of increasingly difficult levels. Movement is controlled by bending the Wobble controller left and right, while enemies are attacked by flinging the spring.

The Story/World Design Award

DONUT COUNTY [PC] by Ben Esposito: a whimsical physics toy that explores negative space by giving players control over a hole in the ground. Every time you swallow something, the hole grows a little bit bigger. Play with the characters and objects (all driven by physics) to devour everything in the scene, combine objects for surprising effects, and solve puzzles by launching objects back out.

The Technology Award

FABULOUS BEASTS [IOS/TABLETOP] by Sensible Object: Drawing on the laws of nature and the stories of creation myth, Fabulous Beasts is a digital / physical hybrid world-building game for two players, where every game is different and every world unique. Players take turns to stack objects into a balancing tower. Through the sensing platform the tower becomes the foundation of the digital ecosystem, which plays out wirelessly on a nearby tablet. Care must be taken when choosing which piece to add, as only a stable tower will ensure a sustainable world.

The Impact Award

CONSENTACLE [tabletop/CARD GAME] by Naomi Clark: a cooperative card game about trust, intimacy, and communication where two players take on the roles of a human being and a tentacled alien trying to negotiate a romantic encounter. Players draw and play cards that let them earn and invest tokens that represent trust and satisfaction in this inter-species liaison. Gestures, eye contact, divining your partner’s intentions and next moves, and salacious (but not explicit) illustrations on the cards all play a role in non-verbal communication and guesswork.

The Interaction Award

TRIBAL & ERROR [PC] by Grotman Games: You’re a robot sent back to observe the ancient times, but the Ice Age is coming and to save humanity you need to learn their language first. Observe, repeat and master the cavemen tongue. You observe and copy Cavemen symbols. Repeat symbols to the Cavemen in order to figure out their meaning. Translation can be added by your own interpretation and can be used to teach them new skills.

The Jury Special Recognition Award

RED & PLEASANT LAND [TABLETOP RPG/BOARD GAME] by Zak S.: a supplement for old school pen & paper role-playing games that allows you to play in a distorted world inspired by Lewis Carroll and inhabited by warring vampire lords, or any other place that might require intrigue, hidden gardens, inside-out-rooms, scheming monarchs, puzzles or beasts, liquid floors, labyrinths, growing, shrinking, dueling, broken time, Mome Raths, blasphemy, croquet, explanations for where players who missed sessions were, or the rotting arcades and parlors of a palace that was once the size of a nation.

Winners of the annual Choice Awards included:

The Audience Choice Award

BADBLOOD [MAC, PC] by Winnie Song: a violent stealth game for two. Find your unique style of murder in this intimate and visceral local multiplayer, and outwit your neighbor. Same bloody field, different bloody perspective. Hide, seek, and kill.

The Developer Choice Award

ROSE MACBETH by Wise Guys Events – “Rose MacBeth, Rose MacBeth, searched for her sister, Elisabeth ran through the graveyard, scared to death and that was the end of Rose MacBeth”

The Media Choice Award

CODEX BASH [PC] by Alistair Aitcheson: a problem-solving installation using four custom-made wireless buttons. Players must solve coded messages to determine the correct sequence for pressing the buttons before the virus reaches the mainframe. To find the sequence they have to decipher jumbles of symbols, solve a tangled maze or find clues in maps and circuit diagrams. Real-world props need to be used in the puzzles, and encourage the player to think outside of the screen and even recruit people watching to help them.

The IndieCade Festival has proven itself as the spotlight location for the best, the brightest, and the most inspired independent games in the world, and annually welcomes some of the most innovative and artistic developers in the industry. Past festivals have included games that have gone on to change the industry, including Braid, Flower, Johann Sebastian Joust, Skulls of the Shogun, and Towerfall among others.  

Mike Hudson

Mike Hudson is a Lead Cyber Security Analyst living and working in Kingston Upon Hull. With extensive experience in Microsoft and Apple technologies, ranging from desktop OS’s to Server OS’s and hardware. By day working as part of an infrastructure team, and by night ridding the world of IT issues through blog posts..

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