Here’s what went down at IndieCade 2016

This past weekend, IndieCade 2016, the International Festival of Independent Games,  was hosted by the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, California. IndieCade can be best described as a more intimate, smaller, and more casual Game Developers Conference (GDC). For those unfamiliar with GDC, it is an annual gathering of game developers where awards are handed down, talks on game development techniques are given, and games of all development styles are demonstrated. The main difference between the two events is that while GDC includes all games, IndieCade aims to raise the profile of the indie game development community. An aspect of these two events that sets them apart from more marketing focused events like E3 is the prevalence of currently available games. Many of the games available to play at IndieCade have already been released and are available to purchase. Conversely, another way to differentiate IndieCade from other games conventions is the presence of experimental or artistic games that are not really intended to go on sale.

The venue at USC was new this year and seemed a bit more organized than previous IndieCades, with different rooms housing the various games comprising the festival’s awards categories. In addition to the official IndieCade Awards games, some of the festival grounds were given over to sponsored games on the PS4 and PS VR platforms, Epic’s Unreal Engine, and a room devoted to accessible games that were not eligible for awards.

The atmosphere of this year’s IndieCade was a bit more sedate than in years past. Mostly due to the size of the new venue. The previous venue was a parking lot in Culver City, California and was both more open and compact than the School of Cinematic Arts. In previous IndieCades, the event felt like one big party celebrating games. This year the event felt more academic, as if the campus environment were imposing itself on the festivities a bit. One aspect of the festival venue that was clearly superior over previous years was the facilities for keynotes and the E-sports showcase. Attending those two events in an air conditioned room with comfortable chairs beats a hot tent with folding chairs any day.

Day one was quiet and mostly dedicated to set up of the games nominated for awards. For most of the day, only the PlayStation and “Gaming for Everyone” section of the show were open. After setup most game stations saw a bunch of action, but lines were rare due to light foot traffic. To be fair, the first day of the show was a Friday. Basically, to get on a demo, all you needed to do was wait for next game, arcade style.

On day two of the show, everything was fully open, but so were attendee calendars. The rooms hosting demos for award nominated games quickly filled to capacity, and lines formed outside several buildings. While the increased traffic made it difficult to get to see some nominated games, it was helpful to some of the charitable organizations hosted by IndieCade such as AbleGamers and Extra Life. The former raising awareness for the struggles of disabled games enthusiasts and demonstrating specialized controllers and the latter signing attendees up for their twenty-four hour fundraising marathon supporting Children’s Hospitals and taking donations to the local hospital, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.








The final day of the Festival is all about the Awards Ceremony. So without further preamble, here are the results of the IndieCade 2016 awards:

Trailblazer Award

Rand Miller – Creator of Myst and Riven


Game Changer Award

Toni Rocca – Founder, GaymerX


The Grand Jury Award

1979 Revolution: Black Friday

Developer: INK Stories

The Visual Design Award


Developer: Corazon del Sol


The Audio Design Award


Developer: Logan Olson


The Game Design Award


Developer: Capital W


The Story/World Design Award

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor

Developer: Sundae Month


The Technology Award


Developer: Disney Research Pittsburgh


The Impact Award


Developer: Somi (individual)


The Interaction Award

The Order of The Oven Mit

Developer: Inquisiment


The Jury Choice Award

Hyper Light Drifter

Developer: Heart Machine

From Hyper Light Drifter

The Audience Choice Award

Bad News

Developer:Expressive Intelligence Studio


The Developer Choice Award

We Are Chicago

Developer: Culture Shock Games


The Media Choice Award

You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter

Developer: Seemingly Pointless


So that was IndieCade 2016; A celebration of independent game development of all shapes and sizes. For more coverage, check out these previews and features.

For more information on these award winning games, check out this preview of 1979 Revolution: Black Friday and the official IndieCade website

For coverage of some of the Nominees that did not win, check out these Previews.