Check out some of the IndieCade 2016 Awards Nominees
IndieCade is over and Bit Cultures was able to get hands on time with several of the nominees for some of the Festival’s Awards. It should be noted that several of these works are more art installations than games per se and that they were all experienced in demo form. For more coverage of the show check out these General Impressions of the festival, or this preview of Grand Jury Award Winner 1979 Revolution: Black Friday
Killbox is a two person art installation game in which one player controls an orb in a brightly colored landscape and the other controls a military attack drone. As the orb, players frolic and collect what are essentially Pac Man pellets until the player controlling the drone locates his target and fires a missile. The play session ends when both players have controlled both the orb and the drone. Orb section really nails down the suddenness of how a drone strike would happen in a more civilian setting than we see them typically in games. The drone section is so sterile it is clearly meant to be pretty chilling, aided by the fact that missiles will still be fired if the player takes no action.
The way Killbox is presented with two people in the same room at the same time as an installation is interesting, but it does limit the scope of the impact the piece can have and does feel a bit like preaching to the choir. It is fairly safe to assume that the audience of people willing to seek out the experience of “playing” Killbox are people who already have concerns about drone warfare. Staunch supporters of the United State’s drone warfare program are unlikely to attend an event like IndieCade much less sit down and play Killbox.
Antariksha Sanchar: Episode Zero
Antariksha Sanchar: Episode Zero is a point and click adventure game about Indian culture. The game is very much an old school point and click adventure. Players click on items to investigate them, on doorways, stairs, bridges etc. to traverse the world, and click on other characters to start conversations, long, stilted, practically non interactive conversations. Antariksha Sanchar: Episode Zero has an interesting setting that has never really been explored in a game, but it doesn’t really bring much to the table in terms of gameplay or presentation. It’s an interesting idea that doesn’t seem very polished.
This is My Memory of First Heartbreak, Which I Can’t Quite Piece Back Together
This is My Memory of First Heartbreak, Which I Can’t Quite Piece Back Together is a really neat little story game with an interesting point and click interface. As the title suggests, this game tells the story of one couple’s breakup from the perspective of the young woman of the couple remembering the events later. The game presents these events as a series of scenes that play out without the player’s involvement. After each scene, the player is presented with a series of interactive objects which will launch the next memory once one is chosen. The memories continue until the couple breaks up, after which the game loops back to the first memory. Each time the game is played through the final breakup scene is different. The whole mechanic is similar to the one used in a lot of educational games or training games used by large companies. But This is My Memory of First Heartbreak, Which I Can’t Quite Piece Back Together presents the mechanic so well and tells such a personal story that it really elevates such a simple form of gameplay to something really special.
FRKN WKND is a mobile based slice of life minigame collection. Players take the role of an independent game developer living with his parents. The minigames include typing randomly on a keyboard to program a game, playtesting that same game, surfing an accurately aggressive and hateful fake Twitter, a meditation app, reading text conversation, and rolling, lighting and smoking a joint. In addition to playing the minigames, players can also view text conversations and take phone calls, including calls from your mother. The whole thing is surreal and bizarre and more than a little goofy. FRKN WKND captures the sort of barely productive day that can happen in the modern world where a very short spurt of productive activity is followed by several hours of messing around going back and forth between a couple apps on a smartphone. It does feel a bit incomplete, though, as if this is just one scene from a bigger, more interesting story.
These were just the nominees we were able to get hands on time with; for a full list of the games nominated at IndieCade 2016 check out the IndieCade official website.