Anywhere & Everywhere
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WINNER – Innovation in Interaction Design
Innovation in Interaction Design honors the specialized artistry and innovation required to engage with games on a new level. This may be in the form of original controllers, unique interface design, or bold new game mechanics. At its utmost, the Interaction Award acknowledges a work that asks us to reconsider the ways in which we play.
“Honoring the craftsmanship and innovation behind unique interaction, hardware, and system design.”——
The Telelibrary is an interactive, literary telephone adventure for an audience of one. Part Theater, part game, and part self-care, this unexpected page turner is just a phone call away.
In the Telelibrary, the phone tree—that robotic feature of everyday life—turns into a surprisingly fractal exploration of what it means to be human. The real life accomplishment of unlocking new branches becomes a magical in-game achievement that slowly reveals the community of humans navigating and interacting with the same telephonic structure. The subtle design enables this solo experience to feel truly multiplayer and reveals how modern distributed communities emerge and interact. The IndieCade jury commends this innovation.
WINNER – Innovation in Experience Design
Innovation in Experience Design honors a game that provides a unique, curated experience. This can come in the form of a rich narrative or be entirely ‘story-less’. It takes the player on an emotional arc that can’t be had anywhere else.
“Honoring works which transport and transform the player through a skillfully crafted experience.” ——-
Blackhaven is a first-person narrative mystery that follows Kendra Turner, a college intern who uncovers a trail of secrets and misdeeds while working at a historic plantation museum.
In Blackhaven, players are narratively driven to roleplay a very specific experience, while encouraged to mechanically explore a very specific place, unveiling layers of personal and national history that help make pointed realizations about modern life and its roots in the past. The game creates a surprising new experience by delicately balancing its detailed aesthetics and unobtrusive mechanics around this simple narrative that ties each element together into a surprising and exciting new experience. The IndieCade jury commends this innovation.
Before Your Eyes
WINNER – IndieCade Jury Prix
The IndieCade Jury Prix Award is for a game the Awards Jury wishes to confer honor for separating itself from the pack through its craftsmanship, innovation, and /or design.
“Honoring the game that impresses and surprises with depth, innovation, and artistry.”—–
An emotional afterlife adventure where you control the story—and affect its outcomes—with your real-life blinks.
Before Your Eyes takes an exciting mechanic and dives deep into the ways it can be used to create challenge, emotional arc, and meaningful interaction. It supports it with beautifully executed aesthetics that expand and support the ideas being explored by the central mechanic. This creates a wonderfully fresh and unique experience through the careful and innovative application of design to each and every part of the game. The IndieCade jury commends this innovation.
WINNER – IndieCade Grand Jury
The IndieCade Grand Jury Award represents the best of IndieCade’s best. This is the one game out of all the festival nominees, and the hundreds and hundreds of submissions to this year’s festival, that not only captures how far independent games have come, but how much farther they can still take us.
“Recognizes the game among our nominees bringing together the best qualities of this year’s festival.”——
Blind Drive is an audio-based black comedy action arcade game. 1st person hyper-realistic audio adventure meets fast paced arcade gameplay, driven by an insane B-movie plot.
Blind Drive takes an absurdist premise, models it both deeply and broadly, and delivers on its promise through its greatest constraint – delivering feedback and game state almost exclusively with aural information. Through this highly polished channel, all of the game’s elements come together for an insanely funny and truly innovative gaming experience. The IndieCade jury commends this accomplishment.
Nathalie Pozzi &
WINNER – Bernie DeKoven Big Fun Award
This annual honorary award was created in collaboration with Bernie DeKoven, to honor his legacy and to recognize creators significantly furthering the field and impact of new, big, and physical games. We love big, pervasive games, because of they way they bring people together and forge connections on a large scale.
“Honoring big and pervasive games and the standout creators who bring them to life.”—–
Nathalie Pozzi is an Italian-licensed architect and the principal of Nakworks, an interdisciplinary design studio based in New York, exploring the critical intersection of space, material and culture.
>>> https://www.nakworks.com/ // @nakworks
Eric Zimmerman is a game designer and Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center. He designs games on and off the computer that invent new forms of play.
>>> http://www.ericzimmerman.com/ // @zimmermaneric
Over the last several years, Nathalie and Eric have designed a series of large-scale game installations that are part architectural sculpture and part interactive performance. Their collaborations have appeared at events and exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, as well as in Paris, Dublin, Moscow, and Los Angeles.
WINNER – Trailblazer
The IndieCade Trailblazer Award is an honorary prize given to a working creator who has made both great contributions to the field of games and captures the independent and pioneering sprit. The Trailblazer award is for distinguished accomplishment over a career of creation, and recognizes those personalities without whom many of us would have never fallen in love with the field.
Peter Adkison has worked as a serial entrepreneur in the tabletop games industry since 1990. His first business was Wizards of the Coast, which he founded in 1990. During his 11-year tenure as CEO, Wizards published Magic: The Gathering, acquired and relaunched Dungeons & Dragons, and brought the Pokémon trading cards out of Japan to the rest of the world.
After leaving Wizards he acquired the Gen Con tabletop games convention which he still owns (www.gencon.com). Under his ownership, Gen Con has grown from 18,000 unique attendees to 68,000.
At age 50, Peter Adkison decided to change careers and follow his dream of becoming a filmmaker. After a couple of experimental projects, Adkison has decided to focus his efforts on Chaldea, a fantasy web series that combines live action film with comic art (www.worldofchaldea.com).
Peter is married to Dee Fenton.
>>> www.gencon.com and www.worldofchaldea.com // @gencon and @worldofchaldea
Thorsten S. Wiedemann
WINNER – Game Changer
IndieCade’s Game Changer Award celebrates an individual who has impacted the gaming landscape in a significant way, a positive disruptor who has has brought a paradigm shift to our community. Whether it’s advocating for independent developers or creating space for conversations to take place, a Game Change is someone who makes us proud to be part of the industry.
“An individual whose extraordinary contributions to games deserve special acknowledgement.” —–
Thorsten S. Wiedemann is artistic director of A MAZE. since 2008. He produces and curates under the international arthouse label A MAZE. festivals, exhibitions and workshops on the intersection of games, digital arts and playful media. With “A MAZE. / Berlin” and “A MAZE. / Johannesburg (until 2017)” he created two annual festivals to present independent and alternative games culture and to connect Europe, Africa and the world. He generates fresh and exciting formats like the A MAZE. Bazaar – Arthouse Games Market, A MAZE. Magazine, A MAZE. Train Jam in South Africa, A MAZE. / SPACE – 3D Online Multiplayer Culture Experience, the A MAZE. Train Station in VRChat that gives room for experimentation, collaboration and exchange. Thorsten established since 2012 the A MAZE. Awards, which goes to artistic and groundbreaking works in six categories. His focus is on the interdisciplinary and diverse discourse about the medium of the 21. century. He gains to fill the gaps between playful media, art and technology. He lives and works in Berlin.
WINNER – Performance
The Performance Award honors a unique or particularly sublime performance: voice, motion capture, video, live and more. As games grow in cultural weight and professional development, the field of independent development has involved a larger variety of artists from all disciplines. The brilliant pacing, empathy, and understanding of the best performers have been harnessed this decade to make some of the most arresting play experiences we have ever seen. This award celebrates the actors practicing their incredible craft in the field of play.
“Honoring the craftsmanship and artistry of vocal and physical performers elevating works of interactivity and play.”——
Meet Danny. Danny has a monster in his closet, and he’s calling you for help. Simple, right? CLAWS is a one-on-one interactive thriller experience, performed live via a call to your mobile phone.
CLAWS’ intimate solo player interactive experience is carried by the playful and masterful performance of the young man on the other end of the phone. The subtle blend of improvisation response, structured narrative, deeply real performance and total player freedom (within the constraint of voice) creates an innovative and unique experience that suggests a whole genre of immersive games waiting to be played by anyone, anywhere. The IndieCade jury commends this innovation.
WINNER – Systemic Design
The Systemic Design Award honors the craft of leveraging randomness and algorithmic content or behavior to create unique and innovative interactions. Systemic Design is a growing skill with new discoveries made in many fields related to game development – graphics, narrative, level design, meaningful randomness, artificial behavior, and more. This award celebrates the amazing design of procedural elements that drive discovery in the field of play.
“Honoring the craftsmanship of algorithms and procedures that help create innovative and responsive works of interactivity and play” ——
Dice Legacy is a dice-based survival city builder set on a mysterious ringworld. Roll and use dice to gather resources, construct a settlement, survive the winter and defend from an unknown menace.
Dice Legacy’s survival builder layers an engaging array of ideas and mechanics to emerge a surprising experience. The delicate balancing of a physical ring world against the constraints of resource generation, the intertwined potential and limitations of your dice as workers, and the narrative resonance of the tools that resist the randomness at the heart of the games systems all harmoniously blend to evoke survival in a wholly unique and engaging way. The IndieCade Jury commends this accomplishment.
Cook, Serve, Delicious 3!?
WINNER – Audio Design
The Audio Design award honors the craft of auditory engagement, used to drive interaction and build theme, context, and meaning. Games have only begun to scratch the surface of music as feedback, audio as generator of meaning, and the power of audio to guide interaction and connection. The craftspeople creating deep emotion and meaning in the audience through thoughtful and powerful audio are driving innovation in what games talk about.
“Honoring the craftsmanship of music, procedural sound, and auditory feedback used to create meaning and emotions in environments and experiences.” ——
Cook, serve and manage your food truck as you dish out hundreds of different foods across war-torn America in this massive sequel to the million-selling series!
It’s been said that we eat first with our eyes, but Cook, Serve, Delicious 3?! serves up a series of aural delights to go with its fantastic visual feasts. The crisp sound design delivers pitch perfect audio at every possible juncture – audio cues, soundtrack, and voice over all delivering the core experience in a lush wall of sound. The IndieCade Jury commends this accomplishment.
WINNER – Visual Design
As games grow across boundaries, platforms, and formats, the craft of animation and art are harnessed in an ever growing number of ways. The delicate work of creating a living, breathing world through design of environments, the movement of characters, the color of the sky, the shape of the text and icons, and more has become a defining field for games and play. The Visual Design Award celebrates accomplishment and innovation by these masterful artists.
“Honoring the craftsmanship of animation, modeling, and more used to create worlds, meaning and emotions in playful experiences of all kinds.” ——
A lovingly hand-penciled survival horror tale that follows a young man who travels to a dark, secluded valley of the Alps to uncover the mystery of his grandfather’s death.
Mundaun’s haunting Swiss folktale is uniquely and meaningfully delivered by its unique pencilled aesthetic. Its hand-drawn mountains are the theater of a horror mystery. The meticulousness of its art style echoes in the interactions themselves, highlighting the horror in the mundane. This deep interplay between visual design and game design is powerful, and the beauty of the images themselves immerse the audience in an incredibly specific world and mood. The IndieCade Jury commends this accomplishment.
Field Guide to Memory
WINNER – Live Action
The oncoming frontier of play and experience design includes the amazing worlds of immersive theater, themed experience, virtual and augmented reality spaces, escape rooms and more exploration of bespoke, physical experiences often designed for groups of people and social engagement. The Live Action award rewards experiences innovating in these spaces and creating magical new spaces for play.
“Honoring works which leverage spaces and human bodies in space to create playful, crafted experience.” —–
Field Guide to Memory is a solo keepsake journaling game about legacy, wonder, cryptids and the vastness of a human life, where the player creates a physical artifact unique to their experience.
A Field Guide to Memory asks players to draw and write, creating a customized artifact while moving through the larger world and playing the game. Shared prompts lead to wildly divergent experiences and recordings, which players can share with one another, creating a communal roleplaying experience unlike any other. This fresh expression of human activities in a structured interactive layer innovatively creates a shared expression space that we all need in these demanding times. The IndieCade jury commends this innovation.
Alice is Missing
WINNER – Tabletop Design
Staring across a board, a hand of cards, or even a chaotic pile of detailed paper notes, games played at the table, often with friends, leveraging the imagination of players to create unique and companionable experiences is the heart of games for many of us. The Tabletop Design Award celebrates the indie tabletop games of the year that innovate, surprise, and delight the heart.
“Honoring works crafted to be played with words, paper, and objects, leveraging the human imagination as a processor and human companionship as a reward.” ——
Alice is Missing is a silent role playing game about the disappearance of Alice Briarwood, a high school junior in the sleepy Northern California town of Silent Falls.
Alice Is Missing is a suspenseful, innovative hybrid role-playing game for pandemic times. It’s chat friendly format uniquely builds a sense of community, which the game balances against the aesthetic, tone, and content to create a gripping experience that enables deep engagement with a difficult subject. Its clever use of tabletop mechanics and tools supports this mission while innovating the approach to what a tabletop game can be. The IndieCade jury commends this accomplishment.
Out for Delivery
WINNER – Impact
The Impact Award honors a game which explores social, cultural, and/or political issues in a whole new way. It may take us out of our comfort zones, and confront us directly on social progress yet to be done, or mark a real change in the industry. Impact isn’t simply about diversity or doing good in the world. It can be creating new access points for unlikely players engaging with unlikely topics, new points of connection for people across the globe, or new shared experiences that resonate in our modern culture.
“Honoring works that seek to expand understanding, compassion and insight, with a focus on changing the world we live in through the practice of play..” —–
A 360° interactive documentary. The slice-of-life story follows a food delivery courier in Beijing on January 23, 2020, the day before Lunar New Year’s Eve and the day Wuhan shut down due to COVID-19.
Out for Delivery draws from field research on rural and urban Chinese lives impacted by the speed and brutality of urbanization; it documents, in video game form, an important issue seldom seen in any medium. The skillful amalgamation is an exciting gesture towards works that offer playful approaches to documentary storytelling, making deep and difficult topics approachable in a meaningful way. The IndieCade Jury commends this accomplishment.
WINNER – Narrative
As games grow across boundaries, platforms, and formats, an ever growing array of narratives are communicated in an ever growing number of ways. The delicate art of creating a living, breathing story through design of spaces, characters, conflicts, and more has become a defining art for games and play. The Narrative Award celebrates accomplishment and innovation in this amazing and emergent art of interaction driven narrative.
“Honoring works innovating the ways that we communicate meaning and play with stories.”—–
HoloVista is a mixed reality social media simulator reminiscent of a near-future Instagram. As you explore a mysterious house in the game, it’s getting to know you too – better than you know yourself.
Holovista leverages the user interfaces of our modern daily lives to paint a wildly beautiful and evocative story set in a future that feels unknown and inviting while being deeply recognizable. The integration of the narratives of modern life into telling this story are adroit and insightful, creating a story that is both deeply personal and bitingly aware of the world it is being played in. The IndieCade Jury commends this innovation.
You are the catalyst for change in a music-driven world that combines the sound of musical notes into puzzles using timing, dexterity and agility.
A journey from the void to the origin of life.