The USC School of Cinematic Arts hosted the ninth annual IndieCade independent games festival for the first time in the festival’s history. This event, lauded as the Sundance of video games, was held at USC due to the University’s top-ranked interactive media and games major. USC students were able to attend the festival and observe its events from Oct. 14 to Oct. 16.
The event brought gaming industry leaders, independent creators of video games, aspiring gaming professionals, developers and passionate players all to the SCA grounds.
This festival is packed with all-day, all-night events that celebrate nationwide independently developed games. It is a unique chance for the public to play, preview, learn about and interact with development teams from over 200 indie games. These games are the most innovative and cutting-edge of the industry from all around the world.
With booths that surrounded all of the SCA buildings, curious non-gaming students peeped their heads and walked around inquisitively. There was even a booth in the main lobby where attendees and bystanders could play a video game with robots for free.
Signature events and highlights included think:indie, GameU, IndieXchange, Night Games, IndieCade Awards, speakers and networking. GameWalk was the center of the festival because it showcased about 40 games selected by the IndieCade committee for their creativity and technological innovation — for example, virtual reality. The Night Games took place during the evening when attendees could play multiple games.
These games are played on a giant screen in front of an audience — a chance for festival goers to showcase their skills. Speakers included Tessa Blake, an award-winning filmmaker; Emmalee Garrido, an award-winning gamer; and Rand Miller, co-founder of Cyan.
The entirety of the festival strived to provide a platform of exposure for independent game developers. As said in its purpose statement, the festival “encourages, publicizes and cultivates innovation and artistry in interactive media, helping to create a public perception of games as rich, diverse, artistic and culturally significant.”
“My favorite part of Indiecade was stumbling upon games happening around me. Not just video games but physical games, some with full narrative,” said Esther Bharier, a senior majoring in interactive entertainment. “It’s an amazing opportunity for students in my major because some of our professors help organize it or submit games, so we have all the tools to submit games to the festival.”
Video games are not to be limited by their stereotype in society. Video games are not just played in basements, and they are no longer developed by just men.
The gaming industry is vastly growing and becoming more diverse, and IndieCade is an example of this transformation.