IndieCade Festival
Oct. 14-16, 2016
Los Angeles, CA

IndieCade Europe
Nov. 18-19, 2016
Paris, France

Submit your game to IndieCade


Enter the 2016 Submission Application Portal

Applications for IndieCade Europe are still open!

Games previously submitted to Festival 2016 will be considered for Europe and do not need to resubmit.
Submissions after June 1st, 2016 are for Europe only and will not be considered for Festival 2016.


IndieCade 2016 Game Submission Guidelines


PLEASE READ SUBMISSION GUIDELINES CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH YOUR APPLICATION



IndieCade Events Open for Submissions


IndieCade Europe 2016:
November 18-19, 2016 | Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers | Paris, France



IndieCade was established to create vibrant public festivals and showcases dedicated to celebrating exciting and innovative work within independent games. As such, we’re excited to announce that applications are now open for the IndieCade 2016 season. We invite independent game developers, artists, and designers from around the world to submit interactive media of all types for inclusion in IndieCade events. Both completed or work-in-progress projects are welcome.

We take pride in hosting events that feature amazing indie games, productive networking environments, spaces for important discussions, and a whole ton of fun! All games are reviewed by a diverse jury of leaders from the games industry, academia, fine arts, and indie development for placement & award nominations at IndieCade Festival. Read our guidelines below (or our Frequently Asked Questions page) to learn more about our submission process. We can be contacted via central(at)indiecade(dot)com to answer your specific questions.


Submission Dates & Fees


Please note Regular Submissions are only eligible for IndieCade Festival. We do not accept submissions for IndieCade East 2016. We offer IndieCade Submission Fee Assistance to a limited number developers and creators in need of financial assistance - click here to learn more.

Early Submission Period (IndieCade Festival):
CLOSED | Fee: $80

Regular Submission Period (IndieCade Festival):
CLOSED | Fee: $110

Late Submission Period (IndieCade Festival):
CLOSED | Fee: $150

Post-Festival Submission Period (IndieCade Europe):
Deadline: July 1, 2016 11:59PM PDT | Fee: $80


IndieCade Europe Selections will be notified by September 30, 2016.

IndieCade is an independent organization and our ultimate goal is to bring the eye of the industry & general public to your game. All submission fees directly cover the costs associated with processing your submission and showcasing selected games - see our IndieCade Submission Fee Breakdown section later in this document for more information.


How Submissions Work


Games submitted to IndieCade by the above deadlines are eligible for one of two designations:

Finalists: Games selected, based on scores and reviews by the IndieCade Jury, for our annual IndieCade Festival Red Carpet Awards. Finalist games are also eligible for the IndieCade Festival Audience, Media, Developer, & Jury Choice Awards. They also qualify for future IndieCade East curated showcases.

Official Selections: Games curated by IndieCade Chairs for showcases at IndieCade Festival . Official Selection games are eligible for the IndieCade Festival Audience, Media, Developer, & Jury Choice Awards. They also qualify for future IndieCade East curated showcases.


What You Get For Submitting


All Applicants

All entries submitted to IndieCade Europe receive the following:

  1. Consideration for Official Selection status at IndieCade Europe 2016.

  2. At least one detailed evaluation of your entry by a hand-selected reviewer from the IndieCade Jury.

  3. Two complimentary Tickets to IndieCade Europe 2016 Opening Party.

IndieCade Europe Official Selections

Applicants that are accepted as IndieCade Europe Official Selections receive the following, in addition to the benefits described above:

  1. Two All Access Tickets to IndieCade Europe.

  2. Features and promotions of the entry and team via the IndieCade website, social media channels, publicists, press releases, and more.

  3. Eligible to be selected for the “choice” awards at the event.

  4. Use of a display booth that includes a standard PC computer or console, monitor, headphones, and signs created for the entry (Developers of mobile games may be asked to bring their own devices. Developers of custom installation, pervasive, performance, or other alternative genres should plan on bringing their own specialized equipment, although standard equipment such as projection and display monitors may be provided by IndieCade. Board game developers are expected to provide a playable copy of their game.)


Submission Eligibility


IndieCade welcomes all applications representing any form of interactive media within the realm of independent games. Independent games, as defined by IndieCade, are works that receive funding via its own developers, private investors, crowdsourcing, grants, internal studio funding, or association with a university, school, or nonprofit institution. Games may be published or unpublished, but their development may not be funded by a publisher. If you need assistance in determining your project's eligibility status, please contact central(at)indiecade(dot)com - we will be happy to help you figure it out.

Previous submissions to, or inclusion in, other festivals does not prevent eligibility in any way. Games which were previously submitted to IndieCade may be re-submitted provided they:

  1. Were not IndieCade Award winners in a previous IndieCade Festival
  2. Have undergone significant changes since last submitted
  3. Have a different name that clearly indicates a different version

Disqualified games are eligible for resubmission provided all other submission requirements, including the above, have been met.

IndieCade has an inclusive submissions policy and invites entries of all game styles and genres to apply - including PC, console, browser-based, casual, puzzle, mobile, alternate-reality, big / physical games, installation-based games, mods (provided they conform to game engine licensing agreements), serious games, documentary games, activist games, art games, virtual worlds, "sandbox" games, and more! We welcome games developed by individuals, small teams, large teams, artists, students, universities and schools, non-profit organizations and beyond. We also strongly encourage submissions from diverse creators of any nationality, ethnicity, culture, gender, orientation, age, or experience range. Diversity is encouraged. Innovation is celebrated.

Works-in-progress are permitted and encouraged, but they should include at least one finished, playable level. Please be aware that an unfinished game of merit may be designated as an Official Selection rather than as a Finalist. This is, in part, to allow applicants the opportunity to re-submit their finished work for future Indiecade Festival Red Carpet Awards consideration.

All game content and copyrighted material must be fully owned by the designers / developers of the entry; if outside material is used, legal permission must be secured or your game will be disqualified. If you plan to submit a work that is on a non-standard game operating system (e.g., Linux, Atari, custom hardware), please plan to submit review hardware or host a scheduled evaluation of your entry. If your non-standard entry is chosen as an Official Selection or Finalist, also plan to have a representative on-site during your designated event to be responsible for installation, or to supply hardware with the game fully installed. If your game can not be reviewed or displayed, it will be disqualified.


How To Submit


Step 1

Compete the online entry form and be sure to include the following information:

  • Contact information (please ensure the email & phone contacts entered are accurate, active, and frequently monitored as to not miss communications from our Jury team)
  • Technical contact who is available to respond to troubleshooting and support requests via email within 24 hours
  • Agree to the terms and conditions

Step 2

Applications that are not submitted with a playable entry will be disqualified. All entries sent to us, regardless of format, must be provided, uploaded, or postmarked before their relevant deadlines. You must provide a working version of your game in one of the following formats:

  • Digital Games (non-mobile): Supply a working download link to a free copy of your game OR 6 codes for acquiring your game through a publication portal (e.g. Steam, itch.io). Please note that we do not ask IndieCade jurors to purchase submitted games.
  • Mobile Games: For games on platforms like iOS or Android, please provide codes for use on the App Store, Google Play, etc. OR prepare provision builds via prototyping systems such as Testflight or equivalent.
  • Tabletop Games: For hard-copy games like card or board games, or games meant to be distributed via PDF files, please mail a physical copy of your entry along with a printout of your submission. Note: While we accept DIY and PDF submissions, they must be sent to us pre-printed or pre-assembled and ready to play.
  • Custom Hardware Games: Because of the difficulty in easily reviewing custom hardware games, please follow one of these steps for submitting your game:
    • Mail your hardware to 5566 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016 along with a printout of your application
    • Be available and prepared to give a demonstration at a designated location in your area
    • Provide a list of people without a conflict of interest who can fairly review your game for IndieCade
    • Provide a list of events, venues, and exhibitions in which your game has been, is currently, or will be shown.
  • Other Games: For site-specific games, installations, event or performance based games - including alternate-reality games, big / physical games, or live-action role-playing games, please prepare one of the following for your submission:
    • Be available and prepared to give a demonstration at a designated location in your area
    • Provide a list of people without a conflict of interest who can fairly review your game for IndieCade
    • Provide a list of events, venues, and exhibitions in which your game has been, is currently, or will be shown.
All entries that need to be submitted via physical mail should be sent to:
5566 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Your entry can only be returned to you if you provide return packaging and postage.

Step 3

Submit your completed entry and processing fee prior to our submission deadlines. If you are interested in the IndieCade Submission Fee Assistance program, you must apply and wait your your acceptance notice before you submit your entry.

Early Submission Period (IndieCade Festival):
CLOSED | Fee: $80

Regular Submission Period (IndieCade Festival):
CLOSED | Fee: $110

Late Submission Period (IndieCade Festival):
CLOSED | Fee: $150

Post-Festival Submission Period (IndieCade Europe):
Deadline: July 1, 2016 11:59PM PDT | Fee: $80

Unlike prior years, please note that you will not be able to edit your submission application once you have pressed the submit button and paid your fees, although you may update the contents of your game or download. However, be aware that jury reviews begin upon submission; if you modify your game, you risk having jurors reviewing different versions of your game.

IMPORTANT: Only completed, paid submissions will be considered. Be sure to complete and pay for your application prior to your submission period deadline. Unpaid submissions will not be marked as complete and will not be eligible for review or inclusion at any IndieCade events. IndieCade reserves the right to disqualify entries if any of the submission requirements are not met. Disqualified games will not receive a submission refund.


Submission Translations


If you require language translation assistance for your submission, please send your request to: translation(at)indiecade(dot)com


IndieCade Submission Fee Assistance


IndieCade is a small, independently-run organization which relies on submission fees to maintain and administer our jurying process. However, we do provide full and reduced submission fee assistance to developers who would not otherwise be able to afford our submission fees. Learn more about the program and how to apply on our IndieCade Scholarship page.


IndieCade Submission Fee Breakdown


The submission processing fees are applied directly to costs associated with the submission and reviewing process, including:

  • Software: Development and maintenance of the submissions and jury system software.
  • Reviews: We provide each application a detailed review of their entry created by a hand-picked jury member. Based on feedback we have received about this system, we have an improved evaluation system for 2016 which requires additional funds to support.
  • Server & Operational Costs: A percentage of submission fees also go towards our annual server and storage fees, as well as fees from our payment system.

How The IndieCade Jurying Process Works


Part 1: Submissions [February 1 - April 1, 2016]

Our Regular Submission period is open from April 2nd to May 15th. Once an entry has been submitted and paid its application fee, one of two things will happen:

  • If the entry can be reviewed online, or via a download or coupon, it will be marked as a Complete Submission and will be immediately assigned to three jurors: two regular Jurors and one Review Juror.
  • If the entry has a special format or requires special handling - such as event-based, installation, tabletop, or custom hardware games - your application will be marked as a Pending Submission. This is standard for all special-format submissions. Once we have confirmed access to a playable build of your entry (e.g. your entry is received at our office, at an event attend by jurors, etc.), your application will be marked as a Complete Submission and authorized for jurying.
  • Please note: Physical copies of all non-digital games, including DIY or PDF games, must be delivered to the IndieCade office to be removed from Pending Submission status. Entries that do not provide the materials needed to be marked as a Complete Submission will be disqualified.

If an application is received but no working build of the entry is provided, we will contact the applicant and offer them three opportunities to provide access to a working build of their entry. Please make sure all spam filter settings are set to receive emails from IndieCade. Applications that do not provide a working entry to evaluate will be disqualified and no refund will be provided.

Part 2: Jury Evaluations [February 1 - June 15, 2016]

The jury evaluation period for entries occurs on a rolling basis throughout February 1st - June 15th. Games that can be immediately played and reviewed via online or download means will be automatically assigned to jurors for review. Jurors are assigned entries based on the technical platforms they have available for evaluations and the designated genres-of-interest keywords they designate on their profiles. Jurors are asked to abstain from reviewing games with which they have a conflict of interest. When a juror abstains or cancels their participation, the game is immediately assigned to a new juror. Each entry is assigned to two jurors and one Review Juror, a hand-selected member of the jury who provides an in-depth review of each submission to its applicants. Feedback from regular jurors, while we request it, is voluntary and we cannot guarantee the quality of the feedback.

For special-format entries, or entries marked as Pending Submissions because of special jury requirements, one of the following will occur:

  • The entry may be assigned to one of our Jury Hubs; these are locations where jurors come together to test local multiplayer, special-format, or tabletop entries. If we do not receive a physical or digital copy of your entry to provide to a Jury Hub (if applicable), you risk disqualification.
  • If you have listed events in which your entry has been or will be exhibited, we may assign jurors attending these events to your entry.
  • If your entry is site-specific or performative, we may contact jurors and ask them to visit the installation or performance - or we may contact you with a request to provide a demo of your entry to local jurors.
  • If we are unable to do any of the above, we will contact individuals (with your assistance) who have already played your entry and are able to provide a non-biased review of it

If you entry is, in any way, unusual or unique (which we strongly encourage), we will work with you to assure it is properly juried. In order to do this, we need your help and cooperation by being responsive to email & phone communications from our Jury team.

If an entry has a wide disparity in review scores between any of its jurors, it is assigned an additional juror until a consensus is reached. Additionally, all entries that receive a mark of excellence in any category - even if they do not receive a cumulative high score - are reviewed by additional jurors to ensure the entries are fairly reviewed and considered.

Due to the scale and complexity of this process, we occasionally have significant challenges getting a game properly juried. If at any time you have concerns about the jurying of your game, please contact us immediately via central(at)indiecade(dot)com.

Part 3: Finalist Selection Process [February 1 - August 15, 2016]

At the close of the jurying cycle, the IndieCade Jury Committee - which includes our Jury Chairs, Festival Director, and Festival Chair - analyzes the jurors’ scores and reviews. Top-scoring entries (around 10-20% of total submissions) are then considered by the Jury Committee as potential Finalists using a special scoring algorithm to assess the games.

This algorithm creates a weighted average of the scores submitted by jurors using the following general rules: Jurors have their scores compared to a standard distribution - and those scores are corrected slightly for Jurors who typically score all their entries lower or higher than one standard deviation away from the whole jury’s average.

A total of 36 finalists are selected each year from the pool of submissions. Up to an additional 100 are selected as Official Selections by our Curatorial Committees based on recommendations from the Jury Committee and showcase curator discretion.

Please note: Due to the highly competitive nature of our submissions process and the many wonderful applications we receive, it is possible to receive high scores and even comments from the jurors recommending inclusion in the Festival, and still not be selected as a Finalist. This is because we receive more juror recommendations than we can accommodate. Entries that score highly might be considered as Official Selections. Additionally, if a future iteration of an entry has a stronger chance of being award-worthy, it might also be considered as an Official Selection - giving developers the opportunity to resubmit a further-completed version for awards consideration at a later date.

Part 4: Official Selection Process [February 1 - August 15, 2016]

The Jury Committee also makes recommendations to the curators of IndieCade Official Selections (Digital Selects, Table Games, Big Games, eSports, Night Games, etc.). Recommendations can be made based on high juror review scores or positive juror feedback. Entries that strike the Jury Committee as interesting or noteworthy, or works-in-progress just shy of qualifying as Finalists, may also be recommended as Official Selections. Additionally, curators of Official Selections may exhibit entries that were not submitted to IndieCade, or entries that were previously shown at an IndieCade event and have subsequently been published or further developed.

Part 5: Awards

IndieCade Red Carpet Awards

The IndieCade Red Carpet Awards presents nine innovation-based awards each year at the IndieCade Festival. All Finalist games are eligible for awards in any category. To determine award recipients, all Finalist games are played by each member of the Awards Jury Committee who discuss and consider the scores and comments provided by the Jury Committee. They then determine which Finalist entries should be nominated for each award category. As with regular jurors, Awards Jurors must recuse themselves from discussing any games to which they may have a relationship (e.g. financial stake, friendship, co-worker, student).

This process takes place over a month-long period via a series of remote meetings in which each Finalist entry is discussed in-depth. During this process, the Awards Jury Committee crafts short statements that detail the reasons each entry is selected as a nominee in a given category, as well as notes on why each of the award-selected games will receive their award.

IndieCade Choice Awards

All Finalists and Official Selections are also eligible for the four IndieCade Choice Awards - a series of awards determined via public votes from Festival attendees, media, the IndieCade Jury, and fellow developers of Finalist and Official Selection games. These votes are collected throughout IndieCade Festival. Votes are carefully monitored and only one vote per person is allowed. The winners of the IndieCade Choice Awards are announced at the end of the Festival.

Part 6: Rejection & Acceptance Notices [August 31]

Acceptance and rejection notices to all IndieCade events are typically sent out by August 15th. At this point, one of the following will occur:

Rejections: Applicants will receive a rejection notice that includes at least one juror review and an invitation to register for the IndieXchange, our pre-Festival developer and artist summits at IndieCade Festival 2016. Every applicant is eligible to receive at least two tickets for their team to IXC. Please note that reviews from regular jurors, while we request it, are voluntary and we cannot guarantee the quality of the feedback.

Finalist or Official Selection Acceptances: If an applicant is accepted as either a Finalist or an Official Selection, they will receive an email from our jury system which will initiate communications with our Games Manager. They will assist applicants with all the logistics regarding preparing your entry and team for their IndieCade event. Acceptance includes two All-Access Passes, including IndieXchange invitations for the applicant team. Additional passes may be obtained via special request, based on availability. Accepted applicants may also receive a speaking invitation from our IndieCade Festival Conference Committee.

If an entry is accepted, either as a Finalist or Official Selection, we ask that applicants have one team member available to attend the IndieCade event they are chosen for. If a team member is not available to attend the event, we ask that a representative be sent. Our experience has shown that an entry’s exhibition experience is greatly enhanced by the presence of one of its creators or a representative. However, we understand travel arrangements could be difficult to secure and we would be happy to work with applicants who may not be able to find someone to represent their game and field attending media.

Part 7: Inclusion in IndieCade East

IndieCade East takes place April 29 - May 1, 2016 in New York City. Works shown at this event are independently curated by the IndieCade East Committee through a completely separate process that primarily focuses on works shown at prior IndieCade Festival events. There is no submission process for inclusion of games at IndieCade East, but we do welcome everyone to apply to the event’s Show & Tell, an open demo space where attendees can sign up (first come, first serve) to show their game in two-hour timeslots - information about Show & Tell signups will be announced alongside IndieCade East ticket sale announcements on www.indiecade.com/east - keep an eye out for updates. If the IndieCade East Committee determines they would like to include a game in an IndieCade East showcase, the creators will be contacted no later than February 15th.

Part 8: Inclusion in IndieCade Europe

IndieCade Europe takes place November 18-19, 2016 in Paris, France. Works shown at this event will be drawn from the IndieCade 2016 game submissions. The games will be curated by the IndieCade Europe Committee that will focus on international representation. There is no separate submission process for inclusion of games at IndieCade Europe. If the IndieCade Europe Committee determines they would like to include a game in an IndieCade Europe showcase, the creators will be contacted no later than September 30th.


Thank you for taking the time to review the IndieCade 2016 Submission Guidelines. Find answers to commonly-asked questions on our FAQ page or visit our submissions portal to fill out your application: http://judy.indiecade.com