IndieCade 2016 Submissions: Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about submitting your game? See below. For full Submissions info, click here.
If your questions are not answered below, please contact for help or clarification.

General Festival Info Click to expand

What is IndieCade?
IndieCade hosts vibrant public festivals and showcases dedicated to celebrating exciting and innovative work within independent games. Our annual series of events feature amazing indie games, productive networking environments, spaces for important discussions, tons of fun events, and much more.
What are the IndieCade events and when will they be held?
IndieCade consists of three primary events each year:

    IndieCade East: April 29 - May 1, 2016 | Museum of the Moving Image, New York City
    IndieCade Showcase @ E3: June 14 - 16, 2016 | Los Angeles Convention Center
    IndieCade Festival: October 2016 | Los Angeles (Details TBA)

Please see our website for additions to our schedule and updates on our latest events.
NOTE: While games may be submitted to IndieCade Showcase @ E3 and IndieCade Festival, submissions are not accepted for IndieCade East.
I need help from others to develop my idea - can you put me in touch with possible collaborators?
Attending our events is a great way to meet future collaborators. In fact, several IndieCade Finalist games were developed by teams that had met at a previous IndieCade event. You can also submit your work-in-progress idea, as long as it’s playable, to IndieCade Showcase @ E3 and IndieCade Festival. By doing so, you automatically become eligible for our IndieXchange pre-Festival developer summit - a full day of game creation workshops, networking opportunities, pitch sessions, and much more. You may also be interested in sharing your work with the IndieCade Blog, which features weekly highlights of work sent to us by our community. Lastly, keep an eye on our website for news about Indiecade-organized game jam events, they are the perfect place to collaborate and create with other game makers.

Submission Eligibility Click to expand

What do you mean by “game”?
We use the term “game” very broadly to mean interactive entertainment, art, non-digital games, all types of hybrid games, educational or documentary interactive works and more. These can be in established genres, or they can push the envelope of our traditional understanding and definition of the word “game.” It is the role of independent work to push the envelope. Interactive entertainment of all types, including virtual worlds, puzzles, augmented reality games, alternate reality games, big games, installations, interactive narratives, 2D, 3D, mobile, experimental, web-based games, and social games, are all acceptable. We also welcome such alternative content as serious games, documentary games, activist games, learning games, and other forms that fall outside the traditional categories of entertainment and traditional definitions of the term “game.”
I’m not sure if my game qualifies as an independent game. How can I know?
Simply put, independent games are games that come from the heart, that follow a creative vision, rather than a marketing bottom line. Independent developers are not owned by or beholden to outside forces. This means that they generally have smaller budgets than mainstream games, but they also have the freedom to innovate and to enlarge our conception of games and game audiences. Indie developers can run the gamut from artists, to academic researchers, to students, to emerging development studios striving to make the next big indie hit, and to developers with strong AAA backgrounds. They can be one person or a large team. They may be internally funded, funded by crowdsourcing, funded by a studio that produces mainstream games, by an association with a university, school or non-profit institution, funded by grants or private investors, or not funded at all! The key is that they create games based on their own unique vision. Please feel free to contact us via central(at)indiecade(dot)com If you have any questions, we will be happy to help you figure it out.
Does my game need to be finished for me to submit?
No. Understanding the challenges of independent development, works-in-progress are not only permitted, but encouraged.
Does my work have to be a computer game?
No. All games are not only welcome, but encouraged. We look forward to seeing all game ideas and formats - including custom hardware, physical, tabletop, DIY, event-based, performative, or role-playing games and much more.
What kind of games are you looking for?
We are open to all games. IndieCade’s mission is to promote and highlight innovation in game creation. We welcome games across all platforms, genres, and audiences. We celebrate high production value, but with IndieCade, innovation is the name of the game. If your game is highly derivative or only a minor variant on a well-established genre (even a well-produced one), you are welcome to submit it but innovation is a key factor in qualifying for IndieCade. Even unpolished games showing great innovation can be selected. One way to get a feel for the games that we show is to look at the Finalists and Official Selections from past years. This will give you a good picture of the kinds of atypical games that IndieCade has featured in the past.
What if I have multiple short games? Can I submit them as one entry?
IndieCade has long accepted compilations of small games as a single submission from one artist. To ease the burden on our judges, and to clarify how we deal with such situations, we ask that submitters consider the following rules and information:
1) Please only submit the work of a single individual or collective as a single submission. You will still only receive a total of two passes if accepted as a Finalist or Official Selection. Also, if selected, the specific portion of the compilation showcased at any event will be completely at the discretion of the Festival Chairs.
2) To qualify, the individual pieces in your “set” must be short. The set must be of reasonable size in its entirety. Also, be aware that multiple games in a single entry may decrease your chances of success, since the Jury will base their reviews on the entirety of the games in the set - so if any of your games are weak, it may lessen your chance of getting accepted. The Jury will also evaluate the entry on how the games work together as a whole.
Can I submit a game on a mobile device, old game system, linux, etc.?
Yes, you may submit games for operating systems, hardware devices, or mobile platforms that may not have a large install base. In some cases, supplying the hardware needed to play your game might be necessary. We also have a large jury pool who may have access to your game’s platform, so it is crucial that you are as specific as possible when filling out your submission form. Please review our Submission Guidelines for additional details about this process.
I have an mobile (iOS, Android, etc.) game? How do I submit it?
Please provide codes for use on the App Store, Google Play, etc. OR prepare provision builds via prototyping systems such as Testflight or equivalent. Please review our Submission Guidelines for additional details about this process.
Can I submit a tabletop game? And if so how?
Yes. IndieCade is open to games of any platform or format and receives a large number of traditional board, card, and table games. Simply follow the directions in the Submission Guidelines and send a copy (or copies) of the game to the address listed. Your entry must be postmarked by the submission date to qualify. Mailing instructions are within the Submission Guidelines. Note: Your entry will only be returned to you if you provide return packaging and postage.
How do I submit a big game or a physical game?
IndieCade’s submission application caters to game creations of all types and our jury is prepared for this type of review. Since, in these cases, you often cannot actually provide the game, the form has provisions for you to provide documentation of your work, as well as identify where the work may have been played in the past or is currently available to play now or in the future. If possible, the jury will play the game first-hand. If there are any components needed to play the game, you must send those to us and they must be postmarked by the submission deadline to qualify. Mailing instructions can be found within the Submission Guidelines.
Can I submit an existing game or must it be new?
So long as it doesn’t violate any of the rules listed in our Submission Guidelines, your game may be submitted regardless of whether it’s new or old.
Can I resubmit a game that has been rejected previously?
Yes. However, in order to improve your chances, here are some suggestions for resubmitting a previously rejected game:
1) The game should be different than your prior submission. For example, make some changes based on juror feedback. This has proven effective for some games in the past.
2) Change the name of the game or, in some other concrete way, clearly indicate it is different from the previously submitted version of your game (i.e. Game 2.0). This avoids confusion in the event jurors have previously played the original submission through IndieCade or elsewhere.
3) Make sure to select the checkbox in the system that says your entry is a revision of a previously submitted game.
Can I resubmit a game that has been a Finalist or Official Selection in a previous IndieCade event?
Yes, you can resubmit a game that has been a Finalist or Official Selection, but only if it has not won an IndieCade Award. To improve your chances of success, please follow the suggestions above when resubmitting a previously exhibited game (See “Can I resubmit a game that has been rejected previously?”).
Are Festival Submissions open to professional game developers?
Yes, absolutely.
Are Festival Submissions open to non-professional game creators (hobbyists, enthusiasts, etc.)?
Yes, absolutely.
Are Festival Submissions open to studios that also create mainstream games for major publishers?
Yes, absolutely, provided the specific game you are submitting meets the qualifications listed in our Submission Guidelines.
Can I submit a mod an existing game?
Yes, but your entry must not violate any End User License Agreements (EULAs) for the software and you must have the right to submit and display the work. See our Submission Guidelines for more information.
If I entered another Festival, such as The Independent Games Festival, can I enter this one?
Yes, we have no requirements limiting the exposure of your game and are happy to have you included in IndieCade. We’re glad to consider works previously or currently entered at other events. We ask that you include any events where your game has been or will be shown in your submission; this can be helpful as we assign jurors to evaluate your entry during the jurying process.
If my work is part of a school project, thesis or otherwise, may I still submit my game?
Yes, so long as the rules of your school governing projects developed while at the school allow you to do so. IndieCade does not distinguish between student teams and other independent developers. Student teams are eligible for the same recognition. Regardless of how the game is submitted, be it by the students or by the school on behalf of its students, the applicant is required to include the contact information of the original development team. This is crucial for addressing technical issues and other questions that may arise about the entry.
I have a commercial relationship with an IndieCade juror, may I still submit my game?
Yes, you may still submit your game. When these situations occur, we make sure the entry is not accidentally assigned to the juror by our automated jury assignment system - so be sure to enter any concerns you may have on your submission form. Regardless, jurors are required to immediately recuse themselves from any entry that they are assigned in which there may be a potential or existing conflict of interest.
If I am an IndieCade Juror, may I submit my game?
Yes, you will never be asked to jury your own game or any game you have worked on. While we work to automatically recuse any game in which you may be affiliated with from your jury assignments, you must recuse yourself from any assigned entry if there is a pre-existing conflict of interest. Failure to do so will result in removal from the Jury.
How do I sign up to be an IndieCade Juror?
Participation in the IndieCade Jury is by invitation only, and our Jury is carefully curated to reflect a broad range of expertise and backgrounds. If you would like to volunteer to be a Juror, you may seek a referral from an associate who is already a Juror OR send an email to jury(at)indiecade(dot)com with a brief description of your qualifications and 1-2 references from industry professionals.

Submission and Selection Process Click to expand

Why do you charge a fee for game submissions? What am I paying for?
IndieCade is an independent organization. We are probably as indie as you are, if not more so. All fees are applied directly to the development of our submission and jurying software, hardware, server fees, maintenance, and processing costs. In return, we provide the following to all IndieCade submission applicants:
  1. Consideration for Official Selection status at IndieCade Showcase @ E3 2016 (Early Submissions only) and IndieCade Festival 2016
  2. Consideration for Finalist status for the 2016 IndieCade Festival Red Carpet Awards
  3. At least one detailed evaluation of your entry by a hand-selected reviewer from the IndieCade Jury
  4. One complimentary Expo Pass (or equivalent) to IndieCade Festival 2016
  5. Two complimentary passes for the applicant team to the invitation-only IndieXchange, our pre-Festival developer summit.
Where does my money go?
IndieCade is an independent organization and we rely on submission processing fees to support the following:
1) Software development of the jury system: Our jury system has been painstakingly and iteratively developed over the past eight years to create the best possible experience for developers and jurors, and to accommodate the widest range of innovative games. The bulk of our fees go directly to the software development team responsible for creating this system.
2) Server costs: Direct fees associated with maintaining secure servers.
3) Submission processing fees: Direct fees charged by our payment system, as well as occasional fees for expanding our resources to ensure all submitted games receive a fair review.
4) Staff and special handling: A small portion of our submission fees assist in handling of incoming physical or special-format games. For instance, in 2014 we received over 100 board games. Each one of these must be physically logged and tracked at our offices by staff members and volunteers.
Why does the late submission fee cost more?
The entry deadline for standard submissions is April 1, 2015. The jurying process begins as soon as games are received by our jurors, so it requires extra work and software for us to add games after that date. Late submissions are accepted through May 15, 2015. Note: There is absolutely no difference in how the game is reviewed if it is entered late, it simply requires additional work and resources to review.
Will entering a late submission impact the way my entry is judged or anything else?
No. The late submission deadline simply is a grace period for people who cannot complete their submission in time for the regular submission deadline. Submitting in the late submission period does not impact anything about the way the game is reviewed in any way.
May I update my application once submitted?
No, you can not edit your application form once it has been submitted. You may be able to update your game contents / files but you run the risk of jury members evaluating different versions of your game as their evaluation process begins as soon as they receive your entry.
My entry is marked as a “Pending Submission” - what does that mean?
If an entry has a special format or requires special handling - such as event-based, installation, tabletop, or custom hardware games - its application will be automatically 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.
Who reviews the IndieCade submissions?
Each IndieCade submission is assigned a minimum of two jurors drawn from a pool of over 500 industry volunteers representing a wide range of expertise within and outside of games. Additional jurors are added as needed to give each game a fair assessment. IndieCade jurors include past IndieCade Finalists, professional developers from both indie and mainstream game industries, fine artists, researchers and academics, curators, journalists, game writers, and students with established game development history. Based on detailed profiles, submissions are assigned to jurors who have the best possible qualifications and technological infrastructure to review each game. For instance, if your game is an art game or an educational game, we will assign it to jurors with expertise in this area. Additionally, each game is also assigned a Review Juror who writes in-depth reviews of each submission. You may also receive some feedback from additional jurors. While we work hard to ensure that you receive thoughtful commentary, such additional feedback is voluntary, and as such we can not guarantee its quality. We also work to avoid assigning games to jurors with a potential conflict of interest; however, jurors also share the responsibility of recusing themselves from reviewing games for which such a conflict exists.
What intellectual property rules pertain to IndieCade events?
IndieCade does not claim any ownership of your game or any of its associated assets or intellectual property. IndieCade does retain the right to include the work of Finalists and Official Selections in its promotional materials. Entrants warrant that any IP submitted for IndieCade is solely owned by the developers and that any licensed content has been legally obtained. IndieCade reserves the right to deem ineligible any submission that violates the intellectual property rights of others.
Will I receive confirmation of my entry?
Applicants will receive confirmation within one week of receipt of submission. Finalists will be contacted by May 15, 2016. Rejection notices, with included feedback from jurors, will be sent by August 15, 2016.
Will my entry materials be returned?
We can only return entry materials if you supply self-addressed, pre-paid postage and an appropriate box, envelope, or other necessary shipping package. Please also include shipping materials for padding if needed (i.e. bubble wrap and/or foam pellets), and a note requesting that your materials be returned.
Can I replace my entry with a newer and better version after I’ve submitted?
You can not re-edit your application form but you can change the contents of your game at your own risk. Our new evaluation system has jurors being assigned games the moment they arrive in our systems. By updating the contents of your game, you risk having jurors evaluate different versions of it, or you might affect the version of your game a juror might be processing. If you must update your game files, please keep these notes in mind:
1) Updating your build, at your own risk, is free of charge throughout the submission period.
2) Once you have completed your submission application and your game is received, it will immediately be available to the IndieCade Jury for review.
3) There is no guarantee that newer versions of your entry will be evaluated. It is a matter of whether the IndieCade Jury has already looked at your game by the time you have updated your build.
4) If you want to submit a later version of your game that is guaranteed to be evaluated, you must submit the new version as a brand-new IndieCade submission, and withdraw the original application for the game. In this event, you will need to pay a new submission fee. We cannot refund the original submission fee. Please email central(at)indiecade(dot)com for more information about this process.
If my game is chosen as a Finalist or Official Selection, can I show a different version of the game than was submitted?
Yes, if you are selected as a Finalist or Official Selection, you will have the opportunity to show the newest and the best version of your game at the IndieCade event you are selected for.
Can I enter more than one game?
Absolutely! You may enter as many as you like. Each game requires its own submission information in order to be juried as its own game. If you have a series of short games, you may submit those as one game, but realize they will also be reviewed as single entry.
Must I have a working version of my (digital) game in order to submit?
Yes. You must provide access to a working version of your game in order to avoid disqualification. You will be contacted if there are any technical difficulties and it is up to you to respond and help work out the issue. Any submission, even if paid, which does not include access to a working version of the game, will be disqualified. Event-based games can be played by asking jurors to attend an event where the game is already being shown, or by asking jurors to attend a special developer-run jurying session. Board games and other physical special-format games must be physically mailed or delivered to our office to avoid disqualification. Note: Refunds are not provided for entries which are disqualified.
What are grounds for disqualification?
A game may be disqualified if:
1) The game does not meet the eligibility requirements listed in the Submission Guidelines.
2) For digital games: Jurors are unable to access a working version of the game. Our system has a mechanism for our jurors to contact you anonymously with technical problems. If a game does not operate on the specified platform, we will arrange up to three juror reassignments before the game is disqualified. This is why it’s extremely important to include a reachable technical contact with your submission and to respond in a prompt fashion to inquiries from jury(at)indiecade(dot)com.
3) For event-based or installation-based games: If jurors cannot play the game at an existing event or by arrangement with developers via a special jurying session. Again, you must be available to show your game as requested.
4) For board games: If developers do not deliver a physical copy of the game to our offices by the relevant submission deadline; any board game not postmarked by the relevant deadline will be disqualified.
Please note that we do not refund fees for games that are disqualified.
Can my game be disqualified after I submit and send my game to IndieCade?
A game may be disqualified after complete submission if:
A) The game does not meet the eligibility requirements listed in the Submission Guidelines; OR
B) Developers are unable to provide a working version of the game. Our system has a mechanism for our jurors to contact you anonymously with technical problems. If a game does not operate on the specified platform, we will arrange up to three juror reassignments before the game is disqualified. This is why it’s extremely important to include a reachable technical contact with your submission and to respond in a prompt fashion to inquiries from jury(at)indiecade(dot)com.
Please note that we do not refund fees for games that are disqualified.
What will you do with selected and finalist games after the evaluation period is over?
We will post materials, photos, etc. related to all Finalists and Official Selections on our website for ongoing public exposure and inspiration. We are happy to host links to your game’s website, sale pages, Kickstarters, etc.
Will I be notified of Finalist or Official Selection acceptance status before the accepted games are publicly announced?
If you are a Finalist or an Official Selection, you will be contacted before the official announcement so you can begin to make plans to attend the event. All entrants are informed of their game’s status just before the official announcement is made. If your game is accepted, we will also send you official IndieCade acceptance seals before the announcements are made so you can have them ready to post on your web site and other materials upon public announcement.
If a submission is entered under a team name and we win an IndieCade Award, how is it distributed?
The award will be given to the designated team/company/organization OR an individual from the team specified in the team’s application.
Do you have prizes?
Each IndieCade Award-winning game receives a handmade, one-of-a-kind trophy specifically designed for each awardee. IndieCade does not provide traditional prizes or cash for award winners. That said, accepted Finalists and Official Selections do receive a number of added benefits, including two All-Access Passes to IndieCade Showcase @ E3 OR IndieCade Festival (depending on where they’re accepted), access to private IndieCade social events, features and promotions across our website and social media, passes to our IndieXchange pre-Festival developer summit, use of a fully-featured display booth at the selected event, and inclusion in all press releases, publicity work, and more.
I've already submitted my game for Indiecade Festival 2016. Do I need to resubmit to be eligible for IndieCade Showcase @ E3 or other events?
No, every game entered before our Early Submissions deadline of April 1, 2015 will automatically be considered for the IndieCade Showcase @ E3 showcase as well. Note: Getting accepted for IndieCade Showcase @ E3 does not impact selection for IndieCade Festival 2016.
If my game is not selected for IndieCade Showcase @ E3, will it not be accepted to IndieCade Festival either?
No. Inclusion, or lack thereof, in IndieCade Showcase @ E3 does not affect your likelihood of selection for Indiecade Festival 2016.
Can I submit my game to IndieCade Showcase @ E3 only and not to IndieCade Festival?
No, you must submit to IndieCade Festival to be eligible for IndieCade Showcase @ E3.
Can I submit my game to IndieCade East?
No. IndieCade East does not take game submissions. Games shown at East are hand-curated selections of games featured at past IndieCade events. Finalists and Official Selections of IndieCade Festival are often considered for these curations.
What should I do if my game requires a complex technical setup, or multiple players?
Because IndieCade is all about innovation, the IndieCade jury system is designed to accommodate a wide range of game genres, platforms, and contexts. Each juror fills out a detailed profile which includes technology to which they have access, as well as events they have attended or will attend in the future. We then work diligently to assign your game to jurors who have both the qualifications and the technology to review your game. Additionally, we have special jurying sessions for multiplayer and special format games. If your game has special format considerations, such as a live installation-based game, we may contact you and ask you to give a demo presentation to jurors. In any case, we ask that you please respond quickly to inquiries from our jury team and make sure your spam folders are cleared for such inquiries. The most common cause for disqualification is failure to respond to requests to make a working version of your game available to jurors. We need your help in order to avoid disqualification since it is our goal to play your game.
What if my game is installation, location, or event based?
Our evaluation system includes a feature that allows you to include events and venues where your game has been or will be shown. This will enable us to match your game with jurors who have attended, or will attend, these events or venues and have played your game in its full form. We may also ask you to stage a session of your game, bring your game to one of our special jurying sessions, or provide instructions and/or materials for jurors to run a session themselves.

IndieXchange Click to expand

What is the IndieXchange?
IndieXchange (IXC) is a day-long, invitation-only, pre-Festival developer summit that consists of opportunities to showcase games, network, and attend practical developer-focused workshops with fellow game creators. Additionally, one-on-one meetings are arranged between developers who have submitted their games to IndieCade and a variety of different indie studios, funders, and publishers interested in investing in games. All games submitted by developers to IndieCade, who indicate interest in IXC on their application, are eligible to be included in this event. Examples of workshops and panels from the past years include hands-on legal and public relations clinics, technology sessions, pitch presentations and meetings with representatives from IndieCade sponsors such as PlayStation, Nintendo of America, Microsoft, Google, and more - as well as non-profit organizations such as the BBC and the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts). For more information, refer to the IndieXchange section of the website closer to the IndieCade Festival 2016.
When is the IndieXchange?
The IndieXchange is traditionally held on the Thursday before IndieCade Festival begins. It serves as a pre-Festival summit with IndieCade Festival formally beginning the next day.
Can anyone get into IndieXchange?
All developers who submit a game to IndieCade and indicate interest in IXC are eligible to attend, however, reservations are required. This is ONLY open to developers who submit to IndieCade, no other developers are eligible. All funders and sponsors are invited by special arrangement with IndieCade.
Does the IndieXchange cost money?
Developers who have submitted to IndieCade are able to attend the event free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each applicant team receives at least two passes, with a potential for more if space is available.
What is the benefit of participating in IndieXchange?
The IndieXchange provides a unique opportunity for attendees to develop practical skills that will help them improve, showcase, and pitch their games. It also allows developers to connect with key players in the industry and the arts while putting them face-to-face with potential funders, publishers, investors, mentors, and advisors. Even if you aren't interested in the IXC for your current game, or already have secured a publishing deal, this is a prime opportunity for building long-term relationships that may benefit your future work.

Selection Process: How it works Click to expand

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

Our Early Submission period is open between February 1st to April 1st and our Late 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, E3, 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: E3 Official Selection Process [April 1 - May 15, 2016]

Entries submitted prior to April 1st 2016 are eligible for Official Selection status at the IndieCade Showcase @ E3 2016 Showcase, taking place June 14 - 16 in Los Angeles, California. If an entry is selected for this showcase, the applicants will be contacted no later than May 15th.

Please note: Attendance is required for inclusion in the IndieCade Showcase @ E3 2016 Showcase. Be aware that you, or a designated representative of your entry, should be available and able to travel to E3 2016 in order to participate in the showcase.

Part 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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 Showcase @ E3 and 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 - 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.