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2014 IndieCade East Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Auriea Harvey



Auriea Harvey (USA/BE) received a B.F.A. in Sculpture at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, New York. In 1995, she began the web design studio Entropy8, which merged in 1999 with (by Michaël Samyn) to form Entropy8Zuper!.
In 2002, she founded the independent game development studio Tale of Tales with Michaël Samyn in Ghent, Belgium, where they still live and work. Tale of Tales is best known for experimental videogames such as The Path, The Endless Forest and The Graveyard. Within Tale of Tales, Auriea is game designer, art director and 2d/3d artist.

Bennett Foddy


Although trained as a moral philosopher, Bennett is known throughout the game world for creations like QWOP and GIRP - irresistible action games that are as notorious for their high levels of frustration as their are for their design ingenuity. Foddy’s work has been exhibited at SFMOMA, cameoed on The Office, and generated tribute projects from fans and fellow game makers alike.Image credit Gerard Vong

Rami Ismail


Rami Ismail is the Business & Development Guy at Vlambeer, a Dutch independent game studio known best for Wasteland Kings, Ridiculous Fishing, Super Crate Box, LUFTRAUSERS, GUN GODZ, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter & Radical Fishing.

Please join us in welcoming those that will be speaking at the Panels and Workshops at IndieCade East for 2014!

Shawn Alexander Allen



Shawn Alexander Allen is a game designer, artist and writer, born and raised in New York City. He is currently working on Treachery in Beatdown City, a game that is as subversive of the fighting and RPG genres as it is of gentrification, nationalism, racial stereotyping, and the war on terror. TiBC is the first game being published by his company NuChallenger which he hopes to grow into a creative space to give those with underrepresented voices a place to make games. Previously Shawn worked for almost 5 years in AAA games, the first game he shipped having sold over 25 million copies. Despite that he’s more proud of TiBC and other personal group projects - the HTML5/iPad game “the universe within…” which won a Best Overall award for the Global Game Jam 2012 at the NYU Game Center and Glorious Ending Cinematic, a stupid adventure game based around Love and Fear made for the first molyjam that won no award from anyone.

Jeb Balise

PuzzleSocial is a social gaming company based in New York, NY. The company employs the top crossword creators in the country to produce content for its Daily Celebrity Crossword application on Facebook, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. The app is the first daily puzzle themed around the latest in pop culture and entertainment and it's the only daily crossword puzzle that is built for the 21st century and solvable by everyone -- the app launched in May of 2013 and now has over 250,000 monthly active users.

Ami Blaire


Ami M. Blaire is a brand marketing and business development executive with over 20 years experience working at such gaming giants as Square Enix and Vivendi Games. She is now managing partner of lvl UP Marketing whose clients have included.: Silver Dolphin Books, Compulsion Games, Fourth Wall Studios, Bibop, S.p.A, Social Games International.

Cecily Carver



I am a founder and co-director of Dames Making Games (DMG), a not-for-profit community organization in Toronto dedicated to supporting women who are passionate about game-making. I love making and playing games, and seeing people traditionally excluded from this industry find a welcoming home.

In two years, we've run three long programs (intensive four-to-six-week long game-making workshops), four game jams, a six-week public workshop series, and 20 speaker socials featuring over 60 women (or "dames") in the game community/industry. We're not just event hosts—we've built a thriving and supportive community with members who start as newbies and return as instructors, who coach and collaborate with each other, and who have helped us grow.

I came to game development from a background in computer science and software after participating in a workshop organized by Toronto’s game arts organization Hand Eye Society and TIFF Nexus. I've made seven small games on my own and collaborated on several more.

I've spoken at IndieCade 2013 (Los Angeles), GRAND 2013 (Toronto), Feminists in Games (Vancouver), Vector Game Art Festival (Toronto), and the TIFF Nexus Women in Film, Games, and New Media Day (Toronto).

Chris Deaner


Chris Deaner has been writing, playing and recording music for over 20 years. His current bands are +/- {plus/minus}, and Loudest Boom Bah Yea. In the past he’s played with Kelly Clarkson, Reba McEntire, Prescott Curlywolf, Bloodthirsty Butchers, and oh so many more. He’s directed, shot and edited music videos, one of which even won an award. Chris Deaner has been programming computers for over 20 years. In the past he has worked at the beloved area/code, the unbeloved Zynga, and the beloved Human Code among many others. Currently he is co-founder of TONEnoTONE; a technology company focused on music based projects. Their first product is a music based puzzler called ECHO which will be released any minute now.

Joshua DeBonis



Joshua DeBonis is an award-winning game designer and Director of Sortasoft LLC, an independent game development studio in Brooklyn, NY. Joshua is co-founder and organizer of the New York board game designers playtest group, and co-founder the experimental collective Brooklyn Game Ensemble. He has taught game design and development at Parsons the new School for Design. Josh is particularly interested in creating games that provide a deep and meaningful experience in a short play time.

Clara Fernandez Vara


Clara Fernandez Vara is Associate Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center. Her work concentrates on adventure games, as well as the integration of stories and gameplay. She teaches courses on videogame theory and game narrative, as well as working as a freelance game designer and writer. Previously Clara worked at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, making narrative games with student teams in 9 weeks. Her game Symon won Best Browser Game at the Indie Game Challenge in 2011.

Nina Freeman


Nina Freeman is a programmer and a real life mahou shoujo.She makes and writes about video games. Currently, she is writing for KillScreen magazine while completing a Master of Science at NYU Poly. You can find her poetry on GitHub.

Rich Gallup


Rich Gallup is Executive Producer at Disruptor Beam, home of Game of Thrones Ascent - the popular social game based on the hit HBO series and George R.R. Martin's novels! Prior to Disruptor Beam, Rich co-founded the mobile startup Summer Camp Studios, served as Lead Producer for the star-crossed MMO developer 38 Studios, and created and hosted several gaming-related shows at GameSpot. You can find him on Twitter (@rich_gallup) fitting way too many stereotypes of early fatherhood.

Jeremy Gibson


Jeremy Gibson Bond is a lecturer teaching game design and development at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and an independent game designer/developer. From 2009-2013, he was an Assistant Professor teaching game design for the Interactive Media Division of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, which was named the #1 game design school in North America throughout his tenure there. Jeremy serves IndieCade as the 2013 Chair for Education and Advancement where he is responsible for the IndieXchange and GameU tracks. He earned a BS in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Texas in Austin in 1999 and an MET from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center in 2007. Jeremy has worked as a programmer and prototyper for companies such as Human Code and frog design; has taught classes for Great Northern Way Campus (in Vancouver, BC), Texas State University San Marcos, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Austin Community College, and The University of Texas at Austin; and has worked for Walt Disney Imagineering, Maxis, and EA/ among others. His grad school team created the game Skyrates, which won the Silver Gleemax Award at the 2008 Independent Games Festival, and he has spoken at the Game Developers Conference seven times since 2009. Jeremy also apparently has the distinction of being the first person to ever teach game design in Costa Rica.

AJ Glasser


AJ Glasser is a partner manager for indie game developers at Facebook. Prior to this, she was a video games journalist for various publications including GamePro Magazine, Kotaku, GamesRadar, Inside Social Games, and also served as the editor for The Sims Official Magazine. In a previous life, she was also a QA tester at Sega of America and Sony Computer Entertainment. You can find her on Facebook or on Twitter under the handle @joygirl007.

Caspar Gray


For over a decade, I worked in the mainstream console publishing space, working as the product acquisitions 'point man' for SCi Games, Eidos and Square Enix. I was the person who vetted every single submission we received from independent developers and dutifully rejected 99.5% of them. (I met with approx. 1500 development studios and assessed 3500+ pitches!)

I was able to get a few interesting and innovative titles past my bosses... only to see them misunderstood by our marketing teams and neglected by our sales force. At the same time, my own gaming habits were moving away from console towards quirky indie offerings on PC and I became increasingly disillusioned with the industry.

A surprise round of layoffs last spring saw me leave Square Enix and I'm now charting my own course as an independent consultant, putting my years of experience of negotiation and pitching at the disposal of independent developers. I'm also experimenting with Twine and aiming to create some games of my own in 2014.

Katherine Isbister


Katherine Isbister is a human computer interaction researcher and designer, focused on creating more compelling emotional and social qualities in games. She directs the Game Innovation Lab at NYU, and holds a joint appointment between the School of Engineering’s Computer Science Department and the TischGame Center.  Isbister's team creates research games with support from NSF, Microsoft, Bell Labs, and other funders. Projects have been featured by Wired, Scientific American, and NPR. Isbister is a recipient of the MIT Technology Review Young Innovators award. Her book, Better Game Characters by Design, was nominated for a Game Developer Magazine Frontline Award.

Zack Johnson


Zack Johnson has carried the torch of the BBS door game into the 21st century with The Kingdom of Loathing. Armed only with hand-drawn line art and dumb jokes, he and his stalwart team have maintained and updated the free-to-play multiplayer browser game for more than 11 years. It's ridiculous. If provoked, he will speak enthusiastically about the virtues of HTML frames and the feasibility of ethical microtransactions.

Julia Keren-Detar


Julia is a game designer and developer based out of Brooklyn NY. She's worked on several casual and indie titles including Arkadium's hit Facebook game "Mahjongg Dimensions Blast", and Untame's award-winning mobile game "Rope Rescue". Previously, as a senior game developer for Arkadium's R&D department, she took part in prototyping and designing dozens of games, and ran Arkadium's internal company game jams. She is also an avid quilter and a hobby game historian.

Shoshana Kessock


My name is Shoshana Kessock and I am a game designer who works primarily in tabletop RPGs and live action roleplay games. I'm an MFA student at the NYU Game Center where I've produced both digital, non-digital, serious and live-action games. In the Larp world I have worked on over a dozen games and I've been published in tabletop RPGs for systems like Call of Cthulhu, Fate Core, Becoming RPG and Dystopia Rising. My thesis work at NYU is a conference called Living Games which will focus on Live Action Games (details here: Further list of my work can be found here:

Merritt Kopas


Merritt Kopas is a multimedia artist and game designer whose work investigates play as a utopian project that contains a critique of the present and the seeds of potential futures. Some of her most well-known games include LIM, Conversations With My Mother, and HUGPUNX. She also curates free and accessible games at her project forest ambassador, which has been described as "a nicely curated gift basket of games' strangest, newest ideas" by Indie Games Festival award winner Richard Hofmeier. She recently sold a game about consensual torture and used some of the money to buy a new vibrator.

Josh Lee


Josh Lee is a veteran game designer, UX designer and developer. Josh runs Floor Is Lava, a very small firm that makes offbeat games and and other fun things. Prior to Floor Is Lava, Josh was the creative director at Sifteo, making innovative games for cutting-edge devices. He has also worked on games for Nintendo, Sega, and more. Josh is dedicated to the creation of experiences that are fun and accessible to people with a broad range of tastes and abilities. All he really wants is for you to be happy.

James Mielke


Once upon a time, James Mielke was the editor-in-chief of Electronic Gaming Monthly and spent nearly 12 years talking about other people’s video games. He eventually got tired of that and wandered off to Japan to make games of his own for four years, spending time as a producer at Q Entertainment in Tokyo under the tutelage of Tetsuya Mizuguchi (working on Child of Eden and Lumines), and at Q-Games in Kyoto (working on the Pixeljunk series) before moving his family back to New York City to join forces with an all-new indie development team. His access to fine pizza has never been greater.

Nikita Mikros



Nikita Mikros is a veteran of the NY indie game scene and a two time IGF finalist.  He is the founder and creative director of SMASHWORX and Tiny Mantis Entertainment, two independent game studios. At SMASHWORX, Mr. Mikros designs and works on original titles including “Propaganda Lander” and his current project “The Phantom Force”. At Tiny Mantis, Mr. Mikros has worked on many games for clients including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, LEGO, Bloomberg Tradebook and others.

Hilary O' Shaughnessy


Hilary is currently Artist in Residence at Project Arts Centre, Dublin. Her residency uses the notion of cultural acupuncture as a stimulus for city based creativity that is not limited to artists.

Under the name of Make and Do she has created what she calls Outsider Games for exhibitions like GAME at the Science Gallery, or Dublin Festival of Curiosity, among others. Her physical computing game, Charge! will be part of the Amaze Festival in Berlin in 2014.

Her current research focuses on the creation of a new methodology for creating digital games based on theatre training methods.

Paolo Pedercini


Paolo Pedercini is an Italian game developer, artist and educator. He teaches digital media production and experimental game design at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Since 2003 he works under the project name “Molleindustria” producing provocative games addressing issues of social and environmental justice (McDonald's videogame, Oiligarchy, Phone Story), religion (Faith Fighter) and labor and alienation (Every Day the Same Dream, Unmanned).

Phoenix Perry



Phoenix Perry is an Adjunct Professor at NYU teaching game development and design, visual design and web development. From digital arts practitioner to Creative Director, she has extensive experience in new media, design, and user interfaces. A consummate advocate for women in game development, her speaking engagements include The Open Hardware Summit at MIT, Indiecade, Comic Con, Internet Week, Create Tech and NYU Game Center among others. Perry's creative work spans a large range of disciplines including drawing, generative art, video, games, interfaces and sound. Her projects have been seen worldwide at venues and festivals including the GDC, E3, Come out and Play, Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science, Lincoln Center, Transmediale, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LAMCA, Harvest Works, Babycastles, European Media Arts Festival, GenArt, Seoul Film Festival and Harvestworks. In 2011 she co-authored the book, Meet the Kinect with Sean Kean and Johnathan Hall.

Nathalie Pozzi


Nathalie Pozzi is an Italian architect whose practice crosses the boundaries of architecture, exploring the critical intersection of space, material, and culture. Her work includes contributions to the architectural studio Casagrande&Rintala, in projects like “Bird Cage” at Yokohama Triennale of Art and “Installation 2001” at the Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art. Her collaborations with game designer Eric Zimmerman have produced playable installations that have appeared in Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Moscow, Los Angeles, and at MoMA in New York City. She works as a designer and as a production consultant for large-scale art installations. Currently she is travelling between New York City and Italy, completing the renovation of a mountain home in the Alps.

Charles Pratt


Charles Pratt is an Assistant Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center, where he teaches game studies, history, and design. He is the organizer of numerous Game Center events including Spring Fighter, the NY eSports Summit, FallCraft, and is curator of the No Quarter Exhibition. Before joining the Game Center he was a freelance game and level designer, working on projects for a range of platforms.

Alejandro Quan-Madrid


Hello. My name is Alejandro Quan-Madrid. I have worked in the game industry as a video game journalist for over 3 years (writing for publications like, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Bitmob, and VentureBeat: GamesBeat). During that time, I've attended 5 IndieCades and 1 IndieCade East. Ultimately that exposure to the independent game making process and befriending tons of developers inspired me to get into indie game dev myself. I'm currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts degree at USC in Interactive Media and Games, and I am a part of the Glitch City Los Angeles independent developer shared workspace. It's a lot of fun. I have a particular interest in the way social minorities navigate the game industry and games as an art form.

Full disclosure: I have been working with IndieCade over the past year to help coordinate their social media.

I've made a zine called Letters from Incarcerated Gamers which is a collection of fan mail letters from people who were incarcerated and wrote to Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine in 2007. The current zine I'm working on is about video game feminism where I'm collecting contributions from people doing interesting things in (or outside) the game industry and how they would define such a term.

Chris Reid


Chris Reid is a lifelong gamer who has transferred his passion for games to his law practice, where he specializes in serving and representing independent game developers. Chris studied the intersection of IP and technology at Fordham Law School, going on to work in patent litigation at Ropes & Gray LLP in New York before leaving to start his own practice. Chris combines his legal experience and analysis with a keen understanding of the games industry to help advise developers and game creators on a broad range of legal issues. A frequent speaker and advocate on gaming legal issues, Chris has organized discussion panels for the State Bar Association, legal education classes for developers and recently spoke as a panelist at the International Fordham IP Conference on the subject of video game law.

Tim Rogers


Tim Rogers is the founder and director of Action Button Entertainment, currently working on a minimalist electronic sport titled VIDEOBALL. The idea of VIDEOBALL is to make a perfect sport which could never exist outside of a videogame. He's worked in marketing and game design for many years, and is also known for writing strange articles for publications such as Kotaku.

Isaac Schankler


Isaac Schankler is a composer and sound designer living in Los Angeles who has written music for acclaimed indie games including Analogue: A Hate Story, Depression Quest, and Redshirt. He is also active as a composer of concert music, with avid interests in opera and vocal music, electroacoustic music, and experimental forms. He teaches music technology at the University of Southern California, and music theory at Chapman University. He also co-directs the concert series People Inside Electronics, and enjoys playing the accordion.

Miguel Sicart


I am not an indie.

I am just one of those game scholars. I write about games and play, for a while only about ethics but also about design, sometimes getting in trouble with fellow academics. I have been doing 'game studies' for some years now, teaching game design and game theory.

I think however that I somewhat fit IndieCade, particularly IndieCade East. I have opinions about games and play, and I enjoy the darker, experimental, potentially hurtful side of playing games.

I am also the world's worst game designer. I have made some games, none good, except one I like (

How can I contribute to IndieCade: giving food for thought, and provoking the audience to think. Because by the end of the day, I might be a games scholar who does not quite like games ...

Richard Terrell



I am one of a 3-man team currently putting the final touches on BaraBariBall, a sports-fighting game hybrid that will be released on PS3, PS4, and PC as part of the Sports Friends indie game compilation.

Non formal introduction eh? Well, if that's the case I should say that I'm currently studying tournament level play for Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition. Sure you can say that I'm just watching matches on youtube. But as a game designer, I'm a very detailed oriented person. And though I don't play street fighter myself, there's a lot to learn in the match videos, in the commentary, and in observing my own reaction to these things.

I'm independent because I had to start from scratch like everyone else. But instead of going to a gaming school or even pursuing higher education in technology, I simply started asking myself some important questions. What are games? Why do I like them? How do I express what I think and feel about games? Is making games the only way to express my gaming ideas?

Technically I'm independent because no one knows about me, or I'm not quite skilled enough for others to invest in me. But this is precisely why I don't like to focus on the indie label. If the choices others make are the only reasons why I'm an indie right now, then I'd rather focus on who I am, what I have to say, the lessons I need to learn, and how to build a better gaming communities.

I guess that explains why my research and blog writing often puts indie games and published games on the same level of criticism. It's my way of acknowledging that both sources produce great games (and some stinkers too!). In my efforts to build a new kind of critical community of gamers, I've found indie game developers a lot more approachable and responsive (for obvious reasons). So I have a soft spot for indies.

TJ Thomas


My name is TJ Thomas. I'm a PoC game developer, musician, and multipurpose artist.

Tevis Thompson


I write game essays and fiction. For the past year, I've been working on Second Quest, a graphic novel inspired by Zelda, with artist David Hellman (of Braid). I also have a monthly column on mobile games at Grantland. My involvement in indie gaming is primarily as a player.

Ian Tien


Ian is co-founder of, a startup building infrastructure for next generation browser games. Launched from a Stanford dorm room, indie titles on its platform offer fast-action, real-time strategy play in HTML5 and JavaScript without Flash, Unity or client installs.

Pete Vigeant


Pete Vigeant is a game, media and experience designer that creates large group live-action and digital interactive experiences. As a Senior Designer for ESI Design, Pete Vigeant draws upon his passion and expertise in game and youth-focused design to lead and develop interaction, media, concept, and game design for numerous ESI projects. Pete also leads the ESI Game Lab where he has created and launched a series of immersive live-action group experiences to promote collaboration through play, spectacle, and narrative gameplay.

Matthew Weise


Matthew Weise is a freelance game designer and writer. Most recently he was narrative designer on Disney/Harmonix’s Fantasia: Music Evolved (due out for Xbox One in 2014). Currently he is narrative designer on an unannounced project by Complex Games. Previously Matthew worked at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, making narrative games with student teams in 9 weeks. One of his teams' games, The Snowfield, was a student finalist at IGF 2012."

Robert Yang


Robert Yang is an indie game developer who teaches games at Parsons the New School for Design and NYU Game Center, and he occasionally writes for Rock Paper Shotgun and other British things. Among other things, he's currently working on an open world flight sim called Nostrum and a book about Half-Life for Press Select.

Elie Zananiri



Elie Zananiri is an interaction designer and new media artist. He creates games that make you look silly in public, like Big Screams (where whoever yells the loudest into their phone wins), and Peptone (where whoever can be the loudest, quietest, or text the fastest survives the longest). These games along with his workshops and artwork have been exhibited internationally including at Mutek (Montreal), FILE (São Paulo), Medialab Prado (Madrid), and the Venice Biennale. Most recently, Elie collaborated on CLOUDS, an interactive documentary that premiered at Sundance 2014. Elie is a regular contributor to the Processing and openFrameworks creative coding toolkits. He is a partner at Departement, a multidisciplinary studio based in Montreal, where he makes mobile apps and large-scale interactive works.