IndieCade East
February 16 - 18
MoMI
New York City

IndieCade East Conference

IndieCade MoMI

This year's conference will feature talks about diversity, storytelling, the third wave of indies, and ever-present "other" indies.



Letter from the Conference Chairs

Independent games, whether digital or non-digital, are in a maelstrom of transformation. New contexts of play, new audiences, new technologies, new themes--what games are and who plays games is more difficult to define than ever. The beating heart of this movement, the game makers themselves, are pushing more boundaries, challenging more norms, and shattering our notions of what games are only to rebuild them again. And yet, this maelstrom has a center and a margin: those who are in the middle of things, and those who are part of the movement but perhaps not as visible.

This year’s Indiecade East wants to peel back the layers of what we call independent games. We want to acknowledge established independent developers along with those who are not as well known, be they newcomers looking to find their voices or veterans who have not been given their due attention. We want modders, authors of interactive fiction, homebrew game developers, and more--people who may not have traditionally been thought of as being game makers, but to whom the art and craft of indie games owes much.

Last year’s Indiecade East featured an exemplary roster of diverse speakers, so our goal is to repeat and surpass that this year, emphasizing a range of human experience typically not found at most conferences and festivals. We want players, thinkers, and artists from everywhere.

We hope you can join us to celebrate the variety and richness of independent games at Indiecade East 2015. Everybody’s welcome.

Clara Fernández-Vara and Matthew Weise
IndieCade East Co-Chairs

Keynotes

IndieCade MoMI

Mary Flanagan is a leading innovator, artist, educator and designer whose works have included everything from game-inspired art to games that shift people’s thinking about biases and stereotypes. Her interest in playculture and the values embedded in games led to her acclaimed book, Critical Play, with MIT Press, and her recent book, Values at Play in Digital Games with philosopher Helen Nissenbaum is instigating conversations about values on a national level. She founded the Tiltfactor game lab to invent "humanist" games and take on social problems that can be best addressed by games. At Tiltfactor, designers create and research catchy games that teach people something and sometimes, change their minds towards pro-social thinking. Flanagan has been a member of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Academic Consortium on Games for Impact and been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Institute for Justice for game projects.

Talk Title: Diversity in Audience, Diversity in Creators
Playing and making games is not the exclusive domain of a privileged few -- games are for everyone, and anyone should be able to make them. And what we put in our games can literally change our minds, so we’d better get wise to what influences players to be more open minded, care about others, and become better people. In this talk Flanagan reveals techniques and research that show how players relate to pro-social causes, as well as helping designers think about the wide range of players and makers out there as one community.

IndieCade MoMI

Gonzalo Frasca is now making math games at okidOkO. A while ago, he sort of invented newsgames, wrote videogame and play theory, made tons of webgames for Hollywood animation studios, got a PhD in videogames and even co-created the first official videogame for a US Presidential election. He calls Uruguay home and teaches game development to a bunch of merry kids at ORT University and Liceo Jubilar.

Talk Title: Play Design and the opposite of boredom
You know the feeling: a videogame that is confusing, with an awful tutorial and worse level design. You give it a try, you get frustrated and you abandon it. Every day, millions of kids feel exactly the same at school – the only difference is that they can’t quit. Forget about rescuing players from the tyranny of AAA games: we are facing the meanest, greediest, most conservative Boss monster ever. And there’s plenty we can do to fight him.

IndieCade MoMI

Thomas Grip has been an indie horror developer for over 15 years. He co-founded the independent studio Frictional Games in 2007, which has since developed the Penumbra and Amnesia series; games that have had a major influence on the horror genre. His primary roles in these projects has been as a designer, art director and programmer. While the games he has been involved in is mostly known for their scariness, they have all also had a strong focus on narrative, a subjective that Thomas has written extensively about. He and the rest of Frictional Games are currently working on SOMA, a sci-fi horror game that will explore the mystery of consciousness.

Talk Title: Playing a Story: How narrative and gameplay can become one and the same
Story-telling and gameplay have for the longest time time been seen as two separate entities. The narrative has been viewed as a superfluous part of little, or even no, importance to the actual play experience. However, in more recent years the idea that narrative emerge through play has taken hold and transformed how we craft and experience storytelling in games. This talk will go through the basics of what a video game narrative is and then discuss where the future lies and how we will get there.

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