Selection Process

How It Works

1. Submission

When you submit your game, it goes into our submissions database. These games are assigned by Jury Chairs to Jurors and Super Jurors.

2. Potential Finalists

Games that can be played by jurors at home are hand assigned one Super Juror and one Regular Juror by the Jury Committee.

We do our utmost to avoid conflicts of interest. Jurors who have accidentally been assigned to games they have a relationship to (financial stake, friendship, co-worker, student, etc.) are asked to abstain from judging those games. When a juror abstains, the game is assigned a new juror.

If your games requires a special setup, is an installation, is a board game, or should be played in a local multiplayer session, then your game is specially assigned to jurors who have played it at an event, or it is played at an IndieCade special jurying session. For these types of games, it is essential that you either mail us the game (required for board games) or be available to assist in getting the game juried; we may even ask you to set up and run a demo of your game for our jurors.

If the juror is unable to make the build work, and the developer is unresponsive to requests for help, that juror cancels the review. When a juror cancels, the game is assigned a new juror. If this happens three times, the game is disqualified.

If the games receives marks indicating some accomplishment in artistry, innovation or quality from a Super Juror or high marks in those same categories from a regular juror, it is assigned an additional juror.

If a game has a wide disparity in marks between any two of its jurors, it is assigned an additional juror.

3. Potential Finalist Selection

When jurying has finished, IndieCade analyzes the marks given to the games by the jurors using an algorithm that focuses on the qualities IndieCade looks for in games and averages and weights juror scores based on those jurors proclivities.

The top scoring games in this algorithm (around 15 to 25 percent of total submissions) are then considered by the Jury Committee as potential Finalists.

4. Finalists and Selects

The Committee respects the individual jurors scores, but brings additional research to the table, often playing many of the games on the list for discussion. The Committee focuses on building a selection of finalists that highlights the best games submitted, focusing on innovation and artistry, and balancing the exhibit to display games developed by a wide variety of voices, for a wide variety of audiences, on a variety of platforms, and in a variety of ways. Their job is to ensure the IndieCade Finalists exhibit the breadth and depth of games, play, and interactive media.

The games on the Potential Finalists list are also shared with the curators of the IndieCade Selects exhibits (Digital Selects, Table Games, Big Games, eSports, Night Games, IndieCade East, and E3). These exhibits are hand curated by these curators who consider the games on the list and other exhibit appropriate games (both submitted and unsubmitted) to curate.

5. Award Winners

Each Finalist is played by members of the Awards Jury who report to the whole Jury about the game and their experience playing it. The Awards Jury also considers the marks and comments given by the main jury, and determines which of the Finalists should be considered for each of the juried IndieCade Awards.

The Awards Jury is made up of a collection of insightful and interesting artists from the field of games and other creative media. This team provides an important set of checks and balances. The Awards Jury Chair organizes the process, and serves to lead the meetings of the Awards Jury.

This process takes several meetings over the month between Finalist selection and the Festival, and each game is discussed as a part of the meetings. Awards Jurors recuse themselves from discussing any games on the list they have a relationship to (financial stake, friendship, co-worker, student, etc.)

6. Festival

The Finalists and Selects are announced before the festival, and the Awardees are announced at the festival. All Finalists and Selects are exhibited at the festival.

All Finalists and Selects are eligible for the IndieCade Choice Awards. These awards are determined via votes from the audience, media, and developers respectively. Votes are carefully monitored and only one vote per person is allowed. These winners are announced near the end of the festival.