Alumni Successes

Celebrate the accomplishments of our IndieCade family!

Alumni Interviews

Interview with Dr. Jennifer Hazel

We would like to congratulate Dr. Jennifer Hazel for being accepted to the primary psychiatry congress of Australia and New Zealand!  Dr. Hazel spoke at the IndieCade Game U Keynote in 2016.  Her work on mental health and developers has been exemplary. 

Please enjoy our interview with Dr. Hazel below. 

Bio: Jennifer is a fully qualified medical doctor who has practised in both the UK and Australia. As a passionate advocate for the use of game technology in a therapeutic setting, she founded CheckPoint, a registered charity, to connect mental health care with video game technology.

Our interview with Dr. Jennifer Hazel:

1.  What inspired your interest in examining mental health needs among game developers?
When I began working with the games community initially it was very consumer focused. I attended industry events to try to evaluate how to best reach a gaming audience, and in doing so networked with a lot of developers. Through our conversations, I became aware that mental health issues were an unspoken burden that many devs seemed to be bearing, and that indeed the structure of the industry itself might actually be contributing to or feeding that in some way.

2.  What are some mental health challenges either unique to game developers as compared to other cohorts of people?
No matter where you are or what size the studio, there seem to be pervasive issues in game dev. They're difficult to challenge or address, because they're often acknowledged as "normal"; things such as crunch culture, increasingly untenable competition, and a lack of external support. Because it's a relatively young industry, there's a lack of knowledge about the risks of letting these things go unchecked, and a great lack of understanding from the wider community about what game dev really is, leaving those individuals further isolated. 

3.  What more do you think the developer community can do to make the industry a healthier workplace for individuals?
Talk about this! Evaluate studio culture, protocols and structure to see whether there's anything that could be contributing to burnout and other mental health issues amongst employees. Request consultation from outside sources (like CheckPoint!) to assist implementing mental health policies. Most importantly, acknowledge this really is a thing that needs addressing, and that all studios' productivity and outputs would benefit from actually doing so.

4.  How can games themselves be engines for improvements in health?   How can developers harness that power?
There's strong evidence to suggest that games have numerous benefits for mental health and wellbeing, including improving mood, emotional regulation, reducing stress, increasing resilience, and contributing to social wellbeing. There's even studies linking specific games - both bespoke and off-the-shelf commercial games can be effective at improving symptoms of depression and anxiety. We're not fully sure the exact mechanisms underpinning this but there are some good hypotheses that revolve around a sense of autonomy, competence and relatedness, as well as immersion and flow state.

More info:

5.  What are some good resources for developers with questions about mental health?

CheckPoint contains a wealth of information that is developer focussed and personalised to their needs. There's everything from generalised information to specific mental health model (the aptly named AAA model) which teaches and reinforces a cycle of being aware of one's inner mental state, and acting to improve it, dynamically throughout the day. It's designed to be effective even in heavy crunch times. 

Dr. Hazel's session at IndieCade Festival 2016:

Interview with Jenova Chen

“That was 2005 […] and if I didn’t go to that festival; I would not have met my co-founders of thatgamecompany – and I probably would not found a company – and there would be no flOw, Flower, Journey, and Sky today.”

~ Jenova Chen | Founder, thatgamecompany (Journey, Flower, Flow, & Sky)

Apple Arcade

More than 1-in-4 of the launch titles on the New Apple Arcade are courtesy of IndieCade alumni developers and games. Congratulations to all!! We are proud to be a part of the journey! 

Beyond Blue - E-Line Media
Coming soon to Apple Arcade
Alumni E-Line Media nominees for Never Alone (IndieCade 2014).

Card of Darkness - Zach Gage
Available now on Apple Arcade
Alumni Zach Gage created IndieCade nominee Halcyon (IndieCade 2011), nominee Spelltower (IndieCade East 2013), and Pendleton Ward has been an alumni speaker many times over and collaborator.

Cricket Through the Ages - Devolver and Free Lives
Available now on Apple Arcade
Alumni creator of BroForce (IndieCade 2014).

Dear Reader - Local No. 12
Available now on Apple Arcade
Dear Reader is the new iteration of Alumni game Losswords (IndieCade 2018). From long time alumni speakers and IndieCade organizers and creators of nominated and featured games The Metagame (2011) and Backchatter.

EarthNight - Shifty Eye Games and Cleaversoft
Available now on Apple Arcade
IndieCade has been an invaluable experience for the entire lifecycle of EarthNight. We first showed at a Show & Tell (IndieCade 2014) where we got noticed by the industry for the first time. We then showed and gained incredibly valuable feedback at multiple IndieCade festivals. Right near our release we got to show with IndieCade at E3 in 2019 which set a series of events into place that have set us up to launch successfully. We love Indiecade and forever owe the organization a deep gratitude.”    - Rich Siegel, EarthNight"

Exit the Gungeon - Devolver
Available now on Apple Arcade
This is a sequel to Alumni Enter the Gungeon (IndieCade 2015).

A Fold Apart - Lightning Rod Games
Coming soon to Apple Arcade
Created by the team from IndieCade Nominee Henchmen! (IndieCade East 2014)

Grindstone - Capybara Games
Available now on Apple Arcade
Indiecade Nominee and Award winner Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (IndieCade 2011).

Hot Lava - Klei Entertainment
Available now on Apple Arcade
IndieCade alumni creator of Invisible, Inc. (IndieCade E3 2015)

Lifelike - Kunabi Brother
Coming soon to Apple Arcade
Alumni creator of Blek (IndieCade East 2015).

Manifold Garden - William Chyr
Coming soon to Apple Arcade
Alumni and Member showcased at IndieCade E3 2019 and IndieCade 2016 and IndieCade East!

Mini Motorways - Dinosaur Polo Club
Available now on Apple Arcade
IndieCade Alumni Mini Metro (IndieCade 2014).

Mutazione - Die Gute Fabrik
Available now on Apple Arcade
Die Gute Fabrik are the ultimate alumni, they formed as a collaboration, while meeting at the first Indiecade (2008) and showed Johann Sebastian Joust (IndieCade 2011).

Neo Cab - Chance Agency
Available now on Apple Arcade
Alumni game featured at IndieCade E3 2019.

Overland - Finji
Available now on Apple Arcade
Alumni creator showcased Overland (IndieCade 2015) and Panoramical (IndieCade East 2017).

The Pathless - Annapurna and Giant Squid
Coming soon to Apple Arcade
From IndieCade alumni Giant Squid and creators of Abzu (IndieCade 2015).

Proxi - Will Wright and Gallium Artists
Coming soon to Apple Arcade
IndieCade alumni first keynote (IndieCade 2009) and original board of advisor Will Wright.

Punch Planet - Block Zero
Available now on Apple Arcade
Alumni as Sector-K Games, showcased Punch Planet (IndieCade East 2018).

Sayonara Wild Hearts - Annapurna Interactive and Simogo
Available now on Apple Arcade
Alumni game creators of Beat Sneak Bandit (IndieCade 2012).

Shantae and the Seven Sirens - WayForward
Available now on Apple Arcade
Sequel to Alumni game Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (IndieCade 2014).

Sneaky Sasquatch - RAC7 Games
Available now on Apple Arcade
Creator of alumni game Dark Echo (IndieCade 2015).

Spek - RAC7 Games
Coming soon to Apple Arcade
Creator of alumni game Dark Echo (IndieCade 2015).

Spidersaurs - WayForward
Available now on Apple Arcade
Alumni creator of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (IndieCade 2014).

Stellar Commanders - Blindflug Studios
Available now on Apple Arcade
Alumni creator of Cloud Chasers (IndieCade E3 2015).

What the Golf? - Triband
Available now on Apple Arcade
IndieCade longtime alumni Triband: Keyboard Sports (IndieCade 2017, Europe 2017, East 2018) and What the Golf (Grand Prix Award Winners of IndieCade Europe 2018, IndieCade 2018).

Where Cards Fall - Snowman and The Game Band
Available now on Apple Arcade
A game from alumni Sam Rosenthal - one of our first official interns! (IndieCade 2009- 2010)

Winding Worlds - Ko_op
Coming soon to Apple Arcade
Alumni creator of nominated game GNOG (IndieCade E3 2015).

2019 Releases

Check out summer 2019 releases and news from our Alumni below.

Also, to go along with his new game, Telling Lies, we're sharing an exclusive interview with developer Sam Barlow (shared with our community via the IndieCade Members Quarterly earlier this year and now available to a larger audience).

Here's a quick look at some of the releases we've been seen from alumni the past few months:

Sky by Jenova Chen's thatgamecompany
Now on App Store, coming soon to Android
Jenova showed Cloud at IndieCade 2005--before it existed as a standalone event--and won the student award. That's where and when he met the cofounders of thatgamecompany! A few years later, he also showed Flower at IndieCade.

Telling Lies by Sam Barlow
Now on App Store, Steam, and GOG
His previous game, Her Story, won the Grand Jury award in 2015.

Dicey Dungeons by Terry Cavanagh
Now on Windows, macOS, and Linux
Terry's VVVVVV was at IndieCade 2010, At A Distance at IndieCade 2011, and Super Hexagon at IndieCade 2012. Dicey Dungeons was among our games showcased at IndieCade's E3 booth this year.

Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition by Erin Robinson Swink
Now on PS4
Erin, as a lead of Ivy Games, showed the original Gravity Ghost at IndieCade 2013 and as the head writer of the IndieCade Awards ceremony in 2016.

Quench by Axon Interactive (incl. Tabby Rose)
Now on Switch
Tabby Rose helped organize IndieCade's GameU speakers as a speakers co-chair for 2016 and 2017. Quench was also exhibited at the IndieXChange Game Tasting for IndieCade West 2016-17. Tabby spoke at IndieCade East 2016 ("Myth of Bootstrapping: Learning from a LongStory" panel with Miriam Verburg and Jill Murray), moderated panels at IndieCade West 2016 (including "Gamedev as a Coping Strategy for Mental Health"), and a business talk for IndieCade West 2017 ("Finding Funding").

Doom 1 & 2 (90's classic FPS) by id incl. John Romero
Now on Switch
John Romero has been a speaker for multiple years, 2012-2014 pioneering the "Secret Histories of Indie Games" interview format.

Elsinore by Golden Glitch Studios incl. Katie Chironis Grossman
Now on Steam
Katie ( was a panelist at IndieCade last year. Full video of the panel she was with:

Lucah by Colin Horgan produced by Kevin Wong
Now on Switch
Colin Horgan, the main developer, worked on Virtual Virtual Reality (IndieCade 2017) with Tender Claws and EctoPlaza (IndieCade 2015) as part of Syndicate Atomic. Kevin Wong, the producer, currently working with Relativity (IndieCade E3 2019, developed by William Chyr), previously with Chambara (IndieCade 2015 as part of Team OK).

Anodyne 2 by Sean Hogan and Marina Kittaka
Now on Steam
Sean Hogan (then working with Jonathan Kittaka) showed Even The Ocean a IndieCade East 2014.

Joggernauts by Zach Johnson
Now on Switch
Zach met with Nintendo reps 4-5 years ago while showing his game at IndieCade, now the game is out on Switch.

Congratulations to these and all other IndieCade alumni releasing games lately!

IndieCade is proud to have spotlighted thousands of developers over the years, and although we're keeping an eye out for alumni to cover, we know there are surely more great games being released lately by alumni that we haven't included above. If you're an IndieCade alumni, and have recent game release news we missed here, please let us know by emailing Even if it's from before or after this summer, we'd really love to hear about it!

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