NEW Spotlight Awards!

This year, IndieCade is spotlighting new categories honoring design, performance, adaptation and more. These awards are event specific, with some eligible for US, EUR and/or both. Our spotlight awards categories include…

Social Impact - EUR
The Social Impact Award honors a game which explores social, cultural, and/or political issues in a whole new way. It may take us out of our comfort zones, and confront us directly on social progress yet to be done, or mark a real change in the industry. Social Impact isn't simply about diversity or doing good in the world. It can be creating new access points for unlikely players engaging with unlikely topics, new points of connection for people across the globe, or new shared experiences that resonate in our modern culture.

Performance - US
The Performance Award honors a game with a unique or particularly sublime performance: voice, motion capture, video, live and more. As games grow in cultural weight and professional development, the field of independent development has involved a larger variety of artist from all disciplines. The brilliant pacing, empathy, and understanding of the best performers have been harnessed this decade to make some of the most arresting play experiences we have ever seen. This award celebrates the actors doing the amazing work in the field of play.

Location Based Design - US
The oncoming frontier of play and experience design includes the amazing worlds of immersive theater, themed experience, virtual and augmented reality spaces, escape rooms and more exploration of bespoke, physical experiences often designed for groups of people and social engagement. The Location Based Design award rewards experiences innovating in these spaces and creating magical new spaces for play.

Competitive Design - US
Athletic and Mental Competition are amongst the oldest pastimes in the world. Experiences designed to create inventive and unique fields for competition, that drive their players to perfect skill and strategy, that breed active and mobile metagames all play to this ancient practice. The Competitive Design award rewards experiences innovating in these spaces and creating magical new spaces for play.competition and making us itch to create new organizations of play.

Cooperative Design  - US
Playing with others, driving with friends and allies toward a shared experience is at the heart of many of the experiences we have engaged with over the course of human history. Experiences designed to create inventive and unique interactions that bring us together, working towards a shared goal. The Cooperative Design award rewards experiences innovating in how we play together.

Tabletop Design  - US & EUR
Staring across a board, a hand of cards, or even a chaotic pile of detailed paper notes, games played at the table, often with friends, leveraging the imagination of players to create unique and companionable experiences is the heart of games for many of us. The Tabletop Design Award celebrates the indie tabletop games of the year that innovate, surprise, and delight the heart.

Procedural Design  - US
The Procedural Design Award honors a game that leverages randomness and algorithmic content or behavior to create unique and innovative interactions. Procedural Design is a growing skill with new discoveries made in many fields related to game development - graphics, narrative, level design, meaningful randomness, artificial behavior, and more. This award celebrates the amazing design of procedural and random chance that drives amazing discovery in the field of play.

Worldbuilding  - EUR
As games grow across boundaries, platforms, and formats, narrative and sense of place are communicated in an ever growing number of ways. The delicate art of creating a living, breathing world through design of spaces, characters, conflicts, soundscapes and more has become a defining art for games and play. The Worldbuilding Award celebrates accomplishment and innovation in this amazing and emergent art.

Adaptation  - US
The inspiration for games comes from wildly different sources and places, and games that interpret the world of another piece of media, reflect a documentary of real world systems, or adapt the experience of other places and stories explore the innovative edge of why we play. The Adaptation Award celebrates a game that examines and interprets using the logic of play and the power of interaction.

Major Juried Awards

All nominated work is eligible for following juried awards, irrespective of format, or genre. These awards are given in the both in the EUR and the US.

Innovation in Interaction Design - US & EUR
Innovation in Interaction Design honors the specialized artistry and innovation required to engage with games on a new level. This may be in the form of original controllers, unique interface design, or bold new mechanics. At its utmost, the Interaction Award acknowledges a work that asks us to reconsider the ways in which we play.

Innovation in Experience Design - US & EUR
Innovation in Experience Design honors a game that provides a unique, curated experience. This can come in the form of a rich narrative or be entirely 'story-less'. It takes the player on an emotional arc that can't be had anywhere else.

IndieCade Jury Prix - US & EUR
The IndieCade Jury Prix is for a game the jury wishes to confer honor for separating itself from the pack through its craftsmanship, innovation, and /or design.

IndieCade Grand Jury - US & EUR
The IndieCade Grand Jury Award represents the best of IndieCade’s best. This is the one game out of tonight’s 36 nominees, and the hundreds and hundreds of submissions to this year’s festival, that not only captures how far independent games have come, but how much farther they can still take us. Past winners include Her Story, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, and last year’s Oikospiel Book I.

Choice Awards

IndieCade will also return with our Audience, Developer and Media choice awards.

IndieCade Developers Choice - US
The IndieCade Developers Choice Award is voted on by nominated IndieCade Festival developers.

IndieCade Choice - US
The IndieCade Choice Award is voted on by media and audience attending IndieCade Festival.

IndieCade Europe Choice - EUR
The IndieCade Europe Choice Award is voted on by developers, media, and audience.

How does the IndieCade jury select these awards?

The Jurying Process

Each year IndieCade’s annual awards celebrate the best and most innovative in the industry. The focus of the IndieCade Awards is to honor the people, the games, and the work that move the industry forward.
Hundreds of jury members, alongside an international review committee play, review, discuss, and thoughtfully consider each of our game submissions. The process takes nearly three months and in the end a selection of 36 nominees are determined. Some additional selections are hand-picked by the curation committee to join the show, as Official Selections.
All submitted games are eligible to be nominated and all nominated games are eligible for all of the awards which are selected based on the jury process. All other games that are featured at the events are eligible for the choice awards which are voted on site by developers, media, and the audience. Additionally, IndieCade confers annual Trailblazer, Game Changer, and Bernie De Koven Big Fun awards.

IndieCade Newsletter


* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from IndieCade:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.