Congratulations to the award-winning games and honorees of IndieCade 2019!

Festival Awardees:

Festival Choice Awards:

A recognition of the spirit of Night Games:
NIGHT GAMES AWARD - Nightmare Temptation Academy

Festival Honorees:

  • GAME CHANGER AWARD: The Organizers of the Game Devs of Color Expo

Jump to descriptions of the award winners.

Stay tuned for the remaining IndieCade awards of 2019 at IndieCade Europe.

Festival Awards Ceremony

Watch the full Awards Ceremony hosted by Sarah Elmaleh and Asher Vollmer plua the pre-show hosted by Ian Hinck.

(Awards begin at 54:23)

Your MCs

IndieCade was thrilled to have Sarah Elmaleh and Asher Vollmer back as the IndieCade Awards Masters of Ceremony.


Thank you to Ian Hinck of Easy Allies and Sofia Hariz for livestreaming our Awards Ceremony!

Pre-Awards Music

Special thanks to DJ Richard Lemarchand, DJing before and after the Awards show!


Cooperative Design Award

Tick Tock: A Tale for Two
by Other Tales Interactive

Honoring the delicate art and craftsmanship of crafting experiences that require and gain meaning from playing together.

Tick Tock: A Tale for Two is an eerie two-player co-op adventure, band together with your best friend and try to escape a magical clockworld. Communication and collaboration is key!

Procedural Design Award

by Sleeping Beast Games

Honoring the craftsmanship of algorithms and procedures that help create innovative and responsive works of interactivity and play.

Blabyrinth is a cooperative escape room that changes every time you play! Explore a mysterious labyrinth. Find cryptic clues, secret passages, solve puzzles, and escape with the treasure.

Tabletop Award

Inhuman Conditions
by Tommy Maranges, Cory O'Brien, & Mackenzie Schubert

Honoring works crafted to be played with words, paper, and objects, leveraging the human imagination as a processor and human companionship as a reward.

From the creators of Secret Hitler and Monster Prom, Inhuman Conditions is a 5 minute, two-player interrogation game that will finally reveal which of your friends have been robots all along.

Location Based and Live Play Award

Ama's Momento
by Awu C., Maryyann L., & Kevin K.

Honoring works which leverage spaces and human bodies in space to create playful, crafted experience.

‘Ama’s Momento’ is a multimedia installation filled with interactive and immersive stories. It is a memory portal which uses virtual reality to creatively document our team’s journey as young storytellers traveling to Taiwan to meet with Ama.

Adaptation Award

When Rivers Were Trails
by Elizabeth LaPensée & The Indian Land Tenure Foundation

Honoring works that reimagine how a well known tale, genre, or system can be explored within the context of play.

When Rivers Were Trails is an Indigenous take on Oregon Trail meets Where the Water Tastes Like Wine set in 1890's at the height of the impact of land allotment.

Narrative Design Award

Neo Cab
by Chance Agency / Fellow Traveller

 Honoring the artistry of storytellers innovating the ways that we communicate meaning and play with stories.

Stay human in a world overcome by automation in Neo Cab! Play as Lina, one of the last human drivers on the streets of Los Ojos. Choose your passengers and how you interact, to balance your star rating and your emotional well-being.

Performance Award

The Occupation
by White Paper Games

Honoring the craftsmanship and artistry of vocal and physical performers elevating works of interactivity and play.

The Occupation is a first person, fixed-time, investigative thriller set in North West England created by White Paper Games. You play as a journalist in a systems-driven world where people react to your actions and time is your biggest enemy.

IndieCade Jury Prix Award

Grace Bruxner Presents: The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game
by Grace Bruxner, Thomas Bowker, Dan Golding

Honoring the game that impresses and surprises with depth, innovation, and artistry.

A small sloth has been haunted for weeks by a mysterious ghost that nobody can seem to track down. There's a mystery afoot, and the only one who can solve it is the renowned investigator known simply as The Detective. Finding clues and questioning suspects is just part of the job for such an experienced frog, but this case is a tough fly to catch.

Innovation in Experience Design Award

by Dong Zhou & Yijia Chen

Honoring works which transport and transform the player through a skillfully crafted experience.

Moncage is a visual puzzle game. A world is trapped inside a mysterious cube, and each face of this cube will display a different scene. The player will need to rotate this cube and find out the connections among the scenes and thus unravel the secrets of the inner world.

Innovation in Interaction Design Award

HOT SWAP: All Hands On Deck
by Peter Gyory & Clement Zheng

Honoring the craftsmanship and innovation behind unique interaction, hardware, and system design.

HOT SWAP: All Hands On Deck is a two player cooperative arcade survival game were players must swap out and trade inputs on their controllers survive the onslaught of approaching enemy ships.

IndieCade Grand Jury

Dicey Dungeons
by Team Dicey Dungeons

Recognizes the game among our 59 nominees bringing together the best qualities of this year’s festival.

Dicey Dungeons is, at its heart, a deckbuilding RPG - you fight monsters, find better loot, and level up your hero - but with one important twist: dice rolling! Wait, no, come back! It's better than it sounds!


Developer Choice Award

Patrick's Parabox
by Patrick Traynor

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

Patrick's Parabox is a puzzle game about playing with recursion and infinities by pushing boxes into and out of each other. Each box contains its own 2-dimensional space that other boxes can enter and exit, creating ever deeper layers of boxes-within-boxes. This unique system gives rise to mind-bending puzzles which require a whole new way of thinking.

IndieCade Choice Award

by Carol Mertz, Kai Karhu, Francesca Carletto-Leon, & Temitope Olujobi

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

See strategy gameplay in a whole new light. Kroma is a stylish strategy game in which 2-3 players capture territory by blending colors on top of a custom-made backlit lightboard, resulting in a unique composition of hues and shapes. By layering transparent plastic pieces of cyan, yellow, and magenta, players create their “target” secondary color, score points, and create a colorful collaborative art piece through competitive play.

A recognition of the spirit of Night Games:

Night Games Award

Nightmare Temptation Academy
by Lena NW & Costcodreamgurl

Nightmare Temptation Academy is a dating-simulation/choose your own adventure/roleplaying game that is also a rap musical. The game is set in high school in an alternate universe at the end of the world.


The Bernie DeKoven Big Fun Award: Come Out and Play

This annual honorary award was created in collaboration with Bernie DeKoven, to honor his legacy and to recognize individuals or organizations significantly furthering the field and impact of new, big, and physical games.

Come Out & Play is an annual festival of street games that turns New York City & San Francisco into a giant playground. The festival provides a forum for new types of public games and play by bringing together players eager to interact with the world around them and designers producing innovative new games and experiences.


The Game Changer Award: The Organizers of the Game Devs of Color Expo

The Game Changer Award celebrates an individual who has impacted the gaming landscape in a significant way, a positive disruptor who has has brought a paradigm shift to our community.

Chris Algoo, Shawn Allen, Brian Carr, Brian S. Chung, GJ Lee, & Catt Small

Game Devs of Color Expo is an inclusive games expo and conference creating a new normal in games by putting creators of color at the forefront, showing off their games, building conversations, and pushing games forward as an art form.

IndieCade Award Descriptions

All nominated work is eligible for the following juried awards, irrespective of format, or genre.

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.

Location Based & Live Play - 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.

Adaptation  - US
The inspiration for games comes from wildly different sources and places, and games that interpret the world or 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.

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.

Narrative Design - US
As games grow across boundaries, platforms, and formats, an ever growing array of narratives are communicated in an ever growing number of ways. The delicate art of creating a living, breathing story through design of spaces, characters, conflicts, and more has become a defining art for games and play. The Narrative Award celebrates accomplishment and innovation in this amazing and emergent art of interaction driven narrative.

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.

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 artists 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.

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.

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 game mechanics. At its utmost, the Interaction Award acknowledges a work that asks us to reconsider the ways in which we play.

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.

Environmental Design  - 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.

IndieCade Jury Prix - US & EUR
The IndieCade Jury Prix Award 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
ThThe 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.

Honorary Awards

Trailblazer Award - EUR
The IndieCade Trailblazer Award is an honorary prize given to a working creator who has made both great contributions to the field of games and captures the independent and pioneering sprit. The Trailblazer award is for distinguished accomplishment over a career of creation, and recognizes those personalities without whom many of us would have never fallen in love with the field.

Game Changer Award - US
IndieCade’s Game Changer Award celebrates an individual who has impacted the gaming landscape in a significant way, a positive disruptor who has has brought a paradigm shift to our community. Whether it’s advocating for independent developers or creating space for conversations to take place, a Game Change is someone who makes us proud to be part of the industry.

Bernie DeKoven Big Fun Award - US
This annual honorary award was created in collaboration with Bernie DeKoven, to honor his legacy and to recognize creators significantly furthering the field and impact of new, big, and physical games. We love big, pervasive games, because of they way they bring people together and forge connections on a large scale.

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.

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