//IndieCade 2011: Family Friendly Activities

While the mainstream games industry creates huge, involving experiences for serious gamers and an older audience, many smaller, independent developers create content that serves the rest of us.

Festival organizers have specifically identified a selection of independent developers from the Festival who have created Family Friendly games, as well as a number of family friendly workshops and activities.

Find listed here various opportunities to play family friendly games, meet these developers and hear them talk about their design process, their games, and about making games for a larger, non exclusive audience, as well as a number of workshops talks, and big games.

Recommendations of family friendly games in the GameWalk will be posted once the 2011 IndieCade Festival Finalists are announced.

//Family Friendly Festival Session Recommendations

Many of IndieCade's festival sessions are family appropriate and a great opportunity to spend time with your family learning more about this important creative industry. A festival wristband is required for all festival sessions so check out the family wristband pack to make a day or a weekend of fun and adventure for the whole family.

//Festival Workshop: Pinata Construction
Saturday, October 8 from 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Location: IndieCade Village

Come out and build your own creative pinatas filled with candy, ping pong balls, and bouncy balls. Create pinatas for the game Pigeon Pinata Pummel, which will be played as a part of the Big Games schedule Sunday, October 9th at 4:00 pm, and then move over to the game for simple joys - smashing stuff, the anticipation of imminent loot, and running like a mad person. Express your inner creativity by making the most elaborate or difficult pinata.

//Festival Keynote: Mary Flanagan discusses "Values at Play"
Saturday, October 8 from 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location: IndieCade Village

We make it easy to brainstorm new game ideas! This session uses new “Grow-a-Game!” tools developed to help novices and experts alike make socially responsible games. Tiltfactor (Hanover, USA) the first social activist computer game lab in the country, will host this workshop introducing kids to the nuances of creating games through the card-based brainstorming tool. The Grow-A-Game cards include Challenges, Values, Example Games, and Verbs. Play your way to change!

//Festival Workshop: Board Game Modding
Saturday, October 8 from 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Location: IndieCade Village

Following on the success of last year’s workshop, come and learn some simple methods and tools for making new games out of the pieces of old ones. Participants will learn simple strategies and skills for modding and creating their own board games, and play and test them with one another. Games created at last year’s event were submitted to the festival this year, and Board Game modding is a great way to begin learning how to make your own games, or to practice your already daunting skills.

//Festival Workshop: STAR Game Design
Sunday, October 9 from 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Location: IndieCade Village

STAR Design Workshop: STAR Education has been the leader in educational after school programming and community-based cultural enrichment projects for over 25 years. We service more than 500 schools in 61 school districts, reaching over a million students and their families every year. STAR provides innovative, high-quality programs for children that excite, inspire and open their minds. Students exhibit major academic and developmental gains with increased self-confidence, heightened creative abilities, and a strong sense of pride in their accomplishments. Join STAR GameSchool and explore simple ways to create your own games. After going through a few easy steps you’ll be ready to explore the possibilities of what your game can do. Create the rules, bend the rules, and discover how you can define the world of your game. Once this process is complete, you’ll have the knowledge and the power to be a game designer! http://www.stargameschool.org.

//Festival Panel: Family Friendly Festival Selections
Sunday, October 9 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Location: IndieCade Village

Hear directly from independent game creators, who have created family friendly games. Meet these developers and learn about their game, their design process, and their experiences making games for a larger, non exclusive audience. Enjoy the contrast between these inspiring and articulate game developers and the mainstream games industry creates huge, involving experiences for the core gamer market.

//Family Friendly Big Game Recommendations

You don't want to miss some of these great Big Games! Please read the whole assortment of Big Games as plenty more are also family friendly depending on your family. And remember, big games along with the GameWalk are free and open to the public!

Alphabet City
Gigantic Mechanic, USA

When? Pervasive. October 8 and Sunday October 9, throughout the day

Alphabet City is a location-aware word game. Designed by Gigantic Mechanic, it is Foursquare meets Boggle. Players select the name of a local bar or restaurant and then make as many anagrams as possible. Players use power-ups like word and letter chaining to increase their scores. Start looking at the sign at your local pizza place and start mentally rearranging the letters, bringing a small element of play to your daily life.

Jamie Woo, USA

When? Saturday, October 8 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Gargoyles is a turn-based physical game that plays with comfortable distances. Created by Jaime Woo, players must jump, stick the landing, and freeze "like stone" in place. If they touch rival players, they lose. People become comfortable with freezing in funny and awkward positions, adding to the game's sense of whimsy and fun..

Humans vs Zombies
Gnarwhal Studios, USA

When? Pervasive. Saturday, October 8 and Sunday October 9, throughout the day

Humans vs. Zombies is a moderated game of tag where all but one player begin as humans, wearing bandanas on their arms and able to defend themselves with socks from the zombie horde. The horde is generated by the randomly-selected “Original Zombie,” who can tag human players and turn them into zombies, who wear bandanas on their heads. Humans will need to rely on cunning and teamwork to survive the zombie apocalypse and complete challenging missions organized by the game moderators. Created by Gnarwhal Studios, Humans vs. Zombies is a played in neighborhoods, military bases, and over 600 colleges and universities around the world and was featured at Come Out and Play and was recipient of the IndieCade 2010 audience choice award.

Johann Sebastian Joust
** Festival Finalist Selection
Douglas Wilson and Friends / Denmark

When? Sunday October 9, Night Games 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Night Games require a festival wristband or conference pass.

Johann Sebastian Joust is a music-based physical jousting game by Douglas Wilson, designed for two to six players with motion controllers and smart phones. The goal is to jostle your opponents’ controllers while keeping your accelerometer sufficiently still. Inspired by playground and folk games, J.S. Joust is a performative game that encourages a range of expressive gameplay in a curated and designed space, within a set of minimal and elegantly designed rules.

a modern folkgame, USA

When? Pervasive. Saturday, October 8 and Sunday October 9, throughout the day

Ninja is a theatrical turn-based combat party game. Players begin in a circle, standing at arms-length, and then take turns striking ninja poses and engaging each other in ultimate ninja combat. The goal is to eliminate other players by slapping their hands. During your turn, you can move your entire body in one fluid motion to attack or position yourself defensively.

Pigeon Pinata Pummel
Joshua DeBonis, Nik Mikros, USA

When? Pervasive. Sunday October 9 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Team up with your friends and grab some wiffleball bats to pummel player-made piñatas to oblivion on a basketball court. Smashing open the piñatas will release ping pong and bouncy balls and sweet, sweet candy. Created by Josh DeBonis and Nik Mikros, the strategy in Pigeon Pinata Pummel is to determine when to wait for a pinata, when to run, and how to most effectively use your upgrades.

** Festival Finalist Selection
Kokoromi and Polytron, Canada

When? Sunday October 9, Night Games 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Night Games require a festival wristband or conference pass.

superHYPERCUBE, from Kokoromi and Polytron, is a game about holes, and the cubes that love them. It explores the vast, mostly unexplored TRON-like tundra of stereoscopy and head tracking in games. Originally produced for GAMMA 3D in Montreal, superHYPERCUBE is a public installation that literally takes the classic game Tetris into the third dimension as you try to rotate increasingly complex cube constellations to fit into a series of rectilinear holes. Presented as an art game, SuperHYPERCUBE’s well-designed 3D mechanics are leveraged to create unique and inventive puzzles on par with mainstream games in the genre.
The Hatter's Table
Sean Bouchard, Logan Olson, Elizabeth Swensen / USA

When? Sunday October 9 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

You’re invited to sit at the Mad Hatter’s table
With chaos and crumpets for brains less than stable.
The rules are a puzzle, but you mustn’t fret.
See, nobody’s worked them all out as of yet!
Inspired by Carrol’s great logical puzzles,
We aim to delight, confound, and confuzzle.
Want to think with your head and move with your feet?
Come join us to play, run, riddle, and eat!

Twistianopolis 500
The Wise Guys, USA

When? Sunday October 9 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Twistianopolis is a game played on a custom-made, giant, 20' x 8' Twister mat. The object of the game is to be the first to reach the finish line, moving down the track using only the combinations announced by the caller (eg, "Left foot blue"). This is a re-imagining of Hasbro's classic party game of dots, knots, and body parts, with one big twist.

//Family Friendly Festival Game Recommendations

Bistro Boulevard
Fugazo Inc. / USA

In Bistro Boulevard, from Fugazo Inc., you will hire staff, pick the menu, and decorate your restaurant to turn one modest diner into a promenade of five-star restaurants. Inspired by the rising popularity of food-oriented games and television shows, Bistro Boulevard is a simple sim game that places the player in the role of general manager of a series of restaurants. Bistro Boulevard’s creative reworking of common cultural and game elements makes a compelling experience for a wide audience.

Link: Bistro Boulevard

Gamestar Mechanic
E-Line Media

Gamestar Mechanic, from E-Line Media, is a an adventure game in which you fix and make your own games to progress. Gamestar Mechanic began with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to the University of Wisconsin Madison to research whether systems thinking could be taught *through* a game rather than "on top of" a game--a game where the core mechanic was game design itself. The game is now part of the inquiry-based curriculum developed by Katie Salen and the Institute of Play for New York’s innovative Quest to Learn School and is also in over 1,000 schools and afterschool programs around the world. Gamestar Mechanic challenges players to build mastery in game design and systems thinking as they play.

Link: Gamestar Mechanic

levitylab /USA

Geobook, from Experimental Gameplay Workshop veteran Chaim Gingold, is a playful, child-like, beautifully designed reenvisioning of the book that introduces basic concepts of geology through text and interactive illustrations. What if your geology book's illustrations were alive, and you could touch them? What if the epic time and scale of geologic processes were reduced to a sandbox that a child could reach into and play with? Geobook’s non-traditional approaches to interactivity create engaging and open ended learning environments that are as fun as they are educational.

Link: Geobook

ibb and obb
** IndieCade Award Winner 2008
Sparpweed / The Netherlands

ibb and obb is a single-screen cooperative game for two. As the delightfully playful creatures referenced in its title, together you’ll have to find your way through a world where gravity isn’t the boring one-directional force you always thought it was. With a horizon that forms a two-way gravity field (at any given time, one player’s character may be upside-down), players must coordinate on eitherside of the world to defeat monsters and collect shiny things. A videogame that takes the player to a universe with different rules and goals, ibb and obb challenges you to learn how to survive through cooperation and teamwork. Originally created by Richard Boeser as a Master’s Thesis project in innovative game design. Ibb and Obb was featured in 2008 at IndieCade's E3 Showcase and IndieCade Europe and received IndieCade's Design Innovation Award that same year. Ibb and Obb is scheduled for release on PC and Sony PlayStation Network in early 2012.

Incredible Ape

PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew, from Incredible Ape, is a game where two people use microphones to cooperatively control a single space man and fight an onslaught of geometric shapes. PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew is a humor game, but not a traditional humor game - it leverages a unique control scheme to turn a simple multiplayer mechanic an incredibly entertaining party game.

Link: PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew

Kaleidoplay (Play Kalei)
loadcomplete / Korea

Kaleidoplay, from loadcomplete, offers up a uniquely fun and relaxing puzzle experience on your iPad. Building on the classic analogue experience of viewing the world through a kaleidoscope, the objective is simple yet absorbing: find the point on the photograph that matches the variegated kaleidoscope image. Kaleidoplay exploits a simple interaction based on a familiar folk toy to create a highly engaging interactive experience.

Link: Play Kalei

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure
Untold Entertainment / Canada

Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure was created by Cassie Creighton, age 5, with her father Ryan, age 33. Cassie illustrated and voiced the short but (incredibly) sweet point-and-click adventure game. Sissy loves ponycorns--pony/unicorn hybrids--and endeavours to collect them in a series of jars given to her by a mysterious benefactor named OrangeBoy. Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure exemplifies the collaborative nature of game design, and the imaginative opportunities to stretch the boundaries of games and interactivity.

Link: Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure

CoCo & Co (Carnegie Mellon) / USA

WAY, an exploratory puzzle game designed by CoCo & Co, invites strangers around the world to collaborate in creating a shared gestural language online. By puppeteering their avatars (freely controlling limbs to wave, point, nod and more), two anonymous players must communicate nonverbally to solve puzzles. Way’s inventive multiplayer puzzles provoke players to cooperate and communicate in novel ways using the affordances of the virtual space.

Link: Way

Where Is My Heart?
** Finalist IndieCade 2008
Die Gute Fabrik / Denmark

Where is My Heart? is the story of a family of monsters who went on a hike and got lost in the forest. Created by Bernie Schulenberg, loosely based on his experience of a Sunday hike he took with his parents, the game is a 2D platformer where you switch roles between the three monsters as you lead them through the world to find their way home. Positive interactions between family members produce pink hearts of love which can help guide the monsters home; green hearts of bitterness set them off course. The game uses a unique mechanic that breaks the world up into shuffled comic book panels. To rescue the family, you must locate monsters’ and help them find their way to the exit of each level. Where is My Heart was released in x of 2011 on the PSP platform. Where is My Heart? was released on PSP Minis in 2010 and was presented at IndieCade’s 2011 Showcase at E3.