Los Angeles (July 11-13)—At this year’s exclusive, invitation-only E3 summit, 19 independent gamemakers will be crashing the gate. They’re part of the Indie Games Showcase, and they’re representing a creative community on the cutting edge of what some call the entertainment medium of the twenty-first century.
E3, traditionally the mega expo of the videogame industry, has scaled itself down to best serve its biggest stakeholders, the major mainstream publishers. But the organizers, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), invited the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games and the International Game Developers Association to give the gathered insiders a view of the industry’s bustling creative fringes.
The showcase team selected 19 games from among about 40 developers who were invited to submit works for consideration. “We were going for diversity, to show a wide selection of works that illustrate what games are capable of being,” said Festival Chair Celia Pearce. “Most of these games defy the neat little genre and marketing compartments that have taken over the game industry. They redefine play and games and give us a glimpse into the future.”
Sam Roberts, current director of the Slamdance Guerilla Game Competition, co-curated the showcase with Pearce and IndieCade President Stephanie Barish. “We worked closely with the IGDA and the ESA to tailor the showcase to our audience,” said Roberts. “Some of these games and developers are in fact headed for mainstream publication. However, we really wanted to show works that were coming from the heart, works that conveyed creative vision and that to varying degrees really bend and in some cases break gaming conventions.” Roberts will be joining the IndieCade team as Festival Director in early 2008.
ESA founder Doug Lowenstein, who has since moved on, had been known to admonish the industry he represented for more than a decade for its narrowing audience profile and lack of innovation. Both he and ESA colleague Dan Hewitt pushed for the independent games showcase because they wanted to expose the E3 audience to some new ideas about game design. “Although the main purpose of the E3 Business Summit was to facilitate press visibility and publisher/distributor deals, we still felt it was important to include a creative element,” says Media Relations Director, Dan Hewitt.
“It is time to see these games,” said Stephanie Barish of IndieCade.?“It’s time to challenge this industry with games that turn our idea of play inside out, that keep the fans engaged — and do it passionately, on small budgets. That’s the point of this showcase and the work of IndieCade.”
Stay tuned for announcements as the console makers embrace games from the indie space -- such as those featured here -- on their platforms.
Indie Game Showcase at E3 Expo
E3 Business Summit
Barker Hanger, Santa Monica Airport
Booth # 343, 442, 443.
Wednesday, July 11, 1:00pm-7:00pm
Thursday, July 12, 1:00pm-7:00pm
Friday, July 13, 11:00am-4:00pm
Game Industry by Invitation Only
Press with Authorized Pass
IndieCade is the premiere annual festival for the future of independent games. The three-day festival will feature continual screenings and hands-on play opportunities, game design jams, a play-testing atelier, large-scale social games, works-in-progress, workshops by creative industry legends, a gamemaking tools emporium, and a special mini-festival honoring the indie spirit in legacy games. Culminating in a gala award game show, IndieCade will be an unprecedented assembly of industry insiders, bellwether gamemakers, and players looking for the newest and most groundbreaking independent games.
The goal is to support, publicize, and cultivate innovation and artistry in interactive media, helping to create a public perception of games as rich, diverse, artistic, and culturally significant.
Festival and Showcases
IndieCade will take over the City of Santa Monica for an as-yet-undisclosed three days in Spring 2008. In addition to the E3 Indie Games Showcase, a second showcase is being planned for October 2007 in the United Kingdom.
Why IndieCade, and Why Now?
Independent gamemakers, like their counterparts in film, build games that take tremendous passion, the inspiration of innumerable collaborators, and very often a life savings. Like independent filmmakers, they compete for publicity, support, and distribution against established producers and productions with budgets measured in millions. But when it comes time to find an audience, the parallel ends.
An independent work that breaks through can have a powerful creative impact on its industry. But the rapidly maturing game industry, unlike cinema, has no comprehensive, public venue to introduce, explore, and celebrate groundbreaking independent work. Worthy independent games, prospective funders, and players looking for new experiences rarely find one another.
IndieCade is an annual global festival open to the general public — a yearly gathering, marketplace, and celebration of this community’s new voices and their trailblazing work. Thousands of independent creators, developers, thinkers, players, and fans, will travel from across the world to be at the same place at the same time, sharing this sense of community and the work at its heart with the rest of the world.