Indiecade 2014

Indiecade is thrown just one small municipal district away from where I reside. I attended last year and discovered greats like Nidhogg and Octodad. I attended again this year on the final day, Sunday. I totally felt like a creeper recognizing Shane Bettenhausen's voice, now of Sony, previously of 1UP where I enjoyed his writing and presence on podcasts. Felt too shy to interrupt and say hello but it was cool to see him around.

Indiecade is pretty great. It's a small gaming conference focused on indie games. Developers and companies showcase games in an outdoor festival or inside Culver City's firehouse. Like last year I attended with my good friend Daniel Stone. We started with the outdoor festival games, thinking to save the indoor stuff for when it would be inevitably hotter later.

Sony's booth was one of the first you saw as you entered the outdoor area, it featured yet to be released PS4 and PS Vita games. Some highlights from their booth:

Galak-Z is a 2D astroids-like with levels that felt like the Donkey Kong underwater levels. Mazes of rocks that would lead you into enemy traps and surprises. The graphics were cel shaded and had a feel of Speed Racer style characters. The game, still clearly in development, didn't run perfectly at the festival but despite low frame rate, I could tell this is going to be pretty special.

 The look of pure excitement.

The look of pure excitement.

Grim Fandango Remastered is a fresh coat of paint on the classic LucasArts adventure game. It plays similarly to the older version besides having ditched tank controls and a switchable old/new graphics setting. It looks sharp as hell, super pumped to play this again. This was probably one of the first PC games I bought so it was really exciting to see the remaster.

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Nom Nom Galaxy is the Pixel Junk folk's new game. It's a pretty crazy game, a 2d resource gathering, base building, tower defense game where you are gathering ingredients for soup that you shoot into space. It looks beautiful, the textures all have a kind of pixely fabric look. You control a character that has this giant spinning buzzsaw that tears through parts of the environment. This game is already out on PC but I haven't played it yet, for sure looking forward to picking it up on PS4 when it releases.

 Pretty sure this shot is from an earlier build of the game, kinda remember the characters looking more complex.

Pretty sure this shot is from an earlier build of the game, kinda remember the characters looking more complex.

Starwhal: Just the Tip is a super psychedelic party game where you play as Narwhals trying to stab each others hearts with their tusks. It's really crazy to control, super funny and a totally bizarre idea. Really really cool, was for sure this year's Nidhogg, where people were just gathered around and going nuts every brutal narwhal heart stabbing kill.

Next up, we headed to Nintendo's booth. A lot of the games they were showing were already released so I'll just touch quickly on my fave:

Beatbuddy is also like a donkey kong underwater level. You control this little dude through an underwater coral reef. There is a musical twist where some enemies make some of the sounds in the music and if they are killed or scared away, the change in music will effect the environment in different ways. There was also a part where you jump in this vehicle and you have to move to the beat of the music in order to progress, felt pretty cool. I really dug the music too.

There were also a lot of cool games in the Firehouse. I really enjoyed a game called Choice Chamber where my friend Daniel and I got to play co-op. Choice chamber is a platforming game where viewers watching on Twitch choose what you encounter. I didn't get a chance to ask the dev exactly what was generated but it seemed like room types, enemies and power-ups. It was pretty cool, Daniel played as the main character and I was a flying turret dot character. My dot could also become a platform if there was a section that was difficult to traverse. Daniel described this game as "This is like Cool Spot meets Truman Show" which the developer liked enough to tweet.

Indiecade was again awesome this year and I will surely go back next.