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IndieCade East: Day Three


IndieCade, the country’s premier independent video game festival, makes its East Coast debut at the Museum, with a weekend of playable games, presentations, game jams, and more. View all ongoing programs and games in the showcase.

12:00–1:00 p.m.

Bedroom Developments: Making PlayStation Games in Your Underwear

Presented by Rami Ismail, Shawn Alexander Allen, and Manuel Marcano

PlayStation Mobile is democratizing the publishing ecosystem on consoles, tablets, and smartphones by allowing independent developers to create and sell their games across an array of certified devices, including the PS Vita handheld console. By eliminating the need for special development hardware and creating a simple portal for publishing, it is now easier for smaller teams to create compelling experiences that reach hardcore console gamers. And although the PlayStation Mobile platform has only recently launched, it is already attracting a diverse crowd of gamemakers, including established independent teams like Vlambeer and up-and-coming talent like Nuchallenger. Panelists talk about their personal journeys in independent game development, and their experience with PlayStation Mobile. (Suitable for ages 10+)

1:00–2:30 p.m.

Game Design Workshop

Learn about the fundamentals of game design by creating small, tabletop games. After a brief introduction to the common characteristics of games, attendees work in groups and rapidly prototype a game, and then test and get feedback on their work. (Suitable for ages 10+)

2:00–2:30 p.m.

Spacewar! Decathlon Final Competition

Top players from the Spacewar! Decathlon battle for victory on Spacewar!, the first digital video game, in the Museum’s video game exhibition Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off.

3:00–4:00 p.m.


Renga is a feature-length game played by an entire audience directing laser pointers at a cinema screen. Ambushed and left for dead in deep space, players work collectively to gather resources, build a new ship, confront the enemy, and finally return home. Combining real-time crowd interaction technology, retro video game aesthetics, and a wry sense of humor, Renga harnesses the power of crowd decision-making to turn the traditional hero’s journey on its head and create a deep-seated sense of camaraderie among players.

3:00–3:30 p.m.

Well Played, Session 3 Cart Life

Presented by Nick Fortugno

Hosted by the Entertainment Technology Center – Carnegie Mellon University

What makes a game good? or bad? or better? Building on the ETC Press books and journal and the success of last year’s sessions, Nick Fortugno will play Cart Life, a retail simulation for Windows. The game combines common video game devices with a mundane setting to examine the life of a street vendor. Cart Life plays with game literacy and expectations to simulate an experience of modern capitalism. Nick Fortugno is a game designer and entrepreneur of digital and real-world games based in New York City, and a founder of Playmatics, a game development company. (Suitable for ages 10+)

3:30–4:00 p.m.

Well Played, Session 4, Unmanned

Presented by Naomi Clark, freelance game designer

Hosted by the Entertainment Technology Center – Carnegie Mellon University

What makes a game good? or bad? or better? Building on the ETC Press Well Played book series and journal and the success of IndieCade 2012 sessions, Naomi Clark will play and discuss Unmanned. Unmanned is an experimental game about a day in the life of a drone pilot. “The game uses a series of short, split-screen vignettes to combine simple mini-games with clickable conversation options, and takes you through the rather safe, humdrum existence of a modern drone pilot. Shaving, driving to work, flirting with your cute co-pilot, and even playing video games with your son are all given equal weight to actually blowing up a suspected insurgent thousands of miles away from a comfortable seat in front of a monitor. The result is a nuanced, wide-ranging look at a soldier’s life from a variety of viewpoints.”—Ars Technica (Suitable for ages 10+)

4:00–5:00 p.m.

You Don’t Seem Happy! Video Games and the Philosophical Problem of Being a Sore Loser

Presented by Jesper Juul, “The Ludologist” and assistant professor at NYU Game Center

We often say that video games are “fun,” but in this lively talk, Jesper Juul explains why this is almost entirely untrue. When we play video games, we rarely express happiness or bliss. Instead, we frown, grin, and shout in frustration. So why do we play video games even though they make us unhappy? Citing QWOP, Super Hexagon, and Red Dead Redemption, Juul compares the experience of being a sore loser to the experience of reading tragic plays and the shock of watching horror movies. Juul is an assistant professor at the New York University Game Center who has worked with the development of video game theory since the late 1990s. His publications include Half-Real on video game theory and A Casual Revolution. His upcoming book The Art of Failure will be published in Spring 2013 by MIT Press . He maintains the blog The Ludologist.

4:00–5:00 p.m.

The New York Scene

Presented by Asi Burak, Joshua DeBonis, and Colin Synder. Moderated by Celia Pearce.

Panelists discuss New York’s thriving independent video game communities, tackling Babycastles, Games for Change, street games, and everything in between. Asi Burak is Co-President of Games for Change and co-produces the Annual Games for Change Festival. Burak co-founded Impact Games, creators of PeaceMaker and Play the News gaming platforms. Joshua DeBonis designs digital, real-world, and board games. He is the Director of Sortasoft LLC, an independent game studio in Brooklyn, and the co-founder of NYC-Playtest and Brooklyn Game Ensemble. Colin Snyder is a video game developer, graphic designer, and writer based in New York City. In 2011, Snyder joined Babycastles as a graphic designer and has produced and directed numerous projects for the organization. Celia Pearce is a veteran game designer, author, researcher, teacher, curator, and artist. She is currently Associate Professor of Digital Media at Georgia Tech, where she also directs the Experimental Game Lab and the Emergent Game Group.

5:00–6:00 p.m.

John Sharp Keynote: Spacewar!, Punk Rock, and the Indie Dev Scene: A Semi-Secret Quasi-History of Our DIY Roots

In 1961, the Hingham Institute Study Group on Space Warfare emerged from the nascent hacker community at MIT to kick start video games. Fifteen years later, DIY (Do It Yourself) bubbled out of the punk rock scene. Today, the same DIY ethos that led to Spacewar! and punk rock lives on with independent developers as they build entirely new experiences, bring the hacker mindset to established industries, and create new systems for making outside of monolithic capitalism. John Sharp puts on his ex-punk rock art historian indie developer hat and connects the dots between the first video game, the birth of DIY, the indie game scene, and more. Sharp is the Associate Professor of Games and Learning in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design where he co-directs PETLab (Prototyping, Evaluation and Technology Lab). He is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, which focuses on games as a research platform. Sharp is also the curator of Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off, currently on view at the Museum.

6:00–7:00 p.m.

Developing Physical Games: Tools and Tricks for Jumping Off-Screen and into the Wide World (Game U)

Featuring panelists Kaho Abe, Katherine Isbister, and Greg Trefry. Moderated by Jamin Warren, founder of Kill Screen

Movement sensors and cameras capable of motion capture are ubiquitous, embedded in devices ranging from major game consoles to mobile phones. Taking full advantage of these new input possibilities requires radical shifts in game design. Panelists discuss examples of playful, movement-based experiences on a range of platforms.

7:00–8:00 p.m.

Game Jam Screenings

Hosted by Sony Playstation

Join the IndieCade East game jammers as they present the Sony Playstation Mobile games they developed over the course of the festival, immediately followed by an awards ceremony. Grand prize includes a Sony publishing deal and participation in Sony’s press conference at the Game Developers Conference in March.

Tickets: $30 public / $20 students/seniors/Museum members. Order online or call 718 777 6800 to reserve tickets. A full festival pass, allowing the holder admission to all IndieCade events, is available for $80 / $60. Free admission for Silver Screen members and above. Children ages 13+ and students are eligible for student level passes with valid ID. IndieCade East access for children 3–12 included with regular Museum admission ($6).