The developers of Pop Pop Battle J at IndieCade

Last month's IndieCade festival saw creators of independently financed games giving presentations and demoing prototypes in Culver City, California.

Our flickr photo set provides an indication of the varied settings of the event, from the evening red carpet awards hosted by Felicia Day, to the afternoon play sessions arranged throughout a rented firehouse, and the late-night, outdoors Night Games curated by Antichamber sound designer Robin Arnott. For Ragtag Studio, the IndieXchange workshop session preceding the festival provided an opportunity to introduce their iOS app Unstoppable Fist to fellow devs, while also receiving feedback on a separate title's proof of concept build.

Fist (whose karate-kicking protagonist sports a pastel-dominated wardrobe and penny loafers in a callback to Miami Vice) was released earlier this year together with a free soundtrack album through Bandcamp. Co-founder Chris Cobb says of attending the festival, "[W]e have quickly learned the value of spreading our wings and meeting other like-minded developers."

IndieCade 2012 narrated by Matt Carter. Further videos after the break

Hip-hop artist Random, aka Mega Ran, played the Touch Vinyl venue several blocks from IndieCade the night after the awards show. A stop on his second Campaign Tour since 2008, the musician has been performing on the road frequently since Capcom granted him license to rap about the Blue Bomber on LPs Mega Ran, Mega Ran 9 and Mega Ran 10. His more recent game-inspired hip-hop albums have refracted plotlines found in Final Fantasy VII and River City Ransom through the prism of his own life story.

Having collaborated on an EP with Super Meat Boy composer Danny Baranowsky in their shared state of Arizona, Mega Ran has begun branching out into indie game design with Mega Ran in Language Arts, funded through Kickstarter in collaboration with Lunar Giant Studios. DJ DN3, performing throughout the IndieCade weekend show, composed the score for the Language Arts browser title, which is streaming in full on the DN3 Bandcamp page. The two see their success in delving into game creation as having fulfilled a personal desire stretching back to childhood.

What tends to separate indie festivals like IndieCade from more mainstream press events like E3 is an emphasis on unconventional design. Brandon Sheffield, who until this year ran Game Developer Magazine, has been a vocal supporter of bringing perspectives marginalized from the mainstream game industry more fully into the spotlight.

Having founded his own design studio, Necrosoft Games, he finds value in IndieCade's encouragement of women in development and designs that evidence a wealth of cultural diversity among team members. Necrosoft's intended purpose is to make "weird games for weird people, like us."

An attraction to the bizarre is being carefully nurtured on the studio's high-speed roadkill simulator Oh, Deer! by employing a Swedish sprite artist and a Japanese FM synth musician, amalgamating highly individuated aesthetic styles. The founder's willingness to search across the globe for talent could be seen as another indication of the great lengths indie studios will go to in hopes of capturing an experience that simply defies expectation.


Brandon Sheffield of Oakland attending IndieCade 2012. For further images from IndieCade, see our flickr photo set. Videos and photos by Jeriaska