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IndieCade Announces 10th Anniversary Festival Awards Winners

“Excellence in Independent Games Celebrated at Sunday Evening Award Ceremony, Honoring Innovative Emerging Titles, Trailblazers & Industry Influencers”

IndieCade — the premiere international festival of independent games — announced the winners of the 10th anniversary awards during a ceremony Sunday evening hosted by Survios. Among the prestigious honors for innovative emerging titles, special awards were presented to Japanese game designer and artist Keita Takahashi; game industry influencer Rami Ismail; the Global Game Jam Founders; the creators of “Humans vs. Zombies;” and jury, developer, media and audience choice selections.

“For the past decade we’ve had the privilege of honoring top achievement in independent gaming,” said IndieCade CEO Stephanie Barish, “This year’s award recipients represent the diverse nature of the evolving indie community, and we couldn’t be prouder to celebrate the unique and thought-provoking titles they’ve created. Their dedicated passion continues to help the independent games movement grow and have an increasingly significant impact on society.”

The full list of winners is provided below, and more information on all of the games showcased at the festival is available here: .

Trailblazer Award: Keita Takahashi

The IndieCade Trailblazer Award is an annual honor bestowed upon creators who have made immense contributions to the games industry, while capturing the pioneering spirit of the indie movement. This year’s recipient, Keita Takahashi, is a prolific Japanese game designer widely known for creating “Katamari Damacy” (PS2), “We Love Katamari” (PS2) and “Noby Noby Boy” (PS3 & iOS) — commercial titles published by Namco. Following his commercial success, he moved to Vancouver to create independent games “Tenya Wanya Teens” and “ALPHABET.” He is currently working with his team in San Francisco on the new title “Wattam.”

The Game Changer Award: Rami Ismail

IndieCade’s Game Changer Award celebrates individuals who have impacted the gaming landscape in a significant way — positive disruptors who have brought a paradigm shift to indie development. This year’s recipient Rami Ismail travels around the world to connect game dev communities and help empower anyone interested in making games. He heads business and development at Vlambeer, a Dutch independent games studio known best for “Nuclear Throne,” “Ridiculous Fishing,” “LUFTRAUSERS,” “Super Crate Box,” “GUN GODZ” and “Serious Sam: The Random Encounter.”

The Decade of Impact Award: Global Game Jam Founders

In honor of IndieCade’s 10th anniversary, this special one-time award honors the founders of the Global Game Jam for their prodigious impact on the game industry and the international indie community and ecosystem.

The Bernie DeKoven Big Fun Award: Humans vs. Zombies Creation Team (Gnarhwal Studios)

Created in collaboration with Bernie DeKoven, this new annual award celebrates his legacy and recognizes individuals and organizations that create large-scale, physical games. This year’s recipient is Gnarhwal Studios, the creators of the interactive tag game “Humans vs. Zombies.”

The Grand Jury Award: Oikospiel Book I by Koch Games [PC/Mac]

Play as a German Shepherd named Pluto and explore the enchanted climates of planet Earth and the asteroid 433 Eros. Written, assembled and with an original score by David Kanaga, players have the opportunity to visit an Arctic Ocean wind farm, Kochiri Forest, a computer OS, a cluttered desk, a union-busting prairie in Kansas, a private jet, a flooded city at the North Pole and many more fevered landscapes.

The Journey Award: Detention by Red Candle Games [PC/Mac]

Set in a fictitious world in 1960s Taiwan under martial law, “Detention” incorporates East Asian elements rarely used in games. To tell a unique and terrifying story, the 2D atmospheric horror side-scroller draws on local Taiwanese cultural references, like Taoism, Buddhism and Chinese mythology.

The Interaction Award: Everything Is Going To Be OK by Nathalie Lawhead [PC/Mac]

A collection of life experiences, “Everything is Going To Be OK” is an interactive zine that explores alternative views of power from a survivor’s standpoint and is a commentary of struggle. The focus is largely on bringing humor into “dark times,” offering different perspectives on what it means to live with things like PTSD.

The Impact Award: Tracking Ida by Tracking Ida Team [Alternate Controller/Installation]

“Tracking Ida” is an educational alternate reality game (ARG) inspired by the pioneering investigative journalism of Ida B. Wells in the 1890s. Players uncover Ida B. Wells’ crusade against lynching and use her strategies to investigate police and vigilante killings today. Along the way, they solve puzzles, decode messages through a phonograph, role-play as investigative journalists, interview members of their community and harness social media to spread awareness.

The Aesthetic Award: Cat Sorter VR by Pawmigo Games [HTC Vive]

In this whimsical VR game, players have the opportunity to sort defective cats, disassemble them and rebuild them into “purfect” felines, using intuitive controls. The room-scale VR experience can be played alone or in a group, as the design allows for party gameplay with friends and family.

The Culture Award: Cosmic Top Secret by klassefilm [PC/Mac]

“Cosmic Top Secret” is an autobiographical adventure video game about T, the protagonist who wants to uncover the truth about her father’s work for the Danish Intelligence Service during the Cold War.

The Dark Horse Award: Feast by Sharang Biswas & Sweta Mohapatra [Tabletop]

“Feast” is a storytelling/role-playing game for five people about power and memory, where players take on the role of entities and possess and eat the personalities of ordinary people. Played during a communal meal, eating and tasting are used as game mechanics to evoke thoughts and memories.

The Jury Special Recognition Award: The Incredible Playable Show by Alistair Aitcheson [Performance]

Taking inspiration from clowning and improve comedy, “The Incredible Playable Show” is a live interactive stage show where everyone in the room has the opportunity to participate and become a part of the action. Audience members can take to the stage to become human buttons, zap each other with barcode scanners and shout very loudly at classic video games. Each act is created to involve big crowds, providing the opportunity for the audience to express themselves and help make each performance unique.

The Audience Choice Award: Plunder Panic by The Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab at Michigan State University [Custom Arcade]

“Plunder Panic” is a swashbuckling, 12-person multiplayer arcade game where two rival crews battle for supremacy on the high seas. Created in the style of a late 80s or early 90s arcade game, “Plunder Panic” offers multiple paths to victory, including defeating the enemy’s captain, scuttling the enemy’s ship or plundering treasure.

The Developer Choice Award (Tie): Where the Water Tastes Like Wine by Dim Bulb Games [PC/Mac]

Set in an America inspired by folklore and the Great Depression, “Where the Water Tastes Like Wine” is a single-player narrative game about traveling and storytelling. Structured as a collection of short stories with multiple narratives, the player will meet 16 different characters while wandering the land as the personification of Folk culture. The player takes on the task of spreading folktales and helping them grow, as well as collecting the life stories of the characters they meet.

The Developer Choice Award (Tie): Walden, a game by USC Game Innovation Lab [PC/Mac]

“Walden, a game” is a first person simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. Live off the land, seek out the small wonders and beauties of the woods and find balance between the need to survive and the desire to find inspiration. The game follows the loose narrative of Thoreau’s first year in the woods, with each season holding its own challenges for survival and possibilities for inspiration.

The Media Choice Award: Busy Work by Mouse & the Billionaire [Multiplayer Installation]

“Busy Work is a fast-paced multiplayer game that makes a frantic and hilarious gameplay out of the monotonous aspects of office work. Up to eight players compete to answer as many customer emails as possible before the morning meeting, while constantly being interrupted with phone calls, pop-up calendar reminders, “urgent” physical tasks and more.


Applauded as the “Sundance of the videogame industry,” IndieCade supports independent game development globally through a series of international events highlighting the rich, diverse, artistic and culturally significant contributions of indie game developers. IndieCade’s programs are designed to bring visibility to and facilitate the production of new works within the emerging independent game community. Upcoming events include IndieCade Europe on October 30-31 in Paris, France and IndieCade East on December 1-3 in New York. For more information about these and all of IndieCade’s annual events, visit: .


Author: VR Reporter

I am a hi-tech enthusiast, VR evangelist, and a Co-founder & Chief Director at Virtual Reality Reporter!

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