Here's the official IndieCade mission, courtesy of indiecade.org:
IndieCade supports independent game development and organizes a series of international events showcasing the future of independent games. It encourages, publicizes, and cultivates innovation and artistry in interactive media, helping to create a public perception of games as rich, diverse, artistic, and culturally significant. IndieCade's events and related production and publication programs are designed to bring visibility to and facilitate the production of new works within the emerging independent game movement. Like the independent videogame developer community itself, IndieCade's focus is global and includes producers in Asia, Latin America, Europe, Australia, and anywhere else independent games are made and played.
Akrasia is, of course, described on its official home on the GAMBIT site as follows:
Akrasia is a single-player game that challenges game conventions and is intended to make the player think and reflect. It is based on the abstract concept of addiction, which is expressed metaphorically throughout the game.
Spoiler Warning! The game is set in a maze that represents the mind. The maze has two states a normal and a psychedelic state. To enter the game, the player has to collect a pill-shaped object and thus enters the game as "addict". From "chasing the dragon" and the experience of dependency to working your way through "cold turkey stage" where willpower is mapped onto navigation skills, this game models the essential dimensions of the addiction gestalt as identified by its creators.
Depending on player behavior and choice, the game can have various outcomes that reflect this behavior. Someone who tries to shake the habit as quickly as possible will find herself in a different situation at the end of the game than someone who indulged in chasing the high. Unlike many other games where the player is forced to learn a specific behavior in order to win the game, this game gives the player a lot of freedom in regard to the realization of the game as text. The interpretation of the game is different depending on how the game is played, thus Akrasia is a prime example of a dynamic, player-dependent meaning generation.
The game is meant to be played several times until all the connections between its various elements the high-score, the life bar with its symbols, the two creatures that inhabit the maze in its two states, etc. are decoded and its underlying meaning reveals itself. But although every single element in the game supports one specific reading, the beauty of Akrasia is its interpretative richness. All the elements in the game make sense in regard to one reading, but it is not the only possible one. The experiences that shall be conveyed in every single stage of the game do not only fit one experiential gestalt, but a variety of structurally similar experiences.
Akrasia takes the notion of "meaningful games" to the next level. Play it, experience it and put on your thinking cap.
IndieCade 2009 will be going down October 1-4, 2009 in Culver City, California. There's all kinds of fantastic programming planned, including the Hand-On Exhibition, a three-day Conference (including GAMBIT co-PI Henry Jenkins and friend-of-the-lab Brenda Brathwaite), an Awards Ceremony, an extensive amount of Outdoor and Pervasive Gameplay, a series of Artist Talks, and, of course, the IndieCade Happening!
Congratulations to Doris C. Rusch (Product Owner), Paul Yang (Scrummaster), Alexander Luke Chong (QA Lead), Louis Teo (Designer), Shawn Dominic Loh (Artist), Zou Xinru (Artist), Law Kok Chung (Programmer), Stephie Wu (Programmer), Erik Sahlström (Audio Designer), Jeremy Flores (Additional Audio), Pradashini Subramaniam (Additional Audio), and Guo Yuan (Additional Audio). Way to go, team!
Several GAMBITeers will be in attendance at IndieCade 2009, including Akrasia product owner Dr. Doris C. Rusch. We hope to see you there!