Hello all from sunny Culver City, CA.
I'm writing this from the comforts of my room at the historic Culver Hotel having just enjoyed some lunch following some interesting morning talks.
I started the day at what was scheduled as a talk by Mary Flanagan, but due to unforseen circumstances turned into a panel on "Big Games" or variants on ARG's. I liked hearing about these groups games, but mostly it made me want to experience them. Some of them will have sessions here at IndieCade, but the most interesting by a group capriciously called Nonchalance I will not be able to experience in full because it is locally specific to San Francisco. I will try to see some of the artifacts on display here.
Secondly, I enjoyed a talk by Eddy Boxerman and Andy Nealen of Hemisphere Games, giving a postmortem of Osmos, a really neat game. It started as a basic game design postmortem and evolved into an interesting commentary on minimalist art, the nature of abstraction, and the relationship between aesthetics and interface through a minimalist lens. I thought of Jason Begy's CMS thesis immediately, and was happy to hear that his work was on their radar as well.
As of now, only a few hours in, I am struck by two interesting questions that I am hoping to get some insight about over the festival:
1) How indie is IndieCade? In general I try to avoid genre classification all the while understanding its usefulness in shaping how we understand artifacts. What on earth is indie? Is it about funding? Is it about a spirit and intentionality behind design? At worst, is it another social construction intended to create domains of belonging and subsequent alienation? I am sitting the whole time thinking, "indie to what end?"
2) Where does GAMBIT fit in this space. Are we "indie" enough? Are we confronting enough conventions to fit in this rather tight space called "indie game development." How much subversion is enough subversion? Does our funding exclude us from an "indie" designation?
I'll write more about this soon, but for now, gotta catch another talk.
I'm tweeting under the obnoxiously long hash-tag, #abegoestoindiecade, so you can check out some micro-blogging there.
till next time,