Like everything in the video game industry this year, IndieCade 2020 went virtual this year and provided nine days of 24-hour programming last week from October 16-24. 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. On October 23, the festival announced its award-winning games and developers across adventure, narrative, puzzle, augmented reality, tabletop, and live-action genres. The Grand Jury awarded hand-illustrated adventure game Mutazione with top honors and special awards celebrated noteworthy developers like Derek Yu of Spelunky, Zuraida Buter of the Global Game Jam, and Holly Gramazio of Dicey Dungeons.
Mutazione, developed by Die Gute Fabrik received top honors at IndieCade 2020 with the Grand Jury Award. The game has players enter a mutant soap opera where small-town gossip meets the supernatural, and explore the Mutazione community, magical gardens, new friends, and old secrets in this hand-illustrated adventure game. The Jury Prix Award was won by Wide Ocean Big Jacket for demonstrating excellence in craftsmanship, innovation, and design. Developed by Turnfollow, the game is a short story that transports players to an overnight camping trip, complete with ghost stories and roasting hot dogs on the fire. Wide Ocean Big Jacket is comprised of 20 chapters and eight explorable areas rendered in a 2D/3D art style. Electric Zine Maker, by alienmelon was honored with the Innovation in Interaction Design Award which celebrates the specialized artistry and innovation required to engage with games on a new level. Electric Zine Maker is a print shop and art tool with playful art, writing, and image features developed to make zine creation simple and easy for kids and beginners. The game that provided a unique and curated experience and won the Innovation in Experience Award was The Eternal Castle [REMASTERED]. It’s a cinematic platformer based on the original game with additional game mechanics, sophisticated sound design, polished 2-bit CGA animated graphics, and modernized game design.
The Performance Award went to Tangle Tower. Developed by SFB Games, Tangle Tower is a detective adventure game that features a fully voiced and animated cast of characters and an orchestral soundtrack. Players unravel a thrilling mystery by exploring a strange and twisted mansion, discovering curious clues, interrogating peculiar suspects, and solving unique puzzles. Celebrating titles that leverage randomness and algorithmic content to create unique and innovative reactions, The Procedural Design Award was given to I Was A Teenage Exocolonist. It’s a narrative life simulation game about spending your high school years on an alien planet. Players will explore, grow up, and fall in love. The choices players make determine their course in life and survival of the colony. The Audio Design Award went to NUTS, a first-person narrative surveillance adventure with a unique puzzle mechanic and a bold visual style. The game was developed by Joon, Pol, Muutsch, Char and Torfi.
Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective, by Darjeeling won the Visual Design Award. The game is a 2D puzzle game where players travel through the immense labyrinths of Opera City to catch Mr. X, an infamous thief who stole the Maze stone. Fourcast Lab was awarded the Location-Based and Live Play Design Award for Terrarium: An Alternate Reality Game. The game was scaled for approximately 1,700 people during first-year student’s orientation at the University of Chicago in 2019. The experience used transmedia storytelling and gameplay to increase understanding about and engagements with climate change.
Chronicling the many centuries of a vampire’s existence, beginning with the loss of mortality and ending with inevitable destruction, Thousand Year Old Vampire won the Tabletop Award. The game features prompt-driven play and simple resource tracking that provide easy rules for exploring your character’s human failings, villainous acts, and surprising victories. Sin Sol/ No Sun won the Impact Award. It’s an augmented reality game that allows users to experience the feelings of a climate change event. It’s set 50 years in the future as players learn to consider how climate change disproportionately affects immigrants, trans people, and disabled people. The Narrative Award celebrates achievement in storytelling. This year’s winner goes to Journey of the Broken Circle, by The Lovable Hat Cult. It’s a fun and vibrant trip about life, love, fulfillment, and existentialism, where new powers come from new relationships. The IndieCade Choice Award selected by this year’s nominated festival developers went to Mini Motorways. Developed by Dinosaur Polo Club, players build a road network and redesign the city to keep traffic flowing in a bustling metropolis.
The Trailblazer Award was presented to Derek Yu. The Award honors a working creator who has made both great contributions to the field of games and captures the independent and pioneering spirit. Derek Yu created Spelunky, Spelunky 2, and co-created Aquaria. Zuraida Buter received the Game Changer Award which celebrates an individual who has impacted the gaming landscape in a significant way, a positive disruptor who has brought a paradigm shift to the community. Zuraida Buter is the Cultural curator of the Global Game Jam, Incubate Arcade, Screenshake Game Expo, and New GameGrounds. Holly Gramazio won the Bernie DeKoven Big Fun Award which recognizes creators significantly furthering the field and impact of new, big, and physical games. Holly Gramazio is the writer of Dicey Dungeons, Director of Now Play This, and installation creator.
“By broadening our reach for the 2020 Festival to a global, virtual audience. we were able to connect with more indie developers, players, and fans than ever before and celebrate top achievement across the indie games community,” CEO and Founder, IndieCade Stephanie Barish said. “This year’s award winners represent diversity in both talent and gameplay and reflect the power of games as an art form, entertainment medium, and tool to spark change.”