Santa Monica College hosts IndieCade, the Sundance of independent gaming

By Christina Campodonico

Glowing game Kroma turns play into a work of art

You could say there are two modes of play at IndieCade 2019, which takes over Santa Monica College’s Center for Media and Design (also the home of KCRW) with cutting-edge interactive games from across the globe this weekend.

During the day on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, you can rotate through a bunch of different games during IndieCade’s signature Game Tasting from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., a pop-up show-and-tell where game creators at different stages of development can test their games with attendees to showcase their work in progress and get feedback. You can also play games nominated for IndieCade awards and meet with their creators throughout the festival. While IndieCade founder and CEO Stephanie Barish says she loves all the nominees like she would her “own children,” a few that you might want to test out are:

• ARBox, which comes with everything you would need to turn your home, office or hangout space into an augmented reality escape room.

• Kroma, a colorful Tetris-like game played on a triangular backlit lightboard that encourages players to turn their translucent game pieces into a collaborative work of art.

• And Inhuman Conditions, a card game which challenges players to figure out if their opponent is human or “a robot in hiding” through a series of interrogative techniques and questions.

Then on Saturday night from 6 to 10 p.m., the Center for Media and Design turns into a game night on steroids with Night Games curated by Glitch City L.A., a collective of independent artists and gamemakers. A few highlights include:

• Mad Mixologist, a virtual reality game which challenges two players to concoct the perfect non-alcoholic drink after their visions have been swapped.

• Hellcouch, which asks players to bounce and bop on a couch to release a “demon from its cozy couch prison.” (LED lights and rock ‘n’ roll sounds help out with this one.)

• And Hot Swap, which allows players to turn the rudder, lower the sails, load ammo and fire cannons on a virtual battleship with nifty hand controls.

“Indiecade’s Festival Day is a diverse celebration of play in all its modes, featuring games and experiences for social players, loud players, quiet players, strategic players,” wrote Barish and festival director Sam Roberts in a statement to The Argonaut. “Day is for the greatest ‘arcade’ you’ve ever seen – a smorgasbord of play. Night is the best ‘game night at a party’ you could want.”

IndieCade 2019 happens Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Oct. 10, 11 & 12) at Santa Monica College’s Center for Media and Design, 1660 Stewart St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $35-plus at Tickets for Night Games, from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, are $15.