Santa Monica is the new host for one of the gaming industry’s biggest events, IndieCade, with organizers citing the city’s technology industry as a primary draw for attendees.

The International Festival of Independent Games, better known as Indiecade hosts some of the world’s most ingenious and thought-provoking game designers and developers across all platforms.

“IndieCade provides independent game developers with the rare opportunity to be discovered and have their work showcased for an international audience – potentially catapulting unknown projects to overnight success,” said Stephanie Barish, Chief Executive Officer of IndieCade, “With this year’s event hosted in Santa Monica, home to so many incredible studios, it’s also a great opportunity for local professionals to scout for new and upcoming talent.”

Indiecade will unfold over three days. Thursday, October 11 hosts IndieXchange which acts as a networking day. Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13 is when the festival is in full force. All three days engage the festival goer with a variety of events from lectures to game testing and even SMC’s own student showcase.

Indiecade holds several “Conference Sessions” which encompass lectures, demonstrations and workshops that capture the gaming industry’s forward-thinking voice. Diving deeper in the lecture, “The Neuroscience of Games: One Weird Truth About Learning Styles That Will Change Everything You Know About Play” breaks down player’s stereotypic behavior. The Independent game development team of fiction writer Natalie Mesnard and neuroscientist Patrick Watson explore how gamers are given an opportunity to reevaluate personal identities with games. Indiecade nominees, husband and wife team, writer Jeff Crocker and director Andy Crocker take you down an existential rabbit hole creating a play with escape room elements in “Escape from Godot.”

Both wanted to re-imagine Samuel Beckett’s classic game “Waiting for Godot” by creating an interactive experience filled with puzzles. Jeff Crocker suggests that Beckett’s classic game, while profound, can also be profoundly boring.

“We came up with the concept of what if you have the ability as the audience to be able to escape from that production,” he said.

He said both his and Andy’s background complimented each other and aided in their production.

“On my side that sort of theme park experiential entertainment world, and her side, it was taking a classic piece of theater and making it much more playful which is really sort of Andy’s ethos,” he said.

They want to immerse the audience in a post-modern understanding of the classics.

“We are starting to use new tools to invite the audience to experience these themes. If you’re a video game player and you don’t go to the theater that much maybe this is the perfect center of the Venn diagram for you to experience it,” he said.

Nominee Pornsima Duangratana’s board game, Stress Express, paints a humorous version of 21st-century stress. She creates chaos through multiple timed tasks. Duangratana uses competition between players to mimic real-life anxieties. She said board games have a stronger competitive element that actually brings out stress in a humorous way. She said the goal of her game is to make the audience to reevaluate their everyday stresses and how they deal with them.

City Officials said the new Santa Monica location is an ideal fit for the event with a strong industry presence nearby, good access to transit and a great physical location on the newly opened Santa Monica College Center for Media and Design.

“The landscape of artistic creation and arts participation is evolving in exciting and dynamic ways, and IndieCade is pushing the conversation forward by showcasing new modes of engagement at the nexus of art and technology,” said City Manager Rick Cole. “Santa Monica welcomes and supports those who make room for new voices at this intersection. We’re excited that this festival of independent games is making us their home and look forward to working with IndieCade to foster new connections between Santa Monicans, Silicon Beach, and the arts and game communities.”

Festival passes are available with a variety of access such all access or IndieU for students. SMC students and alums receive an exclusive 50% discount. To see a full schedule of events and tickets prices visit www.indiecade.com.

This story was produced as part of a partnership between the SMC Corsair student newspaper and the Santa Monica Daily Press.

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