Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


IndieCade gaming

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

There is something about independent publishing that' freeing!

During IndieCade, I got to peek into the world of grassroots gaming as I like to call it. Here, there were no corporate-y companies looking over your shoulder telling you what works in games or not. There was just the designer, the dream and the final product. 

There were games of all types: video games (the most associated with the event), outdoor games, board games and those that mixed everything in between. I got to see some great art (here and here), but surprisingly, I also found myself having lots of fun watching and playing some games.

Here are some of my favorites:

Ibb and Obb

There aren't too many games I could name designed specifically for cooperative gaming, so Ibb and Obb was a nice change of pace. Named after Jasper Fforde’s “The Well of Lost Plots," it takes two players to play this game. Sometimes, you'll need to hop onto each others' backs to get to the next platform. Other times, one of you needs to walk underneath a level while the other gathers the points incurred above.

Playing this game encourages communication and concerted effort. While my friend and I were playing it, we totally lost track of time, our concentrations focused on how we both could get to the next level together.

I love the mechanic, but its visual minimalist appeal is also attractive. Ibb and Obb's world is simple, even the trees are mere filigrees that wrap around the whole world. Here's a trailer:

Johann Sebastian Joust

This game is charmingly simple and easy to jump into. In fact, while we were there, players rotated every couple of minutes and the line to try it just kept on going. "Johann Sebastian Joust" is a music-based game of "tag" designed with the addition of motion controllers and smart phones.

Each player has a "torch," which are basically motion controllers with a light at the end to indicate life. The goal is for you to keep your "torch" lit by not moving it around too much (thus putting out the "light") while trying to jostle others to put their "torch" out.

While the music plays in slow motion, the controllers become extra sensitive. Wait for the music to speed up and you can get a little more adventurous. Bump, shove, tap other players successfully and you'll see their "lights" turn off. Little kids especially can get pretty devious with theirs. 


This one makes it into my list simply because it's pretty. We're always given goals when playing a game and what surprised me about this one is that it had no goals. It was just a beautiful world to explore. Talk about meditative gaming. Fly around, play, interact with the characters on "Hohokum" and you'll easily find the time fly by too.

Saw something cool that made your list? Send me a link!


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