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This past weekend the IndieCade event came out east. For the past few years it's been held exclusively out west in California, Culver City to be exact, and this year for the first time the event came out to Queens, New York (the west event is still on, set for early October). I took a train up to the Big Apple on Saturday then hopped the subway out to Queens to see what it was all about. The program featured several talks, there were a ton of old-school arcades, a lot of indie titles were in display and playable for attendees, and a PS Vita game jam was going on during the event. Plus, all the rest of the exhibits at the Museum of the Moving Image where the event was hosted were open to attendees as well.
The Well Played sessions were neat, as designers played indie titles and gave a running commentary as they went. I also checked out the Iron Game Design Challenge where two schools with game development curriculum - Parsons and NYU - each had a team that were both given a theme, materials and secret ingredient and designed a game over the next hour, using audience members to play test and items from the audience as well to mix things up. I think the hosts planned for more commentary from the audience, but there really wasn't much more to do than spectate if you weren't being a play tester - and that was still entertaining enough.
They also had sponsors Sifteo, Ouya and Oculus showing off their hardware as well. I waited almost an hour in line for a brief look through the Oculus headset and I must say I was impressed. There was blurring, which they say will be gone with the final product but the response time was super fast - moving my head around there was no perceptible delay in the motion being translated to the screen. They handed me the controller and I was off racing around as fast as I could to try and get disoriented or motion-sick but neither happened. Even when they switched me to an indoor environment I was able to maintain spatial awareness with no problem.
There's a lot more to IndieCade I didn't have a chance to check out during my brief visit, and when the event comes back around next year I hope to spend more time up in Queens. If you missed hearing about it and are in the area I would suggest you plan to be there as well. Got kids? Bring em! Lots of kids at the event and a great way to get them more involved with gaming, development and the past of gaming if that's what you're after. Or just to have a fun day out with the family.