Yum at Indiecade 2011

Well this year’s Indiecade, the coolest international festival of independent games, has drawn to a close. The fest attracts small independent game makers and a handful of artists to play, discuss, eat, watch, and play some more. It is a hands-on, grassroots group who comes. Some of my favorite games included the whimsical Hohokum, a line drawing vector based game; Ordnungswissenschaft, a game that integrates stacking blocks in the real world into that of the virtual. Interesting little games also included The Witch; Way, a game that features two player capacity but each as a different point of view, and Halycon, a musical toy and matching game.

I was on a panel NOT about games: “Eddy Boxerman, Mary Flanagan, and Jake Kazdal will talk about their influences outside of games that has impacted and inspired their work and why. They will then discuss the importance (or lack thereof) of looking beyond games for the future of indie games.” It was really interesting to see how different interests and intersections affect the work of those in the field. Eddy Boxerman showed work related to physics and natural laws, and this clearly showed in his game work — but not all of it. He showed an old board game as well that did not deal with natural systems. This makes complete sense, as our influences are many and our ability to be expressive should not be limited to one narrow thread of interest. Jake Kazdal talked art styles that compelled him, including the Bambi landscape artist Tyrus Wong. I discussed my own influences: avant garde filmmakers Cecelia Condit, Barbara Hammer, and Hollis Frampton; the constraints of poetry and my exposure to great American and British poetry early on; Dada artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven; Yoko Ono and her instruction paintings; and all the brilliant women who have made games:

•Anne Abbot, created the popular 1843 game Mansion of Happiness
•Lizzie Magie Philips, inventor of Monopoly (as 1906 The Landlord’s Game)
•Marsha Falco, inventor of Set, Quiddler, and Set Cubed card games
•Leslie Scott, Inventor of Jenga!
•Dona Bailey, inventor of Centipede
•Kim Swift, inventor of Portal
•Erin Robinson, inventor of Puzzle Bots
(+ Doris Rusch, Tracy Fullerton, Robin Hunicke, Kelley Santiago, Emma Westecott, Annika Olofsdotter Bergström, Celia Pearce, Brenda Brathwaite, Barbara Lippe, Åsa Roos, Jade Raymond, Chris Trottier… NOT A COMPLETE LIST!!)

Saturday I did a Values at Play: Grow-a-Game workshop with a packed tent of gung-ho festival goers! It was great. One team came up with a lovely idea for a sustainability/diversity game using squirrels who gather nuts. If forget if they were from outer space or not…

Carl Jung said, “The secret of artistic creation and the effectiveness of art is to be found in a return to the state of ‘participation mystique’ – to that level of experience at which it is man who lives, and not the individual…” I’m really interested in using the ‘participation mystique’ meaningfully in the work I make personally and the work we make at Tiltfactor.