Thursday, December 25, 2014

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E3 2014: Indiecade Festival Games Explore Themes Untouched by Big-Budget Developers

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In the final installation of his recap of the E3 video game convention, NY1's Adam Balkin takes a look at less-publicized games, games from developers who may be short on budget but are big on unique ideas.

LOS ANGELES - You are an escaped colonial slave, trying to carry your newborn baby to safety. Hardly sounds like the type of plot line you'd expect from E3, but that's thing about the Indiecade Festival portion of the expo. They’re all games created by independent developers, often times titles made by just a few or maybe even one person, and often times exploring themes that big-budget developers aren't ready to take a gamble on, like "Thralled" does with slavery.

"I think that's it's a very necessary thing to talk about because of the way that perceptions such as racism that still persist today, you know, originate from the surf practices that slavery originated," says Miguel Olivira of "Thralled."

"Neverending Nightmares" might not have the budget of giant zombie shoot-'em-up games, but one could easily argue it's just as, if not more, unsettling and scary. In this one, the developer himself has had struggles with mental illness and tries to translate through the game, for anyone to experience, how his own inner demons have tormented him.

"I've had some very dark times dealing with depression and a lot of problems with intrusive thoughts because of the obsessive-compulsive disorder and crippling anxiety, and so with the game, I'm trying to create those feelings of fear, anxiety and tension and give them a glimpse into what it's like struggling with mental illness," said Matt Gilgenbach of "Neverending Nightmares."

Indie games aren't all hinged on such serious subjects. Many are about exploring new ways to use today's technology.

"Story Pops" might just very well be the way that we parents, in this age of mobile devices, end up reading stories to our children.

How developers envision it working is that your child holds a tablet to read, poke and prod an interactive story, and as mom or dad reads along, through their phone, they, too, can add to the action with a quick swipe, flick or pour. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP