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It’s all fun and games — and nobody gets hurt.

The Museum of the Moving Image will host IndieCade East 2018 — which is basically the Winter Olympics for video game lovers — from Friday, Feb. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 18.

Geared toward those who make and play independent games, the weekend will feature the launch of new inventions along with panel discussions and workshops with the industry’s most prominent activists, critics, designers, developers, enthusiasts, historians, organizers, provocateurs and thinkers.

The festival will open with the unveiling of the exhibition IndieCade Presents: A Decade of Game Design on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. This exhibition, which will be on display until June 17, highlights eight influential game developers from the past decade — Anna Anthropy, Tracy Fullerton, the Copenhagen Game Collective, David Kanaga, Paolo Pedercini, Nonny de la Peña, Jason Rohrer and Auriea Harvey — presenting their recent projects and contextualizing them within their larger bodies of work. (Many of these developers will be present for the entire three days of IndieCade East 2018. Some will lead workshops.)

At 5 p.m., attendees will play Metagame, an indie program that sparks conversation about everything from high art to trashy entertainment. Then an opening reception will run from 7 to 10 p.m. Composer/designer David Kanaga will provide interactive music, while audio experiences will be arrayed around the café. Those present will create costumes, engage in activities and explore the audio worlds around them.

The Alt-ware Tabletop Game Jam will begin the next morning at 10 a.m. Teams of as many as four people will take this electronic journey using Blinks, a tactile new hardware developed by MIT Media Lab spinoff Move38. Shawn Pierre, who created Henka Twist Caper and These French Fries are Terrible Hotdogs, will host.

Other Saturday activities are presented in bullet form:

  • Documentary Virtual Reality Workshop with Emblematic Group (10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Explore the principles and ideas behind journalism and documentation in the world of 360 video and VR with field pioneers from Emblematic and the New York Times Magazine’s Daily 360 team. Emblematic’s James Pallot and Maureen Towey, formerly of the New York Times Magazine, will discuss 360 video and VR as a documenting tool. Plus, Sam Quick, a technical artist at Daily 360, will explore new technology.
  • A Decade of Design: In Conversation with Sam Roberts and Mattie Brice (10:30 to 11:30 a.m.). IndieCade co-founder Roberts and game artist/academic Brice will ponder how games have changed over the last decade, how design has evolved, and what the future will bring.
  • IndieCade Finalist Pop Up (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). A display of last year’s nominated games.
  • Beyond the Screen (2 to 3 p.m.). IndieCade co-founder Celia Pearce looks at trends for designers and players.
  • Sample Games 101 Class & Play Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (3 to 4:30 p.m.), a lecture by NYU Game Center Director Frank Lantz.
  • Audience Engagement: What Immersive Theater Can Teach Game Devs (3 to 4:30 p.m.). A conversation between immersive theater director Ed Sylvanus Iskander and Survios COO Robert Nashak.
  • Night Games (7 to 11 p.m.). The museum will transform into a playground featuring the work of many IndieCade alumni.

The Sunday schedule is also in bullet form:

  • Protest Games Workshop with Paolo Pedercini, the man behind Molleindustria (10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.).
  • Anna Anthropy Board Game Café (10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The chance to explore designer Anthropy’s tabletop work.
  • IndieCade Community Pop-Up (10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Interactive work created by developers seeking feedback.
  • Jason Rohrer Game Jam Results & Presentations (1 to 2:30 p.m.). Celebrate work inspired by Rohrer.
  • Play Walden and Night Journey (2 to 6 p.m.). Explore Bill Viola’s visual work and the written worlds of Henry Thoreau, author of the book “On Walden Pond,” through the lens of Tracy Fullerton’s game design.
  • UCB Improv Workshop for Game Developers (3 to 5 p.m.). Upright Citizens Brigade Theater members will teach improv fundamentals that double as professional creative skills.

A full festival pass that provides access to all programs costs $125. The Friday and Sunday tickets are $45, while the Saturday pass costs $55. Seniors, students and youth can get discounts.

It’s IndieCade East’s 10th anniversary, and the fifth year that it has taken place at the Museum of the Moving Image, which is located in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District. It’s sister festival, IndieCade, takes place annually in Southern California.

All images: Emi Spicer/IndieCade


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