October 22, 2012

SCA Wins at IndieCade

Two SCA Games Honored within Indie Game Community

By Valerie Turpin

In the video game world, there’s no greater summit for independent video games than the IndieCade Festival, which honors exemplary up-and-coming video games within the independent game design community. On October 4th, the USC School of Cinematic Arts took home two victories at IndieCade, with Reality Ends Here earning the Impact Award and SCA alum Davey Wreden’s The Stanley Parable winning the Special Recognition Award.

From left: Tracy Fullerton, Jeff Watson, Simon Wiscombe and
Davey Wreden show their awards. Photo courtesy of Laird Malamed

IndieCade hosts an annual International Festival of Independent Games, the sole game event in the nation of its kind. The Festival is open to both the industry and the public, with such activities as workshops, keynotes, talks with game creators and more. This year, the Festival ran from October 4-7.

Richard Lemarchand, who joined the Interactive Media Division this semester after his groundbreaking work at game company Naughty Dog, presented lead designers Jeff Watson, Simon Wiscombe and Tracy Fullerton with the Impact Award for Reality Ends Here. The Impact Award recognizes independent games that have made a significant impact on the games landscape.

Of Reality Ends Here’s success, iMAP graduate and postdoctoral research associate Jeff Watson explained, “Reality Ends Here is my Ph.D. dissertation project and has been pretty much my whole life for the past two years. Getting the nod from the jury at IndieCade is a great honor -- these are people I look up to, and it's very empowering to know that they appreciate our work. That said, running the game and seeing all the amazing stuff our students have done while playing it has been the best reward.”

A set of cards from Reality Ends Here

Simon Wiscombe, third year MFA in IMD, added, “It's a welcome and unexpected honor. IndieCade is a special festival to me, as it's simply a celebration of games, small and big, digital and analog. Being recognized is amazing and will hopefully lead to the creation of other games that are trying to expand as a culture.”

Reality Ends Hereis an alternate reality game meant to give incoming freshmen a new take on the first year of college. Through a series of tests and challenges, the game’s ultimate success is allowing freshmen to network and interact beyond the classroom. The rewards for successful collaborations include the invaluable opportunity for a small group of students to meet with a notable alum or media maker to discuss their ideas and questions directly. Such mentors having already included John Singleton, Dante Spinotti, John August, Kellee Santiago, Erin Levy and Robert Zemeckis.

Chair of the Interactive Media Division Tracy Fullerton explained the appeal of the game, saying, “They play because it gives them permission to do the thing they most desire: be creative in a form where that creativity is recognized. The game is an environment where student work is being watched and ranked not only by the students themselves, but also the faculty and community of SCA. The game is a provocation that we hope will get students to take charge of their own educations, to be proactive about learning, and to connect them to the community right away.”                      

A Screenshot of The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable, created by Critical Studies Alum '11 Davey Wreden, earned the Special Recognition Award for its exemplification as a true work of passion and artistry within the games medium. The first person, narrative-driven game is an experimental look at choice, freedom, storytelling and reality as examined through the video game medium.

On his win, Wreden noted, “The win was a tremendous honor and even more of a surprise.” He added jokingly, “On the back of this achievement and recognition from the independent gaming community, I intend to develop a massive superiority complex, alienate my peers, sell out, and tailspin into a lifetime of producing soulless drivel. The Stanley Parable represents the foundation of that bright future.”

For more information on IndieCade, visit http://www.indiecade.com/
On Reality Ends Here, visit http://reality.usc.edu/about/
On The Stanley Parable, visit http://www.moddb.com/mods/the-stanley-parable/