Indie Megabooth isn’t the only company bringing a suite of indie games lacking publisher support to E3. IndieCade, much like Indie Megabooth, is a group of everyday gamers and developers banding together to present unknown indie games to the world. They travel the world with showcases, including an event at E3 last year.
This year, IndieCade is bringing 28 games and three “partner” games to E3. Each one of them is created by either one person or a small team. Even by indie standards they all have micro-budgets. These are games that would never have been admitted to PAX five years ago, let alone E3. Now, with an E3 open to the public, these games will reach a level their developers could never have dreamed of.
Of course, this also means the average walking personification of a YouTube comment section will take one look at these games and whine “ugh, what are these doing here? They look cheap and shit, lame!” before high-fiving their dude-bro friend who decrees it to be a sick burn. A bigger audience means more potential customers, but potentially more people who’ll think nothing of tearing you and your game to shreds. Just look at this asshole who called The Last Tinker the worst 3D platformer ever.
All of these games each have something unique to call their own. Between unique art styles, narrative settings, and gameplay mechanics, it’s difficult to rank these games. But there are definitely some games that stand out more than the others. Cliqist Executive Editor and Boston’s Favorite Daughter Joanna Mueller already wrote about Where the Water Tastes like Wine and Stifled. Longtime Cliqist readers may also recognize the crowdfunded Riot: Civil Unrest and Herald.
A Case of Distrust could be something special. It’s a 2D adventure featuring a detective in 1924 America. Rather than the stereotypical hard-drinking, square-jawed man with nothing to his name, you play a light-drinking, circular-jawed (?) woman with plenty to lose. As well as a murder mystery, A Case of Distrust also examines the racism, sexism, and fear of immigration that plagued 1920’s San Francisco. This was a time when the KKK rose in prominence throughout the nation.
Another game to keep an eye on is Somewhere in the South. Developed by Wonderneer, Somewhere in the South is a survival horror set in 1859. You play an escaped slave trying to get to freedom and survive on the underground railroad. Wonderneer is serious about presenting a realistic look at the horrors of slavery in America. They even go so far as to say the game “fails on all levels of truly capturing the true awfulness of what the slaves went through, because it can never be recreated with justice.” How’s that for marketing?
These two games are covering subjects we never see in games, certainly nothing we’ve ever seen at E3 before. Imagine, amongst the sounds of gunfire, explosions, and over-eager executives, these games examining racism, sexism, and slavery in America will quietly carry the torch of innovation and risk.
You’ve Heard This Enough Already
There’s no need to go on about how AAA gaming sucks because it’s afraid to take risks on games like these. But there is a need to commend the developers making these games. Whether these games are any good or not is almost irrelevant. It’d be nice, of course. Regardless of if their intent, every developer at IndieCade E3 2017 is a trailblazer. They’re bringing us games that break new ground for the medium.
IndieCade (and Indie Megabooth) deserve a round of applause too. They’re both working hard to bring these indie gems to light on gaming’s biggest stage. Most of them are doing this voluntarily as well. These people aren’t driven by the hope of fame or money, but passion for video games.
Celebrate video games, indie and AAA games alike. They can be pretty rad sometimes.