At Play at IndieCade East

IndieCade East 2014

I went to IndieCade East last weekend and wrote up my general overview/feeling on the event for this week’s PopMatter’s post.

In the opening I bring up my three part Primer on PAX East from last year and note the major difference in overall tone and feel. That and the fact that IndieCade didn’t give me panic attacks halfway through. I went back and read my Primer on PAX East after I finished writing and in comparison I come off fairly harsh in my assessment of the convention in this week’s post that I did in my primer.

Tone is a very important for an event that has to cater to a lot of people, even when they all have a general shared interest. It could be the more intimate setting, the smaller gathering of people, but mostly I think it has to do with the difference in being specific in theme. PAX claims to be a place for lovers of games can congregate and share their passion and enjoyment of the hobby. It sounds great, until you stop and ask ‘what does that mean?’ It is far too vague and broad to really mean anything and as a result PAX can feel monotone and alienating, in the modernist sense of the word. IndieCade East, while positioning itself as a convention focused on indie games and an event for the experimenters and fringes can congregate.

But that too is a little vague. However, IndieCade East had an unspoken theme, a direction whereby the collective unconscious of the participants would funnel their energy. The quote at the top of the post is the best exemplification of that direction. “Play! Where’ the magic? We have technicians … we need magicians.” We get so caught up in the technicalities of meanings and processes that we miss the forest for the trees.

I was happier at IndieCade East for the most part over PAX East. It felt like I was in my element. Though I attended alone I did not feel that way. Where PAX East absolves itself through the people I get to meet in person – by far the most important part of the event – I feel alone in the crowded cavernous space. At IndieCade I didn’t get to meet as many people or talk as much, but I did not feel alone. It felt like it was for something and I was the audience willing to be apart of it.

Didn’t get to go? Read my take on it to make up in some small way.

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