DID YOU READ

IndieCade Reveals Diverse Slate of Award Finalists

IndieCade Reveals Diverse Slate of Award Finalists (photo)

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The festival that celebrates the efforts of indie game designers might just be giving folks a peek at next year’s hand-crafted darlings. IndieCade’s just revealed the 32 titles that will be competing in the dozen award categories. Unlike other award shows, each title will be eligible for any award category. The list is an impressive one–and long, too–full of titles with varied intentions and presentations. To me, the highlights-from the official release-are:

Auditorium (Cipher Prime, USA): Auditorium is an audio puzzle game where you convert light into sound, creating an explosion of orchestral music. Its addictively simple mechanic consists of manipulating icons to deflect light into a target on each level to generate bursts of music. The game has a flexible design, allowing for a range of solutions to each puzzle. Available for PC and Mac, and now iPhone, Auditorium was created by Philadelphia-based Cipher Prime. http://www.playauditorium.com/

Faraway (Steph Thirion, USA): Created by Steph Thirion for the Gamma IV showcase, Faraway is a one-button game where you swing your way through space, finding and connecting star clusters to create the most complex constellations you can. Faraway’s simple but lovely and iconic visual design lets the tightly designed interactions and gameplay take forefront. Steph Thirion is the creator of Eliss, winner of the Auteur Award at IndieCade 2009. http://trsp.net

LIMBO (Playdead, Denmark): Limbo is a hauntingly beautiful black and white “horror” platform puzzler, released to widespread acclaim this summer on the Xbox Live Arcade. The game is set among the rooftops of a mesmerizing macabre world that draws you into its dark narrative. The narrative, the story of a young boy trying to find his lost sister, is reinforced by a tightly designed film noir style that also expands the interesting, well implemented 2D platforming puzzle challenges. Created by Denmark’s Playdead, Limbo is a stunning example of the quality and experience that can be created out of careful attention to detail and delicate integration of the many different elements that make up a game. www.limbogame.org

Recurse (Matt Parker, USA): An installation commissioned by the NYU Game Center for its “No Quarter” art game exhibition, Recurse has a simple, embodied mechanic: a video camera transforms the player’s body into a giant cursor. Crystals grow where the body intersects with objects on the screen. Players must grow Crystals in green zones while avoiding growing them in red zones. The zones shift intermittently to create new challenges. A digital game about movement in physical space, the Recurse’s distorted “funhouse mirror” encourages players to forget themselves as they twist and stretch their bodies in order to get a high score and effect the game’s abstract world. Created by New York-based artist/developer Matt Parker. http://www.madparker.com/recurse/

Despite having finished it shortly after my recommendation, my love for “Limbo” still runs deep. Meanwhile, “Recurse” sounds like a great fusion of movement-based input and technology that comments on modern man’s relationship with computer interfaces.
I played “Auditorium” when it was a web-based game and have thrilled to the way its transition to iPhone makes this beautiful game even more intuitive. Steph Thirion made “Eliss,” one of the best iDevice games ever, so I’m super-excited to see what his next game will be like.

To think that these are only the cream of the crop of the playable that will be on display IndieCade is pretty cool. For more info on the event and the awards, visit indiecade.com.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.