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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Games You Can Play At IndieCade In Culver City This Weekend

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IndieCade, the annual showcase of new and independent games, is happening this weekend in Culver City. We went for a sneak peak of new games that guests can check out.

IndieCade is the spot for game designers and enthusiasts with demos, panels and lots of networking opportunities, right in downtown Culver City. IndieCade has two major areas where you can play games. The tents are full of games from blockbuster studios like Nintendo and Unreal, plus virtual reality, table-top and video games. They'll also have their panels and mixers here. The nearby fire station, on the other hand, hosts a number of new games and IndieCade award winners. We checked out the media preview at the fire station, and here are some of the games we enjoyed:

Nevermind: We wrote about Nevermind before, as its a seasonally appropriate horror game. You play an neuroprober, which is basically a futuristic psychologist. You enter the minds of trauma patients to find out what repressed memories they have that are causing them trouble in their daily lives. The terrains you navigate will be nightmarish and surreal, but you must collect photographs and piece together the truth. This game can be played with a bio feedback sensor that makes the game harder if you can't keep yourself calm. This, by design, is meant to help players learn how to chill in stressful situations.

Line Wobbler: This is a quirky hands-on game. You hold a joystick that's basically a ball connected to a door spring. In front of you is a long tube of light. You must navigate your little green light from the bottom to the top, but there are challenges in your way. Red lights are enemies, and you can battle them by wobbling the joysticks. Lava is okay to pass through when it's dim, but when it lights up, it kills you. And white light will push you backwards, sometimes into the path of the enemy. This game is fun, simple in theory and complicated in execution.

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Her Story: This highly narrative game turns you into a detective, but it doesn't unfold the way a traditional puzzler does. You watch footage from a number of police interviews recorded in 1994 in an attempt to piece together the murder of a man. The interviews are all with the victim's widow, and have been transcribed. You can type various words into the database, and it will bring up the first couple clips in which she says that word. By changing the keywords, different parts of the story unfold. This game won IndieCade's grand jury award.

Consentacle: Consentacle is a card game where the players attempt to get their characters—an alien and a human being—to have sex. It's not just courting, though. Our human Kit and our alien Dup would very much like to consummate their love, but you're just helping them have an enjoyable outcome. You use cards with functions like glance, envelop and penetrate while using interlocking Trust Tokens to make Satisfaction Tokens.

&maybetheywontkillyou: This is a LARP from UC Santa Cruz's Games & Playable Media program that's especially poignant. In it, you're poor, black and American. The game was developed in the wake of Michael Brown's death and Darren Wilson not being indicted. Designer Akira Thompson wrote in her artist statements, "I wanted to make an experience that could put those that cannot see the differences in a set of common circumstances in the hopes of building an understanding with one another.

Memory of a Broken Dimension: This is a beautiful black and white game. There's no specific objective but to explore the world and figure out how to navigate it as it crackles across the screen. It's billed as "atmospheric trespassing."

Fabulous Beasts: This is a really cool unique game where you must stack a number of beasts. So it's a little like Jenga, but much more involved as each beast has specific attributes one must pay attention to. And as your tower grows, so does an enchanting digital world. So, you're not only experiencing the tactile nature of the stacking, but also using a device to explore another realm.

Sentree: This multi-player game requires at least two people—a shooter and a spotter. If you are the shooter, you use a mobile device to aim and shoot at targets. However, you're blindfolded. The spotter can see where the targets are and must verbally guide your arm. The graphics are cute, even when they're spooky, and it could potentially be a lot of fun to play with a larger group.

Monarch: If you enjoy the politics in Game of Thrones, then this is the table top game for you. You and the other players are the daughters of a queen who is about to die. Whichever of you successfully assembles the highest court will win the throne, but to do this, you must take care of your kingdom and its people, plus invoke a number of strategies. You will play with gold and apple tokens. The apples will nourish your kingdom, who will in turn provide you with gold as a tax. Determine when to tax and harvest, how to manage your resources, and choose which attributes to buy. You can bolster your kingdom and you can sabotage your sisters. It's design is darkly beautiful, so it's fun to peruse the cards.

Walden: This rich and gorgeous game follows the narrative of Thoreau's Walden. As the transcendentalist protagonists, you must not only survive the year 1845, but seek inspiration. So while you will be chopping lumber in preparation for the cold winter and finding ways to feed yourself, your world will grow dismal if you don't pause to enjoy nature and observe your animal friends. You can also find tidbits from Thoreau as you explore the grounds. A lush soundscape accompanies this atmospheric and explorative game.

Tribal & Error: You are a robot that's gone back in time—to the time of cavemen, leading up to the Ice Age. You will observe the cavemen, learn their language and solve puzzles to ensure they survive.

Donut Country: In the colorful and whimsical world of Donut Country, there is a strange hole that appears in the ground. It swallows anything it sweeps beneath. You are the hole, and you must swallow objects and spit them back out to solve a number of physics-based puzzles.

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The Meadow This virtual reality experience requires you to step foot inside a comfortable tent located in the corner of the fire station. Take a seat and you'll be introduced to a stuffed animal friend that looks kind of like a rock with a happy face. Put on your VR headset and find yourself immersed in a meadow where by day, you interact with friendly creatures and by night, you must destroy your aggressors. It's not particularly scary, though, so expect this to count as a relaxing break from the crowds.

Throw Trucks With Your Mind: Like Nevermind, this game also uses a sensor. Unlike Nevermind, it uses your brain waves, not your heart rate. You must focus in order to throw trucks (and other objects) at your enemies.

60 Seconds: You're under nuclear attack and you're also a nuclear family. You have 60 seconds to run around your house and gather supplies, then you must get your family in your bunker. Hopefully, you can last long enough to be rescued. You'll make choices as to how to divide your resources while stagnating in a bunker, awaiting for a brighter dawn. We're told someone managed to survive a year, though typically, rescue (or death) comes much sooner. There are numerous endings depending on your choices.

Find Maria Rivera: This puzzle game is not a video game, but one you do in real life. Look at cork boards full of information and fiddle through the many drawers of a cabinet to try to solve what happened to Maria Rivera, a young woman who has gone missing. You'll want to find some teammates to tackle this one and be prepared to spend some time here. Fans of live escape the room games should definitely enjoy this one. There are things to unlock, a number to call, and lots of things to discover.

Plug & Play: This bizarre animation game has you acting as a person with a plug for a head. You will find someone you connect with if you run around this surreal landscape long enough, exploring the different actions your odd characters can take.

Prune: This simple, beautiful game involves growing a tree and pruning it just right so that it can flourish with flowers. This is one of those atmospheric games that's relaxing but, of course, grows more challenging as you progress.

KWAAN This adventure, MMOrpg game sets you up as an agent of nature, or a Dwaal. Your goal is not to let the server die, which means all players must strive to balance their world's complicated ecosystem. There's no combat here, just a lot of meditation, creating and sustaining. The pixelated world and its inhabitants are all very cute.

Home Improvisation: This sounds crazy, but this is actually a game where you assemble furniture, IKEA-style. Move around the pieces, put them together and build a house. Simple in theory, complicated in execution.

Wonderland: A Solvitur Ambulando Mystery: This puzzle game is an audio drama set in 1941 Toronto. You can solve puzzles at the end of each chapter by paying attention, or, if you get stuck, you can walk 100 paces. With each 100 steps, a letter of the puzzle is filled in, making it easier to solve.

Red and Pleasant Land: This table-top RPG takes place in a deranged Wonderland where Lewis Carroll's characters have been enhanced with lore of another kind: vampires. Elizabeth Bathory and Count Dracula play a role in this eerie world of beasts and quests. The book is beautifully drawn by Zak K, and the story creates a fully immersive world.

Museum of Simulation Technology: This is a puzzle game that relies on forced perspective. Pick up objects that change size and angle depending on how you move to explore a surreal museum.

Armello: This was described to us as a table-top RPG translated into a gorgeous video game. You will quest through this fairy tale world, your ultimate goal being to secure your place on the throne. You'll be executing all sorts of strategy, however, battling your opponents, executing hexes and spells and finding treasures.

Seltani: This is fan project surrounding the classic puzzler Myst. This is a text-based, open-source game where players help to build and explore world.

Story Warriors: Fairy Tales: This simple game has your character running across text to tell a story. However, you will have to dig deep into the text to find the answer to a number of puzzles. All of the stories are based on classic fairytales such as Little Red Riding Hood.

IndieCade is going on through Sunday in Culver City. Tickets can be found here.