IndieCade -- a juried festival and awards show of indie games that takes over Culver City every October -- has released its list of this year's 36 finalists, as well as a list of 12 specially-featured "Digital Selects."
The full list of nominees, along with relevant links, trailers, and screenshots, can be found here. I'd say I don't recognize over half of the finalists, which isn't unsurprising: these are the best, newest, edge-cuttingest, and undergroundest games out there. Others, though, have already gained a fair bit of notoriety.
"Rogue Lecacy"'s rise to fame has been well-documented, but "Gone Home," "Edgar Rice Soiree," "Gunpoint," "Kentucky Route Zero," "Nidhogg" and "Reus" aren't unknowns, either. "Towerfall," "That Dragon, Cancer," "Super Time Force," "Spaceteam," "Quardrilateral Cowboy" and "Starseed Pilgrim" may also be familiar to some players.
Even among this year's Digital Selects, which are someone deeper cuts, are games with a bit of press on their side: "7 Grand Steps," "Gravity Ghost," and "Tenya Wanya Teens" have all been covered by yours truly, and "Pivvot" took the iOS scene by storm only a few weeks ago.
If the thought of perusing a hand-picked list of innovative, out-there, smart, bizarre games leaves you cold, know that past IndieCade nomination lists are full with games that went on to become breakout successes. With more and more publishers and platform holders courting small, low-cost downloadable games, you may find 2014's Next Big Thing among IndieCade's 36 finalists.
So take some time to poke around -- I'm sure you'll find something you like.
And if you happen to live near Culver City -- or are looking for an early-October vacation idea -- all finalists, Digital Selects, and other submitted games will be playable during festival itself, which runs from the 3rd to the 6th. As far as I can tell, $20 gets you access to the festival floor and the 150+ games on display there.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter