My favourite part of MIGS was probably not really MIGS at all but the indie showcase party The Prince of Arcade. Instead of the broad international focus of the conference, the Eastern Bloc held party felt intimate and local, where the focus was on fun (and beer).
The gallery showed off several games, my two personal favourites being: Nidhogg the two player fencing game which was also clearly the crowd favourite, and 1… 2… 3… Kick It! a game that scratches my Rez-inspired itch. They also dedicated a room as the retro homebrew lounge where several Atari games (famous ones being Ian Bogost’s A Slow Year and Ed Fries’s Halo 2600). Whenever the music or crowd was too much, zoning out on a sofa to A Slow Year was a comforting escape.
Following up on Will’s post, I think there’s an important discussion to be had about the role of independent developers in a space like MIGS. Ron Carmel’s keynote was disappointingly short in length, and while a lot of developers gave lip service to the indie community, there was a clear disconnect in terms of understanding the values and ideology driving many people (also evident in the conference programming). On the flip side, indie developers constantly brought up their lack of business knowledge as what is keeping them from achieving their goals – knowledge that’s commonly derided as the cause of mainstream games lacking artistic integrity.
Sadly my camera died shortly after I arrived at Eastern Bloc so I’m left with one shot: