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Museum of the Moving Image: Indie Cade 2018

MoMI Hosts Community of Evolving Video Art Gamers

queens things to doFebruary 26, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film & Video in Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

A week ago I attended the Indie Cade East gathering at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. I had been to previous Indie Cade events at the Museum of the Moving Image, and each time I go I try to find something new and different.

It was a relatively balmy February day as I made my way to the Museum of the Moving Image along 35th Avenue at 36th Street. There were people milling about outside, discussing video games, as I entered the museum.

Memories of Astoria Video Mural

Along the left side of the entrance lobby, there was a video mural running along the wall, made by a Brooklyn artist, Ezra Wube, which showed painted scenes of the Astoria neighborhood. And directly in front of me, people were engaged in video games and hanging out on the benches adjacent to the snack bar. After checking in, I headed into the main theater to see what was playing as it was only a couple hours before closing time on Sunday afternoon.

There were people watching and discussing a black and white video, which was a combination of modern video art and representations of nature. The video continually morphing into and out of the real / surreal depictions, accompanied by rhythmic acoustical music, providing a mind bending experience if you gave it time and let it in. Given my time constraints, I decided to continue into the rest of the Indie Cade event, as delving more deeply into this work would likely consume the rest of my visit.

Museum of the Moving Image – Indie Cade East Exhibits

On the second level there was an interactive video that worked a bit like a game show. The player would be prompted by pick up lines / questions that the video game maker had collected, and then prompted for a multiple-choice response. Generally one of the questions was quite rude, and if you chose that one, the game ended more quickly. I suppose a bit like in real life : ) as some of the pick up men in the game would flee – which as one woman told me – isn’t exactly like what happens in real life.

Within that exhibit space there was a video explaining how the game was made. I’m not sure if this is a part of the exhibit entitled Indie Cade Presents: A Decade of Design, so I’m not sure if it will remain at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of that exhibit which is scheduled to run through June 17th, 2018.

Museum of the Moving Image: Indie Cade 2018

MoMI Hosts Community of Evolving Video Art Gamers

queens things to doFebruary 26, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film & Video in Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC. Continued.


MoMI Exhibit - Indie Cade Presents: A Decade of Design

My next stop the main exhibit - Indie Cade Presents: A Decade of Design at the Museum of the Moving Image. This exhibit occupied some of the third floor. One of the first exhibits focused on the use of music as part of the experience in video games.

Inside the main room, there were multiple game consoles, where people could play each other. I took a whirl at it with one of the other visitors, but we weren’t successful in getting the multi-player game going. I’m pretty sure it was us, not the game.

There was a mother and child playing a game where they move through the scenery. This reminded me of my first video game, which was a racing car going around a long French 500 style track, but with less noise and simpler graphics.

Symphony & Animated Graphics by David Kanaga: Oik OSpielen

Another exhibit featured David Kanaga who uses classical music and an interesting array of animated graphics that fills one visual / auditory senses with pleasantries. He recently won honorable mention for the Grand Prize at the Independent Games Festival [2017] with the Oik Ospielen Opera, and had previously won recognition as an Official Selection of the Fantastic Arcade [2016]. Click here to check out a trailer.


At another demo station there was a boy, accompanied by his mother, finding his way through a labyrinthian computer program, armed with a miner’s light.

Virtual Reality at Indie Cade

The last exhibit was a virtual reality demo. I put on the headset and was instantly transported to a beautiful, animated island beach. The water was gently coming in and there was sand and palm trees for as far as the eye could see. Should I stay, I pondered?

Video Gamers Gallery at Indie Cade East

I decided to forage on, skipping a number of the interactive exhibits in the interest of spending more time in the gamers gallery, where a number of local gamers were demonstrating their creations. Unfortunately I had only enough time to engage one of the exhibitors, but it will give you a sense of what to expect, should you decide to visit Indie Cade next year or at an Indie Cade event in another part of the country.

Punch Planet – Indie Fighting Video Game

I met Lee Wollan and Mabel Salazar, who are husband and wife. Lee is the creator of Punch Planet, which is an indie fighting video game. I asked them to demo the game, where a man and woman do battle.

“Is this a metaphor for your relationship?” I asked. They smiled. Besides developing games, Lee also teaches Playcrafting at both Pratt in Brooklyn and at the School of Visual Arts [SVA] in Manhattan. Mabel isn’t directly involved in the game creation per se, but she’s a fashion designer and has had an important influence on the videographics embedded in the Punch Planet game.

Video Game Makers’ Communities & Platforms

Lee also mentioned that there are a number of game maker communities in the NYC metro area, including one he participates in on the Lower East Side.

The gallery was in the process of closing, so I headed for the exit, where I ran into the two guys I had met when I first arrived. Both, Mike Flood and Brian Tsukerman, were volunteers for the Indie Cade event, and both were video game makers. Mike worked on games for an NYC company, while Brian worked on games on his own.

We talked for a bit about the software platforms they used to make games, including those they had started on. Back in the day they started on Flash and Sunset, but today they told me that some of the platforms popular with gamers include GameMaker Studio, Unity, Twine and Unreal Engine.

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