Last week and weekend I exhibited A Slow Year, my Atari VCS game poem project, at Indiecade. The show and the conference were fantastic, and it was a pleasure to meet new friends, see old ones, hear great talks, and see great games. I was particularly happy to meet Gaijin Games’s Alex Neuse, to finally get to play Chris Hecker’s work-in-progress Spy Party, to hear Frank Lantz talk about why he is an optimist about games, and to hang out with colleagues like Terry Cavanagh, Daniel Benmergui, Paolo Pedercini, Eric Zimmerman, and many more.

I gave a short talk in the Project Next session, in which Jon Blow, Alex Neuse, Paolo Pedercini, Chris Hecker, and I all talked about new games. I’m not sure if those sessions got recorded or not, but if so I’ll post it later.

But mostly I was there to show A Slow Year in the exhibition. It’s always gratifying (if exhausting) to show any game, not to mention a game as strange as this one. But players and the general public seemed to appreciate it, just as they did at IGF. So that was great.

Even greater—and totally surprising—was the fact that I won not one but two awards in the competition: “Virtuoso” and “Vanguard.” The former category was for games made by a single hand, and I was among excellent company with two other finalists, Marc ten Bosch’s Miegakure and Steph Thirion’s Faraway. The vanguard announcement caught me totally off guard, because it came just after the virtuoso award and I hadn’t quite collected my seat let alone my thoughts. I wish I’d been more articulate in my remarks after this second award, because I’d have said something about the future of games looking more to the past, not only to learn from our history but also to rescue abandoned platforms for their unique aesthetics, not just for nostalgia.

The awards show was humorous and slightly surreal, with Levar Burton hosting. At one point he led the audience in a round of the Reading Rainbow theme song. And I collected one of my awards from the Old Spice Guy. Surreal.

The Indiecade trophies this year were hand-made robot art, and they’re quite something. You can see mine below. (Virtuoso at left, Vanguard at right. Note the Clue cards/board on the base.)

Both the limited edition and standard edition of A Slow Year are in manufacture, and you’ll be able to order them soon.

published October 13, 2010


  1. Mark N.

    Congrats! It’s quite a good game. I must admit that I was originally expecting it to be 90% concept art, 10% game, but the ratio is much more game-tilted than that.

  2. Nick

    Congrats, Ian! The slow year penetrates the shield.

  3. Tim Morton

    I’m not sure my MacBook’s screen is capturing this too well but the colors in the screenshot above are just gorgeous.

  4. Mark Sample

    Congratulations, Ian! That’s excellent news. Or, two pieces of excellent news. Three if you count the Old Spice Guy.

    I’d love to hear you talk sometime about the difference between something like Indiecade and a more mainstream gaming conference—both in terms of community and form.