Month: December 2022

IndieCade Game Review: Atuel


Atuel is a documentary game about the Atuel River Valley in Argentina. Throughout the game, you learn about the history of the river and the culture/cultural practices surrounding the river through voiceovers done by local residents in Spanish. For English speakers, they provide English subtitles. I agree with the choice not to dub over the Spanish audio for the English version because if they did the testimonies of the local residents would not feel authentic. One of Atuel’s strengths is its breathtaking imagery. Atuel proves that a game doesn’t have to have photorealistic models and ray tracing to be beautiful. The game uses color and sound really well in order to bring out the beauty of simple models for the vegetation and landscapes. Overall, Atuel is a unique 20-minute experience that I would recommend to pretty much anyone.

Gameplay and Mechanics 

In Atuel, the gameplay and mechanics kind of take a back seat. The focus of the player is directed to the scenery and the stories of the local residents. The player moves around the world by controlling the flow of a river, then as fish in the river, as a cloud, as a fox, as a cloud again, as a bird, and finally as the river again. The movement is rather simple, (usually simple WASD movement with one or two exceptions), which allowed me to comfortably read the English captions while still moving around the world. Something interesting about this game is that the player does not control the camera in this game, which allows the developers to dictate the scenery the player sees. For most of the game, this works really well, but for the fox section, I found the way the camera interacted with the movement very annoying. At some points in this section, it felt like I was actively fighting the camera. I felt the camera wasn’t effectively showing me the path ahead and sometimes a rock in the foreground would block out a large portion of my screen. This temporarily broke my emersion and caused frustration in what was otherwise a really zen game. Another issue worth mentioning is during my first playthrough I got a bug in the section where you play as a cloud and have to put out a wildfire by raining, which caused me to restart the game from the beginning in order to progress. 


The game runs very well. I suspect that you could run it on virtually any machine, which is a big plus for a game meant to educate people.

Final Thoughts

Would I recommend this game? Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a game. I feel like if you recommend a game to someone, they expect some sort of mechanics to improve at. To be able to get better and compete either against themselves or against others. Or they expect some open-world adventure where they spend hours exploring and learning the deep lore behind the world. This is not the case for Atuel. Atuel is more of an experience, and for this reason, I would recommend it as something you should do, instead of a game you should play.

Family Timeline

Game Instructions (Targeted game experience)

Share images of you and your family featuring your pet over a long period of time. (in this case, my partner and his cat over a 10 year period)

Have the game master (in this case, me) distort the images such that only the pet is clear.

Shuffle the images!

Have the player(s) attempt to reorder the distorted images chronologically.

Finally, reveal the correct order to the player(s).

By Sophie Uldry

Artist’s Statement:

With this last created experimental game experience, I wanted to celebrate cats (and other pets) as family members. Through my journey of involving cats in my art, I have only grown to love and appreciate my cats and their various personalities all the more. I wanted to evoke in my targeted players the nostalgia of past experiences with cats, and share my love for cats with the players. The Family Timeline game I created uses various stages to accomplish this. This game was inspired by artworks created in the way of Appropriation, inspired by the Dada movement’s influence on appropriation, and artists who were inspired by the movement such as Andy Warhol and his borrowing and modifying (appropriating) readymade images of unique American icons. I take existing images, edit them, shuffle them, and use them as the medium for which to provide an experience of nostalgia. Firstly I acquired lots of images from the players, the images need to be scattered over a long period of time and include at least one person with the same cat throughout the years. I chose to make this targeted experience for my partner, so he and his parents looked through albums to find suitable images to share with me. This experience in itself is the biggest point of nostalgia, since it urges the players to look through albums of their past with their pets (in this case, cats). Afterwards, I took a handful of the images given to me and edited them such that the only clear aspect of the images is the cat in each one. Then I shuffled the edited images and asked that the players try to order them chronologically primarily using the cat as a point of reference. Ideally this would be done as a card game, with all of the photo edits laid out in front of the player such that they can clearly look at each of them at the same time. Unfortunately, my playtests were all conducted digitally in the format of a Google Form (available here) such that it was more easily available to the players who were not presently with me. This provided limitations in how I presented the images and how they were answered. I hope to reconduct playtests for this project over the next month to test different edits of images and different playing mediums, because I feel that the game held a lot of potential in portraying my desired messages of pets being a significant part of a family experience, and I can stand to improve this version further. I would also like to note that the form I am sharing is available for anyone to try to play, but obviously won’t accomplish the same results when played by people who both have no history with the pet in question, and did not have an opportunity to relive the nostalgia of searching through photo albums.

Below are the images I used in creating my experience ordered correctly. They are answer keys, please do not inspect if you wish to blindly try Family Timeline via the form shared above!


Halves of a Brain

Artist’s Statement

For this artwork, I wanted to explore and experience and feelings surrounding trust. I play a variety of mainstream class-based team shooters and although I need to trust in my teammates, I feel this genre often conflates trust in one’s teammates with expectations on their performance and then surprise or disappointment, often resulting in a toxic play space. I wanted to design a game where both players are truly at the mercy of each other and (due to a limited amount of information provided to each) must work together to move forward.

As such I designed Halves of a Brain, an in-person party game with 2 players and a moderator / quiz grader. An audience is also encouraged! There is a Describer (left-brain) and a Drawer (right-brain), each with one half of a pop-quiz, each sitting in a chair back-to-back.  The Describer has the quiz questions and the Drawer has the quiz answers (but no idea what the question is). The brain analogy refers to how I like to imagine my brain cells communicate, turning memories lost deep in my mind into concepts and then into concrete answers. Similarly, the Describer must look at the answers and try to conceptualize this into an image that they will then describe how to draw to the Drawer. They must only describe how to draw lines and shapes and can’t use the word they are trying to describe or its synonyms. The Drawer must draw out this image and interpret it into an answer for the question. There are 5 questions and 15 minutes. Winning means getting a passing grade. The moderator/instructor can grade as they like with partial credit if they choose.

I was inspired by Yoko Ono’s cut piece, a performance which required the canvas (Yoko Ono) to trust others to participate safely and move the piece in a new direction. Both parties needed each other and there was an tension in the room as strangers needed to be trusted to participate without harming Yoko Ono. I was also inspired by the split information system used in Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.

The Describer must trust that the Drawer is interpreting their instructions correctly and guessing correctly and the Drawer must trust that the Designer is providing an accurate description and not leading them astray. The Drawer can’t move forward without the Describer and the Describer has no power to complete the quiz. This creates an interlocked relationship of trust and need that I wanted to explore.



  • Trivia Question: Which instrument is associated with Earl ‘Bud’ Powell?
    • Answer: Piano
  • Trivia Question: In which branch of the arts is Katherine Dunham famous?
    • Answer: Ballet
  • Trivia Question: Who had an interest in psychic phenomena and held séances in the White House?
    • Answer: Abraham Lincoln
  • Trivia Question: In Swedish, a skvader is a rabbit with what unusual feature?
    • Answer: Wings
  • Trivia Question: What color does gold leaf appear if you hold it up to the light?
    • Answer: Green

Caleb (Describer) and Thomas (Drawer)

Jarrett (Describer) and Jennifer (Drawer)


It took the groups around 2 minutes to complete each drawing with harder ones taking around 5 minutes. I originally has a 5 minute timer but extended it to 15 because 5 was way too short. It was interesting to notice that in the second playtest group, Jarrett opted not to draw what he was describing on his own end, but wrote what he was thinking before opting to just say it instead. The playtesters were laughing a lot and it was fun to see how they reacted to the answers at the end. The game is also very interesting to watch, seeing how in-sync the players are and watching them interpret what’s going on in their mind in real time. It’s definitely a game where users can swap roles and get a different experience.

Dungeon Alive | Zhaorui Zhang & Wenhao Zhu

Dungeon_Alive: A traveler has found a mysterious place with guardians…

WASD to move

LMB to attack

P to restart the game


Artist Statement:

For our project, we were inspired by the Crowd-Sourced Intelligence Agency (CSIA) by Jennifer Gradecki & Derek Curry from 2015 to 2021. We got inspiration from cheating and tricking the players, and we want to make the players feel more by playing through the game but not get to the point very soon. From the first, we were considering making a digital game about learning player’s behaviors. We would like to make a dungeon which could learn the player’s action and then give some different feedback to cheat or annoy the player. However, from that starting point to begin our project it is a little hard to consider what we want to express. Therefore, we stepped back to the concept of the name of our project – Dungeon “Alive.” We would like to make our players have a feeling that the dungeon is alive, so we switch the views from the player to the “enemies.” How would I react to the player’s behaviors in the condition I am one of the people in the dungeon. If that is not a game, I guess most of the people would react the same while a stranger is getting closer and closer to you and trying to attack you. Apparently, you will try to defend yourself and try to get away from that guy, which is the same as the people in the dungeon. The interesting point is while the players are playing through the game, they will find that their actions are unchangeable and which will completely change the game. Therefore, Dungeon Alive is a game where all of your actions, not just attacks, will affect the dungeon. Through our project, we would like to let people be aware that: It is human beings’ nature to long for power, however this power could also bring different feelings to others, and that could even totally change their lives…


What’s Special:

If you trying to get close to the guardians with the weapon, they will attack you due to self-defense.


If you trying to attack the guardians, they will fight you back. However, the guardians have different humanities, so some of them will fight you back by chasing you positively, but some of them will only stay on the spot.


We create a glitch room for the player who has killed lots of enemies. There’s a powerful weapon that the player can choose to use or not. The shape of a gun refers to the ultimate power. The player may abuse the power in the rest of the levels.


The enemies will run away from the player if the player kills an enemy with the gun. All of them can understand the power of the gun. Then, they lost the will to fight.


Foster is a game about trans life and is my personal way of trying to communicate what it feels like for me to be trans to other trans people who may experience transness differently and cis people who know nothing of the experience. Inspired by Dis4ia this is a game about my personal experience. I wanted it to be poetic to the point of being an interactive poem but that plan flee through when I sat down to write and didn’t have the energy for prose. so instead it’s rhythmic and flowery (wink). I built the game in twine a text-based engine to get that interactive writing feeling. this game became incredibly personal to me and I’m so proud of it as my first twine game


Download Foster

Please play the game if you’re interested



Artist Statement

For my final project, I wanted to do a game about planting trees and solving environmental problems. I grew up in rural New Hampshire, so I always took having a close relationship with nature for granted. Now, living in a city for most of the year, I find myself longing for that connection. With this game, I wanted to bring some of the wonders of nature to people who might not normally enjoy it, hopefully encouraging people to plant trees and help make their city or town more green. Another inspiration for this game is Atuel, a documentary game showcased at IndieCade 2022, which teaches the player about the Atuel River Valley in Argentina. Atuel is filled with stories from locals describing the deep spiritual connection they and their ancestors have with the river. While my game does not include stories such as this, I hope the mechanics and feeling of the world can help the player form a spiritual connection with nature. The name of my game at the moment is “Treedom” but that is subject to change. Treedom is a 2D platformer set in a forested environment. However, in this forest, something is off. The plants and animals are unhappy and some are even angry. The player navigates the world trying to fix these problems. The first enemy (and the only enemy right now, though I plan to continue this project and add more in the future) is an acorn. When they player strikes the acorn with his shovel (clicking mouse 1) the acorn is pushed into the ground and grows into a red tree. This tree is climbable and allows the player to navigate to places they could not have otherwise. Some other enemy/level ideas include a level where you enter a bee hive and have to calm down the hungry bees by collecting honey for them, another type of seed that grows into a tree you can wall jump off of, and a flock of birds you have to lead on their migration.  I am also in the process of outlining a story for the game that helps tie these events, ideas, and levels together to hopefully have my player go out and develop a relationship with nature.

Playtest 1

Notes from the first playtest

  • Finalize models
  • Jumping wasn’t working quite right
  • The level needs more work to feel interesting
  • The background feels really empty

Build of Game At First Playtest

(see class folder)

Current Build of the Game

Below is a quick clip of some gameplay from the current build which you can download below.


(see class folder)

Tilesets/Art Used