Arts game convention review

Going through the indie game space

The Boston Festival of Indie Games showcased a variety of tabletop and digital games

Boston Festival of Indie Games

Johnson Athletic Center

Sept. 23, 2017

Right in our home this weekend was the Boston Festival of Indie Games. Conveniently close and super interesting, this convention showcased a variety of board games, card games, video games, and original artist booths.

On the first floor, there ranged a wide variety of tabletop games from silly card games to intense strategy games to expansionary games. One that particularly stuck out was a science-based strategy card game by the name of Gut Instinct. Players are a certain set of white blood cells, and their task is to kill bad bacteria and earn 12 victory points by doing so. Sounds pretty simple, right? Gut Instinct creator Walter Adams said that he “wanted to make a game that makes science fun.” He took inspiration from combining his passions of science, board games, and humor and made the punny, easy-to-learn board game showcased at BFIG. Adams wanted the board game to be accessible to all ranges of people, whether they’re science lovers, people who love board games, or just your average Joe.

Shifting up onto the second floor revealed the digital games showcase. There, an equally varied selection of games was revealed from education to spooky to team-based to downright silly. There were also several tables that served as artist booths where BFIG-goers could browse original art in the form of pins, stickers, prints, plushies, and figurines.

Among this particular crowd, Bill and Amanda Gardner, co-founders of The Deep End Games, were dedicated to creating a game that they hoped would be accessible to all ranges of people. Their horror-thriller-exploration video game Perception centers on “Cassie, a blind heroine who uses her extraordinary hearing and razor-sharp wits to unravel the mysteries of an abandoned estate that haunts her dreams.” The most interesting part of this game is that it features echolocation as a means of orienting the player. Bill Gardner did extensive research into the lives of the the blind and made sure to capture their experience in Perception. As Gardner enthusiastically states, “I wanted to include the apprehension of not knowing what’s down the hall… Sighted people have a built-in fear of losing their sight, and I wanted to tap into that... I wanted to show how different people experience the world [through this game].”

Concerning BFIG, Gardner comments that he loves the show. It’s a fantastic opportunity for his potential players to get hands-on with the game and he is grateful for all the feedback he usually receives from shows like BFIG.