Get Your Game On: SAAM Arcade 2018

A photograph of a woman playing pinball inside the Smithsonian American Art Museum during SAAM Arcade.

Paying old-school pinball at last year's SAAM Arcade; Daniel Schwartz Photography, 2017

Congratulations are in order! We’re so excited to announce that we’ve selected fifteen incredible independent games to showcase at this year’s SAAM Arcade.

Games were judged on a variety of factors, including aesthetics, experience, professional polish, and novelty. We also wanted games to approach this year’s theme—GAME SPACES—in unique and inventive ways, and we feel really good about our selections. Since we had over one hundred incredible submissions this year, the process wasn’t easy. In order to select the final games, we worked closely with author and video game developer Chris Totten, time-based media arts curator Saisha Grayson, Smithsonian staff, and members of the Independent Game Developers Association (DC chapter). We played the games, talked about them, played some more, and finally picked fifteen incredible developers to feature their work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Perhaps you’d like a sneak peek of some of the games you’ll be able to play at this year’s SAAM Arcade? Below, we introduce four of our incoming developers—but stay tuned for more information and check our website as the Arcade gets closer! Oh, how we love the antici…....pation!

An image of the video game, "IMGUR"

A still from the "planetary skating game" Doors to the City.

Doors To The City

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill skateboarding game. Doors To The City blends hip-hop music, self-exploration, and immersive holographic visuals. As you explore the world of the game, you trigger memories—find all of your memories and you win the game. It’s a trip through outer space—oh, and did we mention you play with a custom Tech-Deck controller? Radical.

Walden, a game

Quiet, contemplative, and astoundingly beautiful, Walden, a game puts you in the shoes of Henry David Thoreau as he lives and works by Walden Pond. Sit and read among the trees, go fishing and pick blueberries, chat with Ralph Waldo Emerson, and build your home as the world of Thoreau’s famous book about philosophy and nature come to life in the virtual world. Or don’t—and practice civil disobedience, Emerson-style.

Four Last Things

An image of the video game, "Four Last Things"

Four Last Things features a pilgrim's journey through animated Renaissance paintings.

If you like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you’ll love this point-and-click adventure. Travel through a world built out of Renaissance paintings as you seek to commit the seven deadly sins; commit them all, and maybe you’ll be forgiven for them (plus a few extra). Four Last Things features a deadly pie-eating contest, a troupe of singers in a floating egg, and an unearthly amount of other art-related jokes, sight-gags, and puns.

The First Tree

This 3D exploration game traces two parallel stories—a fox looking for her family and a son returning home to his estranged father. As the player discovers artifacts hidden throughout the game, the two stories become intertwined in a surprising and moving way. The First Tree is based on the developer’s personal experiences with moving away from home and creating his own family in a new place.

These games are just a few of the incredible selection available at SAAM Arcade, presented at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on July 22 from 11:30 am to 7 pm. Join all of our incredible developers, vendors, and staff as we celebrate the art and artistry of video games!

 

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