Monday, August 16, 2010

LA Times-Queens, NY Is The New Indie Video Game Capital

Syed Salahuddin and Arthur Ward, of Babycastles Queens, NY based video game company: Chris Person/LA Times
(Story reported by Leigh Alexander for the LA Times)

Reporting from New York

The vibrant independent video game scene is nearly invisible to the wider world. When most people hear the word "gamer," they tend to think of characters who'd rather spend a Friday night with World of Warcraft than hit the town. But like the music industry, the game space enjoys its own vibrant counterculture of hobbyist programmers, developers and players, driven by a passion for games as art.

Formerly inhibited by the very mechanism that helped indie games grow and thrive — a globally distributed and diverse Internet community that rarely converges face to face — a group of devoted, bootstrapping indie gamers are forging an underground home for themselves. In what's perhaps an unlikely twist, one place it's happening is near the epicenter of the ultra-hip wildland neighborhoods where the Brooklyn indie music scene makes its home.

On a city block in Ridgewood, a Queens neighborhood that lies so close to Brooklyn's edge it feels more like the latter borough's careless spill-over, sits Silent Barn, a hub within Brooklyn's DIY music scene. It's a music venue and art and community space where local bands nightly play alongside a kitchen in a packed room of twentysomethings drinking cheap beer. In Silent Barn's low-lit basement, a cool refuge from the noise-rich and sweat-slicked music shows that pound the ceiling overhead, there is a small indie arcade called Babycastles (which declares its presence with a yellow neon sign).

(click here to read the full story on the LA Times website)

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