Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Thoughts on HORIZON: An alternative E3 event

2:30 PM on 06.20.2013 // Liz Rugg

Notes on the Indie-focused event from an attendee

Exactly one week ago, E3 was in full-swing in the bright city of Los Angles, California, and a brand new little event was quietly gearing up to happen. That lil' happening was HORIZON. Billed as an "alternative E3 event" and produced in coordination between the indie-game championing website Venus Patrol and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art's MOCATV, the event promised to showcase  a lineup of "incredibly beautiful games" including projects from Double Fine, CAPY, Media Molecule and more.

The event is being described as quiet, and indeed that was my first instinct of it, but it wasn't taciturn. It was more just relaxed, with a sense of effortlessness and openness. What exactly did HORIZON deliver? A solid line up of great-looking indie games to be sure, but perhaps almost indiscernibly -- something more.


HORIZON was a two-part event, the first being a press conference held in the morning which would showcase new, exciting indie projects, and the second part being a mixer party held in the evening at which several more indie games would be playable. I enjoyed both parts of the event for different reasons.

The press conference itself -- tucked away in a basement, bunker-like screening room of the MOCA -- was excellent because I got to hear straight from the developers, designers and creators themselves about what they were doing and why they were excited to share what they have been working on. It didn't feel like these developers were trying to sell me their games, it felt more like in-progress show and tells.

This doesn't mean that the items being shown felt unfinished or rushed at all, more just that there wasn't an air of judgement or the unspeakable pressure of big numbers. It was, for all intents and purposes, just a group of artists discussing what they've been up to. More information on each game shown can be found here. The incredibly smoothly executed press conference can also be streamed in its entirety here.


The second part of the day's event was a mixer party held in the outdoor plaza/roof-area of the MOCA, with snacks and drinks provided (THOSE CUPCAKES THOUGH) and a host of television islands scattered around the scene which featured various playable indie games.

This part was obviously fun because I got to play games, some of which had been featured in the earlier press conference, but some of which I went into totally cold. There were also several works at the mixer that were from developers at the UCLA Game Lab, thereby strengthening the conference's connection to the Los Angeles' games community in general.


And that's really where I get into the meat of why the HORIZON event is interesting. It's not just that is was only about indie games; what's interesting about it is its attempt to really bring together the art world and the game world in a new way. For many years, the videogame industry has been seen by many people as purely popular culture and entertainment, and the art community has largely ignored it.

However, in the past few years, coinciding with the increase in recognition of internet-based cultures, the art community has taken a fascination to the videogame world, and in particular indie games -- since there are so many parallels and overlaps in the space between artist as traditional artist and artist as gamer. 

HORIZON capitalized on this, and I mean that in a good way. This is a time when big-name art institutions like the MOCA really want to engage in videogames. They recognize that there are interesting things happening there, but they don't really know how to go about it, so it takes people like the minds at Venus Patrol who essentially straddle these two worlds to lead initiatives like HORIZON which can gain recognition for indie games within the art world and hopefully thereby begin to legitimize them in the eyes of art-world traditionalists.


The criticism about HORIZION that I have heard whispered in the halls of the internet is that it was perhaps not as well-prepared as it could have been, i.e. that it didn't have as big of names on its bill as it could have. To that I say, in the words of Principal Skinner, "coulda, woulda, shoulda."

As a fledgeling attempt to, as Venus Patrol founder Brandon Boyer explained, "light a candle, rather than curse the darkness," HORIZON was brave. Will it change the videogame industry? Who knows. But one thing is for sure, it was a great step forward in the eternal quest to make and enjoy more beautiful things. Here's to HORIZON 2014!

Stay tuned for my write-up of all the games previewed and played at HORIZON!

[Official photos of HORIZON by Brian Erzen]

Liz Rugg, Contributing Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure LizRugg Tips
Liz Rugg is the Community Manager over at Destructoid's sister site; Flixist! She also works full time as a receptionist at an animal hospital in Chicago, IL. She is tough as nails and soft as a ... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night, got farther than ever in Wasteland 2. This is my third playthrough-once thru beta, once through the orig version, now on Directors cut. Worth the restart, and it speaks highly of the game that I like it enough to do this. DAMONTA HERE I COME!
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO. Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho.
TheGwailo avatarTheGwailo
I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: To make up for yesterday, I decided to ask a second Community Question today. Have you taken advantage of any Black Friday deals today? If so, what did you purchase? Feel free to share pictures of your spoils, if you have any.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Some Black Friday artwork arrived today ! [img][/img]
Lawman avatarLawman
Black Friday is getting to me. All these games I kinda, maybe want that are at anywhere between respectable and deep discounts, but I'm not sure if I want to bite. I'm wondering if Godzilla's worth $12? After checking review scores, I'm not sure.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Mission complete![IMG][/IMG]
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Black Friday slowly seems to creep its way onto Continental Europe, but I'm not complaining! I managed to get my grubby little paws on a new physical copy of The Wonderful 101 for €20! Thanks, America!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Since I missed yesterday, I am going to do something a little different today. Are there any questions you would like to ask me for a change? If so, please feel free. I may add a second Community Question later today, as well.
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Isn't PES 2016 Free-to-Play model just the demo with extra crap thrown in?
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Damn Gumo, you cold as fuck. [img][/img]
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
While partially responsible for one of the biggest jokes in the metal, Cold Lake by Celtic Frost, Curt Bryant is doing the soundtrack to the game Slain!. I'm digging the shitty garage band vibe.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
How is the Lightening thread STILL GETTING COMMENTS!?!?!? P.S. I am trying to make Chex Mix, but we lost my special recipe I custom designed. sucks man.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Got a deal on a Surface Pro 3 model that I wanted. Now I just need a deal on a PS TV in Canada and I'm golden.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If you in the UK, don't have a PS4 and don't mind buying used/display goods there's a few reconditioned PS4 (12 month warranty) on amazon for £199.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
my dilemma this black friday is a PS4 for bloodborne and little else or like half the games on my steam wishlist. I know in my heart which one I'm going to pick.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
"You had all the lasagna you could ever eat, yet you kept going!" "This isn't about the lasagna anymore, Jon, and I didn't come this far just to quit! Tonight, I'm making sure my name will go down in history!"
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -