The Tribeca Film Festival is no stranger to featuring video games alongside the various films it showcases each year, even before the Tribeca Games Festival was created in 2018. L.A. Noire became the first video game recognized as an Official Selection in 2011, Beyond: Two Souls was premiered at the event in 2013, and heck, long before all of this, co-founder Robert De Niro has had the short-lived Tribeca Interactive, which in 1996, gave us 9: The Last Resort.
But today sees the start of a huge leap forward, as with the first-ever Tribeca Games Award having been announced and gaming now integrated into the main festival with the Tribeca Festival, this marks the first time a major film festival will be celebrating video games as an art form in such a way. According to the description, the award is designed to honor a game for “its potential for excellence in art and storytelling through design, artistic mastery and highly immersive worlds.” And now the eight inaugural nominees for the award have been revealed, and they are a unique batch of indie titles, consisting of…
- The Big Con, an adventure game from Mighty Yell set in the 1990s, featuring a young girl on a trip to con their way into making enough money in order to save their mother’s business.
- Harold Halibut, a hand-made graphic adventure game from Slow Bros. about a lab assistant aboard a retro-futuristic spaceship submerged in the ocean.
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits, an action-adventure game from Ember Lab, featuring a novice Spirit Guide who sets out to uncover the secrets of an abandoned village.
- Lost in Random, an action-adventure game from Zoink Games that’s inspired by gothic fairy tales and features a world of randomness where dice control the fates.
- NORCO, a sci-fi Southern gothic adventure games from Geography of Robots, where a search for one’s brother has them following a futuristic security cyborg in New Orleans.
- Sable, a game about exploration from Shedworks, where a young girl heads out via hoverbike on a rite of passage through Moebius-esque deserts.
- Signalis, a survival horror game from rose-engine about a Replika searching through an abandoned facility in search of their lost dream, with a unique take on cosmic horror.
- Twelve Minutes, an adventure game from Luis Antonio about a man stuck in a time loop, having to protect him and his wife from a now-recurring home invasion.
Those quick sentences probably didn’t do the games justice, though. Luckily, the games will be showcased as part of this year’s Summer Game Fest, which will showcase exclusive footage from them during the festival. Plus, from June 11 through June 20, players will be able to try out demos of these games through the Tribeca At Home virtual offerings, presented with help via Parsec. Those curious can reserve demo sessions via Tribeca’s official site beginning May 24.
As the cherry on top, Daniel Lanois and his band will have a performance of select songs from the Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack as part of the festival, live from New York City’s The Battery on June 10, with the Tribeca Festival as a whole lasting from June 9 to June 20. It should definitely be interesting to see if the Tribeca Games Award and the merging of video games with traditional film festival formats leads to any big developments in the future, but one can only hope.