Behind the Title: An Interview with Jessica Tams, Founder and Managing Director of Casual Games Association

April 25, 2018 — by Marina Sapunova


In this interview, yellowHEAD’s Marina Sapunova speaks with Jessica Tams about her life behind one of the most successful events in the games industry, why she moved to a farm and what she was like in high school.

Marina Sapunova: Hi Jessica! I’m happy to have you with me. I don’t think that you need an introduction for our audience, but it would be great if you could say just a few words about what you do.

Jessica Tams: I’m Jessica Tams – I am the Managing Director of CGA. We have a couple of things that we do: Casual Connect; we also organize Indie Prize, which is the scholarship program for indie developers; and a media outlet – We’ve been doing this for 13 years. We do 4 shows a year. So that’s what I do.

Marina: Nice! And you are so good at what you do! But let’s talk about Jessica. Who’s Jessica behind her title?

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Global Game Jam Ukraine 2017

March 31, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton


There’s nothing quite like the intensity and excitement of forty-eight hours of working together to create a new game. Ask any participant in a game jam. Then, at Global Game Jam, multiply that excitement with the knowledge that teams are doing the same thing in centers around the globe.

2017 was the second year for Global Game Jam Ukraine. It is a partner event with Indie Prize where certain winners are given the opportunity to compete at a Casual Connect and Indie Prize of their choice. Recently Casual Connect asked Oleksii Izvalov, Regional Organizer in Eastern Europe for Global Game Jam, about the event. He described the incredible feeling that came from seeing game developers from every part of the country gathering together to make a game.


Casual Connect Announces Major Changes to Conference Rotation

March 17, 2017 — by Gamesauce Staff


The Casual Connect game development conferences are about to get even more accessible for professional developers everywhere. The conference’s parent organization, Casual Games Association (CGA), recently announced that they will begin rotating where their conferences take place in order to provide people in different regions with new opportunities to participate in the no.1 casual games development conference in the world.


10 Ways to Kick Ass at Conventions

February 27, 2017 — by Chris Natsuume of Boomzap

View from the Marriott Marque Hotel in San Francisco, California, photo by Emily Baker

Let’s face it, conferences aren’t cheap. Hotels, flights, dinners… even a small 3 day show is quickly hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. When you factor in lost time for travel and preparation… You’re going to want to maximize the value of that commitment.

For this article, I am focusing on B2B conventions, where you are mostly interacting with other companies in your sphere of influence. Consumer-based conventions require different skills and strategies, but much of this will still be meaningful.

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Headbang Club: Making Indie Games Metal

January 31, 2017 — by David Radd


Headbang Club are the creators of Double Kick Heroes. The indie game recently won two awards at Indie Games Play 7 including the Jury’s Choice Award; the event is designed to honor indie developers from France and the surrounding region. As winners, they have also been given the chance to compete again at Indie Prize which is part of Casual Connect Europe in Berlin.

“It was unexpected! Every time we win an award we are like WTF?,” said David “Blackmagic” Elahee. “There were so many good and very serious games beside ours!! Awards are an acknowledgment that we can stand our chance before the pros and the public. They gave us self confidence to dare more things. It’s a push to go further and better.”

“It feels incredible, like we have found a super weapon in a MMORPG!” added Guillaume “Gyhyom” Breton. “We can continue our daily struggle with more confidence! It means a lot because it’s both a public and professional award! That means the game can touch a really large audience!”

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Luuk Waarbroek: That Game Tied the Room Together

December 19, 2016 — by David Radd


Luuk Waarbroek of Napalmtree Studios helped create Tied Together, which was nominated for Indie Prize by Dutch Game Garden, an Indie Prize partner, to go to Casual Connect. The game was shown off with 37 others at INDIGO, which attracted more than 1,600 visitors on September 27, 2016.

“It’s another confirmation that our gameplay works. We created the prototype and then stopped working on it, but people we know kept asking to start the game so they could play,” detailed Luuk. “The more they asked the more we thought about making it into a full game. We have attended quite some events now and every time the players love it. These reactions confirmed that we had to make this game, and this prize is another beautiful approval for us. We can’t wait to see what it does at the Indie Prize showcase.”

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Stupidi Pixel: Live and Design

December 6, 2016 — by David Radd


Stupidi Pixel and their game Paintings & Thieves was recognized at Milan Games Week Indie, which is ran by the AESVI. This means that the team will be able to show Paintings & Thieves at Casual Connect Europe and Indie Prize and represent the Italian development scene internationally. Milan Games Week Indie is a partner event with Casual Connect.

“It was a big acknowledgment for the hard work put into this project. Also, it was an important boost of confidence since Paintings & Thieves is just our first game as a team, so it means we have started in the right direction and, hopefully, we can grow and get better,” said Fabio Taurisano, Producer at Stupidi Pixel. “We are humbled by the judges’ decision… we totally did not expect Paintings & Thieves to win! We’ll give our best to represent the Italian community at the event.”

Pixelated Paintings

Fabio says that Stupidi Pixel gave Paintings & Thieves a pixel art style because they love those sorts of games. They also wanted to do a museum theme because it’s under explored in video games and fits the two main phases of the game.


Casual Connect Pushing Casino Envelope in Tel Aviv, Berlin

November 28, 2016 — by Gamesauce Staff


Casino-oriented attendees at Casual Connect Tel Aviv packed lecture hall 2 at The Charles Bronfman Auditorium earlier this month to dive into everything casino – from sweeping overviews of the social casino industry to detail-oriented lectures on building apps to ways non-casino developers can break into the casino industry.

Highlights included a social casino industry overview by industry leader Playtika’s Elad Kushnir in which he predicted casino operators will ultimately find it difficult to capitalize on social casino and will exit the market. Anatolii Henis of rising star Murka dove into how the company crafted a poker game for a younger generation. PlayStudios’ John Lin looked eastward and discussed how social casino is evolving in Asian markets.


A Peak Into the Indie Games at This Year’s INDIGO Showcase

October 12, 2016 — by Industry Contributions


By Amir-Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh, Virtuleap

About 40 indie games were lined up on September 27th to flocks of visitors at the Tivoli Vredenburg music complex in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The 7th edition of the INDIGO Showcase included an international mix of games ranging from prototypes to fully completed, retro 2D arcade to deeply immersive VR simulations, with experimental and applied-research nearly always at the fore.

The annual games exhibition is run by the Dutch Game Garden (partnered with Casual Connect), an incubator funded by the city and province of Utrecht to create employment and economic growth by stimulating the games industry in the Netherlands. Utrecht has quickly become known as the games capital of the country as a result.

INDIGO Showcase 2016 by Dutch Game Garden
INDIGO Showcase 2016 by Dutch Game Garden

A total of 110 titles were submitted this year and 38 were accepted to exhibit at the Dutch games exhibition. The organizers in fact decided to widen the eligibility criteria this year to include international studios, which ended up representing one-third of the final lineup.

Here’s a taste of the featured games:


Indie Prize USA 2016: What to Expect

June 30, 2016 — by Yuliya Moshkaryova


One of the developers has just contacted me (yes it is 2 am 🙂 ) and has asked me to give him some information to persuade his investor to make his trip to Indie Prize USA possible as his investor doesn’t think it is a good idea to fly from Australia to San Francisco just to visit the conference. This article is my reply to those who are still hesitating whether to showcase their games or not.

First, let’s highlight WHO WILL VISIT INDIE PRIZE USA 2016.

  • Color Switch (75 millions downloads)
  • The infamous Liyla & the Shadows of War (a game based on the story about Palestinian people and rejection from AppStore)
  • The Forest Song (based on the Ukrainian folk novel, created by an American with Ukrainian roots)
  • Choices: Stories You Play which was #35 on the App Store’s Top Grossing Games list the first week after launch
  • Winners of local games’ contests from our Indie Indie Prize Nomination Partners
  • Up to 20 VR games in the showcase, as well as the opening of a new nomination genre Best VR Game!