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Sable, one of eight games selected for the Tribeca Festival. Screenshot: Shedworks/Raw Fury

The 20-year-old Tribeca Film Festival, traditionally held in downtown New York City, will include eight games as official selections this year.

Why it matters: The video game industry often exudes an inferiority complex as it compares itself to cinema, but this is a case of a film institution veering toward games as an art form.

  • The games will be in a jury competition for a proper festival award: Potential For Excellence In Art and Storytelling.

"We're really wanting to make a statement that games are not separate," Tribeca Games vice president Casey Baltes told Axios.

Between the lines: Some 60 games were submitted for consideration before Baltes and her team whittled the list to eight.

  • Selections include the desert exploration adventure "Sable" as well as "12 Minutes," a forthcoming "interactive thriller" in which players oversee what happens in an apartment during a repeatable 12-minute loop
  • While Tribeca is looking for games that showcase storytelling, Baltes said she urged entrants to not worry if their game was cinematic or told its story through other more filmic or textual approaches.
  • Games, after all, can tell a story through what you do in them.

COVID has already wreaked havoc with film festivals, and showcasing in-development games present altogether different challenges on top of that.

  • While there are no communal showings of the eight games announced, anyone interested in playing the games can sign up to play a demo — 12 to 60 minutes' worth — through a streaming program called Parsec.

What's next: The Tribeca Festival (they dropped the word "film" this year), has featured games in one-off ways since 2011, but co-founder Jane Rosenthal hopes this bigger commitment will continue and expand.

  • "I want to see it be a real robust competition for games, the same way you have robust competitions for films," she told Axios. "I think that the worlds are colliding in interesting ways, and I'm excited about giving it a platform."

Go deeper

Aug 30, 2021 - World

China drastically curbs amount of time kids can play video games

Players practice the mobile game "Arena of Valor" in a shopping mall in Tianjin, China. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Chinese regulators on Monday imposed new rules on video game companies that drastically limit the amount of time minors can play to just an hour on Fridays and weekends, Bloomberg reported, citing state media.

Why it matters: The new rules come amid Beijing's broader crackdown on domestic Big Tech companies — including gaming giant Tencent.

Aug 28, 2021 - Sports

U.S. Paralympian Brad Snyder wins triathlon gold

Paralympian Brad Snyder. Photo: UAdam Pretty/Getty Images

U.S. Navy veteran and Paralympian Brad Snyder won gold in the men's paratriathlon on Friday at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Why it matters: Snyder, 37, became the first U.S. man, Olympic or Paralympic, to win gold in a triathlon event.

Gaming CEO calls on industry to help fight climate change

"Catalyst Black." Screenshot: Super Evil Megacorp

Gaming CEO Kristian Segerstrale is calling on leaders in his industry to take action on climate change, after completing a $1.4 million fundraising campaign this summer.

Why it matters: Gaming's pandemic-fueled boom creates an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to do some good.