About

Mission

Indietopia is a non-profit foundation and an award winning studio. We are an innovator, accelerator and publisher of games. Our mission is making sure that everyone passionate about game development has a chance at becoming a self-supporting developer. This starts small in Groningen, the Netherlands. However, as the game industry is a global industry, we create global visibility for our teams through social media, our game store and by organising and visiting events.

Game developers can join our Indietopia Citizenship. We have crafted a membership of five tiers, featuring perks such as help with subsidy application, marketing and expert coaching to create the game of your dreams. Furthermore, we give workshops about analogue and digital game design, boardgames, gamification and more.

Vision

We’ll strive to make Indietopia the place where game developers easily share knowledge, learn from and inspire each other. A place where customers know they always get the serious game that they want. A place where aspiring developers know they at least have a fair shot at earning money with game development.

History

Before Indietopia, there was Indie Gameleon, an Indie Game Conference, Showcase, and Game jam, held from 2013-2015. The first two editions were held in Groningen, the last one in Hamburg. The first edition of Indie Gameleon was such a big success that event founder Mendel Bouman decided there was enough serious interest for something more permanent. Thus, Indietopia was born.

Indietopia was founded by Mendel on April 1st 2014 (no joke), with the purpose to function as a hub for many (at the time) isolated indie game development studios in the North of the Netherlands. Indietopia opened up in an abandoned building. By supplying Indietopia with this building, the municipality of Groningen gave the Northern Indie Game Scene a place to thrive, while they did not have to worry about the building being squatted.

Seeing that many indie game devs were struggling with marketing and publishing of their games, Mendel enlisted the help of Shan Poon as one of the few talented individuals in the north with a background in marketing and publishing video games.

Indietopia Games

Together they founded Indie friendly video game publishing label Indietopia Games.

They started publishing with the simple yet elegant Twin Stick Shooter Pulstar. Pulstar sold over 20K copies in the first couple of months and was considered a succes for a first title launched on Steam.

A year later Indietopia Games released Convoy, made by Convoy Games in Leeuwarden. It became a cult hit, selling 50K units in its first month and going well over 100K units in the following year.

From 2014 – 2016, Indietopia managed to grow the Northern Dutch Game industry from 8 indie dev studios to 24 indie game studios while the industry had been stagnant in the years before Indietopia’s entry into the industry.

The Indietopia Accelerator

Despite the growth of the regional industry it became painfully clear In 2016 that many indies not only had trouble with their marketing, but also with their business development and raising funds. For this purpose, Mendel Bouman managed to secure government funding to start the foundation, the Indietopia Accelerator. An accelerator that provides funding and business coaching for Indie Game Developers that are serious about turning their studio into a business.

Mendel attracted Indie Game Developer and writer Merijn de Boer as executive director of operations and fellow board member. Together they hired a team and kickstarted the foundation in to action.

On March 1st 2020, Mendel handed over the reigns of the Accelerator Program (the foundation) to Merijn and stepped down as board member. He’s gone on to do other cool things in the music space and indie game space.

The Accelerator Program has since then coached several studios. Thanks to the program, Tweetal Studios received government funding to develop their title Crimson Resonance, Pilot Perils got ported to Switch after releasing on iOS and Android, and Fringe Planet found a private investor due to Indietopia’s presence at Slush in Finland.

Several new studios have since been accepted in the program. Time will tell how they will write history.

Press & Media

2022

Bedrijven uit Stad winnen 50.000 euro voor ‘waanzinnig digitale ideëen’

Indietopia and Sociaal Gericht, two companies located in Groningen City, have each received a check of €50K from province executive IJzebrand Rijzebol.

Out of twelve participants, these two parties won the Excellent Digital Idea contest, organised by Provincie Groningen. The aim was finding smart ways to help entrepreneurs and locals profit from ongoing digitalisation. The prize money is part of their Corona fund of €11,5 million to help the (leisure) economy, education and jobs.

Indietopia will use the reward to preserve historic buildings in the Groningen province, by creating 3D-models of them.

The second winner, Sociaal Gericht, aims to reduce poverty and increase (social) participation with their project Participatiemunt.

(OOGTV, 2 June 2022, Dutch).

Indietopia en Sociaal Gericht winnaars ‘Waanzinnig Digitaal Idee’

The province of Groningen held a contest to find smart ways for entrepreneurs and inhabitants to profit from ongoing digitalisation. On June 2nd two companies received a check of €50K from provincial executive Rijzebol: Indietopia and Sociaal Gericht.

Indietopia came up with a project to preserve historic buidings in Groningen by creating 3D-models. The other winner Sociaal Gericht aims to reduce poverty with the Participatiemunt.

The prize money was made available through the Corona Fund. This fund of €11,5 million from the Province of Groningen helps entrepreneurs, organisations and institutionsrecover from the Covid-19 crisis. It is aimed at  (leisure) economy, education and the safeguarding of jobs.

(DvhN, 3 June 2022, Dutch).

Groningse bedrijven Indietopia en Sociaal Gericht in de prijzen

Indietopia and Sociaal Gericht have won the Excellent Digital Idea contest, organised by the Provincie Groningen. Both companies receive a check worth €50K.

Indietopia will spend the reward on making detailed 3D-models for conservation and visualisation of historic buildings in the province. These models can be used for the upkeep of cultural heritage and to work on the structure and appearance of a building. The models will be publicly available, to be used by companies, cultural institutions and educational facilities.

(GIC, 3 June 2022, Dutch).

Indietopia breidde door corona uit van gameplatform naar proeftuin, en met succes

Due to the covid pandemic and the loss of vital subsidies, gaming platform Indietopia had to look for new ways to keep the foundation running. Our testing ground Prototopia provided us with the right tools at the right time. Director Merijn de Boer explains to the Groninger Ondernemers Courant how Indietopia transformed into a game and tech paradise.

(Interview GIC, 18 March 2022, Dutch).

Cook and Becker: The state of video game curation

What’s going on in the world of video game exhibitions? Three top-level curators share their thoughts with Arjan Terpstra of Cook and Becker.

Cook and Becker is a specialist for art prints and the world’s leading (online) art gallery and concept store for video game art. Many of their framed concept art pieces adorned the walls of our exhibit Arranged Realism.

(Picture: Cor Pot)

(Article Cook and Becker, 1 February 2022).

The Chinese Room: Dear Esther on tour

Game dev studio The Chinese Room featured Arranged Realism in their latest newsletter. For the expo we created a game playing nook inspired by their walking simulator Dear Esther.

Quote from the lovely team of The Chinese Room:
“Seeing videogames leap out of the screen and give joy to visitors of an art gallery is always great. Having Dear Esther be one of those games – we couldn’t be more proud. ”

Indietopia loves highlighting such wonderful games! Follow the link to the newsletter for interviews and valuable game industry advice.

(Picture: Cor Pot)

(Newsletter The Chinese Room, 31 January 2022).

FD: Games krijgen plek in het museum

Tour of the exhibit Arranged Realism with Indietopia director Merijn de Boer.

A landscape in a game stirs up more emotions within De Boer than a painting or a film could, because you can traverse it on your own: ‘That extra dimension – you spot a mountain in the distance and you know you can travel there – is almost overwhelming to me.’

(Picture: Addermire, Cloud Study’ (2015), Piotr Jablonski, made into a digital piece for Dishonored. )

(FD, 8 January 2022, Dutch).

2021

Heerenveense Courant: Museum Belvédère toont tal van werken.

Overview of the large variety of works on display at Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen. Our exhibit Arranged Realism takes place until 23 January 2022.

(Photo: exhibit poster by Museum Belvédère)

(Heerenveense Courant, 10 December 2021, Dutch).

Museum Belvédère: Serkonan Room from Dishonored 2

For the exhibit Arranged Realism at Museum Belvédère we teamed up with scenographer Caroline van de Meent to replicate the Serkonan Room from Dishonored 2. It shows the apartment and workspace of scientist Dr. Hypatia, who researches the blood fly plague that afflicts Serkonos island.

Scan the QR code in the newsletter for a walkthrough of the room within the game. More pics of the room within the exhibit are on our special Arranged Realism event page.

(Photo: Cor Pot)

(Newsletter Museum Belvédère, 28 November 2021, Dutch).

Winners fotokriich Keunst yn spultsjes

Reveal of the three winners of the Photo Mode contest we arranged together with Museum Belvédère. Three professional photographers selected the best photos in the categories Portrait, Landscape and Architecture. The winning artworks were added to the exhibit Arranged Realism – Art in Games.

The article also refers to the guided tour Omrop Fryslân made with our director Merijn de Boer and museum director Han Steenbruggen.

(Photo: winner Cynthia Hellemink, portrait from The Witcher 3)

(It Nijs, 16 November 2021, Frysian).

Museum Belvédère: winners photo mode competition

Museum Belvédère and our director Merijn de Boer organised a photo mode competition to accompany the exhibit Arranged Realism – Art in Games. Through the photo mode option, participants recorded their favourite moment within a video game. The winners in the categories landscape, portrait and architecture have been revealed. Their photos will soon be added to the exhibit and they each win two tickets to the museum.

Arranged Realism – Art in Games is on display at Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen until 23 January 2022.

(Image: Gwinny Mulder)

(Newsletter Museum Belvédère, 14 November 2021, Dutch).

Telegraaf: Dwalen in droomwereld

“Developers create worlds that have never existed, but that refer to familiar elements. They evoke nostalgic feelings within players of a youth they never had. This is called xenostalgia.” This is a quote from the interview our director Merijn de Boer had about the exhibit Arranged Realism, on display at Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen until 23 January 2022.

(Telegraaf, 2 November 2021, Dutch).

Leeuwarder Courant: Nog even een frisse cultuurneus halen

Tips for cultural activities in autumn, including a visit to Arranged Realism.

(Photo: Cor Pot)

(Leeuwarder Courant, 21 October 2021, Dutch).

Friesch Dagblad: Het verschil tussen tablet en palet is klein geworden

“The difference between tablet and palet is getting smaller, as Museum Belvédère shows us”, states the Friesch Dagblad after visiting the expo Arranged Realism. Favourite quote: “We had to wait a hundred years before Jules Verne’s fantasy of travelling to the moon became reality. Nowadays, game makers’ fantasies can become reality almost instantly.”

(Friesch Dagblad, 20 October 2021, Dutch).

DvhN: Game-objecten spelen hoofdrol in expositie Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen

Local press visited the exhibit Arranged Realism.

(Photo: Cor Pot)

(Dagblad van het Noorden, 17 October 2021, Dutch).

De Nieuws BV: Kunst in games

Are images from video games art? Or is art a source of inspiration for video games? Game developer and video game fan Merijn de Boer curated a game exhibit for Museum Belvédère. In De Nieuws BV he explains why game art  deverves a spot at museums.

(De Nieuws, 8 October 2021, Dutch).

Thatsgaming.nl: Arranged Realism – Kunst in Games nu te zien in Museum Belvédère

Announcement of the upcoming exhibit Arranged Realism at Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen. It gives a glimpse of the involved game studios, which art movements are presented and information about Merijn de Boer, the mastermind and guest curator behind the exhibit.

(thatsgaming.nl, 21 September 2021, Dutch).

Gamer.nl: Dit museum in Heerenveen presenteert games zoals wij ze zien: als kunstwerken

Guest article by our director Merijn de Boer. He reveals how the exhibit Arranged Realism came about. Games are art and game makers are artists. That is the message behind the exhibit. Visitors can expect concept art for Dishonored and The Witcher as well as entire art forms that were specifically created for games.

(Photo: artworks from Prey by Fred Augis)

(gamer.nl, 6 August 2021, Dutch).

Infoleek.nl: Gemeente Westerkwartier maakt pilot met Fitgaaf!-app mogelijk

The municipality of Westerkwartier supports the FitGaaf! app with an innovation subsidy to enable a pilot with the app in the Westerkwartier region. The app is developed by Indietopia and studio andere koek.

Using mini-games, children learn about healthy eating, drinking, exercising and sleeping over the course of three weeks. With this pilot, FitGaaf! owner  Tom Steffens wants to further improve the app and test how to guide users to local healthy services.

(infoleek.nl, 14 April 2021, Dutch).

GIC.nl: "Coronacrisis: culturele sector vraagt (én krijgt) hulp van Indietopia"

Until early 2020, Indietopia mostly focussed on coaching start-ups in the game industry. But then Covid-19 turned the world upside down. Indietopia started receiving requests by cultural organisations to help them out with innovative ways to reach their audience within covid-19 restrictions.

One of the parties that approached us, was Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen. Together with NHL students, we created a 360° tour  for their expo Relations & Contrasts. We also worked on the Become a virtual Groninger game for Marketing Groningen, featuring hundreds of 360° images, quiz questions, videos, and more. An online tour is a perfect way to entice tourists to visit your city.

Indietopia is eager to help more cultural organisations create an online ‘back-up’ for physical events, by using live streams, drone images and green screens, to name but a few options.

(gic.nl, 3 February 2021, Dutch).

2020

Heerenveense Courant: Museum Belvédère en stichting FB Oranjewoud halen de banden aan

Museum Belvédère is partnering up with stichting FB Oranjewoud, to subsidize large exhibits with an international appeal as well as several smaller exhibits.

One of the exhibits they commit themselves to next year is Arranged Realism, revolving around art from the virtual reality of games.

(Photo: Terrarium, Durk van der Meer)

(Heerenveense Courant, 10 December 2020, in Dutch)

OTP: Waarom Indietopia meedoet aan Check The Bizz?

“Had I met a game designer when I was a youngster, I would have worked in this industry at a much earlier age. That’s why I think it’s important to give pupils a glimpse behind the scenes.” says Merijn De Boer, director of Indietopia. In this interview with OTP, Merijn shares his experience with our participation in #ChecktheBizz, why we take part in this initiative and what we learn from it as a company.

(otp.nl, 10 December 2020, in Dutch)

GIC: "Indietopia biedt oplossingen voor MKB en culturele sector"

From September, startups can work on The Indietopia Accelerator Challenges for a year under the guidance of professional developers. The challenges are a selection of social and cultural issues that require a solution, for example an app or a serious game (Groninger Ondernemers Courant, 22 July 2020, Dutch).

DvhN: Kunst in games? Jazeker. Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen duikt erin. Kijk maar.

Interview with Indietopia director Merijn de Boer about the preparations for the exhibit Arranged Realism at Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen (Dagblad van het Noorden, 8 May 2020, Dutch).

(Photo: Scars of WarHorizon Zero Dawn, Guerrilla Games, 2017)

Leeuwarder Courant: "Museum ontdekt kunst in games"

During the first lockdown, our director Merijn de Boer made a virtual tour for Museum Belvédère, together with NHL Stenden students. We’re proud to announce that he’s collaborating with the museum once again. From 9 October ’21 – 23 January ’22 you can admire art from games in Heerenveen.

‘Arranged Realism’ is the first expo in the Netherlands where art from screens is translated to reality using new techniques. In an interview with Leeuwarder Courant, Merijn revelead that visitors will get an insight in how game artists work, discover techniques such as rotoscoping and photogrammetry, giclées of game art and 3D printed scenes from games (Leeuwarder Courant, 8 May 2020, Dutch).

Dagblad van het Noorden: "Groningen zet tandje bij voor internationale start-ups"

Some of the important goals of Indietopia are to develop talent and to preserve talent in the northern region of the Netherlands. We do this by means of our Indietopia Accelerator program and also by being a Startup Visa facilitator. Our policy plan for 2021-2024 is created as we speak. Primary goal: creating 100 additional jobs in the gaming industry before 2025 (Dagblad van het Noorden, 19 February 2020, Dutch).

Noordzaken interview: "De game-industrie in Groningen heeft meer ondernemerschap nodig"

What are the challenges for the game industry in the northern region? And what opportunities does Indietopia offer? Interview with our director Merijn de Boer (RTV Noord, 1 February 2020, Dutch).

2019

Founder Talks: Twee ondernemers op zoek naar internationaal succes

Indietopia founder Mendel Bouman took part in the Founder Talks, a collaboration between start-up organisation Founded in Groningen and RTV Noord’s NoordZaken. This article summarizes the interview (29 November 2019, Dutch).

Control Online: Uit nu! Docu-serie Secret Levels geeft beeld van noordelijke game-industrie

Indietopia is featured in this article about Secret Levels, a documentary that highlights the northern game industry (Control Online, 15 July 2019, Dutch).

NRC.nl: Nederlandse game-industrie blijft achter bij het buitenland

Article about the reasons why the Netherlands is lagging behind in the international game industry (NRC, 8 July 2019, Dutch).

Spellenmaakgilde: Industry interview with Mendel Bouman & Merijn de Boer

Interview with the game design guild about tabletop games, Indietopia projects and more (Spellenmaakgilde, 24 June 2019).

DvhN: Bij AEther Void gaan de nerds analoog en ook nog eens de wereld in

Interview with Indietopia founder and Æther Void developer Mendel Bouman (Dagblad van het Noorden, 8 June 2019, Dutch).

Control Online: Indietopia Accelerator “Samenwerking met MKB moet structurele economische activiteit garanderen”

Second interview with Indietopia’s director Merijn de Boer (Control Online, 13 May 2019, Dutch). Read the first interview here.

Control Online: Interview met Merijn de Boer: “Ons land heeft enorme potentie om uit te blinken”

First interview with Indietopia’s director Merijn de Boer (Control Online, 1 May 2019, Dutch). Read the second interview here.

OOG TV: 60.000 euro provinciale subsidie voor ‘proeftuin’ noordelijke game-industrie

News item about the provincial subsidy Indietopia receives to set up testing ground Prototopia (OOG TV, 9 April 2019, Dutch).

DvhN: Indietopia helpt gamers te versnellen

Interview with Indietopia director Merijn de Boer about the accelerator program (Dagblad van het Noorden, 26 January 2019, Dutch).

2018

DvhN: Accelerator programma creëert banen

Interview with Indietopia’s director Merijn de Boer (Noordz, 30 July 2018, Dutch).

DvhN: Een nieuwe Big Building nodig: startups van nu de grote huurders van straks

Article about office space for startups (Dagblad van het Noorden, 12 March 2018, Dutch).

2016

DvhN: Indietopia 2.0 moet zakelijker

Interview with Indietopia founder Mendel Bouman (Dagblad van het Noorden, 25 November 2016, Dutch).

2015

DvhN: Gemeente en gaming: het verschil tussen regels en spelregels

What happened when Indietopia and the municipality of Groningen worked together for a week? (Dagblad van het Noorden, 12 November 2015, Dutch).

DvhN: Groningse game industrie op de vierkante meter

Interview with Mendel Bouman about the first year of Indietopia (Dagblad van het Noorden, 7 April 2015).

2014

In Groningen groeit iets moois

Article about the start of Incubator Indietopia (Control Online, 4 March 2014)

Power Unlimited: Er broeit iets in het noorden

Power Unlimited visited Indietopia and interviewed Mendel Bouman (Power Unlimited, June 2014)

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