Bit Blot's dreamlike 2D underwater adventure game Aquaria won top honors, collecting the $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game, at the 2007 Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards.
The winners were announced tonight at the 9th Annual IGF Awards ceremony, hosted by the Game Developers Conference (GDC) at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
The IGF awards have been described as the Sundance Festival of the videogame industry, and offer both global exposure and over $50,000 in cash prizes to the lucky winners. Other major award recipients included Queasy Games' abstract shoot-em-up, Everyday Shooter, which grabbed the awards for Design Innovation and Excellence In Audio, upcoming Xbox 360 Live Arcade title Castle Crashers, which won for Excellence In Visual Art, Three Rings' online title Bang! Howdy, which came out on top in the Technical Excellence category, and stylish Flash-based point-and-click puzzle adventure Samorost 2, which triumphed in the Best Web Game category.
There were two other notable Main Competition awards given out on the night -- the Audience Award, adjudicated from public voting at major consumer game website GameSpot, was won by The Behemoth's Castle Crashers, and IGF Platinum Sponsor GameTap gave out $20,000 in advances for indie games to appear on its PC subscription download service, as part of its special GameTap Indie Award - with Everyday Shooter getting a $10,000 advance and $5,000 advances going to Cryptic Sea's Blast Miner and Naked Sky Entertainment's RoboBlitz.
In addition, the IGF Student Showcase recognized ten student-designed games and, for the first time ever, awarded a $2,500 Best Student Game prize. The award went to DigiPen Institute of Technology's fast-paced capture the flag game, Toblo.
The IGF Mod Competition, now in its second year, celebrated the best amateur mods of existing videogames with a new $5,000 award for Best Mod Game. Cut Corner Company Productions took home the Best Mod award for Weekday Warrior, their corporate office adventure mod for Half-Life 2, also the Best Singleplayer FPS Mod.