At VIDFEST, one of Canada's biggest annual digital content events, Telefilm Canada announced the winners of its Great Canadian Video Game Competition. MindHabits took the top prize with its MindHabits Trainer
DS title, picking up a total $1.5 million prize package from Telefilm and private financiers for the game's commercialization.
The winning entry is described as a "suite of fun and easy mini-games designed to help players focus on positive social feedback and adopt a more positive attitude toward themselves and others, increasing what scientists call 'social intelligence'." MindHabits says the game is intended for 10 minutes of play a day, and hopes to "help reduce players’ stress level and boost their confidence."
Mindhabits was one of four finalists, along with Big Blue Bubble of London, Ontario (Hobby Shop
, Wii) and Cerebral Vortex Games of St. Catharines, ON (Ambush! Trivia
, PC/Mobile/XBLA). The fourth finalist, Penny Arcade
game developer Hothead was selected via fan vote on the Arcadia Festival's website
for the People's Choice award for its PC title SWARM!
in a parallel competition unrelated to the formal winner.
The competition took place in three rounds that mirrored traditional industry financing. In January 2007, an industry jury awarded 10 companies Round 1 status for innovation, and each received $50,000 in financial assistance to explore their gaming concepts, develop a visual identity and elaborate a plan to raise initial private-sector investment. In March 2007, the final four received Round 2 status.
The winning projects were evaluated by a proven industry jury that comprised Rory Armes, senior vice president and group general manager, Electronic Arts Black Box and Electronic Arts Montreal; Yannis Mallat, CEO, Ubisoft Montreal; Ron Moravek, VP, COO, Electronic Arts Canada; and Kelly Zmak, president, Radical Entertainment (Vivendi Universal Games Canada).
After 10 months and entries from 69 independent Canadian game development firms, the winner was revealed by Telefilm Canada executive director Wayne Clarkson. "The competition was tight, but MindHabits best demonstrated the Canadian creativity and innovation that our panel of esteemed industry judges was looking for,” Clarkson applauded.