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2011 Independent Games Festival Reveals Main Competition Finalists
2011 Independent Games Festival Reveals Main Competition Finalists
January 3, 2011 | By Staff

January 3, 2011 | By Staff
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The Independent Games Festival has announced the Main Competition finalists for the thirteenth annual presentation of its prestigious awards, celebrating the brightest and most influential creations to come out of the independent video game development community in the past year.

This year's finalists for the most prestigious indie game awards are led by multiple nominations for standout titles including Frictional Games' psychological horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Mojang's acclaimed 3D worldbuilding sandbox title Minecraft, which received three nominations each.

Other multiple-nominated titles include QCF Design's short playtime 'dungeon crawl' adventure Desktop Dungeons, Messhof's two-player retro fencing game Nidhogg, which received 3 nominations including a Nuovo Award nod, and Supergiant Games' lush isometric adventure title Bastion.

In addition, with the Best Mobile Game award integrated into the IGF Main Competition, there was stiff competition across all categories from games on platforms including iPhone, Android, iPad and beyond, with Best Mobile Game finalists including Ratloop's unique 'line of sight' puzzler Helsing's Fire and former IGF Grand Prize winner Erik Svedang's 'minimalistic dueling game' for iPad, Shot Shot Shoot, as well as Mikengreg's popular App Store title Solipskier.

All of the finalists announced today will be playable on the Expo show floor at the historic 25th Game Developers Conference, to be held in San Francisco starting February 28th, 2011. In addition, nearly $50,000 of prizes in various categories, including the $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize will be awarded to these games at the Independent Games Festival Awards on the evening of March 2nd.

The almost 400 Main Competition entries represents almost 30 percent more games than last year's record 306 titles, itself a 35 percent rise over the previous year. This emphasizes the continued popularity and importance of the IGF, which has helped to highlight and popularize the major independent games of the last decade, from Darwinia and Braid through World Of Goo to Limbo and beyond.

The full list of finalists for the 2011 Independent Games Festival, with jury-picked 'honorable mentions' to those top-quality games that didn't quite make it to finalist status, are as follows:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
SpyParty (Chris Hecker)
Desktop Dungeons (QCF Design)
Minecraft (Mojang)
Nidhogg (Messhof)

Honorable mentions: Neptune's Pride (Iron Helmet Games); Super Crate Box (Vlambeer); Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (Carpe Fulgur); Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games); Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment).

Excellence In Visual Art

Bastion (Supergiant Games)
The Dream Machine (Cockroach)
Cave Story (2010 Edition) (Nicalis)
Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games)
Hohokum (Honeyslug & Richard Hogg)

Honorable mentions: Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment); Cobalt (Oxeye Game Studio); Faraway (Steph Thirion); Helsing's Fire (Ratloop); Flotilla (Blendo Games).

Technical Excellence

Minecraft (Mojang)
Confetti Carnival (SpikySnail Games)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
Neverdaunt:8Bit (Robot Loves Kitty)
Miegakure (Marc Ten Bosch)

Honorable mentions: Cobalt (Oxeye Game Studio); Achron (Hazardous Software); Hazard: The Journey Of Life (Demruth); Overgrowth (Wolfire Games); Swimming Under Clouds (Piece Of Pie Studios)

Excellence In Design

Desktop Dungeons (QCF Design)
Super Crate Box (Vlambeer)
Nidhogg (Messhof)
Faraway (Steph Thirion)
Minecraft (Mojang)

Honorable mentions: Helsing's Fire (Ratloop); Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (Carpe Fulgur); Flotilla (Blendo Games); Bo (Mahdi Bahrami); Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now [B.U.T.T.O.N.] (Copenhagen Game Collective)

Excellence In Audio

Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
Bit.Trip Beat (Gaijin Games)
Cobalt (Oxeye Game Studio)

Honorable mentions: Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games); Cave Story (2010 Edition) (Nicalis); Jamestown (Final Form Games); NightSky (Nicalis); Planck (Shadegrown Games)

Best Mobile Game
Shot Shot Shoot (Erik Svedang)
Colorbind (Nonverbal)
Helsing's Fire (Ratloop)
Solipskier (Mikengreg)
Halcyon (Stfj)

Honorable mentions: Flick Kick Football (PikPok); Shibuya (Nevercenter); Spirits (Spaces Of Play); Tentacles (Press Play); Trainyard (Matt Rix)

Another key part of the 2011 Independent Games Festival, the Nuovo Award, intended to "honor abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which advances the medium and the way we think about games", had finalists revealed on December 22nd.

Eight striking contenders, including Monobanda's Bohm, Cardboard Computer's A House In California, Messhof's Nidhogg, Stout Games' Dinner Date, Nicolai Troshinsky's Loop Raccord, Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad's The Cat and the Coup, Copenhagen Game Collective's Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now (B.U.T.T.O.N.), and Demruth's Hazard: The Journey Of Life will also be present in a special section of the IGF Pavilion. with a specially increased $5,000 prize being given out to the Nuovo Prize winner.

This year's IGF entries were distributed to more than 150 notable industry judges for evaluation, and their highest recommendations passed on to a set of elite discipline-specific juries for each award, who debated and voted on their favorites. Each of the individual juries has released a jury statement on IGF.com featuring select debate excerpts explaining their game choices.

All 2011 Independent Games Festival finalists for both the Main Competition and the Nuovo Award will be awarded passes to GDC 2011 in San Francisco this March, where they will attend the 2011 Independent Games Summit - featuring two days of lectures and presentations from leading indie game developers. They will also be presenting playable versions of their game to all Game Developers Conference attendees at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor from Wednesday, March 2nd through Friday, March 4th.

Finally, the IGF 2011 winners will be announced on stage at the major Independent Games Festival Awards on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011, at the Moscone Center. The IGF Awards, which kick off at 6:30pm PST, are held immediately preceding the acclaimed 2011 Game Developers Choice Awards, honoring the best games of the year from across all sections of video game development.

"From scrappy single person start-ups to more robust indies, and from surprising debuts to surprise successes, this year's finalist line-up is a perfect showcase of the breadth and diversity of what it means to be 'independent'," said IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer. "I'm excited to see all the developers represented gain more recognition from a wider audience for what they've worked so hard to create, as the importance of the independent games community grows even further."

The Independent Games Festival was established in 1998 by UBM TechWeb's Game Network to encourage the rise of independent game development and to recognize the best independent game titles, in the same way that the Sundance Film Festival honors the independent film community.

Organizers would like to thank sponsors including Crytek (platinum), Microsoft (gold), platform (GameTree.TV/Transgaming), DigiPen (student platinum), ENJMIN (student gold), plus Direct2Drive (official download partner), who will be presenting finalists for its D2D Vision Award in the near future. IGF Student Showcase award winners, contending for the Best Student Game award at the Festival, will be announced during the week of January 10th, and an IGF Audience Award from participating titles will kick off in late January.

For more information on the Independent Games Festival, please visit the official IGF website -- and for those interested in registering for GDC 2011, which includes the Independent Games Summit, the IGF Pavilion and the IGF Awards Ceremony, please visit the Game Developers Conference website.


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