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As the year winds down around us, the jurying phase for the 2020 Independent Games Festival is about to begin, so today organizers are proud to reveal the rest of the game industry experts who have agreed to help judge some of the Festival's premier awards!
Soon, these expert juries will meet to determine the finalists and winners of the prestigious IGF 2020 awards at the 2020 Game Developers Conference in March.
Today we'd like to celebrate these industry professionals, each of whom gives their time and talents to help judge these important honors. Please join us in welcoming these experts to judge the Narrative Award, the Student Award, and the Visual Art Award!
The Excellence in Narrative award aims to recognize quality and impressiveness of storytelling in a game - including, but not limited to, scenario, plot construction, story, dialogue, and other major factors. The 2020 award will be decided by these jurors:
Darshana Jayemanne: Darshana Jayemanne is Lecturer in Art, Media and Games at Abertay University, U.K. He is the author of the book "Performativity in Art, Literature and Videogames" (Palgrave, 2017) and has published widely on narrative and gaming.
Kate Gray: Kate Gray is the Narrative Director at KO_OP, an indie studio based in Montreal, known for their award-winning puzzle game, GNOG. She is also a journalist with a speciality in romance and sex in games, having written on the subject for Kotaku, Vice Games, and more.
Jack de Quidt: Jack de Quidt is a writer and composer for the actual play podcast Friends at the Table. Their work includes the heist comedy Dr. Langeskov and stories for Failbetter's Fallen London. Their critical writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice's Waypoint, and Rock Paper Shotgun.
Andrew Plotkin: Andrew Plotkin has been playing interactive fiction since there were home computers, and tried writing some shortly thereafter. He now helps run an IF non-profit foundation and plays with other narrative game ideas.
Leena van Deventer: Leena van Deventer has taught interactive storytelling at RMIT University for the last 5 years, and taught semesters at Swinburne University and Melbourne University's Victorian College of the Arts. As a published author, narrative designer, activist and writer, she has won awards for her work including the 'Pioneer Award' at the MCV Pacific Women in Games awards, and worked as senior copywriter on "Run That Town", a Gold Lion award-winner at Cannes. Leena has recently completed her Masters in Arts Management and is now Creative Producer at Team Fanclub on their debut title "Dead Static Drive".
Giada Zavarise leads a double life as a freelance narrative designer and games journalist.
As a journalist, she works for Eurogamer, PC Gamer and Rock Paper Shotgun, where she writes a column about the relationship between comics and games. As a narrative designer, she's currently working on unannounced projects with Dejobaan Games while wrapping up her indie game, Selling Sunlight.
The IGF 2020 Best Student Game award will be given to a student developer (or team of student developers) to mark their submission as a standout example of an impressive, enjoyable and high-quality student-made game. Here are the jurors who will award it:
José Zagal: José Zagal is faculty at the University of Utah's top-ranked game development program. He wrote “Ludoliteracy” and edited the “Videogame Ethics Reader” and “Role-Playing Game Studies”, a book on the study of role-playing games. He was also honored as a distinguished game scholar by the digital games research association (DiGRA).
Andy Nealen: Andy Nealen is an Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts and Computer Science in the Interactive Media & Games Division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he teaches and researches in Game Design, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Graphics, and Game Engineering. His focus on minimal and accessible designs for complex systems is evidenced in the Apple-Design-Award-winning game Osmos, as well as in his Sketch-Based Modeling, Game-Space Exploration, and Game Heuristics research. Andy received his PhD in Computer Science from TU Berlin, is a regular speaker at international game and computer graphics conferences, and is a regular contributor to ACM SIGGRAPH.
AP Thomson: AP Thomson is a designer and programmer who has worked on numerous games including Fortune-499, Swap Sword, Multibowl, and Beglitched (winner of the 2016 IGF Student Award). AP is currently working with Beglitched co-creator Jenny Jiao Hsia on their upcoming game Consume Me. AP also regularly teaches classes at the NYU Game Center as an adjunct lecturer.
The Excellence in Visual Art award seeks to celebrate the highlights of innovation and quality in visuals for independent games, and its jury for 2020 is made up of the following experts:
These juries will conduct their deliberations alongside those already announced for the IGF 2020 Nuovo, Design, and Audio awards, the last of which has been recently bolstered by the addition of voice director Jeremy Hall.
All entries in the 2020 Independent Games Festival are currently browseable at the IGF's official site. Competition finalists will be announced early next year, with the winners announced on the evening of March 18th at the IGF Awards ceremony during GDC 2020!
As in years past, the IGF Awards will be livestreamed alongside the Game Developers Choice Awards on the official GDC Twitch channel. Subscribe now to be notified when we go live, and watch last year's awards show for a taste of what's in store!