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The Independent Games Festival (IGF) has announced the Main Competition finalists for the thirteenth annual presentation of its awards, celebrating the brightest and most influential creations to come out of the independent video game development community in the past year. All of the IGF finalists will be playable on the Expo show floor at the historic 25th Game Developers Conference (GDC), to be held at San Francisco's Moscone Center February 28-March 4, 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 2 immediately preceding the acclaimed Game Developers Choice Awards.
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 three nominations including its previously-announced Nuovo Award nod, and Supergiant Games' lush isometric adventure title Bastion.
In addition, with the integration of the Best Mobile Game award 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.
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, is as follows:
Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games); Neptune's Pride (Iron Helmet Games); Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (Carpe Fulgur); Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment); Super Crate Box (Vlambeer)
Excellence In Visual Art
Cobalt (Oxeye Game Studio); Faraway (Steph Thirion); Flotilla (Blendo Games); Helsing's Fire (Ratloop); Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment)
Achron (Hazardous Software); Cobalt (Oxeye Game Studio); Hazard: The Journey Of Life (Demruth); Overgrowth (Wolfire Games); Swimming Under Clouds (Piece of Pie Studios)
Excellence In Design
Bo (Mahdi Bahrami); Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now [B.U.T.T.O.N.] (Copenhagen Game Collective); Flotilla (Blendo Games); Helsing's Fire (Ratloop); Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (Carpe Fulgur)
Excellence In Audio
Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games); Cave Story (2010 Edition) (Nicalis); Jamestown (Final Form Games); NightSky (Nicalis); Planck (Shadegrown Games)
Best Mobile Game
Flick Kick Football (PikPok); Shibuya (Nevercenter); Spirits (Spaces Of Play); Tentacles (Press Play); Trainyard (Matt Rix)
Finalists for another key category of the 2011 Independent Games Festival, the Nuovo Award-designed to honor abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which advances the medium and the way we think about games - were revealed separately on December 22nd. The eight striking contenders - 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 compete for a specially-increased $5,000 prize to be given out during the IGF ceremony, and these games will also be present on the GDC expo floor in a special section of the IGF Pavilion. 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.
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.
"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 gaining 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), GameTree.TV/Transgaming (platform), 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 voting for 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 at Igf.com - 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, Gdconf.com.
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