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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.

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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

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

Honorable mentions:
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

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

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

Technical Excellence

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

Honorable mentions:
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

Screenshots Bastion Screenshots, November 2010

Honorable mentions
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

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

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

Best Mobile Game

Honorable mentions:
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 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 - 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,

Darthlex - - 1,050 comments

I love Minecraft, as much as the next guy, but I still got to say:

I do *Not* hope, that minecraft wins. It is perfectly understandable, if it does, but I honestly think that Notch has earned quite enough money on the game itself, to make these prizes more of a luxury, than something needed. I simply believe that a game that has done something equally amazing, technically-speaking, but didn't have as much public success, might get the monetary means, to continue their developement journey.

That said, good luck and congratulations to all the contenders.

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DuckSauce - - 969 comments

Couldn't agree more annd as far as I know this isn't a popularity contest though, so I think the others stand a good chance if you ask me.

But whoever wins, won, so it's not like I'd deny Notch a victory or the prize, but others less fortunate with their sales or financial standing could probably use it more, so I'm rooting for the others the most.

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Kizzycocoa - - 1,827 comments

Well, I wish them all the best of luck, but, I do have to say, to say minecraft should be excluded due to how much people like it is not really fair. while it's popularity is overshadowing, it's popular for a reason. :/

I personally hope amnesia win a few of these categories. what I really want to ask is, no super meat boy? O.o

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Luigisno1 - - 322 comments


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Kizzycocoa - - 1,827 comments


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SairenSA - - 267 comments

Yeah! South-African potential (Desktop Dungeons) hits the indie market! Whoop! Minecraft is just an excellent and innovative indie title. Who knew we could have so much fun with blocks. Take Lego's for example, you enjoyed them right? :) Nice going Indie Devs, you are an example of what games SHOULD be! (ecstatic)

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Noesis_Interactive - - 184 comments

No Super Meat Boy?

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Kizzycocoa - - 1,827 comments

yeah. odd O.o

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MrTambourineMan - - 717 comments

Wow really, really tough competition for Seumas McNally (may he rest in peace) Grand Prize this year I see.

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HounderKnight - - 1,660 comments

Good luck, Amnesia. The title and team deserve at -least- one victory. :)

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