The Independent Games Festival has announced the Main Competition finalists for the twelfth annual presentation of its prestigious awards, celebrating the most innovative creations to come out of the independent game development community this year.
Nearly $50,000 in prizes in various categories, including the $20,000 Seamus McNally Grand Prize will be awarded on stage at the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 11, 2010 during the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The record-setting 306 Main Competition entries represent a 35% increase over last year's record 226 entries, many of them striking new titles from leading indie developers.
This year's finalists are led by multiple nominations for several notable games, including three nominations for innovative light-centric puzzle platformer Closure, and two nominations each -- including a Grand Prize nomination -- for Pocketwatch Games' stylish co-op heist game Monaco, Hello Games' polished stunt motorbike title Joe Danger, Ratloop Asia's cinematic avian action title Rocketbirds: Revolution!, Krystian Majewski's gestural photographic adventure game Trauma, and Team Meat's cartoon-gory 2D action title Super Meat Boy!.
To ensure the highest-quality judging for the IGF, more than 150 leading indie and mainstream game industry figures -- from 2D Boy's Ron Carmel through Spore's Soren Johnson to ThatGameCompany's Kellee Santiago and beyond -- were recruited to choose finalists via a carefully constructed empirical process.
The Festival is particularly keen to give constructive, written feedback to Main Competition entrants -- even if they did not place as a finalist. As a result, over 1500 written, anonymized judge comments will be passed along to entrants in the next few days, an important part of deriving value and takeaway from entering the IGF.
In addition, for the first year, the IGF's Nuovo Award, intended to "honor abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which advances the medium and the way we think about games", was judged by a separate, smaller juried panel of notable game and art world figures. These spanned previous IGF Nuovo winner Jason Rohrer (Passage), Area/Code's Frank Lantz, N+ co-creator Mare Sheppard, EA division head and art-game creator Rod Humble, and more.
The jury for the $2,500 Nuovo Award, which allows more esoteric 'art games' to compete on their own terms alongside longer-form indie titles, has released a statement about the chosen Nuovo finalists, including several 'honorable mentions', on the official IGF website.
The finalists for the 2010 Independent Games Festival are: