As you may have heard, the IGF announced the main competition finalists for the 2011 Independent Games Festival last Monday. There were five finalists announced for each category: Excellence In Visual Art, Technical Excellence, Excellence In Design, Excellence in Audio, Best Mobile Game, and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, as well as eight nominees for the Nuovo Award, intended to honor the most innovative and unconventional games.
Becoming an IGF finalist is a big deal – not only do nominees have a shot at roughly $50,000 total in prizes at the Independent Games Festival Awards at GDC this March, all nominated games get the honor of being playable on the show floor of GDC this year. It’s massively prestigious, and when past nominees-turned-hits include games like Braid and Limbo, it’s easy to see why.
Last week, we got in touch with some of the IGF finalists to ask them what the nomination means to them. The response was overwhelming, and last week, we posted responses from a dozen of the nominees (check those out here). This week, we’re continuing that with more responses from more excited developers! Here are some this week’s answers:
Douglas Wilson, Copenhagen Game Collective
Nominated for: Nuovo Award
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be at IGF this year! We showed an earlier iteration of B.U.T.T.O.N. at Kokoromi’s GAMMA IV party last year, so it feels both strange and rewarding to be returning to GDC one year later with the same game.
In late 2009, after months of concept work and prototyping, we received a grant to develop a wizard dueling game for the Nintendo Wii. A larger team from the Copenhagen Game Collective – which includes most of the B.U.T.T.O.N. team – spent the first six months of 2010 refining the idea and developing a vertical slice. However, that isn’t the game that was selected for IGF 2011. Instead, the game that we’re showcasing, B.U.T.T.O.N., is a silly “wouldn’t-it-be-funny-if…” side project, initially prototyped in just a weekend or two.
The takeaway lesson here is that the design ideas that look sexiest on paper don’t always translate (at least not immediately) to the games that are catchiest in practice. The corollary lesson is, sometimes the stupidest games are the most memorable ones.
Our experience with B.U.T.T.O.N. shows us that it can be productively refreshing to blow off steam on small side projects while working on a larger production. You never know – a silly side project might unexpectedly turn out to be the real gem.”
Ricky Haggett, Honeyslug
Nominated for: Excellence In Visual Art
“At last year’s GDC in San Francisco, after the Gamma party which was easily the conference highlight, Dick Hogg and I spent three days on the show floor, manning the Gamma stand where our One Button Game, “Poto & Cabenga” was on display. We had a great time at GDC, and met a bunch of people in the indie games scene who have since become good friends of ours.
The setup in 2010 was that the IGF area was over on one side of the conference hall, and almost all the way over at the other side was the Gamma stand: two small islands of indie, adrift in a sea of mainstream industry stands: physics middleware, QA Databases and abrasive publisher booths pushing their latest AAA title or recruiting staff with offers of free beer (well okay, the free beer wasn’t so bad).
It was an honour to be picked for Gamma, and we had loads of fun hanging out at the stand, watching people stray into our orbit and play the games, but it was hard to escape the level of buzz over at the IGF stand, with crowds of people gathered around what turned out to be some of the games of the year. We spent the last few hours before the Pavillion shut on the final day over there, playing and chatting, and afterwards Dick said to me – in a joking kind of way – “next year we’re gonna be over here”. At the time I would never have imagined we would be, but last year turned out to be a good one for Hohokum – although we’ve been working on the game intermittently for 3 years, 2010 was the year we finally figured out what the game actually is, and we’re now really glad that we persevered, and delighted to be selected for the IGF of course!
It’s especially cool that a bunch of our fellow Gammapals from ’09 have made it to the finals with us this year – the Copenhagen Game Collective with BUTTON, Mikengreg with Solipskier and Steph Thirion with Faraway. Gonna be a fun week!”
Marc ten Bosch
Nominated for: Technical Excellence
“I think the jury system the IGF implemented this year was a very good thing. I was especially looking forward to the nominees in the Technical Excellence category as it is difficult for non-programmers to judge the technical merits of a game.”
Congratulations to all the finalists! We’ll continue to post developer reactions to the blog throughout the week, so keep checking back for more!