As you may have heard, the IGF announced the main competition finalists for the 2011 Independent Games Festival on 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.

This week, we’ve gotten in touch with some of the IGF finalists to ask them what the nomination means to them. Here are some of their answers:

Notch (Markus Persson), Mojang Specifications

Game: Minecraft

Nominated for: Technical Excellence, Excellence In Design, Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

“Getting these nominations means a lot to me, and it’s a great to see so many Swedes getting nominated with awesome games like Amnesia and Cobalt! Go Sweden!”

Brian Provinciano, Vblank Entertainment

Game: Retro City Rampage

Nominated for: Excellence in Audio

“It’s a great honor to see Retro City Rampage nominated for the IGF. The composers (Freaky DNA, Virt, Norrin Radd) have done an amazing job, I can’t say enough great things about them and their work. I especially hope that the exposure will lead to many opportunities for Matt ‘Norrin Radd’ Creamer. RCR is his first gig in the industry, but you wouldn’t know it from his incredible talent. Hopefully this will mark the start of a long and successful career in the industry for him with contracts shooting at him left and right when he’s not busy at work on future projects with us.”

Nicolai Troshinsky, Plural Games

Game: Loop Raccord

Nominated for: Nuovo Award

“What the nomination means to me? Well, taking in account that I am not a game developer, that it’s not even my goal to be one, and that ‘Loop Raccord’ is just my second game, I feel a bit like an intruder. At the same time, I am deeply interested in video games as a way of expression and I think it’s a vastly unexplored medium, so the nomination somehow proves me that I’m right, and encourages me to keep exploring!”

Congratulations to all the finalists! We’ll continue to post developer reactions to the blog throughout the week, so keep checking back for more!