Minecraft, Amnesia lead IGF Award finalists

Mojang and Frictional Games score trio of nods for GDC's top indie-game prizes; ceremony to precede Game Developers Choice Awards on March 2.

Who will follow Monaco as the latest Seumas McNally Grand Prize winner for independent gaming? The front-runners have been identified, as the Independent Games Festival today announced the Main Competition finalists for this year's competition. The IGF Awards will precede the Game Developers Choice Awards on March 2, a date situated in the midst of the 2011 Game Developers Conference, which will be held at San Francisco's Moscone Center from February 28-March 4.

Amnesia gained notoriety for its atmosphere.

Five games are up for this year's top prize, which carries a $20,000 purse. These games include Frictional Games Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which received high marks upon its PC release in September, as well as Mojang's still-in-beta Minecraft, each of which received nods in three categories. The two games will be going head-to-head for the Technical Excellence award, while Minecraft is up for Excellence in Design and Amnesia vies for Excellence in Audio accolades.

Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip Runner also received three nods from the IGF jury, though none came for the top Seamus McNally award. Other multi-award nominees this year include Messhof's Nidhogg (two), QCF Design's Desktop Dungeons (two), and Supergiant Games' Bastion (two).

The IGF will be dispersing an additional $30,000 to indie developers across a number of other categories. Listed below, these categories include Excellence in Visual Art, Technical Excellence, Excellence in Design, Excellence in Audio, and Best Mobile Game.

This year's IGF will also feature a new category, the Nuovo Award, which will honor "abstract, short-form, and unconventional game development that advances the medium and the way we think about games." The IGF named eight contenders, including 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. The award carries a $5,000 prize.

More information on this year's IGF Award contenders can be found on the organization's official website.

Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
Desktop Dungeons (QCF Design)
Minecraft (Mojang)
Nidhogg (Messhof)
SpyParty (Chris Hecker)
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
Desktop Dungeons (QCF Design)
Faraway (Steph Thirion)
Minecraft (Mojang)
Nidhogg (Messhof)
Super Crate Box (Vlambeer)
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
Colorblind (Nonverbal)
Halcyon (Stfj)
Helsing’s Fire (Ratloop)
Shot Shot Shoot (Erik Svedang)
Solipskier (Mikengreg)
Honorable mentions:
Flick Kick Football (PikPok); Shibuya (Nevercenter); Spirits (Spaces of Play); Tentacles (Press Play); Trainyard (Matt Rix)

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Discussion

95 comments
maxwell97
maxwell97

@Johny_47: "About that minecraft rubbish, 64bit graphics... seriously? I know it's not all about graphics but that's what nintendo 64 had a LONG time ago(graphics have advanced quite a bit since then =P) I know a person with a very powerful gaming PC that plays that, what a waste =/ " I've never played the game myself, but just from what I've seen, a Nintendo 64 could never, ever run Minecraft. Individual components, like blocks, look simple, but there's a huge number of them to track. More importantly, it doesn't matter how powerful a PC is, playing a good game is never a waste - graphics just ain't that important.

daabulls23
daabulls23

Look for the game Spy Party! I wouldn't be surprised if the game is a finalist next year.

LeJR
LeJR

Indie games are just getting better all the time. It should be becoming obvious that it doesn't take a high budget to make a great game.

XeonForce
XeonForce

And yet GS didn't nominate Amnesia for anything now did they? Amnesia was great and Minecraft is good too, I just wish more people would open up to games like these more often.

Aekom
Aekom

@Johny_47 I think they're trying to find the balance between graphics/content and the time it takes to download the client, or you won't be able to play on a browser (which I reckon most people do).

Aekom
Aekom

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Johny_47
Johny_47

I've only played the demo of Amnesia and I loved how brilliant and emersive the 'creepy' atmosphere is so I'm glad to see it's getting praise. About that minecraft rubbish, 64bit graphics... seriously? I know it's not all about graphics but that's what nintendo 64 had a LONG time ago(graphics have advanced quite a bit since then =P) I know a person with a very powerful gaming PC that plays that, what a waste =/

Shardz7
Shardz7

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Notch has friends who work at PC Gamer UK...but overall, Minecraft really is an anti-corporate production that will lead us into the future of $20 Independent games that rock. I only wish AI War made the finals, though... I'm getting so tired of seeing $60 games on the market that are clones of the last 10 games they pumped out with little to no distinction. Games should be made for the game play first, the money will follow later...and Minecraft is a great example of this ideal.

ZachBobBob
ZachBobBob

MInecraft = Best game in history. I'm not even going to attempt to play amnesia: dark decent. Minecraft regularly craps me up..never mind that game xD

19Gam3NErD91
19Gam3NErD91

where is super meat boy ? isn't it considered indie ?

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Amnesia is awesome.. even though the graphic is slightly below average!! :P but instead you'll get great atmosphere, and It's best than other horror title(s), let's say... # cough # big in development "not so-scary" Alan Wake :roll:

hobotech64
hobotech64

In my mind, they're all winners! Don't let these two finalists keep you from enjoying all the rest of the games in the catalog.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

Now I know why Minecraft had all the negative reviews removed. If it wins it will prove that any heap of boring, repetitive, amateurish crap can get an award as long as it's popular. The people who say it allows them to be creative have no idea what the word means.

dennis8
dennis8

amnesia scared the underwear out of my pajamas.. horrifically awesome game.. especially the water part where you run from the invisible monster, even barricading the doors wont save you!!!

5UPERMARIO
5UPERMARIO

I hope Amnesia wins, for the simple fact that I believe we need to bring awareness to the gaming community that we need more atmospheric games like this. !!!

gladin09
gladin09

@Lizzardman666 Yea I do agree Garry's mod is better than Minecraft for me it was too simple and lacked content but that is just my opinion as rzepak said "Minecrafts simplicity is why its so popular" but that doesn't cut it for me shear content, flexibility and creativity and multiplayer make Gmod an amazing game. This proves my point -> http://www.garrysmod.org/downloads/. As for Amnesia I never finished the game it was too scary but I still love its atmosphere and scares the team behind it well deserve to win :)

brunorr
brunorr

Amnesia is an evil game. And the people who made it are probably evil. They deserve an award.

Czech895
Czech895

Minecraft better friggen win!

Icky27
Icky27

Minecraft is the first game in a long time that I've played where you are actually just playing with it. It's nice to not have all those ! everywhere you go telling you what to do. In MC you're really free to do whatever, it's tons of fun, especially if you set up a server to play with friends.

DrEvilKoala
DrEvilKoala

They nominated a lot of great games, as usual. Personally I think it's a darn shame Minecraft is nominated. It's a great game, sure, but the IGF should also be about supporting developers by awarding money to promising-looking games and raising attention towards the game/developer. If there's one game that doesn't need more attention or money, it's Minecraft. Mojang deserves critical acclaim, but the prize money is better spent on another game/developer. I think Frictional Games didn't receive half they money they deserved from Amnesia for example.

Raxyman
Raxyman

Amnesia is simply the best terror game i've ever played, it made every other game in the genre look like children games, i still can't understand why they call Amnesia an indie game...

diabloakaSAHA
diabloakaSAHA

Amnesia the dark descent is a very good game. A friend recomended it to me. Loved it.

TheClown24
TheClown24

Minecraft is popular because it unleashes human creativity, and for that there is no limit to how good it can become. The creations people make also allow the game to self-advertise itself and it has just snowballed. Amnesia is absolutley terrifying, nuff said.

AnelZukic
AnelZukic

Minecraft is just unusual experience I recommend to everyone, just like Amnesia. I heard for other of these game, but haven't really played them yet...

rzepak
rzepak

@Lizzardman666...Minecrafts simplicity is why its so popular. Gmod is less acesible for the reasons you states and it lack the atmosphere and charm of Minecraft.

heidious_heid
heidious_heid

Minecraft and Amnesia - both excellent games in my opinion. I should really check out some more indie titles...

lizzardman666
lizzardman666

Minecraft is overrated as hell. I played it and it's cool, I guess but gets boring after a while. Tho, it's funny how everyone gets so excited as if it's the one and only game in the world that has ever required the player to be creative. G-mod, for example offers much more options and is far more complex than Minecraft will ever be. Amnesia, on the other side, was awesome to the end and I hope it gets the award.

thespartaan
thespartaan

how the hell did red dead get best atmosphere rathar than amnesia gamespots awards were extremely BIASED this year.

jedediahpelland
jedediahpelland

Alright, checked out some youtube videos of Amnesia after reading this, and tried out the demo on steam, this game is freaky as HELL. Gotta say I was getting pretty nervous just several minutes in. Havnt tried Mincraft yet, but a friend of mine plays it, and it looks very creative and inovative.

missonrs
missonrs

I recently picked up minecraft and LOVED IT! I'm glad one game out theres allows you to be creative.

heftynewt
heftynewt

I have played Minecraft in the alpha stage and beta stage. I think minecraft is a great creative game and i was really impressed and its not even done yet. Then I heard about Amnesia. I only played the game for about 30 minutes and i actually got the creeps. No game has ever done that too me. Personally I vote Amnesia all the way. Its a unique experience that i think everyone should try at least once.

CrimsonSun88
CrimsonSun88

Minecraft should just stay in beta forever so they can keep winning awards. When it's finally released in like 2020 Mojang can staple stuff like this on the final version.... "Winner of over 1000 awards!" "IGF's top game of 2016!" "Minecraft....still ahead of the curve '2017'" How's that for advertising and marketing....yes..hmm, yeah I would find that humorous.

-TheDarkWolf-
-TheDarkWolf-

Go Amnesia! Those 5 amazing dudes that made the game need those benjamins!

joeythemachine
joeythemachine

It boggles my mind just how popular Minecraft has become, having only reached beta Dec 22, and really it's only been advertised by word of mouth. Only in the past few weeks has there been any real mention of it on sites like this here. Boggles.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@parrot_of_adun To be fair, most games seem ever-evolving whilst still in development. Also, Minecraft is still fairly riddled with bugs. The amount of testing being done by people that have bought it so far has helped immensely. Notch likely won't call it complete until most (if not all) of the current bugs have been fixed. While I agree it will be expanded in different ways, think of that like WoW. There was a point where the developers decided that the game is complete, and that anything after that is an expansion to the game.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@flammable_zeus Well the difference here, is that you get ALL of minecraft thus far if you buy it, rather than bits and pieces notch might want us to test. Moreover, the purpose of this model (at least as used by notch) isn't entirely for testing; The life cycle of this game seems like it's just going to be in perpetual development, or at least for some time, considering the nature of the patches. It seems more like an ever evolving game than an incomplete one.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@parrot_of_adun Well, I certainly agree that allowing people that pre-order the game the option to play it while it's still in development has helped with the pre-sales. But the game simply isn't out yet. People are pre-ordering it, but nobody has the finished game yet, since it hasn't been finished. It's like how if you pre-ordered DC Universe Online a while back, you could get into the beta before the game's finished. I personally don't think a game should be reviewed in any way before it's finished (for better or for worse.)

ToughCritic28
ToughCritic28

I've never played Amnesia, but I have an extremely hard time believing it would be better than Minecraft. Minecraft has got to be one of the most original and addicting indie games EVER made. It puts the gamer into this world which allows for 100% creativity in designing structures, contraptions, and mechanisms. In my mind it's one of the best games of the year.

badtaker
badtaker

Shame on GS for not nominating amnesia in single category IGF have better taste than GS

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@flammable_zeus That doesn't matter, it's seen a commercial release of one kind or the other (that is, been released to the public for profit, despite development status), So in my book, and that of many others, it's eligible. It may not be the final version, but it's available to anyone that wants it, and stable.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

Minecraft's not even finished. I love the game as much as anybody else that plays it, but it shouldn't win anything when it's not even done. Not to mention that $20000 probably isn't as much to somebody who's already raking it in.

CrimsonSun88
CrimsonSun88

I personally don't think a game that is in beta should be up for a cash prize. Just my opinion. I know this may not be a good example but let's try this... let's say there is a big high end game rewards show for the best games of the year and you have five nominees for the golden cookie. Four of the games are complete triple A games, while the other one is the next 'good ole' Call of Duty...(Alpha version)....it should win right????....Right guys?? Frictional Games needs the money and I want to see what they can do when their budget isn't so tight. I love Minecraft, but I just think Mojang is better off financially. I guess we will see who is more deserving.

aryeec
aryeec

Minecraft is AWESOME!!!!!