Throughout the past couple of decades, the process of game development has evolved from hobbyists working out of their garages to legions of highly specialized developers working together in sprawling, multimillion-dollar campuses. As the game industry has grown into a 10-billion-dollar-a-year industry, so too have the production budgets for the games you buy off the shelf today. It isn't unusual to see the development costs of some titles reaching into the millions of dollars. In spite of the fact that megapublishers seem to draw most of the attention these days, the indie spirit of game development lives on. Anyone who has played Tetris knows that it doesn't necessarily take a seven-figure budget to create an entertaining piece of software.
The annual Independent Games Festival celebrates the achievements of independent developers. Similar to the Sundance Film Festival of the film industry, the IGF serves as a showcase for quality games that are created without the financial backing of a major publisher. The festival is put on every year by the CMP Game Group, which is also well known for its production of Game Developer magazine, Gamasutra.com, and the Game Developers Conference, all of which are great resources serving the needs of game developers worldwide.
The 2004 IGF will be the sixth iteration of the contest. It includes 111 entrants, representing 18 different countries. The field has been whittled down to 10 finalists in each of two categories: Web/Downloadable and Open. Games that play within a browser window or that are distributed as a single, self-extracting executable under 15MB in size qualify for the Web/Downloadable category. All other games fit into the Open category.
The following pages include summaries of all the 2004 IGF finalists, written by GameSpot staff. What we found is that these games are all very deserving of their status as IGF award finalists. Many exhibit exceptional creativity and sound design principles. Some even offer production values rivaling those of any mainstream game.
Most of these games have free demo versions available to the public. We encourage all of our readers to try these games out and learn firsthand that not all great games are promoted by flashy TV commercials or full-page magazine ads.
- Fantasy First-Person...
- Release: Sep 9, 2003
- ESRB: Teen