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Minecraft strikes gold at Indie Game Fest

GDC 2011: Mojang's sandbox game triumphs at Game Developers Conference-associated awards show; Bit.Trip Runner takes home Excellence in Visual Art.


As is the case every year, the annual Game Developers Choice Awards were immediately preceded by the Independent Games Festival awards, which honor some of the most innovative smaller-scale titles created during the prior year.

New IGF chairman Brandon Boyer took the stage to discuss the grand prize purse for the night--some $50,000. Anthony Carboni, host of Web series Bytejacker, served as the night's emcee and began with a round of jokes that drew mixed reactions. "I hope you enjoy tonight, because soon you'll all be subsidiaries of [FarmVille publisher] Zynga," he joked to widespread chuckles. "I hope you like farms."

Minecraft won big at the 2011 IGF Awards.
Minecraft won big at the 2011 IGF Awards.

Then it was on to the awards. First up was Technical Excellence, a category won by the first-person horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent from Frictional Games. In other categories, the Excellence in Design nod went to 10-minute "dungeon crawl" adventure Desktop Dungeons from QCF Design. Best Mobile Game went to Ratloop's Helsing's Fire, and Excellence in Visual Art was won by WiiWare actioner Bit.Trip Runner from Gaijin Games.

However, the main trophy--the Seumas McNally Grand Prize--was handed out by last year's winner, Monaco creator Andy Schatz. Schatz revealed this year's big winner to be Mojang's indie sensation sandbox game Minecraft, which also garnered the audience award earlier in the evening.

The full list of nominees and winners follows below.

Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
Spy Party (Chris Hecker)
Desktop Dungeons (QCF Design)
WINNER: Minecraft (Mojang)
Nidhogg (Messhof)

Honorable mentions: Neptune's Pride (Iron Helmet Games); Super Crate Box (Vlambeer); Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (Carpe Fulgur); Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games); Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment).

Excellence in Visual Art
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
The Dream Machine (Cockroach)
Cave Story (2010 Edition) (Nicalis)
WINNER: Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games)
Hohokum (Honeyslug & Richard Hogg)

Honorable mentions: Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment); Cobalt (Oxeye Game Studio); Faraway (Steph Thirion); Helsing's Fire (Ratloop); Flotilla (Blendo Games).

Technical Excellence
Minecraft (Mojang)
Confetti Carnival (SpikySnail Games)
WINNER: Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
Neverdaunt: 8Bit (Robot Loves Kitty)
Miegakure (Marc Ten Bosch)

Honorable mentions: Cobalt (Oxeye Game Studio); Achron (Hazardous Software); Hazard: The Journey of Life (Demruth); Overgrowth (Wolfire Games); Swimming Under Clouds (Piece of Pie Studios)

Excellence in Design
WINNER: Desktop Dungeons (QCF Design)
Super Crate Box (Vlambeer)
Nidhogg (Messhof)
Faraway (Steph Thirion)
Minecraft (Mojang)

Honorable mentions: Helsing's Fire (Ratloop); Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (Carpe Fulgur); Flotilla (Blendo Games); Bo (Mahdi Bahrami); Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now [B.U.T.T.O.N.] (Copenhagen Game Collective)

Excellence in Audio
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment)
WINNER: Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
Bit.Trip Beat (Gaijin Games)
Cobalt (Oxeye Game Studio)

Honorable mentions: Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games); Cave Story (2010 Edition) (Nicalis); Jamestown (Final Form Games); NightSky (Nicalis); Planck (Shadegrown Games)

Best Mobile Game
Shot Shot Shoot (Erik Svedang)
Colorbind (Nonverbal)
WINNER: Helsing's Fire (Ratloop)
Solipskier (Mikengreg)
Halcyon (Stfj)

Audience Award
WINNER: Minecraft (Mojang)

Nuovo Award
WINNER: Nidhogg (Messhof)

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