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October 29, 2010

IGF Reminder: Student IGF Submissions End November 1st

If you've been planning to enter, the time is now! Submissions for the Student Showcase portion of the 13th annual Independent Games Festival are due in just a few short days, at 11:59 PM PDT on Monday, November 1st.

After breaking last year's record for the number of Main Competition entries, we're also rapidly approaching potential all-time high numbers for this year's Student Competition submissions. If you'd like to have your own voice as part of that chorus, submit your student game by clicking this link.

In the meantime, we're currently technically and compatibility checking 2011 IGF Main Competition games, and are in the process of opening up voting to judges. For mobile and iPhone/iPad entrants, we will be sending you key information that you require soon, including unique judge UDIDs!

As we said before, we're all looking forward to spending more time with your game in the coming months -- good luck to everyone involved!

October 28, 2010

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Nuovo Award Jury

Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are announcing the distinguished jury panel that will determine the eight finalists and overall winner of its Nuovo Award.

This special award, part of the IGF, which takes place at Game Developers Conference 2011 next February, is dedicated to honoring abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which "advances the medium and the way we think about games."

Now in its third year, the Nuovo Award allows more esoteric 'art games' from among the almost 400 IGF entries to compete on their own terms alongside longer-form indie titles, and has been newly expanded to include eight finalists.

The Nuovo has previously been awarded to Jason Rohrer's abstract multiplayer title Between and to Tuning [YouTube link] -- the perception-warping platform puzzler from Swedish indie Cactus.

This year's Nuovo Award jury has been selected to represent a diverse body of developers both independent and mainstream, academics, art world notables, and -- in general -- some of our industry's top thinkers on the future of art and the video game medium.

The jury will receive game recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners and finalists including Petri Purho, Kyle Gabler, Jakub Dvorsky, Tyler Glaiel, and Dylan Fitterer).

The 2011 IGF Nuovo jury consists of the following:

- Daniel Benmergui (independent developer, author, creator of 2010 Nuovo finalist Today I Die)
- Eric Zimmerman (formerly co-founder of independent studio and Diner Dash creator Gamelab, now NYU Game Center educator and co-author of notable game book 'Rules Of Play'.)
- Eddo Stern (Los Angeles-based artist and game designer behind exhibits like Waco Resurrection, Tekken Torture Tournament and Darkgame, and Director of the UCLA Game Lab.)
- Clint Hocking (Creative Director at LucasArts and director behind games including Far Cry 2 & Splinter Cell.)
- Frank Lantz (co-founder of crossmedia game company Area/Code, responsible for games like Drop7, Parking Wars and Spore Islands, and Director of the NYU Game Center.)
- Ian Bogost (Georgia Institute of Technology professor and Director of the digital media graduate program, founding partner of Persuasive Games, and creator of 2010 Nuovo finalist A Slow Year.)
- Jason Rohrer (independent developer and creator of Sleep Is Death, Passage and 2009 Nuovo winner Between.)
- Jesper Juul (author of the MIT Press book 'A Casual Revolution', visiting professor at NYU Game Center & The Danish Design School.)
- Justin Smith (independent game developer and creator of 2010 Nuovo finalist Enviro-Bear 2000)
- Rod Humble (Executive Vice President for the EA Play label at major publisher Electronic Arts, and experimental game creator behind The Marriage and Stars Over Half Moon Bay.)
- Paolo Pedercini (game developer at Molleindustria [Every Day The Same Dream], artist and educator at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.)
- Tale of Tales -- Auriea Harvey & Michael Samyn (independent developers and artists behind The Endless Forest, The Path, Fatale and 2009 Nuovo finalist The Graveyard.)

All entries in the 2011 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also find more complete biographical information on the Nuovo Award jury. Juries for the other IGF awards will be announced over the next few weeks. (The IGF is part of the UBM TechWeb Game Network, as is this website.)

All eight Nuovo Award finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- later this year, with the winner announced on the evening of March 2nd, 2011, at the multi-thousand person attended IGF Awards ceremony during GDC 2011 -- for which registration is now open.

October 21, 2010

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Record Main Competition Entrants

The organizers of the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival -- the longest-running and largest festival relating to independent games worldwide -- are proud to announce another year of record entry numbers for IGF 2011's Main Competition, following its submission deadline this week.

In total, this year's Main Competition took in just under 400 game entries -- many of them new titles from leading indie developers -- across all platforms.

This includes 150 entries for mobile hardware like the iPhone, iPad, DS, PSP and Android devices, with all mobile entries now eligible for all IGF 2011 prizes, including a unique Best Mobile Game award.

In-depth information and entrant-provided screenshots and videos on each of the IGF Main Competition entries are now available on, a feature unique to the contest.

This total entry tally comprises almost 30 percent more games than last year's record 306 Main Competition entries, itself a 35 percent rise over the previous year -- emphasizing the continued popularity and importance of both independent games and the IGF itself.

Some of the titles entered in the IGF Main Competition this year include SuperMono's real-life RPG tasklist EpicWin, Monobanda's zen-like Bohm, indie party game hits like Copenhagen Game Collective's B.U.T.T.O.N. and Messhof's NIDHOGG, Vblank Entertainment's parodic 8-bit revival Retro City Rampage, and Matt Gilgenbach's A Mobius Proposal, a game created specifically to (successfully!) propose to his girlfriend.

In addition, a number of returning developers previously honored at the Independent Games Festival have entered new games, including Life/Death/Island, the latest from 2010's Nuovo Award winner Cactus, and both Kometen and Shot Shot Shoot from 2009 Grand Prize winner Erik Svedang. This year also sees a number of prior IGF Mobile winners and finalists joining the main festival -- with entries like Steph Thirion's Faraway, Mobigame's Perfect Cell, and Gaijin Games' new console port of Different Cloth's Lilt Line.

Some of the other games previously known to the indie community and entering this year include two entries in the BIT.TRIP series by Gaijin Games, Rolando creator HandCircus' first non-iDevice game, Okabu, Nicalis's re-imagined version of foundational indie title Cave Story, and Mojang's recent headline-grabbing surprise-hit MineCraft.

In addition, several teams made up of formerly 'mainstream' developers have also chosen the 2011 Independent Games Festival to debut new indie works -- with SuperGiant's Bastion, Haunted Temple's Skulls of the Shogun and former Maxis developer Chris Hecker's Spy Party being just a few of the entered titles.

These titles are just a fraction of the games that are debuting for the first time as an Independent Games Festival submission. In fact, history has shown that some of the most notable and award-winning games -- from Audiosurf through World Of Goo and beyond -- were relatively unknown at the time of their submission, so indie game aficionados should carefully browse all titles to find the many hidden gems.

"I'm thrilled with both the growth and the diversity that the Independent Games Festival has shown in its 13th year," said festival chairman Brandon Boyer. "This year's entrants happily cover the entire spectrum from more polished and commercial works to smaller, more personal and artistic statements to entries geared toward the resurgence of more social, new-arcade-type play. We're all looking forward to sitting down with each game and starting the conversation as we determine finalists!"

This year's IGF entries will be distributed to more than 150 notable industry judges for evaluation, and their highest recommendations passed on to a set of elite discipline-specific juries for each award, who will debate and vote on their favorites, before finalists are announced in January 2011.

In turn, winners will be awarded at the IGF ceremony during the Game Developers Conference 2011 in San Francisco next March, and all finalists in the Main Competition (including the art-centric Nuovo Award) and the Student Showcase (which is due for submission by November 1st) will be showcased on the GDC Expo Floor from March 2nd-4th, immediately following the 4th Annual Independent Games Summit on February 28th and March 1st.

October 19, 2010

Monaco, Shadow Physics, Coconut Island Devs Leading GDC China Indie Game Summit

In case you missed the news, IGF 2010 Grand Prize winner Andy Schatz, creator of Monaco, and Shadow Physics dev Steve Swink will be leading talks at the Independent Games Summit as part of the upcoming GDC China, this December 5th-7th in Shanghai.

Schatz will present his 'How to Win the IGF in 15 Weeks or Less' speech, while Swink will be presenting a focused design talk on the making of Shadow Physics and the unique development concerns of working in experimental games.

Also appearing at GDC China's IGS will be Wesley Bao of China's Coconut Island Studio (iDragPaper, which has tallied some 7 million downloads) with his talk, 'Surviving in the iPhone App Store - a Chinese Indie Story', and a research-oriented lecture by Dongfeng Wang of 4399, examining indie opportunities in web browser-based games.

All talks will be presented simultaneously in both Chinese and English. Visit the China GDC Indie Summit page for more information on the talks and registration.

October 12, 2010

IGF Reminder: One Week To Main Competition Deadline

[2011 Independent Games Festival chairman Brandon Boyer chimes in with a final reminder over entries for this year's IGF, which has a Main Competition deadline in less than one week.]

With just less than seven days remaining until the IGF's Main Competition deadline of October 18th at 11:59 PM PDT, we just wanted to write a quick update to say both thanks to entrants so far, and best of luck to all our entrants that have already or are in the process of submitting.

Across both the Student and Main competitions, we're already creeping quickly toward the 200-entry mark. Expect many multiples of that to follow in the next few days, since it wouldn't be the IGF without that final sprint to submit your game before the midnight deadline!

Looking over entries so far, we're all already incredibly pleased with the diversity of play styles, aesthetics and voices on display. As always -- and uniquely to the IGF -- we will release a public database of entrants just a few days after Main and Student Competition entries close, complete with descriptions, a screenshot and a video.

This means that entered titles should get much interest even separately of the final outcome, thanks to the tens of thousands who browse our entry database looking for unique and new independent games.

In addition, a reminder is due for our Student Showcase entrants that the deadline for that competition is November 1st. So time is also drawing near to enter for a chance to showcase your student-created title at GDC and compete for the Best Student Game Award. (Of course, you're welcome to enter your student game in both Main and Student divisions of the IGF.)

We're looking forward to spending more time with your games in the coming months, and in talking more about our stellar lineup of judges and jurists this year.

In fact, we are now assembling expert-specific juries for each individual IGF award, alongside our mammoth set of judges to help select and comment on the hundreds of entries. You'll be hearing much more about all this soon - so go enter now, and good luck!