2012 Independent Games Festival Juries

The Excellence in Design Award

Organizers of the 2012 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Excellence in Design award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality of the underlying blueprint of each entered game -- component parts like its mechanic design, level design, and difficulty balancing.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Excellence in Design Award have included 2D Boy's cartoon construction puzzler World of Goo, KranX's music construction puzzler Musaic Box, Pocketwatch Games' abstracted multiplayer heist game Monaco and QCF's rogue-like puzzler Desktop Dungeons.

The jury consists of the following:


George Fan:

George Fan is a game designer at PopCap Games and creator of Plants vs. Zombies. Prior to that he worked at Blizzard Entertainment as an AI Programmer on Diablo III. One of his early creations, Insaniquarium, won him the 2002 IGF award for Best Game Design.


Steve Gaynor:

Steve Gaynor is a writer and game designer based in Portland, Oregon. He has worked on BioShock 2, Minerva's Den, and BioShock Infinite.


Kyle Gray:

Kyle Gray is the creator of such gentlemanly products as Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure an interactive documentary about the life and trials of the average Englishman. Tomorrow Corporation shareholders should be glad to note his five years of dedicated service to leading indie-gaming mainstay Electronic Arts, despite his shameful co-founding of the profitless Experimental Gameplay Project.


Ricky Haggett:

Ricky Haggett is a co-founder of Honeyslug - a London-based independent developer, and a co-organizer of the Multiplayer Games event Wild Rumpus. He is currently working on Frobisher Says for Playstation Vita, and the forthcoming Hohokum.


Robin Hunicke:

Robin Hunicke is a Game Designer and Producer of games including MySims and Boom Blox. She is currently at thatgamecompany, working on the upcoming title Journey. She's an active member of the IndieCade festival, and co-organizes the Experimental Gameplay Workshop @ GDC. In her "spare time" she's finishing a PhD in Artificial Intelligence at Northwestern University. Her first love was M.U.L.E.


Frank Lantz:

Frank Lantz is Creative Director and co-Founder of Area/Code, a New York based developer that creates mobile, cross-media, real-world, and social games. Before starting area/code, Frank was the director of game design at Gamelab, and worked as a game designer for POP&Co. For over 15 years, Frank has taught game design at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, the School of Visual Arts, and the New School. He is currently the director of the NYU Game Center. His writings on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of publications.


Edmund McMillen:

Long ago, Edmund was a child, and said child Edmund would wander the fields in search of his father, always coming home fatherless. One day, when Edmund was 7, he found his father living in a soda can under his front porch.

For months, Edmund and his father would run through the fields in search of bottle caps and beer that his dad called "daddy fuel". Unsure of his father's motives, Edmund decided it was best to put him back in the soda can and move on without him, that was until he was informed that the man calling him self dad was an imposer who was actually a small dead stink bug.

This profound realization caused Edmund to become a alcoholic recluse, hell bent on making a game called Super Meat Boy.


Alex Neuse:

Alex Neuse is a 14 year industry veteran and has a wide breadth of talents, having held jobs in QA, Production, Design, and Management at multiple companies, including LucasArts Entertainment Company, Activision, and Santa Cruz Games before founding Gaijin Games in 2007. An avid gamer, he once pondered that “sometimes a really good video game is just awesome” and it is this mantra that drives him to create unique experiences at Gaijin Games with his dashing and debonair partner in crime, Mike Roush.


Andy Schatz:

Andy Schatz has been indie since 2004 and has created the IGF nominated Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa, the critically acclaimed ecosystem sim game, Venture Arctic, and the multiple IGF award winning stealth title Monaco. Before that he was a drone in the AAA world, hating life. These days he takes his job and his cats very seriously.


Loren Schmidt:

Loren Schmidt is a game developer living in Berkeley, California. He has been a design enthusiast since before he could program. One of his early projects was a turn based clone of Space Invaders using a checkers set. This was not, lamentably, a very successful effort. More recently he authored Star Guard, a 2010 IGF design finalist.

As a designer, Loren has a strong interest in elegant mechanics, level design, the particulars of how people learn when playing a game, and the feel of a game / its kinetic qualities.

Loren is very fond of game development, but wishes game development would move out of its parents' basement, loosen up a little and make some new friends.


The Best Mobile Game Award

Organizers of the 2012 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Best Mobile Game Award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality in mobile and handheld gaming, now in its second year as part of the main Independent Games Festival.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Mobile awards have gone to entrants which featured impressive displays of handheld gaming, including Ratloop's vibrant puzzler Helsing's Fire, Tiger Style's innovative touch platformer Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor and Superbrothers & Capy's Sword & Sworcery EP.

The jury consists of the following:


Colin Anderson:

Colin Anderson joined the games industry in 1993 as an Audio Designer for Dundee games pioneers DMA Design. Over the next seven years he built DMA’s audio team in to one of the most respected interactive audio facilities in the world. This culminated in 1999 with Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 winning a BAFTA award for Best Interactive Audio. Colin was also asked to join Microsoft’s Audio Advisory Board that year, where he helped design the hardware and software for the original Xbox Console.

In 2000 Colin left DMA to co-found Denki, the world’s first Digital Toy Company, as Managing Director. He grew the business steadily over the next nine years delivering more than 180 games for almost 40 different companies. After this he successfully transferred Denki’s production skills to another business he founded, Waterfront Entertainment, freeing up Denki’s teams to focus on original game development again.

Denki is currently focused its latest original game, Quarrel, while establishing a work-for-hire presence on newer platforms such as iPhone, Facebook and WebTV.


Eddy Boxerman:

Eddy founded Hemisphere Games and led the design & development of Osmos, which found a wonderful home on both PC and iOS devices. He was a physics/animation programmer in a previous life and spent several years at Ubisoft Montreal on the Splinter Cell franchise, along with more esoteric jobs over the years. He tends to obsess about his baby daughter, game design, fine ales, and fresh powder.


Kevin Cancienne:

Cancienne is a game designer and developer who has been creating interactive media for nearly fifteen years. He got his start creating educational multimedia applications for the City University of New York before moving on to seminal New York interactive firm, Avalanche Systems. Cancienne later served as a Manager of Interface Development at Razorfish, where he worked with clients such as Citibank, InStyle, and Britannica. Along the way he also co-developed Science & Industry, a successful mod for Half-Life featured in Valve Software’s 1999 Mod Expo.

Before joining Area/Code, Cancienne designed and built online games for HBO, Noggin, A&E, and The N. For The N, Viacom’s network for tweens, Kevin developed five original titles, including one of The N’s most successful games, Avatar Prom. Cancienne has also taught Game Design at NYU’s ITP. At Area/Code, he creates games that explore novel approaches to social gameplay and attempt to alter how, when, and with whom we play.


Phil Hassey:

Phil Hassey, manly teetotaler, creator of Galcon, and proud goat owner, won the IGF Innovation in Mobile Game Design award for Galcon in 2009. When he isn’t wandering aimlessly or playing the fiddle, he’ll be coding like mad and co-organizing the Ludum Dare game jam. Previously, he was webmaster for and buried skeletons in a surreal mountain town. Now he drives a ‘59 Plymouth Fury and wants to buy a pair of giraffes.


Mike Kasprzak:

Mike Kasprzak is a game industry veteran with more than a decade of experience. He owns and operates Sykhronics Entertainment, a small Canadian independent game developer. Mike and Sykhronics are best known for Smiles and Smiles HD, a puzzle matching game available on nearly all mobile platforms of today. In 2009 Smiles was a finalist for Best Mobile Game in the Independent Games Festival Mobile, went on to win Intel's Atom Developer Challenge in 2010, and claimed the Developers Choice Award in Transgaming's Developer Competition in 2011. Mike is also one of the main people behind the popular Ludum Dare online game jam event.


Erik Loyer:

Erik Loyer uses tactile, performative and musical interfaces to tell stories. He founded Opertoon in 2008 to explore the potential of touch- and gesture-driven interactive entertainment, creating the IGF 2009 Finalist and IndieCade Official Selection Ruben & Lullaby for iPhone as well as the iPad hit Strange Rain. Erik's award-winning interactive artworks have been exhibited online and internationally in festivals and museums including Artport at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MOCA Los Angeles, and Ars Electronica, and his website The Lair of the Marrow Monkey was one of the first to be added to the permanent collection of a major art museum, at SFMOMA. As creative director of the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, Erik leads the design of Scalar, a publishing platform for the scholarly analysis of both interactive and non-interactive media. Erik's current projects include the interactive graphic novel adaptation Upgrade Soul and the philosophical flight sim Languish, winner of an LG Mobile 3D Award at IndieCade 2011.


Simon Oliver:

Simon is the founder of London-based independent studio HandCircus, creators of the Rolando series for the iPhone and OKABU for PlayStation 3. Prior to starting HandCircus, Simon has enjoyed a varied career spent creating playful things, from Flash Games and educational exhibits to music toys and gallery installations.


Matt Rix:

Matt Rix is the creator of Trainyard, a popular iPhone game he made in his spare time. Prior to creating Trainyard, Matt worked at Indusblue in Toronto for five years as a senior developer. In early 2011 he founded Magicule, a company focused on creating innovating mobile games.


Wiley Wiggins:

Wiley Wiggins' serves as creative director for Karakasa Games, and helped co-found the JUEGOS RANCHEROS indie game culture collective in Austin, Texas.


The Excellence in Visual Art Award

Organizers of the 2012 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Excellence in Visual Art award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality in visuals for indie games.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Visual Art award have gone to entrants which featured impressive displays of the craft of games, including The Behemoth's vibrant cartoon-ish beat-em-up Castle Crashers, Polytron's 2D/3D "trixel"-based puzzle platformer Fez, Amanita Design's hand-painted adventure game Machinarium, and Playdead's equal parts soft and stark monochromatic puzzler Limbo.

The jury consists of the following:


Steven Burgess:

In 2002 and at the tender age of 18, Steven Burgess joined in the games industry as a junior level designer. In the following years, most of his time was spent feverishly developing licensed titles (Wallace and Gromit, Thrillville, Kinectimals) for just about every platform going.

In 2005 Steven designed and pitched the concept for a game called LostWinds. LostWinds featured a unique gestural based control system unlike anything before it. Despite it’s mid-word capitalization, LostWinds was released on WiiWare to critical acclaim, being praised not only for its innovative control system, but also it’s sumptuous graphical style. Its sequel Winter of the Melodias would go on to set the new standard for the series both in gameplay and visuals flourish and would become one of the highest ranked Wiiware games since the service’s inception.

Early 2011, Steven began his adventure to discover his own voice in the future of games by taking a daring leap into the scary ( but exciting ) world of independent games development. He now spends days honing his craft and exploring the design possibilities of those new fangled touch-centric devices. Most of all Steven remains continuously driven to push himself further and further in search of the magical essence of FUN.


Rex Crowle:

Rex Crowle is a man that has crafted 2 Planets that are both Little & Big, along with his friends at Media Molecule. He also made sure he got through his tasklists by creating EpicWin in his spare time.


Grant Duncan:

Grant joined the industry working at Climax Studios as a Character Artist for Warhammer Online. Moving to Sumo he filled key roles on games such as Sega Superstars Tennis, DiRT 2 and Virtua Tennis.

As a founding member of Hello Games, Grant splits his time between all things artistic, creative and sometimes just drawing pictures for his programmer friends. He was the sole artist on Hello Games' first title, Joe Danger, which has been hailed as a flagship for Playstation Network, and has received a great many critical plaudits, remaining one of the highest rated titles by both the press and users. He is currently hard at work creating colourful pixels for Joe Danger: The Movie!


Auriea Harvey:

Auriea Harvey is co-founder and Data Director of Tale of Tales, an independent videogame development studio based in Gent, Belgium. Tale of Tales has made The Graveyard, The Endless Forest and Fatale which have expanded the discussion around what videogames can be. And their controversial horror game The Path was a Visual Art IGF finalist in 2008. Along with her partner Michael Samyn she has been part of the continuing evolution of the notgames movement which seeks to explore videogames as a medium for artistic expression and narrative.


David Hellman:

David Hellman produced the graphical art for Braid, Jonathan Blow's sidescrolling rumination on loss and the nature of time. Upon its release in 2008, Braid was hailed as a landmark indie title.

A great feast was held. Brightly colored lanterns festooned the parapets of Indie Castle, its proud edifice cutting trails in trundling clouds. But those clouds would soon descend. While minstrels played, the countryside roiled with rumor. Tales told of a magical stylus which was the true source of Hellman's power. With the stylus, anyone could create works of enduring beauty. Without it, Hellman's muse would wither. When such whispers reached the ear of the jealous sorceror Sklunge, his laughter filled the sky like bats issuing from unfathomed dark. Sklunge summoned his vile coterie saying, "bring me Hellman's magical stylus!"

Today, David resides in San Francisco. Sealed in Sklunge's evil crystal, he is unable to dream, or even wish for freedom.


Richard Hogg:

Richard Hogg is an artist. Originally from a fine art background he has worked for the past ten years in the fields of illustration, design and animation. More recently he has been increasingly involved in videogames, working collaboratively with Honeyslug on the games Poto & Cabenga, Hohokum and the forthcoming Vita game Frobisher Says.


Liselore Goedhart:

Liselore Goedhart is co-founder and co-owner of Monobanda, the Dutch game company that developed Bohm, an IGF 2011 Nuovo finalist. She's an illustrator and game designer who graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2008 with her interactive installation Fonn. She keeps herself busy with designing characters, like the little Game Seeds who help you to create game characters and game design.

At Monobanda she strives to give live and emotion to every concept, but above all give creativity and imagination back to the player.


Anders Gustafsson:

Anders worked in television animation before getting bitten by the game design bug. He’s chiefly interested in games as a storytelling medium and occasionally lectures on that subject at the University of Lund. Currently he’s trying to wrap up development on The Dream Machine, a hand crafted adventure game, which started out as a small six-month project, but ended up taking over his life.


Mike Roush:

As a young man, Mike Roush spent his time building prosthetic creatures and making homemade monster films. To fund this costly endeavor he took a job in computer aided design. Understanding the industry was leaning more toward CG, he was motivated to shift his focus from the physical to the digital domain. So after 9 years of CAD and 3 years in independent multimedia production, he entered the gaming industry.

From developing mainstream games, Mike Roush and Alex Neuse realized that they shared an artistic vision and needed an independent outlet. They joined forces to form their own company, Gaijin Games. Out of their collaboration their critically acclaimed and award-winning 6-game series, BIT.TRIP was created. BIT.TRIP RUNNER, the fourth game in the series, was the winner of the IGF Excellence in Visual Art award at GDC, 2011.


Ben Ruiz:

Ben Ruiz is an experienced production artist and creative director, and is a lover of interesting and beautiful things. A professional history comprised entirely of independent game development, Ben has been involved in the IGF as a judge since 2006. If you looked closely at a dragon egg you found in the cave of some exotic locale it would be empty because Ben already found it and ate the contents. 27 eggs left!


Patrick Smith:

Patrick is the creator of Vectorpark and, more recently, Windosill. He lives in Brooklyn.


Erik Zaring:

A bona fide Swede, Erik Zaring is part of the two-man team behind The Dream Machine. He’s got a degree in classical arts and animation, and used to run a stop-motion studio. Currently sitting in his basement building the next installment of The Dream Machine by hand.


The Technical Excellence Award

Organizers of the 2012 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Technical Excellence award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality in game engines and code.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Technical Excellence award have gone to entrants which featured impressive displays of the craft of games, including Dylan Fitterer's sonic-landscape racing/puzzle category finalist Audiosurf and that year's winner from 2D Boy, World of Goo, Data Realms' 2009 2D platforming-action winner Cortex Command, 2010 winner Limbo, and Frictional Games' 2012 winner Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

The jury consists of the following:


Scott Anderson:

Scott Anderson is the creator of the experimental game prototype Shadow Physics. Currently a client engineer at 38 Studios.


Brett Douville:

Brett Douville is a lead programmer at Bethesda Game Studios, maker of the recent The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and a fourteen year veteran of the games industry. Brett began his career at LucasArts Entertainment Company, where he contributed to Star Wars: Starfighter, and led the programming teams for Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter and Star Wars: Republic Commando. He began his gaming career remotely connected to a server with his father in southern New Hampshire, tying up the phone line for hours investigating colossal caves and hunting wumpuses.


Ryan Doyle:

Ryan joined the games industry as a graduate programmer working on the Burnout series for Criterion Games. Many years, platforms and Burnouts later he moved on to face new challenges leading the development of Geometry Wars: Galaxies on the Nintendo Wii and DS.

He is one of the founding members and Technical Director of Hello Games, who recently produced the critically acclaimed PSN title Joe Danger.


Paul Du Bois:

Paul Du Bois is a Senior Programmer at Double Fine Productions, focusing on engine architecture and platform issues. He has contributed substantially to all the Double Fine games.


Tyler Glaiel:

Tyler Glaiel has been programming games since he was 11. His current project, Closure (IGF triple nominee and audio winner in 2010), is almost done (finally). That's pretty much it. He is also known for his terrible bio-writing skills. This took like an hour to write.


Anna Kipnis:

Anna Kipnis is a Senior Gameplay Programmer at Double Fine Productions, based in glorious San Francisco, CA. Hailing from the former USSR, where she would often frequent the arcades as a wee lady, Kipnis was blown away by the games she played on her NES upon arrival in the States, and vowed to work in the game industry when she grew up.

In 2000, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Rutgers College and moved to the west coast to pursue her dream career, working with personal hero, Tim Schafer, game designer and writer extraordinaire. She has worked on Psychonauts, Brütal Legend, Costume Quest, and several unannounced titles at Double Fine. In her spare time, she enjoys playing music in local bands, covering her favorite songs with chiptunes, walks on the beach, and holding hands.


Ichiro Lambe:

Ichiro Lambe is Founder and President of Dejobaan Games, LLC, a Boston-area indie game development studio. He's worked in the industry for centuries, co-founding Worlds Apart Productions (later Sony Online Entertainment Denver) and Dejobaan (still Dejobaan). He's best known for the 2010 IGF finalist AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! -- A Reckless Disregard for Gravity.


Andy Nealen:

Andy is a faculty member in the department of computer science at Rutgers University, where he teaches computer graphics and game design. Some time ago, he studied architecture and structural engineering, and worked in those fields before turning his attention to the study and design of computer games and graphics. He has since obtained a PhD in computer science, helped out with the award-winning game Osmos, published work at SIGGRAPH, and spoken at international game and graphics conferences. Some of his current obsessions include minimalist game design, the semiology of graphics, perceptual science, card/board game design, and simple graphical user interfaces. When not thinking about design and/or traveling, he indulges in training sessions of StarCraft, Street Fighter, chess, and go.


Tommy Refenes:

Tommy Refenes was born on June 14th, 1981. He has been programming since the age of 11 and always had an interest in video game development. After Tommy Refenes released Super Meat Boy in 2010, he began programming what would eventually become the neural network for the automated health care robots which would later evolve into the armored flying robot death squads which now govern what is left of North America.

When the Canadian-Mexican War ended in 2038 and North America was repatriated into the 4 provinces of New Kansas, Quebec, New Charlotte, and South Carolina, Tommy was exiled from New Charlotte and took residence on an island off the coast of New Zealand. He lived there and worked on games and robots until his house came under siege by the 3011th Battle Mech Platoon in the Summer of 2154. After an intense 5 hour battle, all 13 mechs lay slain and Tommy heroically gasped his last breath saving his family from extermination. He is survived by his son, cat, and robot wife.


Dan Tabár:

Daniel Tabár was born in the kingdom of Sweden, and grew up drinking the same water that has caused a disproportionately large number of talented game developers to emerge out of that small country's deep forests. It was delicious.

He started working as a contractor for a lab at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley before finishing high school in the motherland, eventually moving to the U.S. to attend college and attempt a series of entrepreneurial ventures and game industry jobs.

One of these ventures was the indie game development studio Data Realms, which is completely virtual and has contributing team members spread over seven countries and four continents. Its debut project, Cortex Command, won the Technical Excellence and Audience awards at the 2009 Independent Games Festival.


The Excellence in Audio Award

Organizers of the 2012 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Excellence in Audio award, a category which seeks to highlight the best musical & sound innovation, quality, and impressiveness in independent gaming.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Excellence in Audio award have gone out to games which took an entirely new and unique to approach to sound in games or otherwise excelled at their craft, including Queasy Games' abstract acoustic guitar shooter and 2007 award winner Everyday Shooter, 2008 finalist guitar-controller platformer Fret Nice, 2009's ultra-stylized finalist PixelJunk Eden from Q-Games and Osaka musician/DJ Baiyon, and the 2010 award winning Closure.

The jury consists of the following:


Jimmy Barker:

Jimmy Barker is a lead designer and engineer at Austin, Texas audio studio GL33k.


Matthew Burns:

Matthew Burns is the founder of Shadegrown Games, developers of the musical shooting game Planck, which received an Honorable Mention in the Audio category at the 2011 IGF. He is a columnist for Game Developer magazine, writes the Magical Wasteland blog, and has written for EGDE, Kill Screen, and Paste. Previously, he was an audio producer at Bungie on the Halo series. He has also worked as a sound designer and created preset patches and arpeggiator patterns for synthesizers from Alesis and M-Audio.


Matt Chaney:

Matt 'Chainsaw' Chaney is Supreme High Commander of Audiological Endeavors at Twisted Pixel, and is responsible for all sound design and music creation and implementation in their games.


Dylan Fitterer:

Dylan Fitterer is the creator of the 2008 IGF Excellence in Audio winning music-puzzle racer Audiosurf.


Darren Korb:

Darren Korb is audio director at Supergiant Games, where he composed the music, conducted voice recording, and created all the sound effects for the small independent studio's critically acclaimed title, Bastion. In 2007 he received his BA from NYU's Gallatin School, studying Music Production and Music Business. Since then he has worked as a session musician, produced several New York recording artists, composed for various TV and film projects, and authored songs for the Rock Band Network. He has also written a new musical, which appeared in the 2011 NYMF festival.


David Lloyd & Larry Oji:

David W. Lloyd (right) is a software engineer, musician, producer, and graphic designer residing in the Metro/DC area of the United States of America. Mr. Lloyd is the president and founder of OverClocked ReMix, an organization dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of video game music. He has popularized unofficial arrangements of this music by encouraging fans to submit mixes to the website he developed and maintains at He has composed and produced numerous such arrangements himself, under the name of “djpretzel”.

Larry "Liontamer" Oji (left) has been a judge at OverClocked ReMix since July 2004, having evaluated more than 2,500 submissions. Reporting to site founder David "djpretzel" Lloyd, Larry is responsible for primary submissions evaluations, informational database maintenance and other otherwise sundry & unsexy tasks at OCR, becoming head submissions evaluator in June 2006. Oji worked through OC ReMix as assistant soundtrack director for the remixed soundtrack of Capcom's Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, developed by Backbone Entertainment. Larry currently resides in Atlanta, GA with The Lady, Paige.


Emily Ridgway:

Emily Ridgway is best known for her work as Music Director, Audio Designer, and sometimes Writer on video games such as Brütal Lenged (EA/Double Fine), BioShock (2K Games) and most recently Costume Quest (THQ/Double Fine). Emily graduated from Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor Of Music in 2004. Shortly after, she began work at Pandemic Studios and helped bring to life the retro sci-fi aesthetic of Destroy All Humans (THQ/Pandemic). In 2006, Ridgway worked as Audio Director and Writer on BioShock. This earned her Best Writing and Best Audio at the 2007 Game Developer Choice Awards, as well as 8 awards from the Game Audio Network Guild, including Best Overall Audio, Best Sound Design, Best Original Score, and Best Use of Licensed Music to name a few. Most recently, her acclaimed compilation of heavy metal tracks for Brütal Lenged received the 2010 Interactive Academy Of Arts and Sciences award for Outstanding Achievement in Soundtrack.

Emily now lives happily by the beach in Queensland, Australia, working as the Music Director and Lead Sound Designer at Double Fine Productions and Emily Industries. She is currently working on several new titles with industry icon, Double Fine founder, and personal hero, Tim Schafer.


Chris Schlarb:

Chris Schlarb is a musician, composer and producer based in Long Beach, California. His newest album, Psychic Temple, is a four song mediation on beauty featuring a 29-musician ensemble. Time Out New York said the album “blurs the line between avant-garde jazz and chamber music,” while National Public Radio mused, “in its wordless pastoral journey, Psychic Temple is boundary-less.” His debut solo album, Twilight & Ghost Stories, was critically hailed as both, “40 minutes of avant-garde bliss” by the New York Observer and as “a monumental achievement” by FFWD Weekly. In 2011 he scored NightSky, designed by Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren and Erik Loyer's interactive fiction iOS app, Strange Rain. He records for Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty record label.


The Nuovo Award

Now in its fourth year, the Nuovo Award -- which allows more esoteric 'art games' to compete on their own terms alongside longer-form indie titles -- has previously been awarded to Jason Rohrer's abstract multiplayer title Between, Tuning -- the perception-warping platform puzzler from Swedish indie Cactus, and Messhof's low-res tug-of-war battler Nidhogg.

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 the videogame medium.

The Nuovo Award jury consists of the following:


Ian Bogost:

Dr. Ian Bogost is Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology (where he is also Director of the Graduate Program in Digital Media) and Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC. His research and writing considers videogames as an expressive medium, and his creative practice focuses on political games and artgames. Bogost is author or co-author of many books, including Unit Operations, Persuasive Games, Racing the Beam, Newsgames, How To Do Things with Videogames and the forthcoming Alien Phenomenology. Bogost's videogames cover topics as varied as airport security, disaffected workers, the petroleum industry, suburban errands, and tort reform. His games have been played by millions of people and exhibited internationally. His most recent game, A Slow Year, a collection of game poems for Atari, won the Vanguard and Virtuoso awards at the 2010 Indiecade Festival.


Tracy Fullerton:

Tracy Fullerton, M.F.A., is an experimental game designer, professor and director of the Game Innovation Lab at the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she holds the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment. The Game Innovation Lab is a design research center that has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and The Night Journey -- a collaboration with media artist Bill Viola. Tracy is also the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook in use at game programs worldwide.


Rod Humble:

Rod Humble makes Art Games such as The Marriage and others, in his day job he is the CEO of Linden Lab, and leads the company’s strategy, as well as the development of its projects such as Second Life. Humble’s 20-year career in the game-development industry has included work on more than 200 games spanning comapnies such as EA, Sony Online and Virgin Interactive he has had various roles including CEO, Executive Vice President, Head of Studio and Teaboy.


Jesper Juul:

Jesper Juul, author of the MIT Press book 'A Casual Revolution', is a visiting professor at the NYU Game Center.


Heather Kelley:

Heather Kelley is an award-winning media artist, curator, and game designer based in Vienna, Austria. She was named by Fast Company magazine as one of 2011’s most influential women in technology. Ms. Kelley heads her experience design studio Perfect Plum. Her product the OhMiBod Remote app, an intuitive and beautiful iPhone interface to control a connected vibrator, won two Content Awards from the city of Vienna. Ms. Kelley is co-founder of the experimental game collective Kokoromi, creators of Gamma, the curated new arcade event. She holds a Masters degree in Communication from the University of Texas at Austin.


Paolo Pedercini:

Paolo Pedercini is an Italian game developer, artist and educator. He teaches digital media production and experimental game design at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Since 2003 he works under the project name “Molleindustria” producing provocative games addressing various social issues such as environmentalism, food politics, religion, labor and gender.


Jason Rohrer:

Since 2004, Jason Rohrer has designed, programmed, and released 15 games: Transcend, Cultivation, Passage, Gravitation, Perfectionism, Idealism, Police Brutality, Immortality, Regret, i45hg, Crude Oil, Between, Primrose, Sleep Is Death, and Inside a Star-filled Sky.


Michael Samyn:

Michaël Samyn is one half of independent games development studio Tale of Tales, founded in 2003 with Auriea Harvey after experimenting with web design and as Entropy8Zuper!. He lives and works in Gent, Belgium, has two children and no pets.

Tale of Tales is devoted to the creation of elegant and emotionally rich interactive entertainment. The Endless Forest, a peaceful mmo where everyone plays a deer, has been going strong for years. The Graveyard is an interactive vignette in which you play the role of an elderly lady who visits a cemetery.The Path is a short horror game inspired by Little Red Ridinghood. Fatale explores the legend of Salome. And Vanitas is a contemplation of luxury and loss on the iPhone.

Harvey and Samyn's web-based work was awarded with the San Francisco MOMA Prize for Excellence in Online Art. Their videogames have been selected multiple times for the Independent Games Festival and Indiecade. The Path won two awards at hóPLAY in Bilbao and the Advancement Prize for Innovative Game Design at the European Innovative Games Award in Frankfurt. Their work has been collected by museums of contemporary art and has been featured in media art and videogames exhibitions all over the world. Yet their focus remains on independently distributing their software digitally, straight to the audience.


Eddo Stern:

Eddo Stern was born in Tel Aviv and lives in Los Angeles. His work explores the uneasy and otherwise unconscious connections between physical existence and electronic simulation, surrounding the subject matters of violence, immersion, fantasy and identification. His creative work in experimental game production, game art and machinima, has established him as a pioneer in these emerging fields. His approach to game development is centered on projects that bridge the boundaries between gaming on the screen and more traditional artistic disciplines such as live performance, theater, documentary film, sculpture and installation art. His game related projects include Sheik Attack, Vietnam Romance, Waco Resurrection, Tekken Torture Tournament, Best Flamewar...Ever!, Cockfight Arena, Darkgame, and Wizard Takes All !!!. He teaches in the Design | Media Arts Department at UCLA and is the director the new UCLA Game Lab.


Jeroen D Stout:

Jeroen D Stout came into prominence with his IGF-nominated short drama game Dinner Date, published through his company Stout Games. Having studied games design at the Utrecht School of Arts and the University of Portsmouth, Stout has become increasingly influenced by classical art and philosophy. He sees this acquaintance with all areas, from art to science to philosophy, as instrumental to the process of making affecting situations interactive.


Eric Zimmerman:

Eric is a 16-year veteran of independent games. He co-founded Gamelab, a studio that created dozens of online games including the hit title Diner Dash and spun off the nonprofit Institute of Play & MacArthur-funded Gamestar Mechanic. Prior to Gamelab, Eric was lead designer on pioneering titles like SiSSYFiGHT 2000, and since Gamelab closed in 2009, he has been creating games on and off the computer, including the Indiecade award-winning Sixteen Tons with architect Nathalie Pozzi. Eric wrote the definitive textbook on game design, 'Rules of Play', with Katie Salen and co-created the award-winning film PLAY with David Kaplan. He teaches at the NYU Game Center. And he knows Kung Fu.


All entries in the 2012 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official siteAll finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting each category's lineup -- later this year, with each category winners announced on the evening of March 7, 2012, during the Game Developers Conference 2012.




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