August 1, 2016

Letter from the IGF Chairperson: Welcome to IGF 2017

Hello and welcome to the 19th annual Independent Games Festival Letter From The Chairperson!

I wanted to take a moment to thank the IGF staff, developers, judges and jury members who were supportive and active in my first year as IGF Chairman! It was great to work through the process from start to finish and I appreciate all the feedback, conversations and suggestions that came along from everyone throughout the year. 

Also, a big congrats again to all the teams who were nominated, received honorable mentions or won awards last year!  It was an amazing selection of games that I feel not only echo the voices of our community, but also reflect how far we've all come as an industry. I'm really looking forward to discover what this new year has in store!

Based on the experiences of last year, (and since there's always room for improvement) we've decided on some changes to this upcoming IGF. I'll outline the more notable items below in more detail. 

In addition to these changes, we're also making updates and tweaks to the entry system which should better clarify hardware requirements and streamline a few hidden parts of the system. You may not interact directly with these changes as entrants or judges, but they'll be there and working behind the scenes to make the entire process more efficient. We'll also be launching a new, updated/streamlined version of the IGF website in September, its first update in more than 10 years!

alt.ctrl.GDC Award Announcement

Let's start off with one of the biggest changes this year - the introduction of the alt.ctrl.GDC award, a brand new award given out during the IGF ceremony!

The alt.ctrl.GDC showcase has quickly become a staple at Game Developers Conference and is consistently highlighted as one of the most popular and entertaining showcases by attendees each year. Co-created by veteran indie curator John Polson, alt.ctrl.GDC is an on-site showcase of alternative control schemes and accessible interactions in games that shine a spotlight on the creative, wild and unique community of alt hardware games. 

Like a growing number of people, I've been enamored with this movement over the years and feel it embodies the spirit of play and creation at the core of the indie community. These games and interactive experiences bring so much joy and curiosity, but are often difficult to share with a larger audience due to limited production. 

I'm so very happy to incorporate the existing entry system, curation and expertise of alt.ctrl.GDC into an award recognized during the IGF ceremony! With this addition, IGF aims to introduce new audiences to this growing movement and celebrate the creative spirit of the people who make these experiences possible.

Please note - to apply for the alt.ctrl.GDC award you will need to submit directly to the regular 2017 alt.ctrl.GDC showcase and NOT via the main IGF entry system. Details and information on deadlines, entry qualifications and links will be announced shortly!

Updated Nuovo Award

In a similar vein to the alt.ctrl.GDC award, the existing IGF Nuovo Award aims to bring attention to games that can't be defined in other categories, but make us think about the medium of games in new and boundary-pushing ways. 

This has evolved over the years of its introduction to include vignettes, experimental design, peer recognition, and everything in-between.  As we have the conversation of where games cross over into art, we'll be re-defining the Nuovo award as the category that defines that line. This moves the award away from being 'abstract' or 'shortform' and allows for selecting a wholly unique creation regardless of length and style.

Updated Definition

Nuovo Award: The 'art prize' category of the Independent Games Festival, the Nuovo award is given to the game title that makes the jurors think differently about games as a medium.

I'd encourage Judge and Jury members to keep in mind that the length of a game shouldn't necessarily define its other concrete qualities such as visual, design, narrative and audio - which are highlighted in the other categories.

By more clearly defining the Nuovo award and integrating the alt.ctrl.GDC award we hope to have a place for the growing variety of games and to guide the selection process in more definitive way. To read more about the Award Categories and Official Rules please click here.

Continued Efforts

As with last year, the Student award will be fully integrated into the Main Competition with the same $25 entry fee and judging process.  We saw an amazing crop of Student games last year and hope for more overlap and recognition this upcoming year!  Remember that entry open and close dates for Student awards are the same as the Main Competition. 

Calls for Judges and Jury selections will be coming soon as well. If you've been interested in helping out IGF, keep an eye out for future announcements and signups.

As always, I hope to continue bringing a positive and welcoming spirit to the IGF through my work this upcoming year. Thanks to all of you for your participation and I'm looking forward to seeing what exciting new games are selected this year!

[Submissions are now open for the 19th Annual IGF, & the official announcement including deadlines and additional details is available here.]

- IGF Chairperson Kelly Wallick