Giant Bomb News

53 Comments

These Are 2012's Independent Games Festival Finalists

Fez, Dear Esther, Spelunky, Johann Sebastian Joust, Frozen Synapse up for the big prize.

It's a real pleasure to be a judge for the Independent Games Festival, and it’s remained a high point since I started looking at games for the IGF a few years back. Some of my very favorite games are usually part of the IGF lineup, and without getting ahead of myself, that’s looking likely for 2012, as well.

The finalists for the 15th annual IGF have been announced, and while it’s a bit of a lengthy list of games, many of which you have probably never heard of, every single one of them is worth paying attention to. These are some of the games that will be talked to death before 2012 has been put to bed (assuming most of them come out this year, I suppose!), and if you’re the type of person looking to play something different, here you go.

The final awards will be handed out at the Games Developers Conference in March.

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

Excellence In Visual Art

Technical Excellence

Excellence In Design:

Excellence in Audio:

  • Botanicula
  • Dear Esther
  • Pugs Luv Beats
  • To the Moon
  • Waking Mars

Best Mobile Game:

  • ASYNC Corp.
  • Beat Sneak Bandit
  • Faraway
  • Ridiculous Fishing
  • Waking Mars

Nuovo Award Finalists:

  • At a Distance
  • Dear Esther
  • Fingle
  • GIRP
  • Johann Sebastian Joust
  • Proteus
  • Storyteller
  • WAY
Patrick Klepek on Google+
53 Comments
  • 53 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by patrickklepek

It's a real pleasure to be a judge for the Independent Games Festival, and it’s remained a high point since I started looking at games for the IGF a few years back. Some of my very favorite games are usually part of the IGF lineup, and without getting ahead of myself, that’s looking likely for 2012, as well.

The finalists for the 15th annual IGF have been announced, and while it’s a bit of a lengthy list of games, many of which you have probably never heard of, every single one of them is worth paying attention to. These are some of the games that will be talked to death before 2012 has been put to bed (assuming most of them come out this year, I suppose!), and if you’re the type of person looking to play something different, here you go.

The final awards will be handed out at the Games Developers Conference in March.

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

Excellence In Visual Art

Technical Excellence

Excellence In Design:

Excellence in Audio:

  • Botanicula
  • Dear Esther
  • Pugs Luv Beats
  • To the Moon
  • Waking Mars

Best Mobile Game:

  • ASYNC Corp.
  • Beat Sneak Bandit
  • Faraway
  • Ridiculous Fishing
  • Waking Mars

Nuovo Award Finalists:

  • At a Distance
  • Dear Esther
  • Fingle
  • GIRP
  • Johann Sebastian Joust
  • Proteus
  • Storyteller
  • WAY
Staff
Edited by crusader8463

+50 Dark Side Points

Posted by Iron_Tool

Sweet

Edited by FonkyMucker

How many more time will Fez be be nominated in the IGF before its release?

-edit-

Also cool to see "Realm of the Mad God" and "Atomic Zombie Smasher" got some love.

Edited by ColumnBreaker

Sure would like to play Fez and Gunpoint.

Posted by Enai

Really want to see more Fez!

Posted by Goldanas

I played Dear Esther years and years ago. At the time there was nothing like it. Looking back now, it was kind of just a poem that you WASD through. I wonder if the full version will be different.

Posted by Stubee

Lets be clear here.

As fun as it looks, Johann Sebastian Joust is not a videogame. If they made a Bop-it in the shape of an xbox controller you wouldn't call that a videogame would you?

Posted by DigitalCantina

@FonkyMucker: I know right? I feel like that game has been in the IGF for years. I don't know how smaller or unknown devs can compete when Polytron keeps submitting this already well know, beautiful game.

Edited by satansmagichat

@Stubee said:

Lets be clear here.

As fun as it looks, Johann Sebastian Joust is not a videogame. If they made a Bop-it in the shape of an xbox controller you wouldn't call that a videogame would you?

Only if instead of yelling commands it had shapes that scrolled down the screen and told you which colored buttons to press on your plastic guitar.

Also, it's the Independant Games Festival, not Independant Video Games Festival. Yeah, they don't have board games, sports, or drinking games, so I'd imagine whatever they pick is really at their own discretion.

Posted by Coreymw

I really want FEZ and Johann Sebastian Joust.

Posted by President_Evil

"many of which you have probably never heard of," so hipster, haha.

I've been waiting for Fez for years. Can't wait to finally play the thing.

Posted by Winternet

Is Johann Sebastian the new Tom Clancy? I can already see it. Johann Sebastian's Ghost Recon: Ultimate War.

Posted by steelknight2000

Somebody made a Sheogorath game?!

Posted by MaxPowers

I really want to play Fez

Posted by dr_mantas

Hell yeah Frozen Synapse... Also - didn't I play Spelunky AGES ago?

Posted by Circ

Fez feels like it's further away now than it's ever been.

Edited by falling_fast

Frozen Synapse at least has already been out for a while, hasn't it?

But then, I don't really understand how their system works.

Edited by NekuCTR

Dear Esther was a fucking amazing experience.

Posted by mbkish

Didn't Spelunky come out like YEARS ago?

Posted by BaconGames

Man there are a lot of games I actively don't give a shit about. Like Spelunky? Fuck Spelunky. And Atom Zombie Smasher always looked bleh to me. Besides a lot of these games have been out for a long time.

Games I don't know about that win would be interesting because those are really the gems. Also Fez.

Posted by Fallen189

After playing the shit out of gunpoint over its development, I hope it finally wins something.

Posted by Cybexx

I like that Fez won the IGF Excellence in Visual Art award in 2008. It has been an IGF finalist for almost as long as I've been a professional game developer. Really good to see it almost finally out.

Posted by SiN13

I hope Fez will finally come out soon.

Posted by Olivaw

No Nidhogg. I guess people finally realized that it's never getting released!

Posted by Slayeric

Oh, man. Sperlunky vs. Atom Zombie Smasher in the design category? I'm split on what to pick. I love both of those games so much.

Posted by AssInAss

@Goldanas said:

I played Dear Esther years and years ago. At the time there was nothing like it. Looking back now, it was kind of just a poem that you WASD through. I wonder if the full version will be different.

A really cool poem game is Today I Die, try it.

Have you seen anything about BasketBelle? I've been a huge fan of Bean's previous games (But That Was Yesterday, Together).

Posted by RagingLion

Kleptok! Report!

I do love the IGF - one of my favourite moments to see what all the new goodies are and what innovations are going on. I know of a few more than normal in advance this year since a few are already out and RPS have covered some of the rest as well.

Edited by RagingLion

@Goldanas said:

I played Dear Esther years and years ago. At the time there was nothing like it. Looking back now, it was kind of just a poem that you WASD through. I wonder if the full version will be different.

Yeah, I played it a couple of years ago too and I've been following news of the redevelopment since that was announced.

I don't think it's going to be too different in approach - it's supposed to be the same game or at least concept underpinning it all. These are the changes I believe are being made for the new version:

  • Significantly improved visuals - to the point where it may be one of the most impressive things ever made with the Source engine (Portal 2 version) according to some.
  • Level design greatly reworked - not just so players don't get caught on things but made to encourage more exploration and I think there may be some new areas to explore. The geometry and flow of the path should be more interesting in general.
  • Some rewriting, additions and re-recording of the lines
  • Music redone and properly recorded by an orchestra

There may be some other stuff as well but the soul will be the same. It will still be 'an experience' rather than 'a game' - something to be explored and considered, but since it is an experience I'm excited that the improved visuals and design could add to it in very meaningful ways. We'll see though. February 14th it's released on Steam I think.

Posted by Archer88

Needs more Atom Zombie Smasher

Edited by ProfessorEss

 So I'm confused, does anyone know: Is there no limit as to how many years you can submit your game and continue to win awards?

Posted by Dalai

I'm not 100% positive, but I think Fez won the grand prize back in '86.

Edited by Suits

IGF looks like a group of buddies promoting the insiders

btw what's up with Fez every year? does it intentionally have a chronic delay so it can get nominated by his cabal

Posted by Kyle

I'm rooting for Frozen Synapse for Excellence in Design

Also, I'm dying to play Fez.

Posted by mosespippy

I'm glad Where is My Heart got 3 honorable mentions but I'm disappointed it didn't get any nominations. It was my game of the year last year.

@Stubee said:

Lets be clear here.

As fun as it looks, Johann Sebastian Joust is not a videogame. If they made a Bop-it in the shape of an xbox controller you wouldn't call that a videogame would you?

It's a software based user input interactive game. Just because there isn't video doesn't mean it's not a game.

Posted by HadesTimes

+120 Light side points, now you are back at neutral and all your gear doesn't work anymore. Hahhahaha!

Posted by Cameron

I think it is odd to give awards to games that aren't out yet. It's good they draw attention to indie games, but I want to be able to go get anything on the list. I'm not going to write down the names and start following development in hopes that I will one day be able to play these games. I think Dear Esther looks really neat, but I probably won't even remember it exists in a week.

Posted by Parsnip

Frozen Synapse didn't get an Excellence in Audio nomination? Madness.

That soundtrack is godlike.

Edited by thebigJ_A

Didn't Frozen Synapse come out last year? I mean, I did buy it and play it. It's in my Steam library right now. And Spelunky came out years ago.

What are they doing up for awards now??

Oh, and everyone watch the video in the link for Gunpoint. I'd never heard of it, and it looks amazing!

Posted by Shisnopi

Will this be the year FEZ is final released?

I doubt it.

Posted by BisonHero

@Parsnip said:

Frozen Synapse didn't get an Excellence in Audio nomination? Madness. That soundtrack is godlike.

Meh. Don't get me wrong, I've played that game for dozens of hours and I like how it plays, but I thought the soundtrack was of average quality. I got tired of hearing it after a while.

Posted by brokenbrute

It's great to see that year on year the lineup remains really strong at IGF, I don't see why games like these can't be taken from small (and underfunded with advertisement games) into an event akin to what Microsoft is doing with House Party.

Posted by Arrested_Developer

I don't think Fez is even a real game.  I just think some guy made a couple screenshots to garner award nominations for the last decade.

Posted by OwlPen0r

It's a pain in the arse to set up properly, but you just have to play At A Distance with a friend if you can. It's the best coop experience I've ever had playing video games.

Posted by l3reak

Ok, a text list of the games is cool, but how about a proper IGF Finalists feature? Especially since you've been raving about them so much. I mean, it's a pretty slow news cycle anyway. Just a pic or two and a paragraph or so for each game would be really cool!

Posted by selbie

@Arrested_Developer said:

I don't think Fez is even a real game. I just think some guy made a couple screenshots to garner award nominations for the last decade.

You were saying?

Edited by Cirdain
Dude you need to see this.
Posted by gbrading

I'm really interested to see Dear Esther. The source mod is absolutely amazing for what it does in terms of narrative even if it is very clunky to actually play. Making that in a proper engine with unique assets and more sophisticated "gameplay" (if you want to call it that) will be very interesting.

Posted by lockwoodx

Dear Esther deserves to win.

Posted by Bollard

Go go Frozen Synapse!

Also I have been waiting for Fez for so many years now.

  • 53 results
  • 1
  • 2