The Independent Game Festival was set up in 1998 by Think Services. It was created as a means to promote indie games and encourage innovation in the developers who make them. The event is held concurrently with the Game Developers Conference in Moscone Center, San Francisco.
The main highlight of the festival is the IGF Awards, which is held on the third night of the GDC. It puts a spotlight on the best independent games of the year and gives them a cash prize ($30,000 for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and $3,000 for all other awards, as of 2019.)
In 2004 and 2005 the awards were split into two sections - Open Category (OC) and Web/Downloadable (WD).
Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Excellence in Visual Art
Excellence in Audio
Excellence in Design
Excellence in Narrative
Best Student Game
This is the only IGF Award not chosen by judges. The award is chosen by the general public via online voting.
|2019||Hot Swap|| |
|2018||Puppet Pandemonium|| |
|2017||Fear Sphere|| |
Technical Excellence Award (1999-2013)
Prize Money (in 2012) - $3000
On the 8th of August 2013, (now former) IGF Chairman Bradon Boyer announced that the Technical Excellence category was being removed from competition. As a result of this, the other main categories would now feature six finalists instead of five.
Best Web Browser Game (2006-2008)
This award replaced the need for having separate Web/Downloadable sections for each category. It was later removed in 2009.
Prize Money (in 2008) - $2,500
Best Mobile Game (2011-2012)
Prize Money (in 2012) - $2,500
Most Awards (Overall)
|5||Lucas Pope||Papers, Please (Grand Prize, Narrative, Design), Return of the Obra Dinn (Grand Prize, Narrative)|
|4||The Behemoth||Alien Hominid (Technical, Audience, Visual Art), Castle Crashers (Visual Art)|
|-||Amanita Design||Samorost 2 (Web Browser), Machinarium (Visual Art), Botanicula (Audio), Chuchel (Visual Art)|
|3||Richard Hofmeier||Cart Life (Grand Prize, Nuovo, Narrative)|
|2||2D Boy||World of Goo (Technical, Nuovo)|
|-||Blendo Games||Quadrilateral Cowboy (Grand Prize, Design)|
|-||Dylan Fitterer||Audiosurf (Audience, Audio)|
|-||Edmund McMillen||Gish (Grand Prize (OC), Nuovo (OC))|
|-||Frictional Games||Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Technical, Audio)|
|-||Inkle||80 Days (Narrative), Heaven's Vault (Narrative)|
|-||Playdead||Limbo (Technical, Visual Art)|
|-||Polytron||Fez (Grand Prize, Visual Art)|
|-||Sam Barlow||Her Story (Grand Prize, Narrative)|
|-||Simogo||Beat Sneak Bandits (Mobile Game), Device 6 (Audio)|
|-||Subset Games||FTL (Audience, Design)|