The Independent Games Festival (IGF), the prestigious GDC-held video game industry event highlighting and awarding the talents of independent game developers, has announced the finalists for the 2011 Nuovo Award, which honors "abstract, short-form, and unconventional game development."
Some of this year's finalists include unconventional party game Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now (B.U.T.T.O.N.), first-person dinner simulation title Dinner Date, Messhof's chunky 2-player fencing title Nidhogg, and zen-like tree simulation title Bohm.
The Nuovo Award, the top video game art prize, is announcing an increase to $5,000 for this year's award winner, thanks to the quality of this year's entries. The winner of the award will be revealed at the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 2, 2011 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, during Game Developers Conference 2011. In addition, all Nuovo finalists will be playable in a special section of the IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor from March 2nd to 4th.
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 this year to include eight finalists.
The full list of this year's Nuovo Award finalists, with links to screenshots and videos of the titles on their official IGF.com entry pages, is as follows:
- Bohm, created by Monobanda - ("Gives you control over the life of a tree. It's a game based on slow gameplay and the act of creation.")
- A House in California, created by Cardboard Computer - ("A surreal, narrative game about four characters who bring a house to life... with environments and activities drawn from a combination of memory, research, poetry, and fantasy.")
- Nidhogg, created by Messhof - ("A 2 player fencing game with football & platforming elements".)
- Dinner Date, created by Stout Games - ("You play as the subconsciousness of Julian Luxemburg, waiting for his date to arrive. You listen in on his thoughts while tapping the table, looking at the clock and eventually reluctantly starting to eat...")
- Loop Raccord, created by Nicolai Troshinsky - ("Manipulate a series of video clips in order to create... continuous movement.")
- The Cat and the Coup, created by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad - ("A documentary game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran.")
- Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now (B.U.T.T.O.N.), created by Copenhagen Game Collective - ("A one-button party game for 2-8 players. ... rather than let the computer carry out all the rules, the players are themselves responsible for enforcing (or not enforcing) the rules.")
- Hazard: The Journey Of Life, created by Demruth - ("A philosophical first person single player environmental puzzle game. The game presents no goals directly to the player, but they create goals for themselves based on what they know of the world.")
The Nuovo Award had recommendations put forward by over 150 of the IGF's Main Competition judges, and the winners picked - via active discussion and voting - by an elite jury of the video game industry's top thinkers on the future of art and the video game medium. The jury included previous winner Jason Rohrer (Between), as well as lauded game creators including Paolo Pedercini (Every Day The Same Dream), Ian Bogost (A Slow Year), Daniel Benmergui (Today I Die) and more.
In addition to the 8 Nuovo finalists, the jury also awarded honorable mentions to the following 5 outstanding Nuovo-styled titles which also deserve recognition: Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games), Faraway (Steph Thirion), Feign (Ian Snyder), Choice Of Broadsides (Choice Of Games), and Spy Party (Chris Hecker).
"This year's finalists for the Nuovo Award perfectly embody what this award was created to celebrate -- a set of games that could hardly be more different from each other than they are from the wider body of entrants in this year's festival," said IGF chairman Brandon Boyer.
"Running the gamut from quiet reflections on both nature and ourselves, to raucous new-arcade experiences designed to entertain onlookers as much as the participants of the game, each finalist showcases the unconventional approach of the indie community to new forms of play."
For more information on the Independent Games Festival, including a more detailed statement from the Nuovo Jury and many more details on entrants and finalists, please visit the official IGF website. IGF Main Competition and Student Competition finalists will be announced, as originally scheduled, in early January 2011.
For those interested in registering for GDC 2011, which includes the Independent Games Summit, the IGF Pavilion and the IGF Awards Ceremony, please visit the official Game Developers Conference website.