IGF and GDC winners announced; Cart Life, FTL, and Journey runaway winners

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As well as a great many talks and a lot controversy GDC plays host to the Independent Games Festival awards and the Games Developer Choice awards, the Sundance and Oscars equivalent of our little industry.

Last night this year’s winners were announced and they’re not exactly everything you may have expected.

Cart Life is perhaps the biggest surprice. The free indie game that has you work as a newspaper salesman in a black and white world while trying to overcome an addiction managed to claim the grand prize, along with its $30,000 in prize money. On top of that it won Excellence in Narrative and the Nuovo Award.

FTL also did well for itself, collecting the Excellence in Design and Audience Award. Both well deserved, it’s a wonderful little roguelike.

Looking through the nominees, this was a ridiculously strong year. It’s a little surprising that there wasn’t a greater spread of winners, if anything. Also, it’s a testament to the strength of the indie scene on PC that so few of the nominees aren’t playable on the one true platform.

Independent Games Festival Awards

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)

  • FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

  • Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

  • Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

  • Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Excellence in Visual Art

  • Incredipede (Northway Games and Thomas Shahan)

  • Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

  • Guacalamelee! (Drinkbox Studios)

  • Loves in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base)

  • Year Walk (Simogo)

Excellence in Narrative

  • Thirty Flights of Loving (Blendo Games)

  • Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

  • Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

  • Dys4ia (Auntie Pixelante)

  • Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)

Technical Excellence

  • StarForge (CodeHatch)

  • Perspective (DigiPen Widdershins)

  • Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

  • Intrusion 2 (Aleksey Abramenko)

  • LiquidSketch (Tobias Neukom)

Excellence In Design

  • Samurai Gunn (Beau Blyth)

  • FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

  • Starseed Pilgrim (Droqen & Ryan Roth)

  • Super Hexagon (Terry Cavanagh)

  • Super Space (David Scamehorn and Alexander Baard/DigiPen)

Excellence In Audio

  • Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

  • Bad Hotel (Lucky Frame)

  • 140 (Jeppe Carlsen)

  • Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)

  • Pixeljunk 4AM (Q-Games)

Best Student Game

  • ATUM (NHTV IGAD)

  • Back to Bed (Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment)

  • Blackwell’s Asylum (Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment)

  • Farsh (NHTV IGAD)

  • Knights of Pen & Paper (IESB – Instituto de Ensino Superior de Brasilia & UnB – Universidade de Brasilia)

  • the mindfulxp volume (Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center)

  • Pulse (Vancouver Film School)

  • Zineth (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

Nuovo Award

  • Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

  • Spaceteam (Henry Smith)

  • Dys4ia (Auntie Pixelante)

  • Bientot l’ete (Tale of Tales)

  • 7 Grand Steps (Mousechief)

  • MirrorMoon (SantaRagione + BloodyMonkey)

  • VESPER.5 (Michael Brough)

  • Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

Audience Award

  • FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

The Game Developers Choice awards are a different matter. Journey won every category it was nominated in, managing to beat out The Walking Dead, XCOM, Mark of the Ninja, and so many other great games. And it’s just a game about walking. Ok, fine, it might be about a little more. And, yes, it may be a scintillating, sensual experience. And, I suppose, yes, it did leave me feeling enriched having played it but, c’mon, Hotline Miami’s all those things too, just y’know, with more blood and brains.

Game Developers Choice Awards

Game of the Year

  • Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

  • The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

  • Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Innovation Award

  • Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

  • FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

  • The Unfinished Swan (Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment)

  • ZombiU (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft)

Best Audio

  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

  • Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)

  • Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)

  • Assassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

  • Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Best Debut

  • Humble Hearts (Dust: An Elysian Tail)

  • Polytron Corporation (Fez)

  • Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan)

  • Subset Games (FTL: Faster Than Light)

  • Fireproof Games (The Room )

Best Downloadable Game

  • The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

  • Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)

  • Trials: Evolution (RedLynx/Microsoft Studios)

  • Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Best Game Design

  • Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

  • Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

  • Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)

  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game

  • Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)

  • Hero Academy (Robot Entertainment)

  • Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)

  • The Room (Fireproof Games)

  • Kid Icarus: Uprising (Sora/Nintendo)

Best Narrative

  • Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment/2K Games)

  • Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

  • Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

  • The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

  • Virtue’s Last Reward (Chunsoft/Aksys Games)

Best Technology

  • Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

  • PlanetSide 2 (Sony Online Entertainment)

  • Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Treyarch/Activision)

  • Assassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Visual Arts

  • Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software/2K Games)

  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

  • Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

  • Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

  • Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Ambassador Award

  • Chris Melissinos, curator of The Smithsonian’s The Art of Video Games exhibit

Pioneer Award

  • Spacewar creator Steve Russell

Audience Award

  • Dishonored

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk

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