//A Closed World
2012 NomineeSingapore–MIT GAMBIT Game LabSingapore
Have you ever been so frustrated, so fed up with where you are, that you just want to throw it all away and run off to somewhere new? In A Closed World you play
as a young person who has decided to do exactly that. This console RPG-like game puts you in the shoes of a young resident of a village just outside a forest that
everyone says is a place of no return. Supposedly home to hungering demons and a beast that would destroy the village, the forest is forbidden and nobody knows
what's on the other side. However, our hero's beloved -- tired of the oppressive attitude of the villagers -- decided to go there, as anywhere would be better than home.
Now it's your turn to follow after. Are you willing to risk everything to find out what's on the other side?
//Analogue: A Hate Story
2012 NomineeChristine LoveCanada
Analogue: A Hate Story is a dark visual novel about about investigating a long-derelict generation ship by reading through its dead crew's logs, with the help of a pair
of spunky AI sidekicks. The player will read through dozens of diary entries that paint a portrait of life aboard the ship, engage in terminal hacking, and maybe even
discover friendship or romance with one of the two AIs over the course of the investigation.
2012 Award Winner: Game Design AwardAdaptation and additional game design by Eric Zimmerman, with graphic design research and reconstruction by John SharpUSA
Armada D6 is an unpublished board game with an unusual origin story. It is based on an obscure game-like ritual practice from the 1930s called “Armada Dei Gratia VI” (sixth armada from the
grace of god). In this way, Armada d6 is part historic reconstruction and part original game design. A strategy boardgame for 2-4 players, Armada d6 is about the conquest of space. Dice are
used as space ships, with each number a different type: for example, sixes are fast and agile scouts, ones are slow and powerful battlestations. Players use their ships’ abilities in clever combinations to create powerful gameplay effects. Gameplay maps are built from modular tiles and players can design their own map arrangements. The abstract and austere aesthetics of the
game are inspired by the original found materials.
//Beat Sneak Bandit
RHYTHM. STEALTH. PUZZLE. When all the clocks in the world are stolen by Duke Clockface and the world is in chaos, it'll be up to the Beat Sneak Bandit to steal them back!
Rhythmadelic controls: Everything in this game moves rhythmically, just like the simple controls: Tap to the beat to sneak!
Stealthalicious gameplay: Sneak past patrolling guards, security lights, trapdoors and all the other freaky stuff and contraptions the creepy
Duke's got in store for you!
Puzzletastic levels: Watch, listen and learn the rhythm patterns to figure out how to solve all of the sneaky puzzles!
2012 NomineeAaron Rasmussen & Michael T. Astolfi / USAUSA
BlindSide simulates the experience of waking up blind in a world filled with deadly monsters. Free from graphics and guided only by audio, you'll bump
against objects in the dark, slide along walls, and rely on your girlfriend to help you survive the monsters that now roam the streets. BlindSide melds the
iPhone's gyroscope and a pair of headphones into a uniquely immersive control scheme - simply turning to face a direction in the real world causes your in-game
character to do the same. Drawing on the memories of one co-creators' brush with temporary blindness, and real-world navigation tactics from the blind and visually
impaired community, BlindSide presents an opportunity for both sighted and visually impaired gamers to enjoy an identically fun and terrifying gameplay experience.
2012 NomineeRusty MoyherUSA
WARNING: HAND COLLISION IMMINENT — Bloop is a fast, frantic touch game for iPad designed by Rusty Moyher. Two, three, or four players race to tap the most
tiles...at the same time! Easy at first, but soon the tiles shrink. Hands collide. Fingers cross. Fireworks!
Each color plays a unique BLOOP sound. Hear your symphonic success or dissonant disaster. As players push their way to victory,
this onomatopoeic adventure becomes a hilarious party game.
2012 Award Winner: Story / World Design AwardAmanita DesignsCzech Republic
Botanicula is a point'n'click adventure game created by the makers of award-winning Machinarium, studio Amanita Design and Czech band DVA. It`s about a bunch of five friends - little tree creatures who set out for a journey to save the last seed from their home tree which is infested by evil parasites. We will help the main heroes to explore their world, solve various puzzles, play mini games, find tons of hidden bonuses and collect cards with all the characters we will meet on our journey. It's very relaxed game perfect for hardcore gamers, their partners, families and seniors.
2012 NomineeRichard HofmeierUSA
Cart Life is a retail simulation for windows. This game combines common videogame devices with a mundane setting to examine the life of a street vendor.
Chroma Shuffle is an abstract puzzle game that is played on Sifteo cubes. Arrange your cubes to match colors and clear out dots. Tilt a cube to shift and shuffle the dots. Clear out the cubes to solve dozens of puzzles, or form giant combos to rack up a high score in the arcade modes. Chroma Shuffle is an abstract video game with physical presence, an experience that can be shared in real-life social settings, as well as being played on one’s own.:
Blurring the lines between games and interactive art, Contre Jour welcomes you to a hauntingly beautiful world shaped by the interplay of light and darkness. Use your finger to morph the landscape, propelling the mysterious creature Petit to safety. Pull, swipe, and tap gadgets such as tendrils, air geysers, and pulleys to complete clever puzzles. Set to a poignant orchestrated soundtrack from composer David Ari Leon, Contre Jour both delights and bedevils from start to finish.
//Dreams of Your Life
2012 NomineeHide & SeekUnited Kingdom
Dreams of Your Life is a thought-provoking and immersive browser-based experience, built as a response to the new documentary Dreams of a Life by Carol Morley. The film movingly pieces together the true story of thirty-eight year old Joyce Vincent, whose skeleton was discovered in her bedsit three years after she had died. Written by AL Kennedy, Dreams of Your Life is a darkly playful world that helps you think about the themes of the film by taking you through a conversation with a mysterious voice about your place in the world, and your relatedness to your social circle. The overriding comments indicate people are finding it provides a refreshing opportunity for contemplation and aesthetic appreciation, which is uncommon on the internet. We are proud to have tackled such a challenging task and feel that, like the film itself, the experience created is haunting, compassionate and inventive.
2012 Award Winner: Audio Design AwardRSBLSBUSA
Dyad will reveal to you the secrets of the universe via bright flashy colours and phat beatz. Dyad is a gamified tie dye machine. Dyad is an interactive mind altering substance absorbed through your thumbs, eyes and ears. Dyad is a tactical octopus action ballet in a reactive audio-visual tube.
//Find Me A Good One
2012 NomineeAndy Wallace & Haitham EnnasrUSA
Find Me A Good One is a surreal puzzle platformer that explores responsibility felt by players towards non-playing fictional characters. In it, the player must explore a visually rich dreamscape to find dreams to fend off the nightmares encroaching on their brother or play with the toys offered up by the world. Although the brother in Find Me A Good One is clearly dependent on the player, it is up to her to decide how much she is or is not helping her sibling. Find Me A Good One allows the player to be diligent in her responsibility, or shirk it in order to further explore the dreamscape of the game. Because the system does not assign value to her actions, the player is left to judge her own actions and the effect they have on her virtual brother.
//FTL: Faster Than Light
2012 NomineeSubset GamesChina
FTL (Faster Than Light) is a spaceship simulation rogue-like game. Explore a randomly populated galaxy, hyper-space jumping over very long distances. Explore asteroid fields, rescue stations from pirates, and stay one step ahead of your pursuers, the rebel fleet. You will need to manage your ship by balancing ship power between weapons, shields, engines and life-support. You must find and buy new equipment, upgrade your ship and keep your crew alive to complete your mission. Each playthrough is unique and each death is entertaining in the uniquely challenging FTL.
2012 Award Winner: Visual Design AwardJason RobertsUSA
Gorogoa is a lovingly hand-illustrated world suspended inside of a unique puzzle. To solve the puzzle, the player rearranges a few tiles on a simple grid, placing them next to or on top of one another. But each tile is also a window into a different part of the game world--or perhaps into a different world--and each window plays like its own little game. The key to progressing never lies within one tile, but in the connections between tiles...
2012 NomineeDrinkBox StudiosCanada
Guacamelee! is a Metroid-vania style action-platformer set in a magical Mexican inspired world. The game draws its inspiration from traditional Mexican culture and folklore, and features many interesting and unique characters. Guacamelee builds upon the classic open-world Metroid-vania style of games, by adding a strong melee combat component, a new dimension switching mechanic, and cooperative same-screen multiplayer for the entire story. The game also blurs the boundaries between combat and platforming by making many of the moves useful and necessary for both of these.
//Hidden in Plain Sight
2012 NomineeAdam SpraggUSA
Hidden in Plain Sight is a local-multiplayer (shared couch) game where players attempt to blend in with NPCs while completing various goals. The game has five unique game modes, each of which employ the theme of accomplishing goals without revealing your identity to other players. In each game mode, players have the ability to eliminate each other from the game, so blending in with the AI-controlled NPCs is essential. In "Death Race", for example, players are racing to the finish line amongst a crowd of NPCs, but each player also has a gun with a single bullet. Players want to cross the finish line first, but racing out in front is a quick way to get shot by your opponents. Try to win, but don't look like you're trying to win, or you'll lose. Each game is tense, but the rounds are quick and always end with friendly shouting and laughter.
2012 NomineeKaho AbeUSA
Hit Me! is a two-player hyper-interactive, physical game that tests speed, agility and the ability to take good snapshots. Utilizing wireless technology and incorporating the concept of the metagame, Hit Me! encourages face-to-face real-world interactions, not only by the players but also by the spectators. The object of the game is to hit the opponent’s button on top of the head. Once a hit is made, the hitter’s camera takes a snapshot of the victim. The hitter receives a point for the hit, and up to 2 additional points can be awarded by the Judge based on the quality of the snapshot. The snapshots, points and times are projected on a wall for spectators to observe.
2012 NomineeRamiro CorbettaUSA
Hokra is a minimalist digital sports game. A fast-paced, competitive game for two teams, Hokra uses sports metaphors to foster cooperation between teammates and competition between opponents. The game has simple controls and minimal rules while not losing the depth that makes multiplayer games exciting for advanced players. Like the sports from which it draws inspiration, Hokra is engaging to both player and spectators. Hokra’s music and sound design were created by Nathan Tompkins.
2012 Award Winner: Interaction AwardEric Zimmerman & Nathalie PozziUSA
Interference is a physical game installation designed for a museum exhibition. It consists of five parallel steel walls, each 10 feet by 10 feet and less than a millimeter thick, which hang suspended from the ceiling and serve as visually permeable, vertical game boards. Pairs of players (up to 10 or more pairs at a time) can start playing anytime they want. The walls are divided into “cells” and each pair plays in a small, local area of connected cells. Gameplay is focused on moving colored wooden pieces around the walls in a simple strategy game. Your goal is to have the majority of your color in the cell cluster where your local game is taking place. The basic move in Interference is to steal a piece from another game that is going on between another pair of players. Playing your game means interfering in the games of other players.
//International Racing Squirrels
2012 NomineePlayniacUnited Kingdom
International Racing Squirrels is a race management sim that also models and reflects on real-world financial systems. The game has the player running an errant gang of misbehaving squirrels, who act a bit like glamorous soccer stars. It is set in the dark underworld of the international squirrel racing scene, brought to life with 50 interactive "storylets" and 25 levels through which the game's complexity gradually unfurls. Bribery, debt, hotel room trashing, gambling and secondary careers in reality TV or the pop charts are rife. In the up-tree urban training facility players purchase homes, build up their team, train their squirrels and send them off to racetracks around the world. From jungles to futuristic cities and streets to deserts they face a barrage of feisty opponents. The idea was inspired by an article in Scientific American on the relative running speeds of animals.
2012 NomineeSuper SoulUSA
“Open Source” is a re-imagining of the classic video game Pong placed within the context of the Rauschenberg piece “Open Score”. Instead of a game played out visually on a screen, two participants face off against one another on a small scale tennis court with no ball or paddles. Players judge the position of a virtual ball based on auditory cues while Kinect hardware tracks the participants as their bodies act as virtual paddles. Open Source combines game and art history to further the dialogue of the past, present and future of games.
//POP: Methodology Experiment One
2012 NomineeRob LachUSA
POP: Methdology Experiment One is an experimental game in the most literal sense. The game was purposefully built in way that explores a different approach to the typical game development pipeline. It was developed by first composing the music and running with the first game concept that happened to emerge during that creative process. In POP, the player plays through a series of erratic minigames stylistically tied with the music. The vignettes are interconnected by idiosyncratic videos creating a purposefully disjointed experience. POP:ME1 is currently available for PC, MAC, and OnLive.
2012 NomineeExpressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa CruzUSA
Prom Week is a Flash game that makes social relationships playable. Powered by a novel AI system created in
tandem with this project, Prom Week enables players to shape the lives of high schoolers in the tumultuous week leading up to their prom.
Play consists of selecting actions between pairs of characters that they themselves naturally want to do based on the social state, such as “Reminisce” or “Ask Out.”
Each action the player takes, be it backstabbing a friend or making two characters fall in love, sends ripples throughout the school, affecting the social landscape in
subtle ways; and consequently the desires and actions of the rest of the student body. This notion of Social Physics, paired with an ever growing Social Facts Database,
generates stories about these characters while teaching players strategies for social manipulation. Finding yourself using these strategies can be a moment for self reflection.
//Qasir al-Wasat: A Night in-Between
Qasir al-Wasat: A Night in-Between is a stealth-adventure set on a wondrous Arabian fortress, sealed in-between worlds. You play as an invisible and fragile summoned fiend, called by a sorcerer to fulfill a stealth mission. As the character explores and investigates the palace, it discovers that the mission is actually more complex than how it was initially briefed. It is up to the player to solve the puzzles and riddles scattered around and unravel the real secret of the palace. The game draws heavily from Arabic and Persian medieval folklore and iconography to set its tone and mood, being kind of a video-gamey One Thousand and One Nights poem. Qasir al-Wasat is available for PC and Mac.
//Reality Ends Here
2012 Awardee: Impact AwardJeff Watson, Simon Wiscombe, & Tracy FullertonUSA
Reality Ends Here is a pervasive game designed to reboot the freshman experience at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. This “secret” experience, officially unacknowledged by faculty and administration, launched in the fall semester of 2011 and was an instant success. Players are lured into the game via a series of mysterious communications from the “Reality Committee,” finding their way to a secret office, where they swear an oath of DIY media-making and are given a set of game cards that can be used to generate creative prompts. Players combine their card prompts into multifaceted “deals” that challenge them to collaborate in the production of media projects. Active participants are recognized by the Reality Committee with special serendipitous mentorship opportunities -- meetups and encounters with alumni, artists, and other industry professionals.
2012 NomineewallFourUnited Kingdom
Renga is about finding a way home. Attacked and left for dead, our hero must carefully marshal their resources to build a new ship, confront their nemesis and finally return home. Only this hero isn't visible on the screen - it's the entire audience, working collectively to control the action using laser pointers directed at the screen. Turning the traditional hero's journey on its head, Renga asks the question - what if the ultimate reward can only be grasped by many hands? The show combines real-time crowd interaction technology, retro videogame aesthetics and a wry sense of humour to bring the audience together and leave them feeling a deep sense of camaraderie.
2012 NomineeCipher PrimeUSA
Splice is an experimental and artistic puzzler. The game immerses the player in a microbial environment and presents him or her with strands of “cells” that must be rearranged into a target structure in several discrete “splices.” The player must explore how the cells interact with each other and position themselves in space in order to predict the sequence of moves he or she needs to make in order to successfully solve a puzzle. (Hint: the cells arrange themselves as binary trees in radial space!) Splice will exercise the player’s ability to visualize sequential series of shapes and will either leave you with a headache or a heady sense of mental accomplishment! Or both!
2012 NomineeNYU Game CenterUSA
Staccato is a two on two playground game where players attempt to score more points than their opponents. The game is broken down into two roles, Offense and Defense. Offense strategically moves and passes the ball in order to bounce it into the goal. Each bounce inside the goal scores a point - so Defenders do their best to block it! The catch is, defenders are only allowed to move when the ball is in motion! Each team will have one minute to try their best at each role, and whoever comes out scoring the most points wins!
//Super Space ____
2012 NomineeAlexander Baard & David Scamehorn (Digipen USA)Singapore
Super Space ____ is a couch co-op arcade shooter about competition, cooperation, communication and the democracy of physics. Players control turrets attached to a blocky, misshapen space ship and earn points by shooting a never-ending onslaught of asteroids. Thanks to Newton's Third Law, the recoil from shooting propels the ship. Players must cooperate to avoid hazards and ensure survival, but also compete for weapons and high scores. Super Space ____ was developed by Super Space Team (Alexander Baard and David Scamehorn) at DigiPen.
2012 NomineeNyamyamUnited Kingdom
Set in Japan of ancient dark fairy tales, Tengami is an explorative adventure game full of wonder and mystery. Players explore a beautifully paper architected pop-up world that folds and unfolds at your fingertips to solve puzzles and make progress. Tengami has a striking minimalistic art style inspired by traditional Japanese arts and crafts. In keeping with the visual aesthetic, the design of Tengami eschews many traditional game elements in favour of a contemplative experience focusing on the playfulness and possibilities that a pop-up world presents.
//The Stanley Parable
2012 Award Winner: Special Recognition AwardDavey WredenUSA
The Stanley Parable, created by Davey Wreden and featuring the vocal talents of Kevan Brighting, is an experiment in video game storytelling. Or the point of it might be that there's actually no story at all, or maybe the point is that there's no game. It's about choice, possibly, but it might be about something else. It is very important. It is not important at all. It makes perfect sense. It is utter nonsense. It is all of these things at once, or actually maybe it isn't. I, um…can you help me understand what's going on?
2012 Award Winner: Grand Jury AwardmolleindustriaUSA
Unmanned is an experimental game about a day in the life of a drone pilot. Description from Art Technica: "The game uses a series of short, split-screen vignettes to combine simple mini-games with clickable conversation options, and takes you through the rather safe, humdrum existence of a modern drone pilot. Shaving, driving to work, flirting with your cute co-pilot, and even playing video games with your son are all given equal weight to actually blowing up a suspected insurgent thousands of miles away from a comfortable seat in front of a monitor. The game's short length practically demands multiple playthroughs, with different conversation options leading to significantly different outcomes. The result is a nuanced, wide-ranging look at a soldier's life from a variety of viewpoints."
2012 Award Winner: Technology AwardZak S.USA
We asked Zak S., the game master of I Hit With My Axe, to make a little book full of the notes he had when running city adventures – and everything he wished he had. He gave us not only a sourcebook detailing key rules, tables, monsters and places in Vornheim – the city at the center of the Axe campaign – but also a treasure chest of resources for running adventures in any city. Need to know how to get from here to there even if neither here nor there are listed on a map? Even if there is no map? Need a random encounter? Need instant stats for that random encounter? Need to know why there was a random encounter? This book was designed to help you make a city happen now.
2012 NomineeUpper ByteFrance
Wooden Sen'SeY is an action-platformer set in a unique "Japan Steam Rock" universe with punch and tons of humor, several different types of atmosphere and gameplay. You follow Goro, the village chief, as he seeks revenge through a variety of levels using his axes to slice, dice, squash and grapple!Wooden Sen'SeY seeks to offer players a unique gaming experience, inspired by old school gameplay mechanisms, while incorporating contemporary technology and beautiful 3D graphics.
Created by researchers and students at NYU-PolyÕs Game Innovation Lab, Yamove! is a b-boy style dance battle game that uses tech to augment face-to-face dancing. Players compete in pairs, aiming for high intensity, in-synch, diverse dance routines. Each player wears an iOS device strapped to his/her forearm, and teams compete in 3 rounds. The game is hosted by an MC and results are displayed on a big screen. Scoring is based on accelerometer data from the devices. The experience is more social and spectacular than the current console-based dance games, because players face off and the crowd forms more naturally around them and the MC. The game was inspired by research that shows how being physically 'in synch' brings people together emotionally and builds trust.