// 2010 IndieCade Award Recipients

Congratulations to all of the finalists who were at IndieCade 2010. It is an outstanding achievement to be among this group of top independent games. Each year, IndieCade presents 12 awards that honor excellence of teams and individuals from our festival’s 32 finalist titles. Awards are selected by consensus through deliberation with a special panel of distinguished award jurors. Over the course of the festival the audience and the finalists themselves select the final three awardees.

//Award Recipients:

  • Aesthetics
  • Spirits by Spaces of Play, Germany

    Video games can look like almost anything. From photorealistic simulations of real life to ultra-stylized creations to simple 8-bit blocks, the way designers make us see their worlds plays an integral part in how we feel about them. Independent designers take a wide range of approaches to art direction, but all of the selections in the category of aesthetics blow us away with their unique visual designs.

    Spirits is an action-puzzle game for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad with a Lemmings-style mechanic in which players manipulate the wind to guide name-giving Spirits towards each level of the game world. The wind, which is both helpful and uncontrollable, can serve as the player’s friend and enemy at the same time. The game’s unique atmosphere is created by a combination of beautifully hand-drawn graphics and a music track comprised completely of orchestral musical instruments. Created by Berlin-based Spaces of Play.

  • Amazing
  • Miegakure by Marc ten Bosch, United States

    Great video games can sometimes change the very way we think and see the world. By asking us to interact with a new world or a different dimension they open our eyes to possibilities and expand our minds.Whether they are bending time, space or story, these types of games use the technological and creative affordances of the digital medium in a way that has been equated with magic. In short, they amaze us.

    Miegakure is a platform game where you solve puzzles by exploring the fourth dimension. An inventive approach to spatial puzzle design and problem solving from Marc ten Bosch, Miegakure creates engaging and maddening puzzles from the mathematics and theory of of a fourth spatial dimension. Miegakure was featured at the IGF, and at IndieCade’s E3 showcase, and is a stunning technical and design achievement, which educates and explores fourth dimension mathematical theory without requiring a PhD in math or physics.

  • Audience Choice
  • Retro/Grade by 24 Caret Games, United States

    This award is determined by the public attendees to IndieCade. Ballots are evenly distributed at each gallery.

    Retro/Grade is an innovative PS3 game that fuses the white-knuckle thrills and over the top visuals of a shooter with the broad appeal of a rhythm game. The developers at 24 Caret Games have deeply explored their central idea of a time-reversed space battle through tight game mechanics and polished UI and user feedback. Retro/Grade is visually engaging, attractive, and leverages its aesthetic and auditory beauty to craft an addictive and entertaining user experience.

  • Documentary Game
  • The Cat and the Coup by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad, United States

    Just like great journalism and documentary filmmaking, there is an emerging genre of games that use interactive tools to present real-world topics and issues. Whether they’re historical, political, biographical or scientific, these games present new ways to engage with reality and change the way we see the world.

    The Cat and the Coup is a documentary game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. You observe and coax Mossadegh through the events of the coup as the cat, knocking over objects on the Prime Minister’s desk and scratching him. With it’s striking visual style and engaging mechanic, The Cat and The Coup brings a completely original novel ach to documentary gameplay. Developer Peter Brinson is the creator of IndieCade exhibited Meanwhile and a member of the team that created Waco Resurrection.

  • Fun / Compelling
  • VVVVVV by Terry Cavanagh, Ireland

    At the most basic level, players want two things out of the games they play: They want them to be fun and compelling. Fun, so that you enjoy every minute you hold that controller, and compelling so that you never want to put it down. Shacknews.com is pleased to sponsor the fun and compelling award because it honors the designers who give gamers exactly what they want without losing the spirit of innovation and creativity that make independent video games so great.

    In VVVVVV, you play as the fearless leader of a team of dimension-exploring scientists who are separated after inadvertently crashing their ship. A high energy, cleverly designed platforming experience from Terry Cavanaugh, creator of Don’t Look Back and Self Destruct, VVVVVV deeply explores its central gravity-reversing mechanic through smart, interesting puzzles and a strong world and environment, supported by simple but compelling visual design and awesome music.

  • Finalists Choice
  • Sixteen Tons by Eric Zimmerman and Nathalie Pozzi, United States

    Over the course of the festival, IndieCade finalists have an opportunity to vote among themselves for their game of choice

    Sixteen Tons, inspired by a folk song about a mining company town, is a gallery installation in which four players move heavy sections of steel pipe on a colorful grid. This simple gameplay is complicated by the social interaction of a mechanic in which players bid to hire other players (using real cash) to move their pieces, enacting the game’s central themes of debt bondage and forced labor. Created by architect Nathalie Pozzi and independent game designer Eric Zimmerman, Sixteen Tons was originally commissioned by the Art History of Games conference in Atlanta (Feb 2010). Its presentation at IndieCade is sponsored by the NYU Game Center.

  • Gameplay Innovation
  • Continuity by Ragtime Games, Sweden

    The BBC Worldwide is proud to present the award for gameplay innovation. This award recognizes pushing the boundaries of what we consider play and moving the medium beyond its well known conventions of shooting or platforming or role playing. It is all about the unique and original gameplay that fills players with delight, whether it’s a simple twist on a familiar genre or something we’ve truly never seen before.

  • Jury
  • Groping in the Dark by Team Arex, South Korea

    (With an honorable mention to 16 Tons)
    The Jury Award given is to a game that captured the attention of the original round of jurors, as well as the awards jurors, the majority of whom deemed worthy of recognition.

    Groping in the Dark is a lyrical interactive narrative that tells the story of a kidnapped girl’s decision and attempt to escape her captors. The player progresses through the narrative by manipulating phrases of Korean text to unravel the story. The kinetic typography creates an almost mystical experience, turning letters into images and images into meanings. With its alternative to traditional visual representation in games, Groping in the Dark transforms a game into interactive poetry. Created by Seoul-based Team Arex.

  • Kids Choice
  • Humans vs Zombies by Gnarwhal Studios, United States

    Over the course of the festival kids have the opportunity to vote for their game of choice.

    Humans vs. Zombies is a moderated game of tag where all but one player begin as humans, wearing bandanas on their arms and able to defend themselves with socks from the zaombie horde. The horde is generated by the randomly-selected “Original Zombie,” who can tag human players and turn them into zombies, who wear bandanas on their heads. Humans will need to rely on cunning and teamwork to survive the zombie apocalypse and complete challenging missions organized by the game moderators. Created by Gnarwhal Studios, Humans vs. Zombies is a played in neighborhoods, military bases, and over 600 colleges and universities around the world and was featured at this summer’s Come Out and Play. It is part of IndieCade’s Outdoor and Pervasive Games track.

  • Sublime Experience
  • Faraway by Steph Thirion, United States

    Every once in a while, a video game comes along that inspires simple awe and brings us to a transcendent or meditative state -- In other words, a sublime experience. Independent video games have led the way in eliciting this feeling associated with great works of art.

    Created by Steph Thirion for the Gamma IV showcase, Faraway is a one-button game where you swing your way through space, finding and connecting star clusters to create the most complex constellations you can. Faraway’s simple but lovely and iconic visual design lets the tightly designed interactions and gameplay take forefront. Steph Thirion is the creator of Eliss, winner of the Auteur Award at IndieCade 2009.

  • Sound
  • Limbo by Playdead, Denmark

    Sound is one of the most integral and arguably the most underappreciated qualities in a great video game. Great sound design turns a bunch of moving pixels into an immersive world for the player. Sound is also the principle form of feedback in a video game. The selections for sound design have created games that truly excel in using noise and music as part of the interactive experience.

    Limbo is a hauntingly beautiful black and white “horror” platform puzzler, released to widespread acclaim this summer on the Xbox Live Arcade. The game is set among the rooftops of a mesmerizing macabre world that draws you into its dark narrative. The narrative, the story of a young boy trying to find his lost sister, is reinforced by a tightly designed film noir style that also expands the interesting, well implemented 2D platforming puzzle challenges. Created by Denmark’s Playdead, Limbo is a stunning example of the quality and experience that can be created out of careful attention to detail and delicate integration of the many different elements that make up a game.

  • Vanguard
  • A Slow Year by Ian Bogost, United States

    Few of the games at IndieCade are exactly what you would call mainstream, but a small group are true "game-changers". G4 G4TV.com is thrilled to present the Vanguard award to honor the game that takes the medium of play to places none of us thought possible and redefine what it is that interactive media can do and be.

    A Slow Year is a collection of four game “poems” for the Atari Video Computer System, one for each season, about the experience of observation and awareness. A Slow Year stakes out a deep and interesting design problem, searching for engaging and meaningful interactivity outside the traditional reaches of modern gameplay, and typical genre design. Ian Bogot is a professor at Georgia Tech, and co-founder of Persuasive Games, creator of Airport Insecurity and a series of newsgames for the New York Times. Ian is also co-creator of IndieCade featured Cruel2BKind. A Slow Year was featured in the 2010’s Independent Game Festival (IGF) at the Game Developers Conference.

  • Virtuoso
  • A Slow Year by Ian Bogost, United States

    Video games are inherently a collaborative medium, but some game designers are so multi-talented and singular in vision that these gifted creators single handedly take on every single task necessary to make a game, from design to art to sound to programming, and end up with a brilliant final product.

    A Slow Year is a collection of four game “poems” for the Atari Video Computer System, one for each season, about the experience of observation and awareness. A Slow Year stakes out a deep and interesting design problem, searching for engaging and meaningful interactivity outside the traditional reaches of modern gameplay, and typical genre design. Ian Bogot is a professor at Georgia Tech, and co-founder of Persuasive Games, creator of Airport Insecurity and a series of newsgames for the New York Times. Ian is also co-creator of IndieCade featured Cruel2BKind. A Slow Year was featured in the 2010’s Independent Game Festival (IGF) at the Game Developers Conference.

  • Wild Card
  • B.U.T.T.O.N (Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now) by Copenhagen Game Collective, Denmark

    Every year there’s that one game the judges think worthy of recognition, but doesn’t quite fit the criteria to win in any of the established categories. It’s IndieCade’s way of saying that in the world of video games, there are a lot of unknowns. The Wild Card award is given to the game that the judges feel is unexpected and original and does not fit into any pre-established categories, but cannot be ignored.

    B.U.T.T.O.N. is a four-player, one-button party game played with Xbox controllers on the PC. The game has a WarioWare style mechanic consisting of short minigames in which players must stand back and rush the controllers to press the “right” button, although which button that is is not always clear! Created by Copenhagen Game Collective, winner of the Most Fun Game at IndieCade 2008, B.U.T.T.O.N. was a hit at Gamma IV and at IndieCade’s E3 Showcase.

  • World / Story
  • The Games of Nonchalance by Nonchalance, United States

    Writing for video games is unlike any other medium, because it’s an interactive narrative that no two players experience in exactly the same way. Because the nature of play is choice, the art of game writing is as much about creating a unique, self-contained world as it is about telling a story with a beginning, middle and end. The award for world and story creation honors the special craft of revealing narratives through interactions in an imagined world that players navigate in their own way.

    An epic, immersive, poly-media, real-world adventure. Four episodes of interactive content lead participants on a journey through the fabric of San Francisco and discover the threads of a narrative woven into the city's past and present. Currently running in San Francisco, the Games of Nonchalance received the "Best of the Bay" SFBG 2009 award. Nonchalance’s Scoop!, a live pirate radio news game, was featured at Come Out and Play 2010. This is their debut game as part of IndieCade’s Outdoor and Pervasive Games track.Nonchalance

  • The IndieCade 2010 Honorary Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Tim Schafer

    IndieCade is pleased to present its 2010 trailblazer award honoring lifetime achievement to a game designer whose life path and creations embody the ethos of independent video game design and has paved the way for all our finalists. Thank you Tim Schafer for gracing us with your presence and thank you Ron Gilbert for so graciously bestowing this award.

    Tim Schafer is the President and CEO of Double Fine Productions, a San Francisco?based video game studio, makers of the critically acclaimed games Psychonauts,Brütal Legend and the recently announced Costume Quest. Prior to Double Fine, Tim was a Project Leader at LucasArts Entertainment Company, where he was responsible for several classic PC adventure games, including Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Tim also co?designed Day of the Tentacle, and served as a writer and assistant designer on The Secret of Monkey Island 1 & 2.