IGF Winners: The Habitual Voyeur Of What Is Known As…

By Alec Meer on March 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

….Cart Life, which scooped up an an impressive triple-whammy of Nuovo Award, Excellence in Narrative and the coveted Seamus McNally Grand Prize at last night’s Independent Games Festival 2013 awards. The warmest of all congratulations to Richard Hofmeier, whose affecting, brave game is well overdue for this kind of attention.

Also getting gongs are Kentucky Route Zero, Little Inferno and FTL. FTL is also the recipient of a coveted Meero Award For Excellence In Spaceship-Based Death. It just doesn’t know it yet.

Here’s the complete list. Congratulations to all who won, all who were nominated and everyone non-evil in the world, ever.

Excellence in Visual Art ($3,000)
Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Nuovo Award ($5,000)
Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Excellence in Audio ($3,000 )
140 (Jeppe Carlsen)

Excellence in Narrative ($3,000)
Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Technical Excellence ($3,000)
Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

Best Student Game ($3,000)
Zineth (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

Audience Award ($3,000)
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Excellence in Design ($3,000)
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Seamus McNally Grand Prize ($30,000)
Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Also last night where the Game Developer’s Choice awards, but they were basically (and predictably) still obsessed with Journey. The Walking Dead, Dishonored and Far Cry 3 got some nods too, however, and very impressively FTL broke out of its indie beard’n'big glasses ghetto and bagged the Best Debut award. Here’s another list:

Best Downloadable Game
Journey (thatgamecompany)

Best Narrative
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Best Visual Arts
Journey (thatgamecompany)

Ambassador Award
Chris Melissinos

Best Technology
Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)

Best Game Design
Journey (thatgamecompany)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game
The Room (Fireproof Studios)

Best Audio
Journey (thatgamecompany)

Pioneer Award
Steve Russell

Best Debut
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Innovation Award
Journey (thatgamecompany)

Audience Choice Award
Dishonored (Arkane Studios)

Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk

Game of the Year
Journey (thatgamecompany)

And now I need to spend the rest of today playing FTL again, don’t I? Oh how, I wish I’d summarily executed the rest of RPS in December so I could make FTL game of the year, instead of that Far Cry 3 balls that no-one’s playing any more.

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40 Comments »

  1. pakoito says:

    Was there no live streaming this year? After the failures from past years I wanted to see more.

  2. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I really wanted FTL to win but it’s hardly as if the FTL team needs the money or the acclaim — they’ve had plenty of both already.

    Well done to Cart Life, then. I should finally give it a go — I meant to try it after the Idle Thumbs guys sang its praises.

  3. Meat Circus says:

    Good to see games finally being recognised for their writing, and Cart Life truly is a little marvel.

    • Arkh says:

      I completly agree. Can’t comment on KRZ, but Cart Life has some of the best narrative I have read in years.

  4. MOKKA says:

    The absence of Super Hexagon on this list is a shame. FTL is a great game, but Super Hexagon deserves the recognition as well.

    • tobecooper says:

      I agree on both points. Super Hexagon should be up there.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Super Hexagon is indeed “game with everything but game removed”. It is what you get when you boil a game for six hours.

        • tobecooper says:

          It is a perfect recipe hand down in secrecy from generation of generation of Terry Cavanaghs.
          And now when they finally unleashed the powerful hexagonade upon the world, IGF folks missed it.
          A shameful shame.

          • Skabooga says:

            The secret of Super Hexagon is that not only is it the perfect game for those who like that sort of game but also that it perfectly telegraphs what sort of game it is to those who don’t like that sort of game, thus letting them know that they wouldn’t want to play it. Thus, only those who are predisposed to liking the game end up playing it, and that is why Super Hexagon has received such a glowing reception.

            At least, that’s my theory for why Super Hexagon is so popular, because to me, it looks and sounds about as fun as stubbing my toe. Then again, I appreciate games with thematic elements, and loath the “beat your high score” approach to game design (but I recognize there are those who like it).

            I say this not to marginalize anyone’s enjoyment of Super Hexagon, but merely as an explanation for why, despite it’s positive critical reception, it has not won over as many as might be expected or won as many awards.

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            zapatapon says:

            @Skabooga I thought so too, and then I grabbed it out of curiosity as it was on sale on steam a couple of days ago. And haven’t been able to let go of it ever since. Weird, eh? So there is something to these raving reviews after all.

  5. vanarbulax says:

    Cart Life is amazing, some of the most evocative animation I’ve seen in a while. Well deserved, but such a good crop overall as well.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Great work FTL!

    As for Cart Life the first time I played it I took a while to get it, began to get it and thought, OK lets start again with one of the other characters. The second time I was, not enjoying it (that’s not the point) but definitely appreciating what it does (for it does it well) unfortunately I was halted by a bug and couldn’t really face playing it again. I’d definitely recommend giving it a go, it’s definitely worth playing. Not surprised it picked up Nuovo and narrative but wouldn’t have expected it to pick up the grand prize, so well done there.

    Also agree that it would have been nice to see Super Hexagon pick something up.

  7. Lanfranc says:

    What’s up with the “Best Downloadable Game” category? Which game isn’t downloadable these days?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      yea. Some of these award ceremonies don’t really seem to get this.

      I doubt we’ll ever see “Best DVD purchasable film” at the Oscars.

      At least they avoided “Best AAA FPS”.

      • Kamos says:

        It is funny how the best downloadable game they’ve selected is platform exclusive.

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      welverin says:

      Things for consoleboxes, most non-small indie like games aren’t downloadable at all!

      Sony makes a big deal when a game is available digitally at release which tells you how backward and behind the times they are.

    • themindstream says:

      I think the rule is that entries in Best Downloadable had to have been released exclusively online first, be that web, Steam, XBox Live, PSN, Wii Ware, or whatever. It also used to be the “token indie category”. Both of those qualifiers have or are becoming redundant and I’d expect it to go away as a category before long.

  8. GyroMaster says:

    No Sepe’s Cumshot? Really? The moral majority once again railroads a true gem.

  9. TheIronSky says:

    Disappointed that Kentucky Route Zero did not get too many awards. I would have thought they’d get the Narrative Award for sure. But I suppose I’ve got to go play Cart Life now and see what it’s all about.

    Oh, and what’s with all the praise for Journey? I watched a playthrough and was left unimpressed.

    • lordcooper says:

      It’s one of those things you really have to play for yourself. Basically, it made me grin like a maniac for the entire playthrough. Any game that can make someone feel pure joy (and reading their forums shows I’m not alone in this) is worth recognition IMO.

      • TheIronSky says:

        Well, perhaps I’ll check it out when I pick up a PS3. I figure I’ll get one after the inevitable price drop following the PS4 Release. What about it is so appealing? And I ask that as someone who rather enjoyed games like Proteus and Dear Esther, despite their numerous flaws.

        • lordcooper says:

          That honestly a pretty tough question as I feel that reducing a work of art (be it interactive or otherwise) to a series of observations somewhat reduces it’s impact. That said, I’ll give it a go.

          1. The movement of your character is perfect. Whether it be fluid gliding or a slow plod, it always fits the current theme and is just incredibly fun to do.

          2. Stunning and varied visuals accompanied by one of (if not the) best OSTs I’ve ever come across. Both reflect thematic elements.

          3. Interaction with other players is handled uniquely. The theme and mechanics combine to make each encounter a genuinely pleasant and playful experience. Being borne aloft by the song of a stranger, well there’s something almost holy about that.

          4. The overall plot is detailed while remaining open to interpretation. I’ve spoken to people who saw it as a representation of the Monomyth, the fall of a civilization, a warning against exceptionalism, a tale of penance / personal discovery / reincarnation or the inevitability of history repeating itself.

          5. I’ve watched four other people play it in person (one of whom generally only plays console FPS games, and another who saw videogames as having no worth prior to this) and not one of them managed to play it without grinning like a madman for at least part of the time.

          I would recommend playing it sooner rather than later, it’ll lose a rather important part of the game once there are no longer a certain number of players and you can pick up a second hand PS3 for about £50-60 these days.

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            Matt_W says:

            Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon, but I got incredibly annoyed at the other players solving my puzzles for me. I actually turned off my internet connection so I could play it by myself. And speaking as someone who does not get Proteus at all, I also didn’t quite get Journey, though it, at least, has puzzles.

          • TheIronSky says:

            That was a far more complete response than I imagined I would get. That must mean that there’s something rather special about this title. Like I’d said before – I’ll probably pick it up in the near future. I’ve been meaning to get a PS3 just to play MGS1 and 4, since I have the HD collection on 360.

            But really – they need to release these games on PC. A Steam release would be enormously profitable. Don’t companies want my money? *gutteral noises*

      • Banana_Republic says:

        A little sad that I’ll never get to play this. I think it would have sold gangbusters if they’d put it on PC. That game would have generated an astronomical amount of Steam hype. Alas, no game can justify buying a doorstop piece of technology, just to run it.

        You win this time consoles. But I’ll have my vengeance when Star Citizen arrives. Then we’ll see who’s drooling over what.

    • Deano2099 says:

      It’d be odd even by IGF standards to give a narrative award to a game where the narrative hasn’t finished. It might have an ME3-bad ending.

      • TheIronSky says:

        *violently shudders*

        Don’t scare me like that. That’s.. That’s not possible. It couldn’t be THAT bad!

        Unless.. Unless Kentucky Route Zero ends in TENNESSEE! I can’t even think about it without getting shivers.

  10. Winged Nazgul says:

    Oh hey, Steam currently has Cart Life on sale.

    *yoink*

  11. Lokik says:

    Damn, how did I totally miss the existence of Cart Life before this? Looks amazing.

    • Kamos says:

      Cartlife is amazing. The music, graphics, all of it. Only bad thing I can say about it is that it had a metric ton of bugs when I last played it.

      • Kolbex says:

        I registered just to say this. I do really like Cart Life in both concept and execution, but it is still riddled with frustrating and sometimes show-stopping bugs, and you won’t always get a reply in the forum about them, either.

        • Premium User Badge

          Aerothorn says:

          This simply isn’t true, at least in my experience. Version 1.6 definitely has bugs but isn’t “riddled” with them as with previous releases, and Hofmeier has replied in the forums, and I know he’ll continue to tackle this as soon as he has the time (been kind of busy with this whole GDC thing, dontchaknow).

  12. Premium User Badge

    strangeloup says:

    I was really amazingly not-taken with KRZ from the demo thing, so didn’t pursue it further. Can anyone say if the full game is more interesting? Wandering around an art exhibition for someone whose work seemed unbearably pretentious wasn’t my idea of fun — and I say this as a former art student and general fan of ‘art games’, it just rubbed me up the wrong way.

    Cart Life seems interesting but I can’t get anywhere in it. I think it’s mostly because I keep forgetting where I have to go to do various things; in each character’s opening section, a friend/relative/whatever explains what you should do first, and by the time I get to the map I can’t remember what was where. Will persevere with it though as it seems pretty interesting.

  13. Arkh says:

    Congratulations to Richard Hofmeier! Cart Life is awesome and beatifully designed, and you truly deserve those awards.
    I’m happy FTL also won some awards, they deserve a lot. I’m just sad Hotline Miami didn’t win a thing, I think they deserved at least the Excellence In Audio award.

    And congratulations to everyone who won!

  14. Skabooga says:

    Oh how, I wish I’d summarily executed the rest of RPS in December so I could make FTL game of the year, instead of that Far Cry 3 balls that no-one’s playing any more.

    Normally, I would accuse you of being bitter, but in this case, I fully support you bringing it up whenever it’s relevant, and even occasionally when it’s not.

  15. Premium User Badge

    LTK says:

    Best Student Game ($3,000)
    Zineth (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

    So glad to see this game getting recognition too. It’s really fantastic. I felt like it wasn’t getting noticed enough in the sea of other free indie games.