Those IGF 2012 Winners In Full

Notch failed to win anything this year. So lazy.

If you were lucky enough to be following RPS’s Twitter account last night, you’d have seen the live reporting of the 2012 IGF awards in full, glorious detail, as they happened, live. It was amazing. But some people weren’t dedicated enough to be awake. Bad people. For them, I list the winners below.

Don’t forget you can read interviews with the winners (apart from Fez, typically) over here.

Best Student Game:

WAY – Carnegie Mellon University

Technical Excellence:

Antichamber – Demruth

Excellence In Design:

Spelunky – Mossmouth

Best Mobile Game:

Beat Sneak Bandit – Simogo

Excellence In Visual Art:

Dear Esther – thechineseroom

Excellence In Audio:

Botanicula – Amanita Design

Nuovo Award:

Storyteller – Daniel Benmergui

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

Fez – Polytron


  1. Gnoupi says:

    Oh good, Fez just earned some pocket money. Might be useful in the future. Might even pay for a PC port, some day. Who knows.

    Besides, glad to see Antichamber, Beat Sneak, Storyteller and Botanicula. I’ve bought already Beat Sneak Bandit, it’s really a good game, and can’t wait to try the others.

  2. PodX140 says:

    “I get that it’s a dick move but…” Only thing that comes to my mind when I hear of Fez now. It really is disappointing that the developer is so paranoid of his game’s success that he feels he has to resort to such methods to get funding/hype. If he just sat back, made the game, and released it, I’m such it’d become at the very least a cult classic and very devoted fans, and at best… well, a good game sells itself.

    He’s really just tied his game with a really negative view from the people that got him known in the first place. Now, I’m no marketing genius, but I wouldn’t mess with my core audience with a 10 foot pole.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think it was a bad decision all around, but the developer is in debt right now and probably doesn’t have a game ready to ship. This is the sort of thing assholes do when they’re desperate.

    • Meat Circus says:

      He’s in debt because the stupid fucker sold his soul to Microsoft.

      How does that make it right to get your-pal-the-organizer to subvert the entire IGF just to bail out your onw whorish fiscal incompetence?

      Frankly, the prick deserves to go bankrupt.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      If he was that low on money he should have done a Kickstarter, then. Period. Now maybe he’d argue that the ball was set in motion long before Tim Shaefer made Kickstarter the cool way to fund games. I’d argue that maybe Fez could have done it first if he’d been less of a dick!

      I’ll still buy Fez if there’s a PC version, but they better fix the IGF next year.

    • Buemba says:

      For me what comes to mind when I think of FEZ is this comment by Fish: “Fez is a console game, not a PC game. It’s made to be played with a controller, on a couch, on a Saturday morning. To me, that matters; that’s part of the medium. I get /so many/ comments shouting at me that I’m an idiot for not making a PC version. ‘You’d make so much more money! Can’t you see? Meatboy sold more on Steam!’ Good for them. But this matters more to me than sales or revenue. It’s a console game on a console. End of story.”

      link to

      Is it a contractual clause that developers have to use the couch defense when they’re asked about PC ports of indie games after they sign an exclusivity contract with Microsoft?

      • Caiman says:

        I can’t stand the “couch defence”. I don’t want a developer or anyone else telling me how I should play their game. If I want to sit at my desk in my darkened office and enjoy a game a close quarters, what right does the dev have to tell me I’m doing it wrong? Sorry, that’s nonsense. Some of us cannot play games on our couch anyway, the TV is in a public room that’s often in use and gaming is a very solo-oriented pursuit. We’re not all single males with the ability to play like that when we want.

        But hey, if he wants to go down that route then whatever. Far too many great games out there to be worrying about a single dev being self-destructive. Fez was super interesting three years ago, now it’s just background noise.

    • Kaira- says:

      “He’s in debt because the stupid fucker sold his soul to Microsoft.”

      And he wouldn’t be if he hadn’t? How does this logic work, excactly?

    • PodX140 says:

      I think the biggest point is that he should no longer qualify, as he isn’t indie. He does not have the choice of what platforms to release on, he’s contracted. I think that’s the furthest anyone can get from being independent, and I find it insane that he was even allowed to enter.

      Just because it’s a small team working on the game does not make it indie.

    • Urthman says:

      It’s a console game on a console.

      This is dumb, but I think it’s mostly just ignorance. Most console owners have never bothered to play a game like this on their PC, (or they have a lame PC with a tiny screen, or their PC is in a terrible environment, or whatever) so they just don’t know that games like this can be just as fun (and often look much, much better) on a PC.

  3. rama says:

    Nepotism. Nepotism everywhere….
    Honestly Fez shouldn’t have gotten nominated nor should it have won. They were not any rules against being nominated again but still it was a dick move on his part and it seems ridiculous that they allowed this. If Fez wasn’t nominated we could have had a far more deserving game like SPACECHEM(which unfortunately only got an honorable mention this year). Spachem is one of the best games in this past few years(and probably better than fez) IMO. Spacechem definitely needs more notoriety….SPACECHEM

  4. Zeewolf says:

    Hard to really have any reactions to this, as so few of these games are playable for us mere mortals.

    • Mattressi says:

      Yeah, that and the fact that Fez won the grand prize makes me feel that the IGF has become irrelevant.

    • CMaster says:

      The fact that you haven’t played them just shows that you aren’t cool or important enough. So your opinion clearly doesn’t matter, you aren’t scene enough.

      Seriously, the biggest thing that the IGF could do to get rid of the growing feeling that they are an irrelevant clique is to make a single category for “best upcoming game” and demand that entrants in all other category’s be released, like pretty much every other media awards ever.

    • Meat Circus says:

      I think you misspelt “corrupt”.

  5. Ucodia says:

    I haven’t played Botanicula but I really thought nothing could beat To The Moon soundtrack… Sad it did not get any prize because it really deserved.

  6. Roxton says:

    I’m glad Spelunky won the design category, though I’d prefer it if it had won it for the PC version a few years ago. I imagine that most of the discussion here is going to be concerning Fez and the lack of PC/released titles.

    Also, general question: does “Student game” refer only to games made by game design students, or students of any discipline? (English né Mechanical Engineering student here considering entering for next year.)

  7. Jimbo says:

    Just like that.

  8. faelnor says:

    – Fez entered again after taking an exclusivity contract from Microsoft, which is, to me, the opposite of being “independent”.
    – Spelunky won excellence in design after a XBLA (platform) release, although the game was around since 2008 (paging all Amiga developers, re-release your old games somewhere and win IGF).
    – Some of these games won’t even be playable for us in 2012.
    – Ever growing number of entrants (yes I’m saying that like it’s a bad thing).

    Well at the very least, it’s pretty clear that IGF won’t be, from now, a source of good independent games which I hadn’t heard about before.

    • Ucodia says:

      Whatever the IGF becomes, it is still a good source of indepedent games. I played To The Moon and Dear Esther because they were entrants for the festival and I can say they were both incredible games. Also I want to play Gunpoint so badly!

      Maybe awards are not relevant anymore but entrants still are.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I view it as a bit like a reading list… play some of the nominees at least once or something, but don’t actually pay attention to who are declared the winners.

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I can’t really agree with the people blaming the developers for reentering games, what I will say is if the IGF is about bringing our attention to games we might not’ve looked at it has failed in that as we’ve all already heard about Fez & Spelunky and if it’s about rewarding good/innovative game design this year has been a bit of a shonky year as fez can’t really stand up against the calibur of previous grand prize winners.

    I suspect it’s more down to the quality of the entries and judges rather than anything untoward the only finalist i’d even consider giving the grand prize is dear esther & there’s not really been any amazing indie games released that got rejected from the IGF, if there was a spate of great indie games coming out that didn’t get to the IGF finals this year i’d start to get suspicious then, but the quality just hasn’t been there.

  10. BlueSkies says:

    Did John forget about the Audience Award? Won by Frozen Synapse.

    • Oozo says:

      I wondered about that. It’s great to hear, though, that it went to a game that actually has been released. Everything else would have been kinda ridiculous.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      RPS has a habit of forgetting Frozen Synapse for some reason.

    • Skabooga says:

      Really? Awesome! Glad to see Frozen Synapse get some recognition.

    • Fumarole says:

      That’s because they’re rubbish at turn-based manshoots.

    • Solrax says:

      Runs With Foxes, in case you aren’t joking, RPS is the only reason I know about (and bought) Frozen Synapse.

      As for Fez, I saw it at PAX East last year, why the heck doesn’t he ship it? Maybe he can’t get it past MS approval process, in which case he should have released a PC version to make money to fund the console one. Half the games I’m playing now are Alpha/Beta games I’ve paid for, I’d have pre-payed for Fez, but now I have no interest…

  11. pkt-zer0 says:

    independent games FEZtival

    Anyway, it’s a bit of a bummer that the awards this time yielded basically no new, interesting games for me. This wasn’t always the case.

  12. InternetBatman says:

    I think this was a really bad decision for multiple reasons. I have a hard time calling a game indie when they’ve received money from a publisher (MS for exclusivity). This will reinforce the opinion of many that the contest is run through nepotism. It sets a bad precedent. If they change the rules next year to prevent this sort of thing, which they probably will, it will show inconsistent judgement on the part of the people who run the contest, which is a problem since they’re trusted to objectively try the games.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a serious push to create a rival competition after this one. Notch, for instance, could probably set up a pretty good rival.

  13. Unaco says:

    Why no interview with the Fez developer? Why is that ‘typical’?

    Well done to the all the winners, and to those that didn’t win… remember, it’s the taking part that really counts.

    • phlebas says:

      No RPS interview with the Fez developer because it’s not available on PC and there’s been no suggestion (from the developer) that it ever might be.

    • Unaco says:

      Surely RPS have interviewed non-PC developers before, and covered news not directly related to PC Gaming (i.e. SOPA). And the way John puts it, it seems like it’s typical of the developer of Fez not to do interviews, rather than the non-PC-ness of the game.

    • hosndosn says:

      Maybe. But SOPA is more related to PC gaming than Fez, at this point.

    • Unaco says:

      Yeah, but… for example… they interviewed the guys behind Johann Sebastian Joust for this series of interviews, and it hasn’t been confirmed for PC, same as Fez.

    • Dr. Evanzan says:


      I believe the ‘typical’ was in reference to having interviewed most of the finalists but not having interviewed (because it wasn’t confirmed for PC) Fez, the Grand Prize winner. It wasn’t a slight against Fez so much as a “*sigh* typically we interviewed everyone but the winner of the Grand Prize”.

    • InternetBatman says:

      They interviewed him for the article over the Fez controversy.

  14. BurningPet says:

    I don’t how fez is still considered Indie. He cant even choose his own game release platforms.

    • DK says:

      When you don’t own the game you made, but the publisher does, you are not Indie. Fact.

      Actually, that’s should be the new rule for the next years IGF – every dev who’s got a contract with microsoft is banned from participating.

  15. Meat Circus says:

    Oh, the friend of the organizer won. Again. There’s a fucking shock.

  16. Runs With Foxes says:

    The Fez guy sez Japanese games suck, so he’s alright in my book.

  17. Harkkum says:

    I am disappointed by the winners. They are bad. I am mad. It makes me sad. Come on dad. You’re not rad. I am not going to bed. Just yet.

  18. Meat Circus says:

    What would have won the grand prize had the IGF not become a shameful, corrupt joke?


  19. Lambchops says:

    I wonder . . . if people complaining about the lack of titles which are “new and exciting” to them are perhaps not considering how their own awareness of indie games has changed. Veering dangerously into the path of personal anecdotal evidence (and hopefully avoiding the several ton lorry of stupidity) I think this is the case for me. A few years ago when I first became aware of the IGF I found lots of exciting new titles i’d never heard of to play through the nominees and winners. Back then though I didn’t read websites like RPS, the Indie Games Blog or TIGSource. Now with all these resources at my disposal it is often the case that the cream of the crop is already highlighted. It’s rarer I’ll see something I haven’t seen before in the nominations. While there may be some hidden delights in the entries the quantity is so high that I’d never sift through them.

    I can see people’s argument that maybe the sifting should be the job of the IGF judges but maybe we’re expecting too much of them in regards to flagging up unheralded games?

  20. alexheretic says:

    IGF? Interesting Games Flounder …

  21. Deano2099 says:

    Well I hadn’t heard of Fez before, and now I have. So I guess that worked. In fact it looks quite good and I have a 360 so am up for playing it. Except I can’t. Which seems like a far bigger problem to me.

  22. hosndosn says:

    Fez again? Are you frickin’ kidding me? How many times can an unreleased game clog up the same award? Wouldn’t even deserve another nomination at this point.

  23. essentialatom says:

    WAY is great, I’ve just been playing the alpha. Wish there were more people online though…

  24. mbr says:

    Can anyone tell me why the IGF gives prizes to the same unreleased games year after year? You’d think they’d have a rule where you could only submit your game once to the IGF awards.

  25. Entriech says:

    Your IGF grand prize winner, @PHIL_FISH:

    “@CrowTGamer i just won the grand prize at IGF tonight. suck my dick. choke on it.”
    “@Grabcocque i think it was a shameful, corrupt joke until i won it, and made it legit. you’re welcome.”
    “no but seriously, suck my dick.”

    I’m really disappointed, because I used to be really excited about Fez. But I’m not really interested in supporting someone with that kind of attitude.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:


    • Unaco says:


      That is actually quite insulting… to John Romero. At least he’d actually released something before his ego exploded.

    • Oozo says:

      While I think that the Japan-comment was completely out of tone, and Fish is not doing himself any favors right know, I wonder: What would you reply if somebody told you this, mere minutes after you had won: “Congratulations on being the man that destroyed the IGF by turning into into a shameful, corrupt joke!” A bit dickish itself, ain’t it?

      …well, you could say nothing at all. Guess if I was a PR-person, this would be my advice: Try to say not much at all for a couple days.

    • Meat Circus says:

      A bit dickish? Perhaps, but I’m very angry at what Fish has done to the IGF. It wasn’t his to break, but dammit, he was in debt and friends with the organiser so that’s FINE?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      So let me get this

      Insult a whole section of the industry, and by implication a person sitting in the same room as you, but get upset when after winning something at the same event someone insults you, and the event, in turn?

      seems the right balance to me

    • Oozo says:

      Ah, you misunderstood me there: What I wanted to say is not that him being insulted makes everything else he said and did this week magically ok.

      What I wanted to point out basically comes down to this:

      Call him a dick for what he said re: the Japanese developers. Call him selfish for having entered the contest again. But don’t call him an asshole for winning that contest – it’s the rules that allowed him to enter it that really are misguided. And if you do, why should you be shocked when he calls you an asshole in return?

      I was only referring to that very reply he gave to an insult that was directed at him and that was quoted as another proof in the Case Against Phil Fish. In that case only, I think his reply was appropriate.

      I’m only pointing that out itself because, frankly, the tendency to think that it’s wise to attack him ad hominem for something that is only partly his fault (again, winning the contest, not all of the other stuff) is about as childish as his own behaviour this week.

      (Even though, in general, I DO think that he made a right dick of himself this week, and Fez wining the prize was a farce. Least you think I defend him on principle.)

      If that makes any sense.

    • Autechresaint says:

      It’s so odd how excited I was about this game before he opened his mouth. Now I want nothing to do with it. I was eager to give him money before he revealed that he was nothing more than a shallow egotistical douche.

    • PodX140 says:

      Wow. This is just pathetic. This guy’s ego and marketing matches that of PETA, earn exposure through any means necessary.

      I also was eagerly awaiting this game, but I’m not even going to mention it to anyone now due to this complete asshole.

  26. TheLupineOne says:

    So much FEZ hate… this is my kind of blog.
    So… who’s up for bombing FEZ’s Metacritic page with 0/10 user reviews when it releases?
    …if it releases…

    • BurningPet says:

      Why hate? i think fez looks great, probably even the best looking title they had there, and i sure will buy it on day 1, but still, it is not indie anymore so it shouldn’t be in the IGF.

    • Harkkum says:

      I think that you are mis-interpreting it a bit. I doubt that many hate Fez as a game, moreso the system which allows the same game to be nominated for the main prize twice on an independent game gala, considering that the game is being published under Microsoft exlusivity banner. Furthermore, a game developer who turns his PC game to an XBOX-exclusive will have somewhat hard time to convince people on PC gaming blog to give him hearthfelt congratulations.

      Personally I see that whilst Fez has merited maybe everything it has got, the developer really should harness his attitude a bit. Especially when there still is not even a game that could be played by anyone, and even less a successful game that would merit him some bragging rights. It is so much easier to support Limbo developer (also an XBOX-exclusive later turned to PC game) as they were at no point bragging how their game is the saviour of mankind and others should just suck their world’s biggest pricks.

      Hence, no point on mocking the game. Just listen to Monthy Python’s Penis Song and find your own way to mock that piece of pork that is Phil Fish.

    • pakoito says:

      There is no need for it. It’s going out on XBLA so it won’t excel the 10000 copies, tops. As soon as Microsoft sees it doesn’t sell like hot buns on day one they’ll can it to that dark corner of the store with the proper indies.

  27. rustybroomhandle says:

    Wonder if he’s related to Fred Fish.

  28. Just Endless says:

    That’s a problem for me, and I’m not the sort to get angry on matters beyond my control.

    But the IGF has lost a lot of esteem in my eyes.

    I fully support the rise of a rival competition.

  29. trjp says:

    Let’s be honest here – he doesn’t think PCs can use controllers or be played from a couch AND in 5 years he’s failed to release a game DESPITE having won awards for it AND being given money to develop it.

    That’s the sign of a massive fucking idiot in anyone’s book surely?

    End of the day can we not bow to this ‘artistic’ horseshit and measure people on what they DO and not what they talk about doing please?

    In my book the hardest thing to do is complete your project and with games that means releasing it (and that sort of implies that it’s in some way ‘complete’). If you can’t do that, go back to your day job and grind please.

    • Gpig says:

      Shouldn’t you be impressed that a “massive fucking idiot” won a competition for best game out of hundreds of entries? It seems that it would be difficult to code, design, or promote a game while suffering from mfi, much less win the highest award. I don’t consider myself afflicted with being a massive fucking idiot, yet I would have a tremendously hard time winning any award for video game creation. Maybe one day they will give out awards for best Tetris clone made to learn Flashpunk and I will be telling you all to suck my dick (or maybe someone else will have made a better Tetris clone in Flashpunk).

  30. Hoaxfish says:

    I find it a little bit off when unreleased games can win this sort of event (with the exception of “most promising up coming” game or something like that). Same thing as Fez when Minecraft was winning stuff while still in Alpha/Beta.

    And winning with the same game over multiple years seems just stupid. Same sort of logic would all Star Wars 3D to win the Oscars if it gets re-released, or maybe Promethean while it’s still in pre-production.

    Of course, with money involved anyone winning anything is going to be a bit controversial.

  31. Geen says:

    *deep sigh*

  32. quincunx says:

    Dear Esther won for Visual Arts and has been released for almost a month now. Oh, and you should buy it and play it because it’s amazing.

    Oh, and don’t even get me started on Skyrim winning GOTY at the GDC Awards. How does Portal 2 have the best narrative, sound and design of the year and not win game of the year? I’ll admit that Skyrim was a very fun game, I continue to enjoy it, but it had technical shortcomings since day one that should whack it right out of the running for GOTY. Maybe it should have been in the running for the Seumas McNally grand prize at IGF instead. An unfinished game like many of the others in the IGF. Heh.