Stanley’s Papers: IGF 2014 Finalists Revealed

I'm pretty sure that's rightr

It’s all been a bit Massively Mainstream Games About Aliens today, so it’s something of a relief to instead turn my gaze to some of the indie highlights of the last and upcoming year. Though that said, the finalists list – the finalistlist – for the 16th annual Independent Games Festival is, while awash with truly splendid games, somewhat short on surprises, which may add fuel to the fires of those who consider the competition to not quite be what it could. Existent huge successes Papers, Please and The Stanley Parable dominate, with Don’t Starve also snagging multiple nods, as does the sadly mobile-only Device 6. Take a look, see if you feel you’re being exposed to new stuff or just reminded of what you already know is ace.

I do worry there’s a vast glut of games that aren’t managing to be seen above the more well-known titles, but let’s be happily honest, there’s an awful lot of extremely high quality flashing pixel-based entertainment in here.

Here’s the full run-down of finalists. Quite a few I haven’t played yet, but far fewer I hadn’t heard of previously. I’m looking forward to filling in the gaps in my experience for sure. Nice to see Michael ‘Smestorp’ Brough winning more attention for his disconcerting and clever creations too. 868-HACK is excellent, and hopefully out on PC soon.

Excellence In Visual Art

DEVICE 6 (Simogo)
Gorogoa (Jason Roberts)
The Banner Saga (Stoic)
Perfect Stride (Arcane Kids)
Samorost3 (Amanita Design)
Drei (Etter)

Honorable mentions: Shelter (Might & Delight); Galak-Z (17-BIT); The Swapper (Facepalm Games); The Yawhg (Damian Sommer & Emily Carroll); Don’t Starve (Klei Entertainment)

Excellence In Narrative

The Yawhg (Damian Sommer & Emily Carroll)
Paralect (Paralect Team)
DEVICE 6 (Simogo)
Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!” (Deirdra Kiai Productions)
The Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe)
Papers, Please (Lucas Pope)

Honorable mentions: Quadrilateral Cowboy (Blendo Games); Gorogoa (Jason Roberts); Redshirt (The Tiniest Shark); Detective Grimoire (SFB Games); Monster Loves You (Radial Games Corp. & Dejobaan Games, LLC.)

Excellence In Design

TowerFall Ascension (Matt Thorson)
868-HACK (Michael Brough)
Mushroom 11 (Untame)
Papers, Please (Lucas Pope)
Don’t Starve (Klei Entertainment)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games)

Honorable mentions: The Banner Saga (Stoic); Perfect Stride (Arcane Kids); Threes (Asher Vollmer, Greg Wohlwend & Jimmy Hinson); DEVICE 6 (Simogo); Gorogoa (Jason Roberts)

Excellence In Audio

Samorost3 (Amanita Design)
Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!” (Deirdra Kiai Productions)
The Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games)
DEVICE 6 (Simogo)
The Yawhg (Damian Sommer & Emily Carroll)

Honorable mentions: Sokobond (Alan Hazelden, Harry Lee & Ryan Roth); The Banner Saga (Stoic); Potatoman Seeks the Troof (Pixeljam); Jazzpunk (Necrophone Games); Don’t Starve (Klei Entertainment)

Nuovo Award

Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!” (Deirdra Kiai Productions)
Luxuria Superbia (Tale of Tales)
Extrasolar (Lazy 8 Studios)
Perfect Woman (Peter Lu and Lea Schonfelder)
SoundSelf (Robin Arnott)
Papers, Please (Lucas Pope)
Save the Date (Paper Dino Software)
Corrypt (Michael Brough)

Honorable mentions: Shelter (Might & Delight); DEVICE 6 (Simogo); Elegy for a Dead World (Dejobaan Games with Popcannibal); SUPERHOT (SUPERHOT Team); 18 Cadence (Aaron A. Reed)

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

The Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe)
Don’t Starve (Klei Entertainment)
Jazzpunk (Necrophone Games)
Papers, Please (Lucas Pope)
DEVICE 6 (Simogo)
Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!” (Deirdra Kiai Productions)

Honorable mentions: Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games); TowerFall Ascension (Matt Thorson); Kerbal Space Program (Squad); 868-HACK (Michael Brough); The Yawhg (Damian Sommer & Emily Carroll)

375 judges whittled down the longlist to these however-many-it-is, and a grand jury will shortly distil it further into a lone winner for each category, to be revealed on Wednesday, March 19th. Good luck and well done to everyone, including the already astonishingly wealthy ones.


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    Aerothorn says:

    Jazzpunk being a Seamus McNally nominee certainly suggests it’s as good as I hope.

    • Skabooga says:

      I am quite excited to see that as well! I thought (and still think) that I might at least have a chance of enjoying it, but I didn’t think it would get that level of critical reception.

    • Lambchops says:

      Thunderbirds aping trailer, citing Airplane! Naked Gun and Hot Shots! as influences – this game could be something I love.

      I stress “could” at the moment though, that type of humour is tougher than it looks, just ask the writers of any of the recent swath of terrible parody films entitled [insert adjective here] Movie.

  2. Meat Circus says:

    Device 6 is brilliant, but I don’t think it’s a shame it’s not for PC- I have no idea how it’d work on a not-fondleslab. Terribly, I think.

    But I poured huge buckets of love over The Stanley Parable and Papers, Please so I’m happy either way.

    Is it me, or is this year’s crop more DONE than previous years?

    • chargen says:

      Yes, I also noticed that most of these games are not only closer that two years away from release, but available now. Bravo to IGF for no longer being an award for the speculative future.

    • Arathain says:

      As I understand it, this is because of a rules change: no re-submission of previously submitted titles. Instituted largely because of the fuss around Fez winning stuff multiple years running. It means you have an incentive to hold off submitting until you’re at or close to a release candidate .

    • RobF says:

      At least we’re getting Year Walk on PC soon. God, I *loved* Year Walk.

    • AbigailBuccaneer says:

      Still not done enough! All this list did was make me want to play NecroDancer and Perfect Stride even more.

  3. MeatMan says:

    I’m surprised by the complete absence of Gunpoint and Brothers.

    Also surprising to see Don’t Starve nominated for a 2014 award considering it’s been buyable and playable since 2012.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      they didn’t enter & the rule is as long as it came out or is coming out less than a year after the competition and hasn’t been nominated before

  4. golem09 says:

    So Papers please is nominated for everything that isn’t audio and video related? Nice.

  5. Lambchops says:

    Nice list of games, I feel the urge to further investigate Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!” in spite of its terrible name as it does look rather charming.

    I see lots of mentions for The Yawhg but watching the trailer doesn’t really do much to enlighten me on what it’s all about – I have no idea if it’s the type of thing I’ll like or not. I’d say that being nominated for so many IGF awards is good enough for me but . . . Blueberry Garden. Didn’t get that game at all.

    The only sad thing about seeing Samorost 3 in there is that it’s not going to be out until early 2015. I want it now damnit! Still great visuals and audio are what Amanita do best so it’s certainly no surprise to see them nominated and I’m sure it’ll be another downright charming adventure when it comes out.

    Papers, Please and Stanley Parable deserve all the attention they get. Both stupendous games.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Do check out Pamplemousse. While this interactive musical is far from a perfect game, I can recommend it without hesitation, and I haven’t regretted supporting its Kickstarter Indiegogo campaign. I’m glad that the game exists, and it’s nice seeing it nominated in so many categories.

      • The Random One says:

        If you life adventure games, especially old adventure games, you’ll probably like Pamplemousse. If you don’t you probably won’t. It’s essentially an old school adventure game without any “read the designer’s mind” puzzles and absolutely charming delivery.

    • tobecooper says:

      The Yawhg is short. Very short – we’re talking minutes here. It’s a bit visual novel, a bit choose your own adventure. Replayable and memorable. Melancholy/horror/various other emotions. The Yawhg is coming and it will change your life and change everything. You don’t know about it so you just do stuff around town (choices and consequences there), and then observe what happens post-Yawhg. Definitely very cool and enjoyable.

      And it’s got Emily Carroll. Emily Carroll is a fantastic writer/cartoonist.

      Unfortunately, $10 is way too much for the little gem of a game. Fortunately, Carroll did so many horror comics for free that it balances the scales a bit :)
      link to
      (Favorites: ‘His Face All Red’, ‘Out of Skin’, ‘Margot’s Room’)

      • mechabuddha says:

        Also, it was much more fun played with friends, with people narrating their pieces out loud and in character.

  6. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I knew I wasn’t going to get nominated, so much good competition, still totally gutted. Feel bad for Banished and Quadrilateral Cowboy devs though. those games look amazing.

    good luck & congratz to all the nominees!

  7. The Sombrero Kid says:

    they didn’t enter & the rule is as long as it came out or is coming out less than a year after the competition and hasn’t been nominated before

    Edit: reply fail was @MeatMan

  8. Darth Gangrel says:

    “I’m pretty sure that’s rightr”? I’ve never seen a typo in an image caption before.

  9. plugav says:

    Nice to see some recognition for The Yawhg. Delightful little game!

  10. Yachmenev says:

    No Pixeljunk Inc there? Awww, feel for the Q Games guys. The quality of the entries in this competition is really on a high level.

  11. Simon Hawthorne says:

    Oh RPS, how embarrasing of you to dig out and post an old photo of me like this!

  12. BisonHero says:

    The Swapper only getting an honourable mention for Excellence in Visual Arts seems really unfortunate. The actual nominees are all quite good looking games as well, but The Swapper really is something else.

    Other than that, I’m frankly kind of surprised that Shelter even got honourable mentions in a couple categories. I just did not think that game was very good, mechanically or in terms of presentation and style.

    • The Random One says:

      Excellency at Awakening Maternal Feelings So Long Dormant They Were Assumed Dead By All Award

  13. The Random One says:

    Not as diverse as I had hoped, but more diverse than I had expected. I’m surprised and pleased to see The Yawgh, Dominique Pamplemousse and Perfect Stride there.