IGF 2016 Finalists Announced

The Independent Games Festival turns up few surprises these days, and that’s okay. The term ‘indie games’ is banned by my hypothetical RPS Style Guide as they’re now so ubiquitous that they’re just, well, video games [two words -hypothetical ed.], y’know? Heck, we ourselves have already implored you to play most of this year’s IGF Finalists and Honorable Mentions, which were announced today. The IGF might not uncover a previously-unknown Next Big Thing, but it’s a fine reminder of fine games.

So, The Big One! The finalists for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize are: subway-building strategy Mini Metro (Alec dug it); murderously tough RPG Darkest Dungeon (one of the best RPGs, sez us); FMV mystery Her Story (see Wot Adam Thought, and its entry in the RPS Advent calendar); co-op bomb-dispose ’em up Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes (read our antics, and its calendar entry); time-slowing FPS Superhot (Graham dug the beta and I’m ‘flipping’ stoked for it); and delightful RPG Undertale (which we also adore).

That’s a good list of good games.

Cast your eye over the finalists and mentions in other categories to see many more fab games, many of which we’ve already told you are fab. It’s nice when games are nice, and nicer when we can all play them now ourselves.

The winners will be announced on March 16th, during the Game Developers Conference.

I would really like if the IGF turned up a few more wild and weird surprises I’d never heard of, mind. I like surprises.

There are other reasons why I’d strike ‘indie games’ from RPS, albeit with allowances for specific uses, but I’ll spare you my hypothetical wankings right now.

[Disclosure: by my count, I’ve dined with five folks on the list, two of them have crashed on the sofa, and for four years I lived with someone who chipped in on one nominee. That’s too many people to tell anecdotes about, so you just get a plain old boring disclosure statement. Sorry.]


  1. llamadave says:

    Would be interested to hear your hypothetical wankings if you don’t mind sharing.

  2. Rhodokasaurus says:

    Oh good, it’ll be fun to watch Elmo’s World, er i mean Undertale sweep all the categories.

    • LightSpirits says:

      Oh good, Undertale is a finalist, gives the babyboomers something to complain about.

    • ikanreed says:

      Undertale was nominated for 1 category and the grand prize. Hard to sweep when you’re not nominated.

      It’s going to win that category, beyond a shadow of a doubt, because the way it plays with its narrative is its biggest strength and why it’s so obscenely popular. But it’s not about to grab a graphics prize.

      • Ayslia says:

        While we’re doing predictions, I actually think it’s more likely for Best Overall to go to Her Story. The IGF tends to favor games with more novelty than Darkest Dungeon and with more of a ‘theme/message’ than Keep Talking, Mini Metro, and Superhot (although those are all good candidates for Design, imo). My personal prediction for Her Story over Undertale is based on a lot of factors, but the most obvious one is the number of nominations they both got overall (4 for HS, 3 for UT).

        Not that it matters, they’re all good games. But it’s fun to speculate.

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          FhnuZoag says:

          Her Story is already nominated in the ‘weird thing’ Nuovos awards category, so I dunno, I feel like that might actually hand the edge to Undertale, since voters are likely to give it the vote in that category and then give the nom to something else for the grand prize.

          • Ayslia says:

            I don’t really think HS is weird enough for Nuovo, considering the past winners (games like Luxuria Superbia and Tetrageddon). I can’t really throw in my own prediction for that particular award, since I haven’t played most of the games on the list. In any case, Cart Life won both Nuovo and Grand back in 2012, so it doesn’t look like winning one award is a barrier to winning the other.

        • Rhodokasaurus says:

          I’d like to see Her Story win as well. Very smart and well done game.

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        FhnuZoag says:

        It also has the nom for audio, which I think it has a strong likelihood of winning. Given the amount of time I’ve listened to the OST anyway.

    • Yglorba says:

      You should probably play it before complaining about it. It’s not as soft or as cutesy as the screenshots sometimes make it out to be (especially not if you start killing people, but even on a pacifist run there’s several really dark parts.)

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Hi. I just wanted to post because I figured my avatar would piss you off. Have a nice day.

  3. Matt_W says:

    Dear god, there’s no much Beginner’s Guide in those lists. Score one (or several) for trite, navel gazing meta-wankery.

    • Rhodokasaurus says:

      Allow me to blow your mind just now: the founder and president of the IGF is good friends and regularly hangs out with the creator of Stanley Parable and Beginner’s Guide. IGF isn’t unbiased, it’s an award show for people who are friends of other certain people. They don’t really try to hide it.

      And basically if we care about the results of the IGF awards that’s on us.

      • RobF says:

        “The founder and president of the IGF”

        Oh gosh. Please stop believing any old tat you read on the internet.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Oh no! People who work in similar lines of work, share spaces and common interests are friends! Collusion!

      • Kitsunin says:

        No, this is just how these award things are. Games which are about people making games have a certain edge over their competition, just like movies about people making movies are far more likely to win an Oscar.

        And for some, particularly creators of creative works, Beginner’s Guide was really powerful. Don’t act like it’s some nonsense conspiracy.

      • Niko says:

        You clearly have something against people who are friends with other people, ergo, you are not unbiased either.

        • Rhodokasaurus says:

          Hehe look at all you nerds desperate to make me feel bad. I didn’t even imply it bothers me, it doesn’t. Whether you care about the IGF awards is on you.

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    Aerothorn says:

    IGF certainly isn’t as obscure as it once was, but it’s still uncovering some games I’ve never heard of, like Oxenfree, Gnog, Forkride Grilltime Sloth, Epistory, Alto’s Adventure, Future Unfolding, Astroneer, Orion Trail, Imbroglio, Duskers, Soft Body, Heart Forth Alicia, Orchids to Dusk, Progress, Enough, Sentree, Vignettes, and Sage Solitaire – and that’s not including the student games.

    • caff says:

      Never heard of any of these – surely this is worth a feature in itself? “Indie games festival runners ups”

  5. anHorse says:

    Bit weird seeing an early access game nominated but I guess they can do whatever

  6. RobF says:

    “I would really like if the IGF turned up a few more wild and weird surprises I’d never heard of, mind. I like surprises”

    I was thinking this a lot whilst rummaging through the entries this year and had a bit of a moan about it earlier. George reminded me that there’s a recent rule that states that games must be substantially feature complete/ready to release within 12 months (if not released already) and I think that explains a lot of why there’s stuff missing now.

    It certainly took some of the magic out of judging but it’s kinda tempered that less folks are throwing the money down on MyFirstGame. I just wish there was a better way of having the latter without losing the magic.

    Anyway. I was glad to see a lot of the stuff I nommed getting either a finalist place or honorable shout out, so there is that.

  7. Cantisque says:

    This is probably my favorite awards event, if only because the competitors are all similar in weight. Most other awards shindigs end up with categories involving games budgeted at $50,000,000 to games that cost $500 and that’s neither interesting or entertaining in my opinion.