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Return Of The Obra Dinn wins IGF Grand Prize

Continuing to copy the tastes of RPS, the Independent Games Festival Awards last night awarded Return Of The Obra Dinn the Seumas McNally Grand Prize during the Game Developers Conference, with a cheeky Excellent In Narrative award on the side too. We declared it our favourite game of 2018 so, y’know, good on ya Ian GF. Correct decision. The other prizes were won by Mirror Drop, Paratopic, Opus Magnum, Black Room, and After Hours, and ooh there’s two I don’t recognise and will have to check out.

Obra Dinn is time-travelling murder mystery set aboard a cursed ship, made by Papers, Please fella Lucas Pope. It was the only game to win multiple IGF awards this year, lifted the video game-shaped cups for both the Grand Prize and Excellence In Narrative. It is indeed grand. Gradually identifying the corpses, figuring out relationships between characters, and solving the terrible mysteries is a real treat. Also some of that sealife is, agh, god damn. Good. See our Matthew’s Return Of The Obra Dinn review for more and read our calendar witterings too.

Zachtronics won Excellence In Design for alchemical assembly puzzler Opus Magnum, which is somehow their first IGF award. That sounds so ludicrous I keep thinking “That can’t be right” and re-checking past winners but no, despite Design award nominations for Infinifactory and Shenzhen I/O, plus special mentions for others, this is the first. Opus Magnum is is dead good, even for a fool like me living vicariously through the elegant solutions I see pals show off through the oh-so-handy GIF exporter.

Excellence In Audio went to Paratopic, and I am very glad to see this first-person unsettler win something. It is very good. I will continue to repeat this: Paratopic is very good.

Perspective-warping puzzler Mirror Drop got the Excellence In Visual Art prize.

The Nuovo Award for boundary-pushing games went to Black Room, a game about falling asleep while browsing the Internet and drifting across- whoa, this looks good. I had not heard of Black Room, and will certainly look now. And now just because of its astonishing URL, http://hgjfkdhskjdgturrgehdsbjkfhdsjkahturaytklfdjjfjfff.net/blackroom.html. That’s a hell of a domain name.

Annnd lastly, Best Student Game went to After Hours, an FMV game I can’t say I’ve played either. Must look out for that.

See the IGF site for more on the winners, the nominees, and the special mentions. A lot of good games in there.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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