Best of the Independent Games Festival 2011
From 20 December 2011 to 25 March 2012, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) presents Best of the Independent Games Festival 2011, the fifth instalment of an exhibition celebrating the best new video and mobile games from award-winning independent designers around the world.
The ACMI-curated exhibition will present an incredible selection of award-winning games from San Francisco's 2011 Independent Games Festival with these games available for visitors to play in the gallery. Additionally, between 3 and 13 January, visitors can play some of these games live on the Federation Square big screen from 3pm to 4pm weekdays.
Opening at ACMI after being exhibited in Sydney and Brisbane, Best of the Independent Games Festival 2011 will feature 14 local and international games that push the boundaries of what video games can be. From the instant classic Minecraft - a multiple award-winner at the Independent Games Festival - to the mind-bending challenges of Australia's own Antichamber, this year's winning crop also includes the fast and funky sword play of Nidhogg, and the relaxing game Bohm, where the player's unusual challenge is to grow their own tree. The exhibition will also feature four games designed specifically for mobile devices.
Fiona Trigg, ACMI Curator for Best of the Independent Games Festival 2011 says, "There's a fantastic range of ideas and styles evident in this year's 'Best of the IGF'. With talent on display from Sweden, the United States, South Africa, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Australia, the exhibition is a great opportunity to sample new developments in gaming from around the world."
In a dual treat for video game enthusiasts, from 27 March until 08 July 2012, ACMI will also present Best of the Independent Games Festival 2012. ACMI will again work collaboratively with the Independent Games Festival to bring audiences the latest prize-winning games from the 2012 festival. Further details about this exhibition will be revealed in early 2012.
The Independent Games Festival - the world's biggest and longest running festival dedicated to independent games - was established in San Francisco when organisers were inspired by the success of the Sundance Film Festival, and the recognition and commercial exposure it provided to independent filmmakers. Believing a similar festival could be created to support independent game developers the Independent Games Festival was established in 1998 and has since grown to become an important date on the games industry calendar.
Best of the Independent Games Festival 2011 is exhibited in Gallery 2 at ACMI in Melbourne from 20 December 2011 until 25 March 2012. Entry is free. For further information please visit www.acmi.net.au Exhibition Overview
Winner: Seamus McNally Grand Prize, Audience Award
Minecraft is a sandbox game which allows players to build constructions with textured cubes in a 3D world. The game has become a phenomenal success selling nearly two million copies since its release.
Developer: Markus "Notch" Persson is a Swedish developer who began programming at the age of seven on a Commodore 128. Notch worked for several years at Jalbum as a game programmer before developing Minecraft. The success of the game allowed him to found his own company (Mojang), which is devoted to developing Minecraft. Notch is also a member of Swedish Mensa.
Amnesia - The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
Winner: Excellence in Audio, Technical Excellence, Direct2Drive Vision Award
A first person horror game with a focus on immersion, Amnesia is a game where atmosphere and story come first. The main character Daniel awakens in a desolate Prussian castle without any memories to explain his situation. A letter he has written reveals that his amnesia is self-inflicted. A dark descent awaits him.
Developer: Frictional Games is a company of five people located in Sweden, which prior to Amnesia released the Penumbra series. Thomas Grip, the lead developer on Amnesia, was influenced by Bioshock and the first 30 minutes of the game where the player has no weapons.
BIT.TRIP RUNNER (Gaijin Games)
Winner: Excellence in Visual Art
Race across the Moon, kicking down crystal walls and sliding under chomping moon-slugs, bound through the Robotic Mines and face off against the MinerMech, dash through the Big City on a quest to find friends and defeat the final boss together. RUNNER is the fourth entry in the award-winning and critically acclaimed BIT.TRIP series.
Developer: Gaijin Games is an independent company located in Santa Cruz, California that believes making games is both an art form and a form of fun. Company founder Alex Neuse began his career as a game tester for Star Wars.
Limbo (Playdead Studios)
Winner (2010 IGF) Technical Excellence, Excellence in Visual Art
Uncertain of his sister's destiny, a boy enters Limbo. A journey though an eerie black and white landscape of shadows, Limbo is a physics-based, mysterious, and unsettling adventure.
Developer: Playdead is a Danish company founded by Dino Patti and Arnt Jensen, who were both dissatisfied with their jobs in the gaming industry, and wanted to make a game based primarily on mood and imagery. Inspired by film noir, the game developers offer no tutorial, as they want players to figure out the journey on their own.
Finalist: Nuovo Award
The goal of Bohm is to create a beautiful tree and enjoy the tranquillity.
Developer: Monobanda is a company of five young people based in The Netherlands. Their latest game in development is called Mimicry.
Winner: Nuovo Award
Nidhogg is a fast and funky fencing game. An easy-to-play but highly addictive game.
Developer: Mark Essen is based in Brooklyn, New York. He started making games in high school, and his work is often featured in art galleries. His games are lo-fi and often very challenging for the player.
Hohokum (Honeyslug & Richard Hogg)
Finalist: Excellence in Visual Art
Hohokum is a 2D action adventure game for one player. The game provides a wide range of experiences, from arcade-action, to ambient, toy-like puzzles. Along the way, the player will explore an initially alien world with in an interesting control mechanism, gradually learning to navigate it effectively.
Developer: UK based game developers Honeyslug teamed up with artist and designer Richard Hogg to create this game. The work features beautiful graphics and simple puzzle elements that evolve as the gameplay progresses.
Desktop Dungeons (QCF)
Winner: Excellence in Design
Desktop Dungeons is a ten-minute 'dungeon crawl' adventure that distills a rogue-like genre to its most basic components, turning it into a single-screen puzzle adventure comparable to the likes of Oasis and Tower of the Sorcerer.
Developer: QFC is a company based in Cape Town, South Africa that approaches game design in the spirit of fun: "We openly aspire to be international rockstars and won't rest until you can't stop playing something with our names on it."
Faraway (Steph Thirion)
Finalist: Excellence in Design
Faraway is a one-button game where the player swings their way through a procedurally generated, infinite outer space, searching for 'clusters' and drawing constellations within them. The bigger the constellations constructed, the longer the player will stay in the game, and the higher they'll score.
Developer: Steph Thirion works on interactive art as well as games but his 2009 work, Eliss, made him a break-out video game art star.
Antichamber (formally known as Hazard: The Journey of Life) (Demruth)
Finalist: Nuovo Award
Anitchamber is about appreciating the simple things in life: experiencing the wonder of discovery, learning through curiosity and the unexpected nature of a world that human beings do not fully understand. Self-described by the developer as, "A philosophical first person single player environmental puzzle game", the game presents no goals directly to the player other than to explore.
Developer: Alexander Bruce is a Melbourne-based designer who created Antichamber on his own. The game has won or been a finalist in many international competitions and Alex hopes to release it in 2012. Games for iPad
Helsing's Fire (Ratloop)
Winner: Best Mobile Game
A game that requires the player to lead Dr. Helsing and his assistant Raffton on their quest to rid the world of Dracula's evil horde, and cleanse the unholy blight that contains them.
Finalist: Best Mobile Game
A spacial action puzzle game and interactive stringed instrument designed specifically for the iPad. The player strums the strings to manipulate the currents to their matching colours, creating both phonic and visual harmony.
Finalist: Best Mobile Game
Colorbind is a simple and relaxing puzzle game for the iPhone/iPod Touch. The player must join the dots by weaving colour strips with their finger.
Finalist: Best Mobile Game
The player creates instant jumps and slopes for a speeding skier with the tip of their finger.