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2011 Game Developers Conference

Minecraft digs up indie grand prize; Amnesia and Bit.Trip also honoured.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Mar. 2, 2011 — Swedish developer Mojang’s acclaimed 3D world-building sandbox title, Minecraft was a big winner at the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival tonight at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, earning the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game, as well as the community-voted Audience Award.

In a diverse set of award-winners, other Independent Games Festival award recipients included Frictional Games' psychological horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which took home awards for Technical Excellence and Excellence in Audio, as well as the sponsor-supported Direct2Drive Vision Award.

Elsewhere, noted independent developer Messhof received the $5,000 Nuovo Award – which honors abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which “advances the medium and the way we think about games” –  for his two-player art game, Nidhogg

In addition, QCF Design's short playtime dungeon crawl adventure Desktop Dungeons earned the award for Excellence in Design, and the Excellence in Visual Art award was won by Gaijin Games’ retro-psychedelic BIT.TRIP RUNNER.

Finally, the award for the Best Student Game went to the Myst-like abstract adventure game FRACT, from the University of Montreal, and Best Mobile Game was awarded to Ratloop’s unique ‘line of sight’ puzzler Helsing’s Fire.

All of this year's IGF winners and finalists are playable at Game Developers Conference at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor, which is open Wednesday, March 2nd through Friday, March 4 th.

Previous breakout Independent Games Festival award-winners include titles such as Braid, Limbo, Audiosurf, Castle Crashers, and World of Goo, and this year’s awards saw more than 650 total competition entries from all over the world.

The Independent Games Festival – which also includes a two-day Independent Games Summit on Monday, February 28 th and Tuesday, March 1 st as part of GDC – was established in 1998 by UBM TechWeb Game Network to encourage the rise of independent game development and to recognize the best independent game titles, in the same way that the Sundance Film Festival has honored the independent film community.

Organizers would like to thank this year's kind supporters of the IGF, including Crytek (Platinum Sponsor), Microsoft (Gold Sponsor), LucasArts (Gold Sponsor), Direct2Drive (Distribution Partner), OnLive (Hardware Platform Sponsor), Transgaming (Platform Sponsor), DigiPen (Student Showcase Platinum Sponsor), ENJMIN (Student Showcase Gold Sponsor), and Westwood College (Student Showcase Gold Sponsor). The IGF offers finalists both global exposure and over $50,000 in cash prizes to each year’s winners.

“This year’s record number of entrants were of some of the highest quality we’ve yet seen in the festival,” said IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer. “Congratulations to all the winners, who continue to raise the bar for what independent games can achieve. We’re all excited to continue showcasing the best in independent games, at the games industry’s highest-profile annual event.”

The IGF awarded the following games as winners of the 13 th Annual Awards:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($20,000)

Minecraft, by Mojang

Nuovo Award ($5,000)

Nidhogg, by Messhof

Excellence in Visual Art ($2,500)

BIT.TRIP RUNNER, by Gaijin Games

Excellence in Audio ($2,500)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent, by Frictional Games

Excellence in Design ($2,500)

Desktop Dungeons, by QCF Design

Best Student Game ($2,500)

FRACT, by University of Montreal

Technical Excellence ($2,500)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent, by Frictional Games

Best Mobile Game ($2,500)

Helsing’s Fire, Ratloop

Audience Award ($2,500)

Minecraft, by Mojang

Direct2Drive Vision Award ($10,000)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent, by Frictional Games

For more information about the IGF, and its finalists and winners, please visit

About the UBM TechWeb Game Network 

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About UBM TechWeb, a division of United Business Media

UBM TechWeb, the global leader in technology media and professional information, enables people and organizations to harness the transformative power of technology.  Through its core businesses – media solutions, marketing services and professional information – UBM TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed brands, applications and services in the technology market. More than 14.5 million business and technology professionals (CIOs, IT and IT Support managers, Web & Digital professionals, Software and Game developers, Government decision makers, and Telecom providers) actively participate in UBM TechWeb’s communities. UBM TechWeb brands includes: global face-to-face events such as Interop, Game Developers Conference (GDC), Web 2.0, Black Hat and VoiceCon; large-scale online networks such as InformationWeek,  Light Reading and Gamasutra; research, training, and certification services, including HDI, Pyramid Research, and InformationWeek Analytics; and market-leading magazines such as InformationWeek and Wall Street & Technology.  UBM TechWeb is part of UBM, a global provider of media and information services for professional B2B communities and markets.


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