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Game Developers Conference 2009

Independent Games Festival finalists revealed.


Jury of Previous IGF Winners, Leading Game Journalists and Game Industry Veterans Select Finalists from Record Number of Entries to Compete for Nearly $50,000 in Prizes

SAN FRANCISCO — Jan. 7, 2009 — The Independent Games Festival (IGF) has named the main competition finalists for its historic eleventh annual set of awards, celebrating the most ground-breaking creations to come out of the independent game community this year, as download store Direct2Drive (, a leader in digital distribution, has partnered with the festival as this year’s official Download Partner to offer distribution, promotion and an additional cash prize for IGF contestants.

From a record field of 226 entries, 30% over last year’s totals, a number of notable games scored multiple nominations this year, including orbital osmosis sim Osmos (3 nominations), abstract PSN action-er PixelJunk Eden (3 nominations), time-reversing guitar-compatible antishooter Retro/Grade (2 nominations), and atmospheric ball-ambulator Night Game (2 nominations).

Other examples of the finalists, which number more than twenty, include charming exploration-game Blueberry Garden and music-based block puzzler Musaic, both double nominees, and several of the finalists for the new Innovation award, including Ratloop’s Mightier, Jason Rohrer’s Between and Tale Of Tales’ The Graveyard.

Finalists were decided by a panel made up of over 40 industry-leading game creators and journalists, including the makers of previous IGF honorees World Of Goo, Braid, Aquaria and N+; industry veterans from studios including Maxis, Big Huge Games, and SuperVillain Studios; and noted writers from Wired, Newsweek, and MTV.

“IGF has seen another record-breaking year, both in terms of volume of entries and the bar of quality and innovation across the board,” said Simon Carless, IGF chairman. “We congratulate the amazing finalists, and thank Direct2Drive for working with us to help celebrate and encourage the creativity that comes from a healthy indie community.”

In an industry first, Direct2Drive has aligned with the IGF to serve as the festival’s official download partner, offering both promotion and a dedicated digital distribution vehicle for independent developers on Direct2Drive. In addition to IGF’s prize package, Direct2Drive will also offer an additional cash prize to IGF participants via a Direct2Drive award, which will be announced at GDC in March. The partnership signifies a larger initiative by Direct2Drive to support independent game developers both in the U.S. and in Europe (, which will include dedicated promotion and marketing of independent titles throughout the site and the IGN Network. Direct2Drive is a leading digital download store, which successfully distributes AAA titles from every top publisher in the industry and will now deliver that same service to top independent game developers by providing them with a dedicated platform to promote and sell their games to the more than 30 million unique visitors that visit IGN every month. For Direct2Drive’s indie games, check out

“We congratulate the newly announced finalists and are excited to partner with the IGF to help bring to market the best in independent games,” said Sutton Trout, VP Digital Content, Direct2Drive, “In conjunction with this partnership, Direct2Drive will be rolling out a number of features and promotions that will provide independent game developers a great platform to market and distribute their titles to millions of new consumers.”

Finalist games will available in playable form on the GDC show floor, and will compete for nearly $50,000 in prizes, including awards for Innovation, Excellence in Design, and the coveted $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize, as well as the new Direct2Drive prize.

Winners will be announced on stage at the prestigious Independent Games Festival Awards on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The Independent Games Festival Awards are held along with the Game Developers Choice Awards, and both award shows are part of the 2009 Game Developers Conference. Full festival information is available at

The finalists for the 2009 Independent Games Festival are:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

Blueberry Garden (Erik Svedang)

Osmos (Hemisphere Games)

Carneyvale Showtime (Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab)

Night Game (Nicalis)

Dyson (Rudolf Kremers/Alex May)

Excellence In Visual Art:

Zeno Clash (ACE Team)

PixelJunk Eden (Q-Games)

Machinarium (Amanita Design)

Cletus Clay (TunaSnax)

Feist (Filthy Grip)

Excellence In Audio:

Musaic (KranX Productions)

Blueberry Garden (Erik Svedang)

BrainPipe (Digital Eel)

PixelJunk Eden (Q-Games)

Retro/Grade (24 Caret Games)

Excellence In Design:

Retro/Grade (24 Caret Games)

Snapshot (Six AM)

Night Game (Nicalis)

Musaic (KranX Productions)

Osmos (Hemisphere Games)

Innovation Award:

Between (Jason Rohrer)

Mightier (Ratloop)

The Graveyard (Tale Of Tales)

Coil (From The Depths)

You Have To Burn The Rope (Mazapan)

Technical Excellence:

PixelJunk Eden (Q-Games)

Cortex Command (Data Realms)

Osmos (Hemisphere Games)

The Maw (Twisted Pixel Games)

Incredibots (Grubby Games)

The IGF was established in 1998 by Think Services to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers, in the way that the Sundance Film Festival honors the independent film community. A separate set of finalists, for the Student Showcase award, will be announced during the week of Jan. 19th, with the finalists for the IGF Mobile competition following in late January.

For more information on the Independent Games Festival and to register for GDC, please visit

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