The Indie Games Festival nominees
are now posted. The IGF is a showcase of indie games which exists as part of GDC
(early March, San Francisco, expensive). I was again invited to be on the jury for Excellence in Narrative
This year, I also took part in the first-phase judging -- sampling a list of some 670 games
of games, commenting on them, and passing recommendations up to the second-phase juries. So I have notes on lots of games!
The narrative nominees:
- Ladykiller in a Bind
- 1979 Revolution: Black Friday
- One Night Stand
In this post, I'll discuss these six games. In my next post, I'll talk about some of my other favorites from the candidate list.
- These are my comments, not my votes! I'm not posting my votes. If you've read any of my Design Ruminations posts, you know that I love to talk about what went wrong and right in a game, which is not the same as how good it was or how much I enjoyed it.
- I was also invited to vote for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, but I declined. While I looked at a lot of games, I concentrated on the story games and narrative experiments. I don't feel like I have a broad enough view of indie gaming to talk about "best of the year".
- I had access to free review copies of all of these games. (Pre-release copies, in the case of unreleased titles.)
Before I begin: I loved all these games. They were all high on my personal list during judging. I also loved many of the other entries!
This was a seriously hard year to judge. I don't mean it was a tight race; I mean... every game was on a completely different track. I was trying to compare text-dense games with completely wordless games. I was trying to compare visual novels with cinematic first-person games. At one point I was sitting there thinking "Which is more important to me -- good porn, real-world politics, or experimental film?" It's an unanswerable question! I wouldn't give up any of them!
Furthermore, all of the games were interesting -- which is to say, contentious in some way. I get that not everybody wants
sex in games, or real-world politics in games, or (for that matter) experimental wordless film techniques in games. Every game on this list came in for some design criticism during the jury discussion. Nobody liked all the top nominees. You will see my pros and cons below, both.
In the end, I consulted my feelings and turned in a list of votes. But in a different month -- on a different day
-- I might have put a different game on top.
(This post is not my voting order. I will discuss the games in the order that I played them.)