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Independent Games Festival

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IGF logo
FTL: Faster Than Light developer Subset Games at the IGF 2013
Fez developers with the IGF prize 2012
Aquaria voice actor Jenna Sharpe and developers Alec Holowka and Derek Yu on the reception of the IGF prize 2007

The Independent Games Festival (IGF) is an annual festival at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the largest annual gathering of the independent video game industry.[1] Originally founded in 1998 to promote independent video game developers, and innovation in video game development by CMP Media,[2] later known as UBM Technology Group, IGF is now owned by Informa after UBM's acquisition.[3]

The IGF competition awards a total of $50,000 in prizes to independent developers in Main Competition and Student Competition categories and held around the same time as the Game Developers Choice Awards event.

From 2007 to 2010, there was a separate event called IGF Mobile for mobile phone games.[4]

Competition Structure[edit]

The festival awards ceremony is split into two broad categories: the main IGF competition and the IGF Student Showcase.[2]

The main Independent Games Festival, held in March 2012 at San Francisco's GDC 2012, distributed nine major awards:[2]

  • Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($30,000)
  • Nuovo Award ($5,000)
  • Excellence In Visual Art ($3,000)
  • Excellence In Audio ($3,000)
  • Excellence in Design ($3,000)
  • Technical Excellence ($3,000)
  • Best Mobile Game ($3,000)
  • Audience Award ($3,000)

An additional award, "Excellent in Narrative", was added for the 2013 IGF.[5]

In addition, the IGF's Student Showcase competition gives out the following awards each year:

  • IGF Student Showcase Winner (eight winners, $500)
  • Best Student Game ($3000)

Prior to the Festival, developers have the opportunity to submit their game in a playable state to the IGF organization committee for a small fee. These titles are then sent to approximately 300 game industry representatives on the Nominating Committee; these representatives include both indie developers and more mainstream developers and publishers. Each Committee member can nominate any of the provided games to one or more of the categories. Then, for each award category, a pre-selected jury of between seven and fifteen members reviews the nominations and makes a final selection of six finalists (eight for the Nuovo award) and a number of honorable mentions.

The selected finalists are expected to present their games at the IGF during the Games Developers Conference; the show provides them a booth space and access to the convention, but finalists either must secure their own travel and lodgings, or name a proxy to demonstrate their games. During the convention, a separate jury selected by the IGF organization committee will review each game, and just prior to the awards, vote for one game in each category. The only exception is the Audience Award, which is voted through online forms by anyone interested.[6]

IGF Competition award history[edit]

Years given below indicate the year when the award was given, with the games or developers being recognized from the previous year.

(Main) IGF Competition[edit]

Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($30,000)[edit]

Nuovo (Innovation) Award ($5,000)[edit]

Excellence In Visual Art ($3,000)[edit]

Excellence In Audio ($3,000)[edit]

Excellence in Design ($3,000)[edit]

Excellence in Narrative[edit]

Audience Award ($3,000)[edit]

alt.ctrl.GDC Award ($3,000)[edit]

For games that feature unusual controls or user interactions.

  • 2024: Chú Mó[7]
  • 2020: None. Due to the cancellation of the physical GDC conference as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, this award wasn't given in 2020; the other IGF awards were given in a virtual presentation.[14]
  • 2019: Hot Swap[12]
  • 2018: Puppet Pandemonium
  • 2017: Fear Sphere


Retired awards[edit]

Technical Excellence ($3,000)[edit]

This award was retired starting from the 2014 competition onward.

Best Mobile Game ($3,000)[edit]

Best Web Browser Game (2006-2008)[edit]

  • 2008: Iron Dukes ($2,500)
  • 2007: Samorost 2 ($2,500)
  • 2006: Dad 'N Me ($2,500)
  • This category replaced the separate prizes for Web/Downloadable games awarded in 2004 & 2005.

IGF Mod Competition (2006–2007)[edit]

2007 Mod Awards[edit]

Best Mod ($5,000 overall): Weekday Warrior (Half-Life 2)
Best Singleplayer FPS Mod ($500): Weekday Warrior (Half-Life 2)
Best Multiplayer FPS Mod ($500): Eternal Silence (Half-Life 2)
Best RPG Mod ($500): Darkness over Daggerford (Neverwinter Nights)
Best 'Other' Mod ($500): Spawns Of Deflebub (Unreal Tournament 2004)

2006 Mod Awards[edit]

Best Mod – Doom 3 ($2,500): Last Man Standing Coop
Best Mod – Half-Life 2 ($2,500): Dystopia
Best Mod – Neverwinter Nights ($2,500): Rose Of Eternity: Chapter 1
Best Mod – Unreal Tournament 2004 ($2,500): Path Of Vengeance

IGF Student Showcase Winner[edit]

  • 2023: Slider
  • 2022: Live Adventure
  • 2021: Vessels
  • 2020: Bore Dome[11]
  • 2019: After Hours[12]
  • 2018: Baba Is You
  • 2017: Un pas fragile
  • 2016: Beglitched
  • 2015: Close Your
  • 2014: Risk of Rain
  • 2013: Zineth
  • 2012: Way
  • 2011: Fract • Octodad
  • 2010: Continuity • Dreamside Maroon • Gear • Igneous
  • 2009: Tag: The Power of Paint
  • 2008: Synaesthete
  • 2007: Toblo
  • 2006: Ballistic • Cloud • Colormental • Narbacular Drop • Ocular Ink • Orblitz • Palette • Sea of Chaos • Goliath • NERO
  • 2005: Dyadin • Intergalactic Shopping Maniacs • Mutton Mayhem • Rock Station • Scavenger Hunt • Soccer Ref • Squirrel Squabble • Stars and Stripes • Team Robot • War, Siege & Conquest: Battle for Gaia
  • 2004: Dark Archon 2 • Fatal Traction • Growbot • Hexvex • Hyperbol • Ice Wars • Kube Kombat • Scrapped • Treefort Wars • Xazzon

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shiels, Maggie (March 26, 2009). "Indie game awards showcase future". Technology Reporter, BBC News, San Francisco. BBC. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  2. ^ a b c "About the IGF", www.IGF.com.
  3. ^ Garrahan, Matthew (January 16, 2018). "Informa to buy exhibitions rival UBM for £4bn". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2022-12-10. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  4. ^ "Independent Games Festival Mobile". Archived from the original on 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  5. ^ "2013 Independent Games Festival announces Main Competition finalists". Gamasutra. January 7, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  6. ^ "IGF Competition Rules". Independent Games Festival. September 12, 2016. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Elderkin, Beth. "Venba wins Grand Prize at the 2024 Independent Games Festival Awards". Game Developer. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Tran, Edmond (March 23, 2023). "IGF Awards 2023: Full list of winners and finalists – GamesHub". www.gameshub.com. Retrieved 2023-07-23.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Dealessandri, Marie (March 24, 2022). "Inscryption wins big at GDC and IGF Awards". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Umurangi Generation leads the way at the 23rd annual Independent Games Festival Awards". Gamasutra. July 21, 2021. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "A Short Hike wins Grand Prize at the 2020 Independent Games Festival!". Gamasutra. March 18, 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-18.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Return of the Obra Dinn takes Grand Prize at the 21st IGF Awards!". Gamasutra. March 20, 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  13. ^ Chan, Stephanie (March 21, 2018). "Night in the Woods wins the grand prize at the Independent Games Festival". Venture Beat. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  14. ^ "Game Developers Conference 2020 announces virtual awards and talk schedule". Gamasutra. March 10, 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-10.

External links[edit]