Fez wins IGF 2012 Grand Prize

The movers and shakers of the indie scene came together at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last night for the 2012 Independent Games Festival awards ceremony, where prizes aplenty were handed out to this year's winners and future stars.

The movers and shakers of the indie scene came together at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last night for the 2012 Independent Games Festival awards ceremony, where prizes aplenty were handed out to this year's winners and future stars. Polytron's eternally in-development puzzle-platformer Fez lifted the Grand Prize and $30,000, four years after it won an IGF award for Excellence In Visual Art. Other notable winners include Dear Esther, Frozen Synapse, and Spelunky. The majority of the winners were decided by the hundreds of IGF judges and jurors, while the Audience Award was chosen by a vote on IGN, and the XBLA Prize was decided by a separate jury with Microsoft. Over $60,000 was awarded as prize money in total. GameSpot recorded the ceremony if you want to see it unfold, speeches and all, but here are your 2012 IGF winners. Best Student Game - $3,000 Winner:
  • Way (Carnegie Mellon University, Entertainment Technology Center)
  • The Bridge (Case Western Reserve University)
  • Dust (Art Institute of Phoenix)
  • The Floor Is Jelly (Kansas City Art Institute)
  • Nous (DigiPen Institute of Technology)
  • One and One Story (Liceo Scientifico G.B. Morgagni)
  • Pixi (DigiPen Institute of Technology - Singapore)
  • The Snowfield (Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab)


Technical Excellence - $3,000 Winner: Runners-up:
  • Fez by Polytron
  • Prom Week by Expressive Intelligence Studio, UC Santa Cruz
  • Realm of the Mad God by Wild Shadow Studios & Spry Fox
  • Spelunky by Mossmouth


Excellence In Design - $3,000 Winner: Runners-up:


Best Mobile Game - $3,000 Winner: Runners-up:
  • ASYNC Corp by Powerhead Games
  • Faraway by Steph Thirion
  • Ridiculous Fishing by Vlambeer
  • Waking Mars by Tiger Style

Beat Sneak Bandit

Excellence In Visual Art - $3,000 Winner: Runners-up:
  • Botanicula by Amanita Design
  • Lume by State Of Play Games
  • Mirage by Mario von Rickenbach
  • Wonderputt by Damp Gnat

Dear Esther

Excellence In Audio - $3,000 Winner: Runners-up:
  • Dear Esther by thechineseroom
  • Pugs Luv Beats by Lucky Frame
  • To The Moon by Freebird Games
  • Waking Mars by Tiger Style


Audience Award - $3,000 Winner:

Frozen Synapse

XBLA Award The winner picks up an XBLA publishing deal and funding from Microsoft. Winner:

Super T.I.M.E. Force

Nuovo Award - $5,000 Winner: Runners-up:


Seumas McNally Grand Prize - $30,000 Winner:
  • Fez by Polytron


From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 8, 2012 7:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Fez wins IGF 2012 Grand Prize.

    The movers and shakers of the indie scene came together at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last night for the 2012 Independent Games Festival awards ceremony, where prizes aplenty were handed out to this year's winners and future stars.

    • reply
      March 8, 2012 7:20 AM

      Does anyone else find it odd you can win two different years for the same (unreleased) game?

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        March 8, 2012 7:30 AM

        I find it odd that they have awards for unreleased games.

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          March 8, 2012 8:03 AM

          I never thought of it like that, but you're right that doesn't make any sense.

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          March 8, 2012 8:07 AM

          Most awards are about giving all the big, famous things a pat on the back. There's an element of that in the IGF, but it's also a lot about discovering exciting new things and bringing them to people's attention.

          I like this setup a lot more than conventional awards.

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          March 8, 2012 7:45 AM

          This nailed how flawed the IGF is. I'm glad it exists but it needs a lot of work. Hopefully 2013 is better.

        • reply
          March 8, 2012 7:52 AM

          “No, I totally get that it’s a bit of a dick move,” Fish says. “But it’s my job to promote this game the best I can. There was so much reaction like, ‘Oh, don’t enter it again, you don’t need the attention, you have enough attention right now.’ But the game isn’t out yet. It’s not a success, I’m not Minecraft at this point, like, I haven’t made a single dollar in five years. I have only accrued hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt that I need to pay back. There’s not going to be a point before release where I’m like, ‘All right, that’s enough hype. I’m just gonna sit down and wait for the game to come out.’ We are systematically entering every contest, every festival, everything that we can enter.”

          Wow, fuck that guy.

          • reply
            March 8, 2012 7:56 AM

            I don't even understand why it's taking so long to make. Isn't just a platformer? It hasn't redesigned it's art style either.

            Everything the guy says makes him sound like a massive douche caught up in the hype surrounding his game that we really don't know much about.

          • reply
            March 8, 2012 7:58 AM

            What? Why fuck that guy? He's risked a shit ton of cash and time making this game, by the looks of it, he's got every right to push it as hard as he can.

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              March 8, 2012 8:04 AM

              That doesn't earn you the right to be a dick and abuse rules.

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            March 8, 2012 12:14 PM

            I don't see anything wrong with what the guy is saying... he's broke and he's been working on this game forever to make it as perfect as he can.. and he intends on doing whatever he can to make the game successful and get back as much of that money as he can. I don't see anything wrong with that.

            • reply
              March 9, 2012 7:57 AM

              do you see anything wrong with him and three of his close friends being jurors?

              • reply
                March 9, 2012 8:19 AM

                Oh, yeah, well.. that's less 'ok' I guess. I didn't know about that.

        • reply
          March 8, 2012 8:12 AM

          "Anthropy feels that outsiders, the people who really need access to an audience via these sorts of events, are being left out. They’re being left out, she argues, in favour of established names.
          “Phil Fish – he’s already won,” she says. “He’s already got a contract. He’s already got money. Someone who is working out of their bedroom to who – whatever the prize is, like $5000 [the Grand Prize is actually a stunning $30,000] – would be something life-changing for them. This would be an opportunity to get more press than they’ve ever got in their lives but instead the press is regurgitated back to the people who already got the most of it and I think that’s really sad. And I think all that does is keep more people out, more of the people that I’d like to be in, that I’d like to be involved. "

          I ran into the same problem with some of my subscribed 3D design websites. At first it was about people that held 3D as a hobby and struggled to make it a professional career (like me), but now it's all about professional artists with high-paying jobs getting/ taking/ stealing the spotlight. $3000 would certainly be life-changing for me, but for some of the artists I see it's just a drop in the bucket.

      • reply
        March 8, 2012 7:37 AM

        Yeah it's kind of bullshit.

      • reply
        March 8, 2012 8:11 AM

        After all this kerfuffle, IGF is planning to change the rules so previous finalists can't re-enter the same game: http://www.gdconf.com/news/independent_games_festival/letter_from_the_chairman_welco.html

        Or, they're making a rule that none of 2012's final games can be entered into the 2013 festival. How far that rule will spread (whether 2012 finalists could enter in 2014, or whatnot), we'll see.

        • reply
          March 9, 2012 7:58 AM

          this is, of course, after the 'transitional year' where they allowed their friend's game reenter, a game three of the jurors were a part of at one point.

    • reply
      March 8, 2012 8:01 AM

      I'm starting to think this game is never coming out. I was excited when I saw the first trailer years ago and the idea was fresh. Now I couldn't give a fuck and the guy behind it isn't winning me over with his recent press.

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        March 8, 2012 12:17 PM

        I played the game at PAX last year and it looks a plays awesome. It's coming out... and it'll be great. It's just taking a lot of time.

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      March 8, 2012 8:03 AM

      I played Dear Esther and... I don't get it. The dialogue appears to have been translated from English to Japanese, then Japanese to German, then back to English.

    • reply
      March 8, 2012 8:08 AM

      Fez looks neat, reminds me of cave story.

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