Coverage of the Independent Games Festival

On the 7th of January the IGF announced its finalists. The Graveyard of Tale of Tales is one of the finalists in the category innovation. After the fiasco of their submission of The Endless Forest to the IGF a couple of years ago, I really hope they get the recognition they deserve with this game. But their nomination has motivated me to examine the other finalists further. So the upcoming weeks I’ll be ‘covering’ all the finalists of the IGF, starting with the category innovation.

The first finalist is Between, which I haven’t played yet, simply because I couldn’t! With much enthusiasm I downloaded it and started it up and then the damn thing said: ‘waiting for a friend to join’. You need another player to connect with your game in order to play it. So I promise I’ll play it before I write my entry about it. The description on IGF (“A networked game for two players about consciousness and isolation.”) is alluring.

The second game mentioned is Coil. I totally love the concept and the visual style, unfortunately I haven’t gotten past the second level, which is quite tricky. I like the simplicity of it, since you only need the mouse to play. It’s a funky little flash game, but very intuitive and provoking.

Then there’s the Graveyard, which is quite different from the other games and has a little more depth to it. Simplicity, yet also passivity play a major role in this game, since the controls are very basic and a big part of the game puts the player in a passive almost ‘viewer’-like role. This provides an interesting gameplay experience.

Mightier made me mad. Since it advertises itself with the sentence: step away from the computer. That immediately makes me angry, since there’s an assumption within that sentence that being behind a computer is bad, so they made a game that made you step away from your pc. You also need a printer and a scanner to even play the game. I’m not Mightier’s biggest fan.

And lastly we have You Have To Burn The Rope. Although I laughed myself silly and applauded at the end of the game, I feel almost ashamed that it’s a finalist in the innovation category of IGF. I can find something innovating in every single game nominated except for this one. That doesn’t take away the fact that I absolutely adore the game and it’s design is hilarious. It’s just not innovative.

Innovation within games is something I feel passionate about. I really believe that games have a lot of potential and that right now we’re only touching upon the surfice of their potential. Therefore these innovation awards need to reflect on those games that cross the line and experiment with new things. All in all the innovation category creates an interesting bunch of gameplay experiences and a good place to start examining the finalists of the IGF 2009.

You can find an overview of my articles on the IGF 2009 here.

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