Wednesday, 2 August 2006

best of the 2006 independent games festival

Following the success of its inaugural showing of the Best of the Independent Games Festival (IGF) in 2005, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is proud to present the Best of the Independent Games Festival 2006, a selection of the most innovative and exciting new computer games from this year's 'Sundance Festival for Games' which will open in the Games Lab on August 2.

Among the eleven games that will be showcased in the Best of the Independent Games Festival 2006 is the grand prize, Seamus McNally award winner, Darwinia, a genre-bending mix of real-time strategy, arcade action, and puzzle games that also scooped the awards for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Visual Arts.

The success of Darwinia, where players create and manage squads of programs to defeat a Viral Infection and return the land to its natural inhabitants (the Darwinians), is an example of an independently developed game achieving financial success through using the rapidly growing avenue of digital distribution.

A new significant force in the gaming industry, Digital Distribution is a godsend to independent developers, whose chances of having their game developed by one of the big commercial publishers (and thus out to the masses) have become increasingly rare. With development costs averaging $20 million per new game, the major players have tended to eschew investing in new innovative (but untried) games, preferring the 'safe' option of developing already proven hits, franchises or movie spin-offs.

Direct-to-customer Digital Distribution services such as Steam (a content delivery service, described as the games equivalent of 'itunes') or X-Box Live Arcade significantly cuts back the massive development costs required to get a new game. With this reduced cost, independents now have an opportunity to market and distribute their products in the same global arena as the multinationals.

This years Best of Independent Games Festival event will showcase many prize winners and Award nominees from IGF 2006 including the groundbreaking time-manipulation platform title Braid, winner of Innovation in Game Design; the Student Showcase winner Cloud, a game that allows the user to experience the wonder, imagination and childhood (and adulthood) dream of flying through the clouds; Audience Award Winner Dofus a quirky Flash based massive multiplayer game with a rich online world to explore; opportunity to explore infinite space in the randomly generated worlds of Weird Worlds space adventures;  and Professor Fizwhizzle, a game of logic featuring a brilliant but absent-minded scientist who has been thrown out of his lab by his 'haywire' robots.

The IGF was established in 1998 in San Francisco to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers, in the way Sundance Film Festival honors the independent film community.  With this year's event attracting a record-breaking 118 entries from all over the world, the 2006 IGF reflects how global the game development community has become.

Exhibition Details:
Best of the Independent Games Festival 2006,
2 August - 19 November 2006,
Open Daily: 10am - 5pm,
Games Lab (Ground) at ACMI,

Supported by CMP Game Group and CMP Technology LLC.

Further information

Danielle Poulos, ACMI Communciations Coordinator
Tel: 8663 2415
Mob: 0417 540 543

Justin Rogers, ACMI Communications Coordinator
Tel: 8663 2475
Mob: 0412 172 887

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