Independent Games Festival

All the Nominees for the 2017 Independent Games Festival Awards

Posted by | News, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

The annual Independent Games Festival is a prestigious peer-reviewed award show for the gaming industry. Nominees for each category of indie games released in 2016 have been announced. Thirty different indie games have been selected, with many receiving nominations in multiple categories.

Virginia tops the list with four nominations, followed by Inside, Hyper Light Drifter, and Event [0] with three nominations each.

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • Inside
  • Stardew Valley
  • Quadrilateral Cowboy
  • Event[0]
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Overcooked

Nuovo Award

  • Islands: Non-Places
  • Close
  • Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor
  • Oiκοςpiel, Book I
  • Everything
  • Virginia
  • Mu Cartographer
  • Lieve Oma

Excellence in Visual Art

  • The Flame in the Flood
  • Inside
  • Virginia
  • Old Man’s Journey
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • She Remembered Caterpillars

Excellence in Audio

  • The Flame in the Flood
  • GoNNER
  • Virginia
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Everything
  • Inside

Excellence in Design

  • Imbroglio
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse
  • Duskers
  • Overcooked
  • Event[0]
  • Quadrilateral Cowboy

Excellence in Narrative

  • Ladykiller in a Bind
  • 1979 Revolution: Black Friday
  • Virginia
  • Orwell
  • Event[0]
  • One Night Stand

Best Student Game

  • Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor
  • Lily, Colors of Santa Luz
  • Un Pas Fragile
  • FAR: Lone Sails
  • Frog Climbers
  • Bamboo Heart

The Independent Games Festival kicks off the annual Game Developer’s Conference, March 1-3, 2017. This year’s awards will be hosted by game designer Nina Freeman, whose game Cibele won the Nuovo Award last year.

Nominees for the IGF are reviewed by hundreds of judges and peers from the gaming industry who specialize in each category. The IGF also includes an Audience Award, where anyone can vote for their favorite title from the list of finalists above. Voting will begin later this month.

goy

Pixelkin’s Game of the Year 2016

Posted by | Feature, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Rather than settle on one game of the year, here at Pixelkin we feel like every one of our writers brings a unique perspective. Therefore our most prominent contributors have made their game of the year selections. Our hope is that these recommendations give you an idea of the great games of the year in all of our eyes.

Nicole’s Pick

Event[0]

I’ve been playing games my whole life and have been writing about them for more than 10 years. While there are many games that are great at what they do, it’s a rare occasion that I see something completely new. Event[0] is one of those games. Though the story isn’t that different from other AI gone wrong games like Portal, the gameplay is not only intriguing, it’s a lot of fun. Rather than listening to the  AI spout information to you, in Event[0] you have the chance to interact with that AI, whose name is Kaizen.

event0-screenshot-01

You use terminals throughout the environment to converse with the Kaizen. Very little direction is given in regard to what you should ask or say, so the conversations end up being unique to each player. And besides that, they can be very amusing. This is impressive given that even modern RPGs that are focused on choice only have a few canned responses. In Event [0] those responses are nearly limitless.

Kaizen is arguably one of the main characters, if not the main character in the game. Heck, he’s one of the most interesting characters in any game. You can’t proceed without his help and many times you’ll have to be nice to him to get him to help you. Kaizen is a witty and somewhat moody character. Many times I tried multiple approaches to see what he would say and it was endlessly entertaining.

Lots of games that are trying something new with their gameplay end up falling into a hole where the game falters in other aspects in order to accommodate that gameplay. Event[0] keeps an entertaining story and other types of gameplay intact while adding in something new. This game hasn’t received the kind of attention that it deserves. It’s unique, amusing and fun. That’s the reason why it’s my favorite game of the year.

Eric’s Pick

Stardew Valley

My game of the year came as a complete surprise. I knew I’d love Overwatch, XCOM 2, and Civilization VI. I’d never given much thought to sim farm games like Harvest Moon, but I ended up sinking over 70 hours into this charming, pixelated adventure.

stardew-valley

Stardew Valley plays like a love letter to 90s JRPGs, localized entirely within a single town. There’s so much to do in and around Pelican Town it’s often overwhelming, especially since the game takes place in a strict day/night cycle with real seasons. Explore the mines to defeat monsters and find treasure. Socialize with townsfolk to earn rewards, and maybe even a spouse. Fish, explore, trade, and participate in seasonal events. Each day brings a wealth of important tasks and new possibilities.

Stardew Valley is so much more than a farm sim, yet the farming portion is also immensely satisfying. There’s a wonderful balance between scrapping enough money to buy just a few seeds, to eventually turning your land into a well-oiled brewery or animal farm that makes more money than you know what to do with. It’s a great experience with a catchy soundtrack, surprisingly poignant writing, and some of the best pixel art I’ve seen. Stardew Valley deserves all the praise and accolades for being this year’s big indie success, and my favorite game of the year.

Stephen’s Pick

Overwatch

The time has come to bid farewell to one heck of a bad year. 2016 wasn’t very good for much, but we did get some amazing video games. Nicole, our fearless leader, asked me a few weeks ago to think long and hard about what my personal game of the year should be. I had a lot of options, because I played a lot of very cool video games. But, at the end of it all there is only one game that stands out as “the best” and that is Overwatch.

overwatch-screen

Overwatch is a brilliantly designed game that is possessed of a level of polish that is rarely seen in games today. Every minute detail in that glorious game is treated with care. You can feel the energy that went into development just like you can feel the excitement in a match rise naturally as it reaches its crescendo.

It isn’t just the details that make the difference though. Overwatch has managed to prove that an online multiplayer shooter with no single player campaign to speak of can be successful. And it achieved this goal by having an amazing set of characters that are well balanced against each other and all but forcing players to learn to play all of them in order to excel at the game. In most multiplayer games players are expected to select a “main.” This is the character you focus all of your effort into learning. With Overwatch the game forces you to learn all of them the same way you would learn the nuances of different weapons in other shooters. This would be bothersome if it weren’t for the fact that all of the characters in this game just so freaking COOL!

Speaking of characters – The world is a scary place and there are a lot of people who are more scared by people who are different from them. Overwatch doesn’t do that. It celebrates a cast of characters that celebrate diversity more than just about any game to have come before. If you have doubts, then look at the character select screen and take a look at all the different nationalities, body types, and genders represented. Its impressive, but what makes it better is that nothing feels forced. All of the characters are complete and well rounded. No one is the “token” anything. This is a great feeling when it feels like the celebration of diversity is being squelched elsewhere.

These are just a few of the reasons that Overwatch is a must play game. No excuses people. Go grab it and enjoy!