Before I begin listing some of my personal favorites from this year's IGF competition, I should point out that the first round judging period is already over and my opinions stated here won't be an influence to any of the other IGF judges. I don't know which games made it into the finals. This article isn't supposed to be a prediction of any sort, and maybe none of them will make it as finalists either.

I do a bit of judging work for the IGF, and every year I try to play as many games as I possibly can from both main and student IGF competitions (as long as Windows builds were made available). Besides Brian Crecente, I don't know if anyone had posted about their personal IGF favorites, so I'm doing a list of ten games from the competition that I kind of like more than the rest. If any of these games make it to the finals, you too will get to play them at GDC next March.

I might write about the student entries, but I'm not really sure about that yet. And yes, a lot of good games were left out of this list. Which IGF entries this year were you most looking forward to?


1. Cogs (Lazy 8 Studios)
I doubt many people played the game because, well, Cogs is about sliding tiles around. Not a description that would get people clicking the download button immediately. But consider this: there's nothing better than catching the legendary Alexey Pajitnov (creator of Tetris) playing and enjoying your game at E3. (IGF page)


2. Limbo (Playdead)
Think of it as Heart of Darkness meets Ico. I'm not a big fan of games that employ silhouettes for graphics, but there is enough to play in the submitted build that shows the team is serious about not disappointing any of their fans who had waited two years for news about Limbo. (IGF page)


3. Owlboy (D-Pad Studio)
I know. Looks absolutely gorgeous, right? Doesn't seem to be much progress on the development front for Owlboy at the moment, but GDC couldn still turn things around for them. Here's hoping. (IGF page)


4. Resonance (xii games)

If I remember correctly, the AGS games submitted to the IGF this year are: Puzzle Bots, The Blackwell Convergence, Resonance, Boryokudan Rue and Ulitsa Dimitrova. Surprisingly enough, they're all pretty good. (IGF page)


5. Space Phallus (Charlie's Games)
One word: Nuovo. (IGF page)


6. Star Guard (Sparky)
I've tried to speed run this platform game as a personal challenge more times than I cared to count. For that reason alone it surely deserves a place on this list. (IGF page)


7. Super Meat Boy (Edmund McMillen, Tommy Refenes)
Let's just call Meat Boy the official mascot of indie games and move on to the next one, shall we? (IGF page)


8. Trauma (Krystian Majewski)
Mike posted about this some time back, and I was kind of skeptical about games that uses photos for in-game graphics, but after spending some time playing it I can say that it will surprise a few people if given a chance. I'm glad I did. (IGF page)


9. Vessel (Strange Loop Games)
I made this list just so I could write about Vessel. No clue as to why the development team did not release any media yet, but playing their IGF submission sure gave me the same goosebumps that Braid did. There are some really creative puzzles and challenges in this game. If only they could get David Hellman to work on the art! (IGF page)


10. VVVVVV (Terry Cavanagh)
VVVVVVery good indeed. (IGF page)


Also, I want to give one special mention to:

About a Blob (DrinkBox Studios Inc.)
Now, being an old-timer myself, I'm not exactly fond of cartoony-style graphics in games. And I wouldn't want to be caught playing something that was made for 'audiences of all ages'. But About a Blob actually has fun gameplay underneath all that cute exterior.

If you imagine Gish as an easier game with a more colourful setting, then you have a pretty good idea of how About a Blob plays. (IGF page)