indievisibility1.jpg

Last Saturday night saw the extremely coveted #indieVisibility end of year awards take place in London, UK, celebrating the very best indie games of the year with as much silliness as possible. The event was set up by the BAFTA-award winning (that title is now enforceable by law, he told me) Size Five Games dev Dan Marshall of Ben There, Dan That and Privates fame, and hosted by the guys at video games radio show One Life Left.

I'll get to the list of winners soon, but let's set the scene first. We're talking the upstairs room of a cosy pub, with enough space to move around in such that it was possible to get to and from wherever you wanted to be, but also just small enough that it was impossible not to talk to every single person you bumped into. The free booze, as supplied by the wonderful 'indie lawyers for you dot com' Sheridans also helped raise jolliness immensely.

The cream of the British indie dev crop was out and willing, and I ended up having swift chats with the likes of Alex May, Terry Cavanagh, Charlie Knight, Paul Taylor, James Whitehead and many others. Many people commented that they really weren't quite sure why they didn't come to this kind of thing every year, which I couldn't help but agree with.

The awards themselves kicked off quite early on, with Golden Teabags (literally a teabag spraypainted gold) given out to victors. You know how sometimes you watch amateur awards shows, and you find yourself cringing and feeling embarrassed for the quite unfunny host who is really trying his or her hardest? That didn't happen here. One Life Left was hilarious, taking stabs at winners who weren't there to collect awards and generally keeping the audience amused throughout.

indievisibility2.jpg
The awards were put together in collaboration with us here at IndieGames.com, the guys at RockPaperShotgun, as well as special awards from SYNSO dev Rob Fearon, Honeyslug dev Ricky Haggett and some guy called 'Notch' or something. They ranged from nearly normal awards, such as the "Best Placeholder Art", to very not normal awards like the "Most Fun On The Toilet" award.

It was really interesting to watch the reaction to each nomination read out. Obviously if a dev was in the room and their game was nominated, the entire room would cheer for them - but now and again, you had strange lulls in applause and even boos for games you maybe wouldn't have associated with bad press. A collective indie scene letting its daggers show is an intriguing sight to behold!

#indieVisibility was a really great night, and no doubt will become a yearly spectacle. Seeing the British indie dev scene come together under one roof is a lovely thing, and really needs to happen more often.

indievisibility3.jpg

IndieGames.com Strategy GOTY
Frozen Synapse - Mode7

IndieGames.com Platformer GOTY
Explodemon - Curve Studios

IndieGames.com Adventure GOTY
I Fought the Law and the Law One - ben304

IndieGames.com Arcade GOTY
Scoregasm - Charlie's Games

IndieGames.com RPG GOTY
Project Zomboid - Indie Stone

IndieGames.com GOTY
Minecraft - Mojang

Most at one with nature
Proteus from Twisted Tree

Rudest-Sounding
Vertex Dispenser by Michael Brough

Best Auralgasms
Eufloria by Omni Systems

Most Fun in the Toilet
Super Spike Dislike from Jayenkai

The Rob Fearon Award for having all the ideas and not leaving any for anyone else
Honeyslug for Frobisher Says

RockPaperShotgun best weird ambient rambling music thing
Proteus - TwistedTree

RockPaperShotgun best use of the Unreal engine
Waves - Squid In a Box

RockPaperShotgun best spaceship combat game
Stellar Impact

RockPaperShotgun best attempt to do what mainstream devs will not
Xenonauts - Goldhawk

RockPaperShotgun best co-operative experience
At a Distance - Terry Cavanagh

RockPaperShotgun best game of the year, best story, best doctors, best scene featuring a rabbit that makes you cry, and so on
To The Moon

RockPaperShotgun best use of a dead cat, 2011
Binding of Isaac - Edmund McMillen

Best Placeholder Art
Proteus - Twisted Tree

Best Glowing Lines
Frozen Synapse - Mode7

Loneliest Room
Kairo - Richard Perrin

Best Minecraft
Minecraft - Mojang

Nicest Man
Alex Tutty

Excellence in Character Design
Thomas Was Alone - Mike Bithell

The "Why the fuck is this free?" award for hating money
Stealth Bastard - Curve Studios

Notch's Game of the Year
"It hasn't been released yet, but the game that's inspired me the most in the last twelve months is Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga. It's a wonderful game about exploring and understanding. Not much is explained, and not much happens, but the style works amazingly well, and it's full of atmosphere and personality. It's affected how I do game design from now on. Using small tools to convey big messages that might not even be there is a wonderful thing."

[Pictures courtesy of the BAFTA-award winning Dan Marshall.]