April 5, 2006
As easily predicted Darwinia swept the GDC’s Independent Games Festival, and also predictably there is a bit of controversy over whether Darwinia deserved to compete, since it’s now distributed by Steam and has had some moderate commercial success. I think the answer is an obvious “yes” — Darwinia was created in true indie style, and just because the game is now moderately successful, by no means disqualifies it as indie.
Now, one could imagine an indie festival where all entrants must have a low budget, and/or cannot yet be distributed on a major label, and in fact get disqualified if they get signed before the competition finals, even if they were already accepted as a finalist. (Slamdance, the other high-profile indie game festival currently out there, is to date, intentionally or not, a “true indie” festival as such.) But in the case of Darwinia, it was low-budget sweat and tears, and even Steam is still pretty indie-ish — it’s a pretty young, small-to-medium-sized label, technically indie.
Kudos to Introversion! Sounds like the award ceremony was thrilling.
(This of course parallels the controversy over Savage in the 2004 IGF, which beat out an early version of Facade for the awards that we hoped we had a chance to win for — technical, audience, grand prize. As GTxA readers know Facade went on, competing with a completed version, to win Slamdance 2006. Which went almost totally unreported by the game media, I might add.)
Ah, awards. Love ‘em, hate ‘em.