6:33 p.m.: Gnarls Barkley's cover of the Violent Femmes' "Gone Daddy Gone" is blasting as we find seats in the press section. Cushy seats with recline-able chairs.
6:42 pm: Sam and Max introduce the start for the independent games festival. The mention of projectile vomiting is disturbing, but welcoming somehow.
6:43 pm: Jamil Moledina and Simon Carless march onto stage, noting that the show is being broadcast to the entire world. We sense somewhat sinister undertones.
6:45 pm: Someone in the press area screams "Simon Carless rules!" Journalist and industry insider, sure, but is he rockstar-screamworthy?
6:47 p.m.: Host Andy Schatz: "99% of us might not make it, and that's what makes everyone single one of you a hero" ... and another person screams. Are we at an Ozzy concert?
6:48 p.m.: Mod award nominees. And the winner is Weekday Warrior, a Half-Life 2 mod about the mundane. Four war-torn hippies take stag, the "righteous dude" in sunglasses shoots the double peace "I am not a crook" Nixon pose.
6:51 p.m.: Why they love students. They're "the ones who have not yet learned what's not possible." Student showcase nominees are shown, and the winner is Toblo, from a group of students at Digipen. Considering the usual course work, we'd say they were 3rd or 4th year students ... and they hate texture art. Think Doshin the Giant (all three of you out there who get that reference).
6:52 p.m.: Designer of Toblo just asked Brittany Auburn to marry him. See? Game designers get all the girls. I hope they have a giant Pac-Man wedding cake held up by a Toblo character.
6:54 p.m.: Schatz refuses to make a pre-written joke about the guy. What a wimp. Excellence in Audio award goes to Everyday Shooter by Jonathan Mak. He wants to get serious, is he going to propose too?
6:55 p.m.: Yes, yes ... "Colin, will you marry me?" Colin takes the stage and says no but still gives a concillatory hug. Mak walks off sad without a word.
6:57 p.m.: Sam & Max is testing their own independent game live for the audience. Rat splat, Max is still working out the kinks on the physics engine. "What's more innovative that dropping a rat and seeing how big of a splat he'll make? Bonus points for cracks in the concrete! ... Test build SDR 695 ... not bad, but it could use a few more iterations."
7:00 p.m.: Who put the pretty and the pretty into the pretty pretty ponies, time for visual art award. And the winner is Dan Paladin for Castle Crashers. He's not a man of many words, which is only fitting given the visual award.
7:01 p.m.: Props to DJ Charlie Malone for the music. Now on to IGF game design innovation, and Everyday Shooter gets it. That's two for them and zero (out of three) for Aquaria. No proposal this time, but he did downplay his work and suggest we try the other nominations.
7:05 p.m.: Schatz reminds us what independent means, just in case we're hear only understand two-thirds of the Award's name sake. IGF Tech Excellence -- our money's on Bang! Howdy based on name alone. And yet, our intuition and love for exclamation points must be shared by the voters! Two of the three creators take the stage dressed in cowboy hats and ponchos, dressed to kill.
7:06 p.m.: Quick note, this award show is very quick. Oscars take note.
7:07 p.m.: Samorost 2 takes best web browser game, and can't blame them for a game that gorgeous. We don't have the internet here, else we'd take a look at it now.
7:08 p.m.: Yet another short speech, how dare they not think everyone who helped them here! Wait, this is the independent awards, the list can't be that short.
7:09 p.m.: Carless and Moledina return. Some people near us complain they can't understand him past the accent, but we think they're just jealous that they don't have the sexy Brit drawl. They talk about cash prizes and Game Tap distribution.
7:10 p.m.: Rick Sanchez takes the stage and presents a video on what GameTap is up to. They show off the original titles (all three of them) and then mention recently-announced GameTap Indies, which leads into Sanchez's 3 distribution deals he'll hand out.
7:11 p.m.: Roboblitz take the $5,000 prize ... but don't they already get distributed over Xbox Live? That's a fine line and we could think of developers who could more use the cash.
7:12 p.m.: Cryptic Sea's Blast Miner wins, the creator takes out a copy of Dianetics and starts quoting ... "we lose a little of our quantity." So deep. A large applause.
7:15 p.m.: Everyday Shooter gets the third deal. "I gotta talk to my agent" and he leaves. We have to congratulate the guy on his tact.
7:16 p.m.: Audience award, Moledina and Carless present. Castle Crashers wins. Moledina reminds the audience that he loves the game. Good thing he's not giving an award to a game he hates.
Mark Morris and Thomas Arundel from Introversion, last year's Seumas McNally award, take the stage to offer advice, wearing jackets and ties with Darwinia man sewed in. Swearing a lot makes the list. Number five, most important: "do not take any money from publishers, they will only mess up your game."
7:21 p.m.: That concludes the IGF portion of the night. Carless speaks his sexy voice and the crowd screams out their love. Sam & Max returns. "Unforseen dev issues: I dropped the rat into the pretzel cart." Drat, we were hoping for Rat Splat. Maybe in Season 2.
And now for the more mainstream awards.
7:23 p.m.: Molina , Jason de la Roca take the stage. We want Simon back! We'd love to tell you what they're saying, but these ambiguous and obnoxious people right behind us complain about wearing suits and leaving the show. I have an idea for another new game involving gravity and a splat ...
7:24 p.m.: As requested, all the nominees stand up. Following the applause, three innovation honors are being given out: Line Rider's Bostjan Ravder [sp?] just screamed "yeah!" and walks off.
7:25 p.m.: Okami creators win the second innovation honors. In your face, AIAS! Some white guy unrelated to the game takes it "on behalf of Capcom." We were hoping for some of the Clover members. What a crock of --
7:26 p.m.: -- time for the third honors: Wii Sports. Moledina has a Mii hitting a home run. Miyamoto takes the stage and the room explodes. He's got a Mii shirt under a sports jacket. "I'd like to say thank on behalf of our staff members. Thank you voting for our Wii Sports. you'll hear about a lot tomorrow ... I'll spare you tonight," Miyamoto said, smiling the whole time.
7:29 p.m.: A Mega 64 skit about the Kuribo's boot from Super Mario Bros. 3. A bunch of odd looks, no altercations or cops. Oh wait, someone kicks him and he falls over! Now the foot has moved to the beach, he just can't stay up while making it over the dune. Angered, he crawls out of the shoe and off into the sunset.
7:31 p.m.: Tim Schafer takes the stage ... well, that's it folks! We're done blogging for the night; too busy oggling the creator of Grim Fandango.
7:32 p.m.: Change of heart. Schafer talks about caveman video games and their at-the-time awards shows. We hear they made the developers pay to participate in the awards (Oh, Okami). How retro ... seven years past.
7:33 p.m.: New studio award. Schafer is happy that he doesn't have to give his award from last year back. The nominees are being shown off in group photos, they're all so cute. Iron Lore wins for Titan Quest.
7:34 p.m.: We're now into the time of night where winners give real speeches and thank as many people as possible. Our level of comfort is back.
7:35 p.m.: An analogy about stubborn cats leads into best writing. The nominee list reads off like our list of favorite games last year. Winner goes to Twilight Princess. We're going to quipple with this one because (a) Sam & Max trumps all and (b) Twilight Princess is based on a decades-old plot. The recipient takes the stage and thanks everyone in Japanese. We understand Aragato, so we clap enthusiastically. The translator fills us in, telling the crowd that by clapping, we have signed ourselves away to slave labor.
7:36 p.m.: Schafer returns, talking up his latest night of sex, drugs, fast cars, glamor -- the life of a game designer. Wii Sports wins best game design. Not bad ... for a tech demo! (Oh yes, we went there. You want to fight about it?)
Time for another Mega64, this time from Dead Rising. Erotica points abound! Random trivia: the barricade scene was actually the second take. The first take was reportedly better, but a camera malfunction caused the film to be a wash. You'd think he'd know better. He's covered wars, you know.
7:40 p.m.: Eric Zimmerman, apparently for GameTap (and not Lab like we and he thought), takes the stage. He talks about game mavericks, honoring Greg Costikyan. "He has been working in the industry for longer than many of you have been alive." Greg is watching on the stage's steps as Zimmerman talks up his countless awards and Manifesto Games, a vendor for independent games online.
"Love him or hate him, and I know you do!" Zimmerman exclaims.
7:46 p.m.: Costikyan is on the mic, wearing a sport jacket and a shirt -- gaming chic! -- that says "Rock is dead: Long live paper and scissors." Costikyan talks of the problems with mainstream media and its repetitive, monotonous games. He uses big words, so many people zone out.
"Imagine gaming as sublime products of the human soul." Someone near us snorts but fear not, naysayer, Costikyan is talking about the future.
Okay, now he wants us to imagine a world where people are not ignorant of economics or politics ... get real, Costyikyan, our imaginations aren't that large.
"If we can imagine it, we can make it happen. Let us begin." All kidding aside, Costikyan gave some inspiring words that show he deserves the maverick award, whether or not you agree with him.
7:49 p.m.: Schafer returns. We were led to believe he was about to bring up Psychonauts but, no, best audio award. Guitar Hero II is announced, but we were hoping they'd mention every artist from every song available in the nomination list, as we could use a bathroom break. Winner goes Guitar Hero II.
7:51 p.m.: Pantheon: a cross between a panther and a lion. Schafer is working out his next game character live on stage. Character design award, more than a few hoots and hollars when Raving Rabbids are shown on screen. Winner goes to Okami, who we imagine is going to rake in the honors this year.
Random white guy returns! He's like a super hero. "Thanks, sorry they can't be here," and he runs off into a night.
7:55 p.m.: Censors and janitor's did not like Schafer's interpretive piece --- brown rage on the stage -- so it's time for Mega 64's A Boy and his Blob, Feel the Magic XX/XY (Thanks, I love you too ... oh wait, you're a guy. Sorry.)
New scene: Mega64 guys running around the metreon and get stopped by Miyamoto who looks at them disparagingly. Then a link character pops up, sees the scene, and sneak away unseen. The crowd erupts.
7:58 p.m.: Time for the Frst Penguin award, being given to Alexey Pajitnov. We are privileged to a Tetris montage with old pictures of the creator in giant Russian hats. Pajitnov is shown, and form his movements we can only make one revelation: the guy is actually a robot. Standing ovation, and from peer pressure we follow suit. Laptop still in hand.
8:00 p.m.: "I share this award with every Tetris publisher" -- that's a lot of thanks right there.
Schafer returns. "Are there any nerds in the audience?" Maybe he's lost his glasses. Schafer talks of dead jocks and the label nerd now being an acclaimed status. Best technology nominees are being announced ... Wii Sports again?! We are torn between ridiculous choices and seeing Miyamoto take the stage. Gears of Wars wins and the tech team, minus Cliffy B, give their thanks. "We're actually thinking of licensing that technology, so see us after the show."
8:03 p.m.: Schafer has been paying a kid in Singapore to play Oblivion. "Speaking of outsourcing, here is the award for best visual art." Cautious laughter at that remark. Best visual arts award goes to Gears of War and Cliffy B shows up to thank the art department on their behalf and a cohort reminds the audience of an awesome tech team. Yeah, we hear they won an award.
8:06 p.m.: Graham Divine of Ensemble studio presents Community Contribution honor to George "The Fat Man" Sanger. He's got more Wild West apparel than the team of Bang! Cowboy.
The Fat Man, "a giver," promises to keep the speech under 3 minutes. He gives a speech about having to write a song about world peace for kids with celebrities and middle schoolers and incoporating multiple genres, etc. "It was like the musical version of Daikatana," he quips. The story of hardship leads to a strong point: there's sacrifice from everyone and we're better off because of it.
8:15 p.m.: Time for a Richard "Lord British" Garriott to give the Lifetime Achievement Award to Shigeru Miyamoto. Lord British declares his favoritism to Nintendogs. We bet he has a puppy named Shiggy.
8:17 p.m.: A montage of Miyamoto's work, up to Mario Kart double Dash, is shown. This is going to take awhile. The Mario theme song is being played in the background. We know see a bunch of video of Miyamoto, including him with guitar, with zelda shield and sword, as conductor. Miyamoto takes the stage, crowd rises and screams. No one will let him sit down and talk.
8:19 p.m.: "I have a translator, so now I can speak a lot he said," smiling all the while. "I've done quite a lot of embarrassing things over the years," he said.
"Getting awards like this makes me feel old and like you expect me to retire soon. I personally feel very young and expect do this for long time. While I've been doing this for a long time, I've been surrounded by a lot of young people such as yourselves. And I've sucked up a lot of their life force in the process." So Miyamoto's a vampire.
8:22 p.m.: The game of the year nominees are being announced. Loudest applause goes to Okami and Wii Sports. Gears of War takes first prize! Cliffy B's first reaction: "Holy shit!" Thanks goes to family, Microsoft, girlfriend and Miyamoto for "inspiring me to do what I do every day." Now a thanks to the other nominees and a second nod for Microsoft.
8:26 p.m.: One last Schafer appearance, we're savoring it. That's it for the show! Thanks for enjoying this with us!