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GDC08: Joystiq live at the IGF and GDCA awards

Ross Miller

6:34 pm PT -- We've arrived at the GDC's annual IGF and GDCA award show. This year we've moved up to the the tables in the front Very snazzy. So far, we've heard Pixies and Muse play overhead. We think we're hearing right now a very trance remix of the Wii Shop Channel music ... and it's wonderful.

6:37 pm PT -- Lights fade, clouded scene gets up. Someone from Mega64 thanks everyone for attending IGF until it cuts into a metal music explosion. "Do not get up" We're pretty sure it's a play on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie Introduction. Simon Carless and Jamil Moledina takes the stage.

6:38 pm PT -- "The show will be televised on national television" He means G4TV -- close enough, we suppose. Introducing the folks from developer Flashbang. A round of applause for the indie developers, the "heart and soul" of the industry.

Gallery: GDC08: IGF & GDCA | 16 Photos

6:40 pm PT -- Some sponsors are thanked. And now time for the nominations. Pocket Watch founder Andy Schatz takes the stage.

6:41 pm PT -- $50,000 in prizes will be given out, as well as $20,000 for the Seamus McNally. "As video game developers, we're like the Junos of the industry." Does that mean he's going to be sassy and pregnant?

6:42 pm PT -- A "mourning" on Narbacular Drop. He's sad to see her go big time, change her name to Portal. We've had some sick relationships with Portal, but nothing this public. He offers her (Narbacular Drop/Portal) some cake.

6:43 pm PT
- Student Showcase: Empyreal Nocturne, Flipside, Galaxy Scraper, Gesundheit, Mayhem Intergalactic, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, Polarity, Ruckblende, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Synaesthete, Foamzilla, Poesystem. The winner is Synaesthete, who we presume will smell the award with their hands before thanking the audience through taste.They thank the focus testers, and someone whoops. Hooray testers!

6:45 pm PT -- "When you talk about singletons, you make the rest of us look like simpletons." Nominees for technical excellence. Audiosurf, World of Goo, Axiom Overdrive, Gumboy Tournament, Goo!

6:47 pm PT -- World of Goo (not Goo!, mind you) wins for technical excellence."We're happy oh my god. But this is thievery." He thanks open source. The other guy gives thanks to the other indies. How sweet.

6:52 pm PT -- A Mega64 clip. "I'm independent." "I'm so independent what is Halo?" "I only play the classics" Shows Tic Tac Toe. "I'm so independent nothing goes through my body without being filtered through a videogame." (He gargles what looks like pasta sauce poured over a CD.) "I'm so independent I only play video games with my heart" He looks like he's humping the keyboard.

6:53 pm PT -- Back to reality. A word about Dan Paladin. "I've never seen anyone write such dirty things on a corporate board." With that in mind (scrotums on whiteboards), nominees for excellence in art.

6:55 pm PT -- Fez wins. And the creator, amusingly enough, is wearing a Fez. He wrote a haiku, which we will tell you now. He puts on his monocle first. "Oh shit, I popped it!" In the clear blue sky, an award ceremony, this is fucking awesome. Welcome this year's Jonathan Mak (Everyday Shooter). He thanks, among others, Jesus.

6:57 pm PT -- Introducing Yahtzee. Videos to come later. Everyone goes ballistic. Schatz is doing a Yahtzee impression (and stuttering a few times). Nominees for design innovation. Winner: World of Goo. Mom and dad is thanked, he puts in an monocle. "I told ou so, games aren't so bad, and I'm just happy everyone here is okay that we can make games here with no social responsibility and have awesome crap here."

7:00 pm PT -- Someone from Nvidia takes the stage for IGF mobile presentation. Critter Crunch, Kodo, EGO, Steam Iron: The Fallen, and PhoneTag Elite all won awards earlier in the week. Critter Crunch took top honors as best game and audio achievement.

7:02 pm PT -- Best audio category nominees. Audiosurf, Clean Asia, Cinnamon Beats, Ookibloks, Fret Nice. We can see him former the winner's name with his mouth. A pause. Winner: Audiosurf.

7:04 pm PT -- "Browsers have become so ubiquitous, what would procrastination be like without them?" He talks about his really, really cute Chill Penguin. Best web browser game nominees. Tricahtin, Iron Dukes (oh my god a giant crab!), The winner goes to Iron Dukes. We're given a very sweet speech -- booooring. Give us more Fez!

7:07 pm PT -- Wizards of the Coast take the stage -- not two people, mind you, actual wizards. (Okay we lied, it's just two people.) As platinum sponsors, they get to hand out the unfortunately-named "Gleemie." But first, a trailer for Gleemax, the "community for gamers," is showed. "Wow, thanks marketing," said the Wizards people, who earn a deserved applaud for self-deprecating humor.

7:10 pm PT -- 170+ entrants reviewed. The finalists: Crab Physics Deluxe, Depths of Peril, Polarity, World of Goo (again!). The bronze award goes to Quadradius. There's not letting them give a speech and moving on. Oh well. "Sky-rates" plunder the silver - handshakes, an award, and the walk off. "Bye bye," we wave longingly. The Gold Gleemie, $5,000, and a $7,000 distribution deal goes to Desktop Tower Defense. We're trying to figure out whether or not he's here to accept his award. "Anyone want a brain statue." DTD will be the first game on the portal as soon as Gleemex gets the code.

7:14 pm PT -- Time for the audience award. There were 3,800 votes, twice last year. Audiosurf takes the cake (so to speak).

7:16 pm PT -- Another Mega64 clip. Independent Inspirations to help give speech. Step 1: Practice Everywhere (given Mega64, you can guess what they're up to). Step 2: appreciation (he continues gives a speech at Burger King). We must have missed step 3, but step 4 is collect your trophy. Step 5: propose (which, if you recall, happened last year). Final step, don't stress, because no one cares what you have to say until you make a real game. (They flash Madden 08 on the screen to we dare say thunderous applause.)

7:19 pm PT -- The Aquaria developers, winner of last year's Seamus McNally, give the nominees for this year's prize. Nominees: Audiosurf, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Hammerfall, Moitu 2 Love 2 Devolution, World of Goo. Will Goo pull a hat trick? Winner: Crayon Physics Deluxe.

7:20 pm PT -- He pulls out the monocle. How dirty must that be. He has an acceptance speech he wrote on crayon, and he shows the paper to the audience: "Fuck Yeah." Great speech!

7:22 pm PT -- That ends the IGF awards, stay tuned for GDCA.

The GDCA Awards

7:23 pm PT -- The first video from Yahtzee. We're not going to provide quotes, we don't type fast enough. He's being fast-talking and angry. He's going double speed, even for him. BioShock wins the, erm, "he's a badass" award for shooting bees out of his hands. Moledina and Carless take the stage. They're explaining the nomination and voting process. Naughty Dog founder Jason Rubin is introduced.

7:27 pm PT -- Wonders if he's introduced Billy Crystal stage of his career. Not making games lately, he's been playing games. Considers this the best time ever to play video games. First award is game design. Nominees: BioShock, Mass Effect, Portal, Call of Duty 4, Super Mario Galaxy. Winner: Portal. No surprise, they play "Still Alive" as Kim Swift et al. take the stage.

7:30 pm PT -- "Wow, holy crap." She thanks Gabe Newell, Valve, Ellen McLean (voice of Glados), Jonathon Coulton, and all of us (you're welcome).

7:31 pm PT -- Best debut game, for developers who've released their first title (but don't fall into the IGF categeory). Nominees: Aquaria, Crackdown, Everyday Shooter, flOw, The Witcher. (It should be noted that three of these titles previously won IGF awards.) "Winner is Crack Time .... no wait, Crackdown!" Did he really just flub the winner's name?

7:33 pm PT -- A very quick acceptance speech and we see the first game of the year nominee, Rock Band. They show footage of the intro video, obnoxious models pretending to play, and 2-player drums and vocals.

7:34 pm PT -- Best Audio. Nominees: Everyday Shooter, BioShock, Mass Effect, God of War II, Call of Duty 4. Winner is BioShock. "Beyond the Sea" starts playing. Didn't Zero Punctuation use this song in his review? Emily from 2K is wearing a Double Fine t-shirt. That reminds us of Schafer Watch 2007, and how this year we've been sadly Schafer-less.

7:39 pm PT -- Best downloadable game. Nominees: Everyday Shooter, Peggle, Pac-Man: Championship Edition, flOw, Puzzle Quest (but that didn't start out as a downloadable title). Winner: flOw.

7:40 pm PT -- The entire team takes the stage. Kellee Santiago says she was elected to give the speech. "Thank you for making the games that inspired us to be here. Not the least those in our category." She thanks USC, Sony and Sony Santa Monica, and us again (wow, we feel loved). Kellee thanks her mom, whose birthday is today. We all just wished her a happy birthday.

7:42 pm PT -- They are really going through this fast. Time for best technology award. Nominees: Halo 3, Assassin's Creed, Portal, Call of Duty 4, Crysis.

7:43 pm PT -- The winner is Crysis. No surprise, given the notoriously tech-heavy engine behind it. A pretty typical acceptance speech. Bring on the proposals!

7:46pm PT -- Portal, the second game of the year nomination, is showcased. Enter founder of Big Huge Games Brian Reynolds for ambassador award to Jason de la Roca. "And here I thought being called a jackass and idiot on TV by Jack Thompson was award enough." Sorry, Jason, everyone gets called a jackass and idiot by Jack Thompson over every medium imaginable.

7:50 pm PT -- De la Roca thanks Henry Jenkins, the Penny Arcade guys for Child's Play Charity, and Danny Ledonne, "who most people hate but who is so articulate" and appreciative of the power of the game industry. Will Wright's brain should get an ambassador's award. Hah, Will Wright's brain could just make one in a life editor and watch in materialize in real-time. "Everyone of you is an ambassador for games." Does that mean we'll get awards, too?

7:52 pm PT -- The innovation award. Nominations: Rock Band, Mass Effect, Portal, Peggle (no, really!), flOw. Award goes to Portal. And now they're playing a version of "Still Alive" with Coulton's vocals (not nearly as entertaining). "If I know it would end here having to talk to you people on stage, we would have been a lot less innovative."

7:53 pm PT -- Another trend observation from Yahtzee. Realizing the Rock Star fantasy. References we heard: multi-phallic Japanese beasts, retarded drummers, the rock and roll lifestyle, sheep sex, early death, and gunshots.

7:57 pm PT -- Best visual arts (also known as eye candy award). Nominees: BioShock, Assassin's Creed, Team Fortress 2, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Winner is BioShock. Somewhere, Ayn Rand makes a note to claim her GDCA trophy.

8:00 pm PT -- Allan Alcorn, designer of Pong, comes out to honor Ralph Baer, creator of Magnavox Odyssey. A standing ovation, we'll be right back after this standing ovation.

8:03 pm PT -- "Thank you, it's an honor, and I'm still cranking out stuff." With that and a wave, he flies off on a magic carpet to another adventure. Super Mario Galaxy is showcased as third game of the year nominee.

8:04 pm PT -- A new category, best new handheld (for DS, PSP and iPod). Nominees: Peggle, Puzzle Quest,
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Contra 4 and Phase. That's two iPod games, folks. The winner goes to Phantom Hourglass, but we're really distracted by the techno Zelda remix that has plagued our ears. Someone who is clearly not Shigeru Miyamoto takes the stage to say thank you on the Nintendo team's behalf. We guess after he wins a lifetime achievement award last year, he doesn't feel like coming this time. Can't blame him, it's not an honor you can receive twice. Yet.

8:07 pm PT -- Best writing nominees: BioShock, Mass Effect, God of War II, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Portal. BioShock wins. Correction: Ayn Rand is making a note to reclaim this trophy.

8:08 pm PT -- One last Yahtzee clip, reviewing 2007. World of Warcraft's domination, fun capes, PS3 as a pop queen, Xbox 360 as a drunken show queen. Mario had 17 releases. Sonic as a Yahtzee character (which, honestl, traumatized us), piggy back riding 3D realms developers. We agree: if Duke Nukem 3D doesn't change art as we know and cure at least one form of cancer, we're gonna be pissed.

8:13 pm PT -- Call of Duty 4 showcased for Game of the Year. EA VP of Creative Development (an co-founder of Westwood) Lou Castle takes the stage to give lifetime achievement award to Sid Meier. More standing, we will be back.

8:14 pm PT -- As soon as we saw someone in front of us "raise the roof," we decided the only thing we could do was take a seat and try to figure out, philosophically, what we just saw and how it affects our interpretation of reality. Unfortunately, that caused us to miss the first minute of Sid Meier's speech. Sounds like the usual "thank everyone" acceptance speech, and he's now off and running with his trophy.

8:15 pt PT -- Castle is back to showcase final game of the year nominee BioShock.

8:17 pm PT -- Time review all the nominees. In case you forgot: Mass Effect, Rock Band, BioShock, Mario Galaxy, Portal and Call of Duty 4. Everyone seems to forget about clapping until Portal shows up. We wonder who crowd favorite is?

8:18 pm PT -- Portal wins game of the year! Gabe Newell and Kim Swift pop up onto the stage through a portal in the floor. (You're not seeing this so you can't prove us wrong. Looks like there is some benefit to not being able to take pictures.) Gabe says, given he doesn't have a cool Fez or monocle, he'll read a new haiku: Orange Box puzzle game? / Digipen students are smart / the cake is a lie. We'll applaud the effort, Gabe, but get someone else to do the writing.

8:19 pm PT -- As a gamer and not a game developer, Rubin takes the stage to thank everyone here who makes the games. And that's a wrap, thanks for joining us!

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