8:26PM And last, it's Game of the Year and it goes to ... Red Dead Redemption! It looks like Rockstar San Diego are the big winners tonight! Well, Rockstar and Minecraft's Markus Persson who, between the IGF and GDC Awards may have been the evening's biggest winner.
Tim is wrapping things up. But first! A trailer for Doublefine's next downloadable game: Trenched! We'll have this trailer up in a couple minutes. Thanks for reading along at home everyone!
8:20PM EA co-founder Trip Hawkins is up to hand out the Lifetime Achievement award. "We're here to talk about Peter Molyneux." And here's Peter. "I am so unbelievably humbled by this award," says an obviously choked up Molyneux. "It is a truly honoring and humbling experience. I feel now like I have to go back and prove that I really deserve it."
Ha! He goes on to thank the people who put up with all the people who put up with his "absolutely insane addiction to designing games at press events." It's nice to hear someone like Molyneux, seemingly as elevated as one could hope to be in this industry, still be humbled by the recognition of his peers.
8:15PM MEGA64 is back ... except not with a skit this time. Instead, they're on stage and they're here to talk Pioneer Award, which is going to Yu Suzuki. And it's a skit featuring Suzuki purporting to reveal the planned ending to Shenmue – and it's epic. Android, rifles for arms – good stuff. Just so you know, our camera battery is dead, thanks to this morning's Nintendo keynote, coupled with this event. Look, we're sorry. That's all we can say!
8:06PM Jane McGonigal is onstage to hand out the Ambassador Award for the directors of the GDC Conference Associate program. Here's a protip from your friends at the 'stiq – if you want to attend GDC for free, and meet tons of interesting people aspiring to work in the game biz, you should sign up to be a CA. For example, Ms. McGonigal was a CA in 2003 and now here she is, the author of a new book and the head of her own game studio. The award: Tim Brengle and Ian Mackenzie. Tons of applause for these gents.
8:02PM Awww, no one was here to accept for Cut the Rope! Maybe they're really surprised right now! Innovation Award noms: Limbo, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Minecraft, Dance Central, and Heavy Rain. The innovation award goes to: Minecraft!
7:58PM MEGA64 skit #2 is up, and it's Heavy Rain time. As you can imagine, there are plenty of JASON jokes. Up now, Best Handheld Game: God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Dragon Quest IX, Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker, Cut the Rope, and Game Dev Story. Wow, the winner is the iOS title Cut the Rope!
7:54PM Best Technology Awards: Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, Red Dead Redemption, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, and God of War 3. Aanndd, Red Dead wins its third award of the night! "Wow, this is pretty crazy!" Really? Is it? You made a massive open world game with a huge online component and it took like six years. It's not altogether surprising you'd win Best Technology.
7:51PM "Everything in Limbo was done by only one guy, this guy here." How's that for street cred?
7:50PM Best Visual Art: Limbo, Black Ops, Red Dead Redemption, God of War 3, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. And the award for Best Visual Art goes to the wholly deserving Limbo!
7:47PM "I don't feel like I deserve this one because of Super Meat Boy being so awesome." Well played, Persson. Well played.
7:45PM "Downloadable games are the future ... which is what I keep telling my team when they ask why we don't make any money. Just kidding, I blame marketing." Ha!
The nominees are: Limbo, Monday Night Combat, Super Meat Boy, Minecraft, and Costume Quest. The winner (again!) is Minecraft. No wonder Notch didn't write a speech – he'd have had to repeat it a dozen times.
7:44PM MEGA64 time – it's a live action Limbo! They're walking around in all black with glowing white eyes, in parks, in grocery stores. "Will you please stop recording and leave my store." I wonder if these guys have ever been arrested.
7:40PM The nominees for Best Game Design: Limbo, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and God of War 3. Red Dead Redemption brings home its second award of the day.
7:38PM And the first nominee for Game of the Year is ... Black Ops. We get a little montage, while Tim Schafer undoubtedly rolls his eyes. Best Writing nominees: Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Heavy Rain, Red Dead Redemption. and Costume Quest. It'll be weird if Tim wins and presents himself with an award. "Whoever wins this award, we know the Heavy Rain guys are okay with it because every ending is equally valid."
The winner is Mass Effect 2!
7:34PM Being nominated in both the IGF and GDC speaks to how fast Minecraft grew, Notch says. "Apparently we're a real game now, so ... go indies!"
7:33PM Best Debut Game time! Whoa, "If they keep at it and work hard they too can someday be sued by Bobby Kotick!" The crowd eats it up. Nominees are: Limbo, Monday Night Combat, Darksiders, Super Meat Boy, Minecraft – in case you're not counting, that's three games published by Microsoft Game Studios. But it don't matter, because the winner is Minecraft!
7:30PM First award is for Best Audio – man, Schafer is tearing it up! Noms are: Mass Effect 2, Limbo, Halo: Reach, Red Dead Redemption, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. And the winner is Red Dead Redemption! Anyone who remembers the sound of skinning a bear will probably agree with this choice.
7:26PM And here comes the host, the inimitable Tim Schafer. "Video games or video games award shows. Which came first. Nobody knows."
7:23PM With IGF over, it's time for the GDC Awards. "If you want to see which game had the best space marine or the best boob physics, you're gonna want to sit tight." Snap!
7:22PM "Everyone that's ever made a game or played a game, you're awesome." Wow, that includes just about all of you!
7:20PM And the nominees for best indie game of the year are – Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Desktop Dungeons, Minecraft, SpyParty, and Nidhogg. And the winner is ...
7:18PM And here to deliver the Grand Prize winner is Monaco-dev Andy Schatz, who took the prize home last year. Oh, what's this – it would appear Team Meat is here to muscle Andy out of his prizes but he persists.
7:16PM Another IGF MEGA64 video – this one takes place at the HQ of a "major game studio."
"Hey, great job programming Madden 12!" It's a music video for Indie Dreamin' – wow, that's a catchy little number.
7:14PM The Nuovo Award is for "artistic, auteur-driven" games. The noms are:
... well, there's a technical snafu. The intro screen is on loop. Wow, that is artsy. Alright, it's fixed. The noms are: A House in California, Bohm, Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally Ok (BUTTON), Dinner Date, Hazard: The Journey of Life, Loop Raccord, Nidhogg, and The Cat and the Coup. This award comes with a $5k prize and the winner is Nidhogg! They're rocking body-sized jumpsuits – bold!
7:08PM Notch said he didn't have a speech ready ... which seems pretty short sighted if you ask us. Up now are three developers from the IGN Indie Open House with a silly video about being indie. A lot of these "reasons it's cool to be indie" sound a lot like reasons it's cool to be a professional video game writer. Including pants-free workdays. Now for the $10K Direct2Drive Vision Award and it goes to Amnesia. Yes, there is a giant check.
7:04PM It's time for the IGF Audience Award, with over 5000 validated email entries – the winner is (guess!) Minecraft.
7:02PM "Mom and Dad, you don't have to use an egg timer to tell me how long to play games. It worked out." Hear hear!
7:02PM The Excellence in Audio award was preceded by some commentary on all the reasons we don't listen to audio in games anymore – but that doesn't mean the nominees aren't all totally deserving. They include: Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Bastion, Bit.Trip Beat, Cobalt, and Retro City Rampage. And the winner is (perhaps unsurprisingly if you've played it) Amnesia is the winner.
6:58PM Excellence in Visual Art: Bastion, Bit.Trip Runner, Cave Story, Hohokum, and The Dream Machine. And Gaijin Games wins for Bit.Trip Runner! "I would like to thank everyone in this room first and foremost." While he didn't explicitly say everyone at home that bought Bit.Trip Runner, we're sharing our thanks with you. Oh, wait – he just thanked everyone that's played the Bit.Trip games so, if that includes you, pat yourself on the back. If not, what's wrong with you?
6:53PM This year, the IGF allowed mobile games to be eligible in all categories, in addition to its own. And here are the nominees: Colorbind, Halcyon, Helsing's Fire, Shot Shot Shoot, and Solipskier. Winner goes to Helsing's Fire which was, FYI, created by former Naughty Dog devs. As a big fan of the game, this writer heartily endorses this selection!
6:49PM Nominees for excellence in design: Desktop Dungeons, Faraway, Minecraft, Super Crate Box, Nidhogg. $2500 for the South African-made Desktop Dungeons. And yes, Luddy does know them! They get $2500 ... which is like ... a lot of Rand. "We kind of didn't write a speech because of ... Minecraft." That got some good laughs.
6:46PM And now, a highlight of the IGF – it's a MEGA64 skit. "The Most Independent Game in the World." The final boss: Walmart. Daniel Day Lewis wanted to be the lead? TOO CORPORATE!
6:44PM Host Anthony Carboni (you may recognize him from Bytejacker) is back onstage after a teary acceptance speech from Fract creator Richard Flanegan. We're going through the candidates for the Technical Excellence award. The audience was particularly clappy for the most notable candidates: Amnesia and Minecraft. The winner is Amnesia: The Dark Descent!
6:40PM After a warm welcome from new IGF chair Brandon Boyer, we're onto the first prize for Best Student Game and ... the winner is Fract! Sorry, Octodad fans.