Independent Games Festival finalists announced

Finalists include a light-based puzzler, a gesture-driven medical adventure and a cartoon-style platformer

Don't pay much attention to indie games? You ought to, if you're serious about groundbreaking gaming, and here's just the thing to pique your interest: The Independent Games Festival just laid out their main competition finalists for the twelfth annual award ceremony. Up for grabs? $50,000 in prizes, including the $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize, named after the eponymous 2000 IGF grand prize winner who died shortly after receiving the award in March 2000 from Hodgkin's lymphoma.

IGF 2010 take place on March 11 during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The finalists this year include three nominations for a light-based platform game called Closure, two nominations each plus a Grand Prize nomination for Pocketwatch Games' four-player co-op heist game Monaco, Hello Games' stunt motorbike racer Joe Danger, Ratloop Asia's action game Rocketbirds: Revolution!, Krystian Majewski's gesture-driven adventure game Trauma, and Team Meat's bloody cartoon-style action game Super Meat Boy!.

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Joe Danger (Hello Games) Monaco (Pocketwatch Games) Rocketbirds: Revolution! (Ratloop Asia) Trauma (Krystian Majewski) Super Meat Boy! (Team Meat)

Excellence In Visual Art

Shank (Klei Entertainment) Owlboy (D-Pad Studios) Trauma (Krystian Majewski) Limbo (Playdead) Rocketbirds: Revolution! (Ratloop Asia)

Excellence In Design

Miegakure (Marc Ten Bosch) Star Guard (Sparky) AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! -- A Reckless Disregard For Gravity (Dejobaan Games) Monaco (Pocketwatch Games) Cogs (Lazy 8 Studios)

Excellence In Audio

Super Meat Boy! (Team Meat) Shatter (Sidhe) Closure (Closure Team) Rocketbirds: Revolution! (Ratloop Asia) Trauma (Krystian Majewski)

Technical Excellence

Closure (Closure Team) Limbo (Playdead) Heroes Of Newerth (S2 Games) Joe Danger (Hello Games) Vessel (Strange Loop Games)

Nuovo Award

Today I Die (Daniel Benmergui) A Slow Year (Ian Bogost) Tuning (Cactus) Closure (Closure Team) Enviro-Bear 2000 (Justin Smith)

For more, check out the IGF's official news feed. My two cents: While I'm frankly dazzled by Closure, I'm really pulling for Ian Bogost's Nuovo-nominated Atari 2600 throwback, A Slow Year.

Follow me on Twitter @game_on

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Matt Peckham

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