Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 1, 2012
I don’t want to disparage the IGF right before the awards, ‘cuz I’m sure they will be awesome, and the games will be too . If they may not necessarily the best indie games of 2011, they will at least be quite worthy of attention.
But this post confirms some deep-rooted suspicions about the competition, which I hope will be improved upon in the future:
Quick Summary: Because the IGF chose TestFlight for their iOS distribution, which gave canny developers access to information on the judges’ activities with the game. In short, of eight total judges assigned to the game, one never installed the game, two others installed it but never played it even once, and of the other five, only three played it for more than ten minutes. Only one played it for nearly an hour, giving it what the author considered a good, honest shake.
Fair? Maybe, maybe not. While the $95 entry fee is pretty low, I’d still expect the judges to install and try my game for at least a few minutes. I understand the judges are busy folks too, and they may have their own methods of “weeding out” games that are clearly not going to make the cut for the year’s finalists. With all the entries this year, it’s understandable, and in a sense the first round of judges are the “slush pile editors” for the competition.
But it really makes me wonder, then, as to the value of the IGF. As many people have noted, the only games guaranteed to get a good, hard look are the ones that have already made a name for themselves. Games that are not already popular have the deck stacked against them, particularly if they are unable to stand out to the judges who are supposed to be giving them a serious look. Isn’t the IGF supposed to be about shining the spotlight on these otherwise “unknown” games? Or is it just a popularity contest?
I don’t know if there’s a good solution. Maybe the IGF needs to raise its entry fee and pay the judges a bit more and guarantee a certain amount of play-time on a title. Maybe there needs to be a better structure for how the nominations “ripple up” to become finalists in each category. Whatever the case, while a hundred bucks isn’t very steep, it’s enough that someone shouldn’t be concerned that their entry will be completely ignored.
Filed Under: Indie Evangelism - Comments: 16 Comments to Read