The nominees for the 12th international A MAZE. Awards have landed, shining a spotlight on a bunch of brilliant, experimental, and subversive video games from around the world.
This year's nominees will compete for awards across six (as-yet-undecided) categories and the audience award. Organizers at the Berlin-based arthouse festival received over 287 submissions from 56 countries, but whittled that selection down to 25 nominees and 13 honorable mentions from 28 countries.
Another group of nominees have also been put forward for the Gender Diversity Award, which aims to champion women and gender marginalized developers.
The final jury will now work to select their categories before the winners are eventually announced at the Award Show on May 12, 2023.
The shortlist includes everything from digital poems, cultural experiences personal stories, vivid game worlds, and other works of interactive media art.
As always, it's worth perusing the latest group of nominees if you're at all interested in what daring and delightful morsels creators across the globe have been working on.
For instance, there's Human:Level, an experiment that combines live performance, theatre, and computer gaming by blending real and projected spaces. Narrative Discord game, Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration, which uses generative AI as a core mechanic in a bid to deliver emergent storytelling, also received a nod.
Other nominees include Player Non Player, which explores grief and intimacy through the lens of a brutalist puzzler-meets-dating-sim; Producer 2021, a graphic adventure novella that tasks players with disrupting the end of everything; and opera - a future game, an interactive, first-person music theater video game essay set far in the catastrophic future.
You can find the full list of nominees below, but be sure to visit the A MAZE. website for more details on each one. You never know what might catch your eye.
12th international A MAZE. Awards (2023) / Nominees
- Discordance (Unwired Dance Theatre / UK)
- Escape from Lavender Island (Jeremy Couillard / USA)
- Extreme Evolution: Drive to Divinity (Sam Atlas / USA)
- Flawless Abbey (CRITICAL REFLEX and Bed Head Games / Armenia)
- Human:Level (Fabian Kühfuß / Germany)
- It's just a dream (don't worry) (Laurenz Riklin & Leander Leutzendorff / Austria)
- King of the Castle (Tributary Games / UK, New Zealand, France, USA)
- Lost on Mars (Trey Ramm /USA)
- Mexico, 1921: A deep slumber (Macula Interactive / Mexico)
- Mind Diver (Indoor Sunglasses / Denmark)
- Onto Maizilind Unto Infinity (Kas Ghobadi, Julian Palacios / USA, Italy)
- opera - a future game (v. zur Mühlen, Köck, Bischoff, and Miotk / Germany, Austria, Switzerland)
- Player Non Player (Jonathan Coryn / France)
- Producer 2021 (Stuffed Wombat / Austria)
- Roller Drama (Open Lab / Italy)
- Scarlet Hollow (Black Tabby Games / USA)
- Schim (Extra Nice / Netherlands)
- Season: A Letter to the future (Scavengers Studio / Canada)
- Signalis (rose-engine / Deutschland)
- South of the Circle (State of Play / UK)
- The Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration (Aconite / USA)
- The Forest Quartet (Mads & Friends / Denmark, Germany, Brazil)
- The MetaMovie Presents: Alien Rescue (The MetaMovie / USA)
- Viewfinder (Sad Owl Studios / UK, Philippines, USA, Norway, Spain, Finland)
- Yugo: the non-game (Petrit Hoxha / Kosovo)
Gender Diversity Award presented by WINGS
- Finding Hannah (Fein Games / Germany)
- Psychotic Bathtub - The Story of an Escalating Mind. And Ducks. (natsha / Switzerland)
- Songs of the Lost (Apocablyss Studios / Canada)
- The Horticulturists (The Lovable Hat Cult / Denmark)
- Wayward Strand (ghost pattern / Australia)