Now that the first round of IGF judging is complete (thanks to the efforts of hundreds of evaluators across the industry), the Game Developers Conference is thrilled to unveil the first group of jurors for the 2022 IGF Awards. The IGF juries are made up of experts in specific disciplines—who will play, evaluate, and discuss the most-standout games entered in the 2022 Independent Games Festival competition.
Here are the jurors who will be judging games in the Nuovo Award, the Excellence in Design Award, and the Excellence in Narrative Award categories:
The Nuovo Award
The Nuovo Award is a celebration of more esoteric and artful games. The jury for IGF 2022 will include the following members:
Pippin Barr: Pippin is an Associate Professor of Computation Arts at Concordia University and the Associate Director of the Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) Research Centre. He made games like The Artist Is Present, It is as if you were doing work, and The Nothings Suite, and he's working on a book about experimental game design. Pippin's website (available here) organizes his diverse activities into a central location.
Ben Gelinas: Ben is a veteran games writer and designer with one foot in indie and the other in AAA. His credits include writing and editing on Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect 3, Andromeda, Control, and the upcoming WB Montreal game Gotham Knights. Ben also co-created the weird conversation sim Speed Dating for Ghosts through his tiny Calgary studio Copychaser Games, and is currently working on a space journalism adventure game called Times & Galaxy.
Eris Koleszar: Eris is an award-winning musician and game developer working on the next big game from Giant Squid. You'll find her organizing and working with mutual aid groups in Oakland where, as in all things, she is trying to imagine and create what is new, what is next, what is missing.
Lonnie Rad: Lonnie is a writer based in Seattle. Their work curating and reviewing indie games has appeared in numerous online publications since 2012, including Kill Screen and IGN. They are currently a producer at The Game Band.
Liz Ryerson: Liz is a writer, composer, podcaster, and game designer currently based in Brooklyn. Her artistic and curation work explores the strange, ephemeral, and oft-ignored aspects of digital culture. Notable works include her experimental game Problem Attic, the music for the IGF-nominated Dys4ia, and the music and sound for the cult game Crypt Worlds.
Noah Sasso: Noah is a game designer and composer whose work has been displayed and performed around the world. Creator of Sportsfriends' BaraBariBall and the beloved @infinitedeserts, he currently works as a designer at Iron Galaxy Studios in Chicago.
Jennifer Schneidereit: Independent game creator specialising in beautifully crafted games with unconventional concepts. Co-created Tengami and Astrologaster. Co-founder of Nyamyam and Midnight Circus Games. Creative Director.
Kimberly Voll: A lifelong game developer, Kim is passionate about the role of games in society. She spent several years at Riot Games as a principal technical designer, where she led the company’s player-behaviour efforts and co-created the player-dynamics design discipline. In 2017, she co-founded the Fair Play Alliance, a global coalition of over 230 gaming companies focused on healthier, inclusive gaming spaces and practices. Kim has also released several independent games, including Fantastic Contraption for VR and co-founded and ran her own gaming studio.
Excellence in Design
The Excellence in Design award highlights the innovation and quality of the underlying blueprint of each entered game—including component parts like level design, mechanic design, and difficulty balancing. It will be awarded by the following jury:
Luis Antonio: Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Luis has spent more than a decade working in the videogame industry. Starting at Rockstar Games as an artist, then Ubisoft as Art Director, and now as an independent developer. He created art for The Witness and has recently released his directorial debut, the Tribeca Official Selection Twelve Minutes, an interactive thriller about a man trapped in a time loop.
Ji "Atlas" Chen: Atlas is a game designer and Design Manager at thatgamecompany. He has shipped titles including Sky: Children of the Light and Gemini: A Journey of Two Stars. He holds a MFA in Game Design from New York University.
Marina Díez: Marina is a Spanish award-winning game designer. She is the CEO at 3ofcups Games and the lead game designer for Dordogne at Un Je Ne Sais Quoi Studio. Marina is a Forbes "30 Under 30" honoree, a BAFTA Crew member. and a Women in Games Ambassador.
Cindy Miller: Cindy has been professionally designing games for the last 12 years. They have worked on a wide range of games, from We Are Chicago to Disney Infinity. They also help organize several local developer community groups.
Ben Wilson: Ben is an indie-turned-AAA turned-indie again gamemaker from the UK. He's currently at Die Gute Fabrik, working as the Creative Producer on their next project.
Jenny Xu: Jenny is a long-distance runner, artist, programmer, gamer, farmer, Forbes "30 Under 30: Games" recipient, and CEO of Talofa Games from the Bay Area. She is passionate about the intersection of fitness and gaming and was the grand prize winner of the Niantic Beyond Reality Contest in 2019. In her 12 years in the gaming industry, she’s created 130+ games for web and mobile, with 10 shipped titles on the mobile app stores with over 9.2 million downloads.
Kevin Zuhn: Kevin is the creative director, level designer, and lead writer at Young Horses Games. Their most notable game releases include Octodad, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, and Bugsnax.
Excellence in Narrative
The Excellence in Narrative award recognizes quality and impressiveness of storytelling in a game—including scenario, plot construction, story, dialogue, and other major factors. The 2022 award will be decided by these jurors:
Sam Barlow: Sam is the founder of Half Mermaid Productions and best known as a director and writer of games that push the boundaries of interactive narrative. With Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, he created a classic that psychologically profiled its players, and in Her Story he reinvented the detective genre for the YouTube generation. In 2019, he released his most ambitious title yet, the investigative thriller Telling Lies. He is currently working on a mystery project about cinema and death called IMMORTALITY.
Kate Gray: Kate is a games journalist and writer from England, living in Canada. Her work can be seen at Kotaku, The Guardian, Rock Paper Shotgun and Nintendo Life, as well as on the games Winding Worlds and Goodbye Volcano High.
Darshana Jayemanne: Darshana is lecturer in Games & Arts at Abertay University. He studies and teaches game narrative and digital youth culture. He is an organiser of Keywords in Play, an interview series on diverse games research, and the Game Engines Beyond Games symposium.
Cat Manning: Cat is a narrative designer and writer with a focus in procedural storytelling and social simulation mechanics. In addition to AAA work, she's worked on indie games like Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and Pathologic 2. She’s contributed to a number of celebrated emergent narrative projects, including the Nebula-nominated Scents & Semiosis, and the Nebula-nominated and Nuovo-winning Blaseball.
Andrew Plotkin: Andrew has been playing interactive fiction since there were home computers, and tried writing some shortly thereafter. He now helps run an IF nonprofit foundation and plays with other narrative game ideas.
Astrid Refstrup: Astrid (she/her) is the CEO of Triple Topping games, a Copenhagen-based award-winning studio that believes in transparency—everyone can find our employee handbook and contract on our website. She is also an advisor to the game fund Kowloon Nights. Previusly she lead the organization of Nordic Game jam togehter with a lot of amazing volunteers, she served the board as member and chair at Global Game Jam, and serves the board of the Danish Producer Asociation.
Leena van Deventer: Leena is the Creative Producer and Writer on Dead Static Drive at Reuben Games. She taught interactive storytelling at multiple Australian universities for six years, and wrote “Game Changers” for Affirm Press in 2016. She sits on the Board of Directors at the Victorian Women’s Trust.
Head here to check out all entries in the 2022 Independent Games Festival. Competition finalists will be announced early next year, with the winners announced at the IGF Awards (with a simultaneous broadcast on GDC Twitch) at the Game Developers Conference, which takes place rom March 21 to March 25, 2022 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.