Extra Lives: And the winner is…

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The annual Independent Games Festival awards took place earlier this week, and they looked better than ever; everything about the show was of much higher quality than years past, from the jokes to the graphical presentation.

The awards come after what many (including myself) would consider a very bad year for gaming, Between broken  being released as finished products and mountains of hate on the internet, it’s easy to sometimes lose faith in the industry. But indie games, and, consequently, the IGF awards, remind me why I love video games to begin with.

The show started off great, managing to crack jokes about both host Nathan Vella and last year’s grand prize winner Lucas Pope. The awards went seamlessly, broken up at points by shot parody videos that elicited a laugh or two, despite being a little politically charged.

That’s not to mention all of the great games that were recognized this year. “This War of Mine” won the Audience Award, and I couldn’t have been more happy. The game itself is an amazing look not just into the brutal effects of war, but also how war is depicted. It’s a beautiful game that raises serious questions about how war is glorified in the media, particularly in video games themselves.

Other notable games from the show include grand prize winner “Outer Wilds,” which I can’t wait to try out, and “Tetrageddon Games,” which you all should try out.

The show concluded with an impassioned speech from Vella condemning the harassment of game developers on the internet. He received a standing ovation from the entire crowd, but this is actually the part of the event that seemed to garner the most controversy. I heard from many different people that this speech was anti-GamerGate, but it didn’t seem that way to me at all. Vella was simply condemning the harassment and threats many people involved in the industry have faced in recent months. Yes, much of this has come from people claiming of be a part of the GamerGate movement, but it’s right to condemn that hatred, even if it appears to be insulting a well-meaning movement that’s been poisoned by trolls.

Political issues aside, this awards show was a great one. I look forward to watching the IGF awards again next year.

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