In this year, we received 287 amazing works by international artists from 56 countries. With help of the selection committee, we nominated 30 of them and our independent jury honoured the most forward thinking, genre pushing works with one of the 5 awards. With the addition of the Audience Award, which is chosen by the community, and the 2.000€ Gender Diversity Award sponsored by Wings - we are presenting a total of 9.000€ in prizes. We thank everyone who submitted and encourage everyone to look at all nominations, honorable mentions and submissions. As every year, the selection is hard, but our artists entries excellent. So without further ado - The winners of the 12TH INTERNATIONAL GAMES AND PLAYFUL MEDIA FESTIVAL are:
“This year’s digital moment award goes to a game that focuses on pure movement, without adhering to conventional physics or mechanics. Navigating the game’s spaces is daunting at first due to their abstract, transcendental aesthetics. Playing the game for the first time is like making sense of a dream. Yet the game acknowledges this in its design by allowing you to experiment and steering you towards the sublime, and through it, towards the divine. The winner of this year’s Digital Moment Award is: Extreme Evolution: Drive to Divinity.” Laudation by Joon
“Alien Rescue is a thrilling space adventure where the in-game characters are controlled and voiced in real time by actors, leading to a magical experience once you realise that the world you are exploring is responding to what you do and say. It wants to encourage and empower you to have a voice in your own story — all while sharing it with others. A curated but personal narrative. An old premise in a new form, with immense potential for the future.” Laudation by Chris Wigley
PS5, PC, PS4
“Take a moment. The game immediately conveys a beautiful atmosphere with its style and sound. It starts building a narrative where you can’t help but wonder… what happened before?
In this gorgeous world you explore, you decide what’s important to you, what you want to highlight and what you want to carry with you. It is simply what you make of it. There is no rush. It invites you to stop and take a moment, otherwise you might even miss something cute, quirky or maybe even something sad. It invites you to take it all in and enjoy the wholesomeness that is ‘SEASON: A letter to the future’ by Scavengers Studio.” Laudation by Renate Hillen
“When we release our minds from the chains of reality, we unleash the infinite potential of our dreams to paint the world with colors unseen.
This is an invitation for true explorers who aim to dive into the unknown, uncovering hidden secrets in a world left behind. At the intersection of logic and imagination, Lost On Mars takes you on a journey through deserted landscapes in search of answers. Experience this game and discover how ordinary buttons and documents transform into an immersive narrative.” Laudation by Faezeh Khomeyrani
Sad Owl Studios
VIEWFINDER by Sad Owl Studios (United Kingdom, Philippines, USA, Norway, Spain, Finland) was selected by all participants as the winner of the Audience Award out of all exhibited works
“The beautiful but stark landscape evokes a particular sense of loneliness here. It creates a space of longing for human interaction, which is wonderfully fulfilled through surprisingly vulnerable characters and a simple but engrossing mechanic that stands to challenge the way we think about and play first-person perspective games. It’s strange and warm and complex. Player Non Player lays its soul bare — it’s a fresh and irresistibly human experience.” Laudation by Gabriel Koenig
“WINGS is very proud to return to A MAZE and present for the second year in a row the WINGS Diversity Award. Our mission at WINGS is to offer funding and opportunities to gender diverse teams and to amplify the incredible work they do in games.
The WINGS Award highlights outstanding games where women and other gender marginalised developers hold key positions. Selected from 5 incredible nominees, this year’s winner will receive the award alongside a 2000€ prize.
This year’s winner invites us to take a moment with our own selves. We open our eyes to find ourselves in a confined and intimate space, but are instantly confronted by the anxiety of being on our own, surrounded by darkness, silence and the echoes of our own overthinking mind. We are accompanied by everyday objects that can bring both relief and harm adding a sense of urgency and danger, keeping us engaged and invested in the outcome.
‘Psychotic Bathtub – The Story of an Escalating Mind. And Ducks.’ Draws attention to mental illness, is powerful yet funny and respectful. It is a testament to the power of games to promote awareness and empathy, and we are honoured to recognize its creator with this well-deserved award." Congratulations natsha and to all nominees! it’s wonderful to see so many fantastic projects in this category, and we can’t wait to see more from these teams in the future.” Laudation by Eliana Oikawa