Good Job! - Paladin Studios
Jury: “As this game has been developed not just for, but with Nintendo, they wanted to add their motivation: As a collaborative product alone, Good Job! is very special because it is Nintendo’s very first collaboration with a Dutch game developer. Paladin Studios did an incredible job in creating a stylized, creative, polished but most of all a very fun puzzle game. The game can be enjoyed in single player, but is even more fun by playing co-op, which is very accessible for everyone because you only need one Joy-Con per player. This makes it a perfect game to create some chaos at the office with a friend or family member.”
The Falconeer - Tomas Sala
Jury: “Someone who looks at The Falconeer for the first time might think this game was created by a large development team. However, this is not the case. Tomas Sala has managed to largely create this AAA production on his own. Art makes up a very important part of this impression. Tomas has managed to create a world where the player sees just enough to be amazed and entertained for hours, but also a view that allows the player to remain focused in fast paced battles. The mist, clouds and water work in perfect harmony to keep the player on the edge of their seat. What makes the game even more special is that it’s created without the use of textures. This self imposed limitation gives the world a very stylized look that is both believable and breathtaking.“
Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy - Ludomotion
Jury: “Unexplored 2 features an extensive, atmospheric and orchestral soundtrack. The soundtrack uses an adaptive system that pushes the music to a more suspenseful level or a feeling of accomplishment, depending on what the player is experiencing. In sound design as well it is clear the team pushed the boundaries of the expected by adapting the sound to different environments and even different times of day.“
Traffic Jams - Little Chicken Game Company
Jury: “The innovative aspect lies in the accessibility of all the features of Traffic Jams. Each action in the game is directly related to real life action. The main interaction is done through gestures, requiring no previous knowledge of the controls. Next to that, Traffic Jams offers an innovative multiplayer mode connecting the player in VR with people in the same room who can connect and interact with the world through their mobile phones.“
Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy - Ludomotion
Jury: “The content generator that drives Unexplored 2 is pushing boundaries. At the start of the game an entire world is generated for the player and seeded with many opportunities for adventure and quests. For each node on the map a level can be generated that is consistent with its appearance on the map and its pre-specified content. ‘Level stories’ are then applied to each location to make sure the same ruin can be a den of monsters, an Imperial encampment, or the site of a mysterious meeting. Over time these stories develop and change as directed by the development of the world at large and the action of the player.
The general approach of level generation in Unexplored 1 and 2 is based on years of research and experimentations with generative grammars for graphs and tilemaps.“
Best Game Design - powered by CoolGames
Good Job! - Paladin Studios
Jury: “There is no right or wrong in Good Job!, instead the team at Paladin encourages the player to solve the puzzles by any means necessary. Together with Nintendo we’ve built a game that allows the player(s) to travel through the ranks in a fictive office building, solving (physics based) puzzles in 32 unique levels across 8 floors, each with their own themes in terms of styling, music and gameplay mechanics. To mix it up even further, the environments are fully destructible and mechanics from one level can be brought in to the next for further creative puzzle solving.“
Best Commercial Achievement
The White Door - Rusty Lake
Jury: “The game reached beyond the existing fanbase of Rusty Lake games, selling over 250.000 copies in the first month.
What made the release of The White Door extra special was the simultaneous release of an alternate reality game. Players could call a telephone number mentioned inside the game, which led to a nineties website which players could hack. The hack would reveal 10 physical locations, from San Francisco to Tokyo. In each location, 10 handcrafted cubes with a special code were hidden that would unlock a secret ending in the game. More than 20.000 players engaged in this ARG through Discord and social media channels. Players went above and beyond by finding all the cubes in less than 24 hours. It created a lot of buzz around the game, including some big Youtubers live streaming the ARG quest!“
Best Applied Game
Sparky - LungGames
Jury: “LungGames shows a lot of possibilities with the development of Sparky. The game has a high entertainment quality for a young target audience (it is an engaging game for children). It is a fine example of entertainment being the basis of a good applied game. It has the potential to make a difference in the lives of young children with Asthma, especially in having a correct diagnosis at a much younger age. The possibility of using Sparky during treatment by physiotherapists is in development. Sparky is still being researched at the moment and the preliminary results look promising. Sparky has been tested by a large group of patients, with no dropouts in any of the feasibility tests so far.“
Best Debut Game
Deliver Us The Moon - KeokeN Interactive
Jury: “After many years of hard work, Deliver Us The Moon finally saw global launch in 2021 and it is clear the team has not been slacking. With breathtaking graphics, compelling storyline and beautiful soundtrack, Deliver Us The Moon addresses an uncomfortable apocalyptic scenario. With overwhelmingly positive reviews from the major game review outlets, KeokeN Interactive has truly made a name for itself straight out of the gate.“
Best Student Game
Arid - Sad Viscacha Studios - BUAS
Jury: “Arid was made by a team of no less than 21 people. For a student project it already is an accomplishment on its own to properly manage such a large team, let alone during a pandemic. Next to that the team went above and beyond to listen to feedback from the community and to learn more about their needs.
The team clearly made a big effort on understanding the technicalities of survival and innovated within the genre by incorporating the protagonist’s body temperature, hydration and sleep cycles. With an incredible length of 7 hours, professional voice overs, dynamic soundtrack and attention to the details of the Atacameño culture, Sad Viscacha Studio has delivered a game that matches the quality of an experienced studio.“
Jury: “As one of the leading VR game studio’s in the world, Vertigo Games is a logical candidate for this award. They took a niche in the games industry and mastered it like no other by combining development, publishing and arcades. Their recent takeover of Force Field is a very important event for the Dutch industry as Vertigo Games keeps growing, but also is a good example to illustrate the potential and quality of the Dutch industry, hoping to inspire stakeholders as well as the next generation of video game developers.“
Jury: “Sacha did her graduate internship about “inclusive hiring & recruiting” at Paladin Studios. In only a short timeframe she was able to build a network of people, including studio leads, and found them willing to talk about one of the hardest topics in the game industry: inclusion. She has since been invited to speak at several events and is now an official ambassador for Women in Games. She has connected studios and started conversations that have led to forming a task force to try and work on inclusion in the Game Industry together rather than as individual projects.
Although Sacha is still standing at the beginning of her career, we feel she has done amazing work in a short timespan. With this award we do not only want to recognize what she has already done for the industry, but we also hope to inspire her to carry her work forward.“
Lifetime Achievement Award
GameMaker opened up game development to thousands of aspiring indies around the world.
Christian: “Mark embodies game development, not just as the developer of gamemaker, but because even at 60+ he still gets a kick out of developing games and solutions for games. I worked with him at Tingly Games, where Mark continuously got involved in the team efforts of finding solutions to complex problems. This is extremely inspiring to the team. I believe Mark’s enthusiasm for game development has reached dozens inside his game companies, hundreds inside his classrooms and many tens of thousands through the work of Gamemaker.”
Juney: “The Dutch Game Industry Wise Owl is characterised by a depth of passion, ambition, and a cookie heart, though this is often camouflaged by its humble exterior.
I am one of many whose career was significantly kickstarted and boosted through the exceptional fortune of having had Mark as my teacher, advisor, and coach. Over the course of several years, Mark always had vision, and offered wisdom, insight, connections and support, without ever asking for anything in return.
He’s left his Mark on our industry, and he’s left his Mark on me, for which I’ll be forever grateful.“