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Indie Week Day Six: Nuovo Award

[Welcome to Indie Week at gameinformer.com. We’ve got a full seven days of indie game coverage leading up to the 2011 Independent Games Festival Awards. Check back daily for coverage of the top independent games of the year.]

Created to honor "abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development that advances the medium and the way we think about games," a Nuovo Award nomination is one of the highest IGF honors. A special jury comprised of “the top thinkers on the future of art and the video game medium” cherry-picked the eight final nominees.

The panel of judges includes Jason Rohrer (Between), Paolo Pedercini (Every Day the Same Dream), Ian Bogost (A Slow Year), and Daniel Benmergui (Today I Die), Clint Hocking (Creative Director, LucasArts), Eric Zimmerman (Diner Dash), Eddo Stern (TekkenTorture Tournament, Cockfight Arena), Frank Lantz (Creative Director, Area/Code), Jesper Juul (The Ludologist), Justin Smith (Enviro-Bear 2000), Rod Humble (Executive Vice President, EA Play), and Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn (Tale of Tales).

A WORD FROM THE IGF JUDGES:
"This year, the Nuovo Jury discussion focused on celebrating games that not only embody a strong authorial voice, but 'open the eyes of the audience (and other developers), that provoke discussion...not for the sake of being contrary, but for the sake of expanding the form, of treading on unexplored terrain.'

"The jury also felt Nuovo finalists should make the player 'feel lost at the beginning because they've never experienced such a language before, but then should feel delight when they manage to 'understand' it, and feel eager to build on it,' and should 'have some obscure magic that transcends analysis and picking apart of individual design choices.'"

BOHM
Other Nominations: N/A
Developer: Monobanda
Platform: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Price: TBA

A fantastic first example of a Nuovo nominee, Bohm is touted as a title you’ll want to play before bed. The game tasks you with nurturing the life of a tree. Intentionally slow and methodical, the focus of the game is to obtain a “zen-like experience without goals or a clear explanation.” Patience and relaxation are key, so don’t expect instant gratification.

As the tree’s caretaker you are able to grow it in size, spawn branches and leaves, and contort it into unique shapes with analog stick controls. Collecting clouds ensures the nutrition of the tree, which is indicated by the vibrancy of the grass at the trunk’s base.

Music changes dynamically as you make decisions, resulting in what the developer hopes is a poetic experience and an “interactive homage to the beauty, slowness, and peace of nature.”

There is no way to “win” Bohm, but eventually your journey will come to an end and you’ll have the opportunity to start anew. With experience comes control and eventually the ability to visualize and realize specific end results.

Check out the dreamlike execution of Bohm below.

 

[Next up: B.U.T.T.O.N encourages bad behavior]

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