Reaching the hearts of players

Danial Norjidi

The winners of the second Indie Live Expo Awards were announced during a live stream on November 7, highlighting ‘indie games of excellence’ across various categories.

The awards were organised by the Indie Live Expo Board, an organisation comprising volunteers working together towards the goal of increasing player awareness on indie games, initially established by a company called Ryu’s Office.

Seven awards were presented, with recipients chosen by viewer votes and a panel of judges.

Rogue-like dungeon crawler Hades by Supergiant Games earned the biggest award of the show, the Grand Prize, which is given to one game selected from among the nominees across all categories.

According to the organisers, “The specific features for which creators are awarded in each category are but single facets of what we consider to be the beauty of indie games. The most suitable game for this prize would be one that seeks to foster the kind of friendship that can help us to overcome division, and – more than anything – serves as a prime example of the ‘Creativity Unbound’ spirit.”

Gameplay from Lonely Mountains: Downhill. PHOTO: MEGAGON INDUSTRIES AND THUNDERFUL PUBLISHING
Hades earned the Grand Prize, given to one game selected from among the nominees across all categories. PHOTO: SUPERGIANT GAMES

Hades was also one of the two winning titles, alongside Megagon Industries and Thunderful Publishing’s downhill mountain biking game Lonely Mountains: Downhill, of the Best “Game Feel” Award, which the organisers describe as an award that is “given to a game which feels lovely to play and you know is a creation of an artisan”.

Another winner was Coconut Island Games’ heart-warming simulation title Chinese Parents, which won the Local Cultural Representation Award, an accolade given to a game that portrays the creators’ culture and shows the charm and history of their home.

Meanwhile, the Theme of the Year Award is described as an award “given to a game that fits the theme of this era that shouts ‘this game is now!’”. Not For Broadcast, a simulation title from TinyBuild and NotGames where you control of a news organisation, was named the winner of the award.

Next up was the Best Characters Award, which is given to “a game which introduced a character that has that charisma”. Taking home the prize was Vanripper’s puzzle-adventure game Helltaker.

The award for Most Stream-Friendly Game went to Pocket Pair’s multiplayer survival action game, Craftopia. This award category is for “a game that has entertained people through the Internet in the form of competitive, co-op, couch with friends, a big laugh with multiplayer or ever streaming and let’s plays”.

The seventh and final accolade is the Rule of Play Award, which “is given to a game with groundbreaking mechanics or rules that get you hooked for hours”. The award went to Conor Peterson and Thunkspace’s chess variant game 5D Chess With Multiverse Time Travel.

As the organisers explained, “Our goal is to find games worth sharing. This is the very root from which the idea to present these awards has grown.

“These awards shall be given to games that are true to the indie tradition, true to what makes indie games so special.

“We have no interest in establishing a clear definition of what an ‘indie game’ is. We all know that what counts most is not the form of the thing, but the spirit behind it,” they said. “This indie spirit is the force that enables what creators strive to express to reach players’ hearts. Playing games, we can feel the spirit imparted by their creators. We wish to share the games brimming with this spirit, and experience them together.”

The organisers have announced that the third Indie Live Expo will take place in 2021.