[Update: The winner of the 2011 IGF Grand Prize was, not surprisingly, Minecraft.]
Months before popular indie game Limbo was a critical and commercial hit on Xbox Live, in-the-know industry watchers were well aware of the game, thanks to its multiple wins (Excellence in Visual Art and Technical Excellence) at the 2010 Independent Games Festival, an awards show held each year during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The nominees come from all over the map, from already-released indie games to works in progress that are far from sure to ever get a commercial release. Some are PC games, some are destined for Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network, and some are intended for iOS, Android, or other mobile platforms.
Dozens of games are nominated this year in categories from Excellence in Design to Excellence in Audio. The main award, however, is the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, named for the late indie game programmer and winner of the grand prize in 2000.
The nominees for the grand prize this year run the gamut, and include already popular games such as Minecraft and under-the-radar works in development like SpyParty (probably my personal favorite). I've gotten a chance to play several of these, some at GDC, others at other preview events, and still others in their already available commercial form.
The Grand Prize nominees are:ZDNet Gamification columnist and AOL Games.com Editor-in-Chief Libe Goad.]