The 12th Annual Indepedent Games Festival celebrates the best in independent gaming, with a competition that highlights the biggest and brightest titles available this year. While the competition received a record 306 game entries, only the cream of the crop could rise to the top. Nearly $50,000 in prize money is up for grabs amongst the various prizes – an excellent payday for any independent designer.

While independent gaming and casual gaming aren’t exactly the same thing, it would be hard to deny that there’s a great deal of overlap between the two industries.  Games like Osmos, Machinarium, and Time Gentlemen, Please! could all easily be considered both casual and independent.  So when an event as big as the Independent Games Festival makes a major announcement, you’d better bet our casual ears are going to be perked.

This year’s nominees are:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • Joe Danger
  • Monaco
  • Rocketbirds: Revolution!
  • Super Meat Boy!
  • Trauma

Excellence in Visual Art

  • Limbo
  • Owlboy
  • Rocketbirds: Revolution!
  • Shank
  • Trauma

Excellence in Audio

  • Closure
  • Rocketbirds: Revolution!
  • Shatter
  • Super Meat Boy!
  • Trauma

Excellence in Design

  • AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity
  • Cogs
  • Miegakure
  • Monaco
  • Star Guard

Nuovo Award (art games)

  • A Slow Year
  • Closure
  • Enviro-Bear 2000
  • Today I Die
  • Tuning

Technical Excellence

  • Closure
  • Limbo
  • Heroes of Newerth
  • Joe Danger
  • Vessel

Many of the games in this year’s competition are not available to the public yet, such as the highly anticipated titles Joe Danger and Super Meat Boy!  However all will be playable in some form or another on the show floor.  IGF 2010 will run from March 9th-13th as part of the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) in San Francisco.  For more information, visit IGF.com.