AGDA finalists announced for 2021

The Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDA) nominees list has been announced. The digital ceremony will take place on 6 October.
The AGDA nominee list has just been announced.

The finalists for the 2021 Australian Game Developers Awards (AGDAs) have just been announced. The AGDAs covers ten categories for games, as well as several awards for outstanding contributions to the industry. Winners of these awards, which include the Adam Lancman award, Rising Star, Studio of the Year, and the Raising the Bar Awards will be announced during the online award ceremony on the final day of the GCAP conference, 6 October.

This year, the AGDA nominees suggest an incredibly promising year for debut games. All three nominees for Game of the Year are debuts from local studios. Sbug Games’ debut WEBBED, a cute physics platformer where you play as a peacock spider, picked up nominations for best gameplay and audio in addition to its Game of the Year nod. The Artful Escape, creative vision of Johnny Galvatron of The Galvatrons, also picked up nominations for Art and Audio. The final GOTY nominee, Witch Beam’s meditative title Unpacking, swept the field, getting nods for Art, Gameplay, and Accessibility.

Last year’s AGDA winner for Best Narrative, Cécile Richard, has been shortlisted once more in 2021, after winning for their Bitsy game Under a Star Called Sun in 2020. This year, Richard is nominated for another poetic microgame, entitled Topography. Here is the full list of nominees:

READ: Introducing the Mentors for Wordplay: A Games Writing Mentorship Program

AGDA Game of the Year

  • WEBBED (Sbug Games)
  • The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur)
  • Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Read: The Artful Escape is a sight and sound to behold

Excellence in Art

  • The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur)
  • art of rally (Funselektor)
  • Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Excellence in Gameplay

  • Unpacking (Witch Beam)
  • Ring of Pain (Twice Different)
  • WEBBED (Sbug Games)

READ: Webbed – Finding effortless joy in movement and playfulness

Excellence in Narrative

  • TOPOGRAPHY (Cécile Richard)
  • The Forgotten City (Modern Storyteller) 
  • Choices That Matter: And The Sun Went Out (Tin Man Games, Screwtape Studios)

Read: The Forgotten City epitomizes the storytelling power of games

Excellence in Audio

  • WEBBED (Sbug Games)
  • TRIOS (Samurai Punk) 
  • The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur)

Excellence in Accessibility

  • Submerged: Hidden Depths (Uppercut Games)
  • Unpacking (Witch Beam)
  • Eastern Market Murder (True Crime Games)

Excellence in Mobile Games

  • The Oregon Trail (Gameloft Brisbane)
  • Eastern Market Murder (True Crime Games)
  • Botworld Adventure (Featherweight Games)

Excellence in Serious Games (Applied/Impactful)

  • Sharmila (World Food Programme and Chaos Theory Games)
  • Streets of My Town (Institute of Games)
  • TRIOS (Samurai Punk)

Excellence in Ongoing Games (Games as a Service)

  • Pico Tanks (Panda Arcade)
  • Crossy Road Castle (Hipster Whale)
  • The Sims FreePlay (The Firemonkeys)

Excellence in Emerging Games (Student or Early Career)

  • Pebble Witch (Fuzzy Ghost)
  • Project Wingman (Sector D2)
  • Video World (Things for Humans)

Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob