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The Independent Games Festival (IGF) named two DigiPen student games, Penny Blue Finds a Clue and Guardian of the Gears, as finalists for the 2018 Best Student Game category.

The winner of the coveted IGF award will be announced at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco in March. Both DigiPen games head into IGF with some momentum from a successful 2017 season of game festivals:

  • Guardian of the Gears (DigiPen Team Studio 76): A beautifully crafted 3D puzzle-adventure game taking place on a dynamic — though decaying — clockwork world. As one of the Guardians, you must navigate a constantly shifting environment, solve the puzzles in your path, and save the world from the Disruptor, which covets the Clockwork’s power. Guardian of the Gears was also nominated as one of five finalists at the E3 College Games Competition in 2017.

  • Penny Blue Finds a Clue (DigiPen Team Cactus Curse): A funny and energetic adventure game that drops traditionally animated 2D characters into a stylish 3D environment. Described as “Nancy Drew meets Grim Fandango,” the game places you in the role of a babysitter to Penny Blue, tween detective. Deputized by Penny, you will interview suspects, collect clues, and help solve a tricky murder mystery. Penny Blue Finds a Clue was also named an official selection at IndieCade 2017.

The Independent Games Festival honors the “most influential, innovative, and acclaimed” games each year. Both Penny Blue and Guardian will be up against four other student games in their category, the winner of which will be announced on March 21, 2018. They hope to join the ranks of past IGF student game winners such as Tag: The Power of Paint (2009 Best Student Game winner) and Narbacular Drop (2006 Student Showcase winner).

Penny Blue and Guardian won’t be the only games with DigiPen ties featured at this year’s IGF. Tacoma, a “walking simulator” by indie studio Fullbright, earned nominations and honorable mentions in several categories. Tacoma features the work of 2012 DigiPen graduate Noël Clark, who served as lead animator on the project. DigiPen student team Guerrilla Nouveau will also be at this year’s GDC competing for the top prize in the alt.ctrl.GDC showcase. Their game, Striker Air Hockey, will be up against 20 of the most innovative hardware/peripheral projects of the past year.

We’re rooting for all the DigiPen students and graduates who are vying for awards this year. Here’s wishing them the best of luck March 21!

Team Studio 76

  • Jed Cho, Lead Environment Artist
  • Cameron Craig, Art Producer
  • Eduardo Gorinstein, Design Lead
  • Juli Gregg, Technical Director
  • John Lim, Concept Artist
  • Spencer Mauro, Audio Lead
  • Kaden Nugent, Producer
  • Roland Ocampo, Art Director
  • Madeline Rabbitt, Animator
  • Der Tai, Programmer
  • Samuel Valdez, Designer

Team Cactus Curse

  • Jason Burch, Co-Producer
  • Kylie Cave, Environment Artist
  • Erica Hansen, Art Lead
  • Jesse Hibbs, Design Lead
  • Garrett Huxtable, Level Designer
  • Cara Kornhaus, Character Animator
  • Hyung Park, Technical Lead
  • Thornton Prime, Composer & Sound Designer
  • Leonardo Saikali, Narrative Designer
  • Lauren Stutzriem, Director
  • Heather Towns, Environment Artist