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'Venba' Wins Grand Prize at the 2024 Independent Games Festival Awards

Visai Games’ Venba won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game at the 26th annual Independent Games Festival Awards on Wednesday. 

Venba is a narrative cooking game in which players experience life as an Indian mom who has immigrated to Canada with her family in the 1980s. Players cook various dishes and restore lost recipes, hold branching conversations and explore in this story about family, love, loss and more. In addition to the Grand Prize, Venba was also nominated in the Excellence in Audio, Narrative and Visual Art categories.

Here is a video highlighting this year's winners.

The Nuovo Award, which honors titles that make the awards jurors think differently about games as a medium, was awarded to Anthology of the Killer, developed by Thecatamites, Tommy Tone and A. Degen. Anthology of the Killer is a collection of funny, freeware cartoon horror games individually released on Game Jolt. With eight games so far and one more to come, they will all be released in one bundle for convenience once the final game is released.

The full slate of 2024 IGF Award winners represent a variety of aesthetics, stories and themes and includes Excellence in Narrative winner Mediterranea Inferno by EYEGUYS, a treacherous visual novel about friendship, desire and grief.

The Excellence in Design Winner, Cryptmaster by Paul Hart and Lee Williams, is a dungeon-crawling narrative adventure with a nostalgic visual style centered around a party of recently awakened dead heroes.

The Best Student Game, Once Upon a Jester by Bonte Avond, follows best friends Sok and Jester as they devise a mischievous scheme to steal the Royal Diamond. To complete their master plan, they must start an improv theater show and outperform every other act—including that of their rivals, Hofnar & Bok.

The Excellence in Audio winner, Rhythm Doctor by 7th Beat Games is a rhythm game where players heal patients by defibrillating in time to their heartbeats. Players learn each patient's unique heartbeat and defeat boss viruses trying to sabotage their rhythm.

The Excellence in Visual Art prize was awarded to Phonopolis, a new hand-crafted story-driven adventure game from Amanita Design, the Czech indie collective behind Machinarium, Creaks and more.

RAM: Random Access Mayhem by Xylem Studios won the community-driven Audience Award, which is chosen by fans through a public voting process.

Lastly, Chú Mó by The Chú Mó Team @ ArtCenter won the alt.ctrl.gdc Award, which honors the most engaging, intriguing, and well-executed game using unconventional, accessible or alternative physical controls. Like the IGF Awards nominees, the alt.ctrl.gdc titles are showcased in playable form on the GDC floor from March 20-22, and this year marks the return of this award, which was last given in 2019.

The winners of the 26th annual IGF Awards, along with the award amounts they've received, are:

Excellence in Visual Art ($2,000)

Phonopolis (Amanita Design)

Excellence in Audio ($2,000)

Rhythm Doctor (7th Beat Games)

Excellence in Design ($2,000)

Cryptmaster (Paul Hart & Lee Williams)

Excellence in Narrative ($2,000)

Mediterranea Inferno (EYEGUYS)

Nuovo Award ($2,000)

Anthology of the Killer (Thecatamites, Tommy Tone, A. Degen)

Best Student Game ($2,000)

Once Upon a Jester (Bonte Avond)

Audience Award ($2,000)

RAM: Random Access Mayhem (Xylem Studios)

alt.ctrl.gdc Award ($2,000)

Chú Mó by The Chú Mó Team @ ArtCenter

Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($10,000)

Venba (Visai Games)

The 2024 IGF Awards, which took place at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, is part of the longest-running festival, summit, and showcase celebrating independent games and their creators. All IGF titles, including both finalists and winners, are playable for any GDC pass holder at the IGF Pavilion located on the GDC Expo Floor in San Francisco's Moscone Center through Friday, March 22.

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