PGDF Awards (part 1)

Getting awards isn’t really a priority in all my game-makings. I’m not keen in joining sponsored/professional competitions. They tend to be serious and stressful and that level of competition just isn’t fun for me. Besides, the games I like to make and the games judges expect rarely exist in the same universe.

Sure, I dream of making a game worth entering in the IGF but only for the thrill of having my game played by the people I look up to and getting interesting feedback.

Back in college, my cousin and I decided to join a local film festival. It wasn’t big or anything, but it was a ‘celebration’ of Waray film making. (Yes, apparently Waray film making exists). Knowing the most likely entrants, the Liberal Arts /Humanities folks, we expected a bunch of serious, artsy “socially relevant” videos with sad piano scoring. We hate that kind of films. I’m Waray, and that’s not the kind of movie that represents me. Something has to be done! So with a digicam, a ski-mask, and a basic premise, we went around the campus one afternoon and made our own art film. The artsy stuff still won the competition but we had the entire audience laughing. Except for some minor grammar corrections, our awesome poet+professor congratulated us on our “intelligent comedy”. This was a big deal because he’s a guy who can weave multiple layers of humor into a poem IN WARAY-WARAY.

4 years later, I have given up on my plans on winning a Cannes and turned to making bidyogeyms instead. A month ago, I saw this:

Is this legit?

It sounded like a cool idea. But somehow it reminded me of that film festival. Is this a sincere celebration of whatever video game making progress we made as Filipinos? Or is this another attempt at self-validation by the game companies? Is this legit enough to bother joining?

Who are the likely entrants?

The Philippine game industry is small and most of them are into outsourcing, so fewer still are companies with original IPs.  Having only one or two companies join and getting awarded because they have a different business model isn’t exactly the purpose of this event… is it? But wait, mobile has been a buzzword this year and developing in it is relatively accessible maybe there are a bunch of low key game devs who made something awesome recently. There are also browser games. There’s at least the possibility of diversity.

What’s the judging process?

Again, small industry so I have a fair idea of who the jury might be composed of. I’m not a big fan of judging by criteria just as I don’t like game reviews that score audio, graphics, gameplay separately. The criteria might serve as a guide and won’t be strictly followed I suppose.

It says in the application form that I can only choose to nominate a game at most 3 categories. Maybe they are expecting a lot of entries, to make it easier for the judges? But shouldn’t categorizing the entrees be part of the judging process? People who want to award video games should know enough to see which category applies to what game, shouldn’t they?

What are the award categories?

Third, I checked the categories and the first bullet point LOLd me: “Cultural Award”.

Making games about Filipino culture, just like making ‘educational’ games, is a touchy subject for me. Games that are designed for this purpose are usually horrible, immature perversions. They are less about culture and educating than they are about asking for societal validation. “Look Ma, you say games are a waste of time. I made a game with maths and also tell you what our national flower is.” The situation was similar to the film festival.

Something has to be done!

I’ll enter a game, a “local culture” game. I’ll nominate it for an unrelated category and see if the organizers care.

Nominating for Best Mobile Game would be too easy. The description hints at it being about culture.

I will also nominate a super awesome totally indie game and see how it fares against the IPs of the game companies.

"Indie spirits" sounds like an awesome publishing company. They also sell liquor.

(part 2 here)