This past December, the indie gaming scene got to end the year in New York with the second annual Bit Awards presented by Playcrafting. Fans and developers filled the Tishman Auditorium at Parsons for more than just awards being handed out to the best of 2017, but for a night celebrating indie game development and the industry.
The night was hosted by actor Ruffin Prentiss, the voice of Watch Dogs 2‘s Marcus Holloway, who spoke about as his respect for the artists and developers in the room, and talked about his own gaming history starting from the Atari 2600. He also talked about how much he enjoyed being part of a video game that told a story, and how important it is to see the landscape of the industry and celebrate the creative and development teams that make it happen.
In addition to awards, the audience was brought into the show itself – Colleen Mackin, Parsons Professor and game creator brought her Metagame to the stage with members of the audience. Next up was ESC Game Theater’s Pete Vigeant, who led us all in a rousing game of Quiplash with not only folks on stage but with the show’s digital audience watching on Twitch.
As it goes for any show, the music is what sets the tone and the mood. And the music at the Bit Awards absolutely killed. The Bits, led by Street Fighter V composer Zac Zinger, kept the night lively with jazz tunes and spot on renditions of victory music from games like Chrono Trigger and various Final Fantasy titles. Boston presenting developer David Su brought music to the show as well, and along with Dominique Star and Laila Smith performed a song from his game Yi and the Thousand Moons.
And let me not forget for you Overwatch fans reading this – Mercy was on call as Lucie Pohl was in attendance to present the Player’s Choice award.
The night closed with the year’s Game Changer award being given to industry legend Warren Spector. Having his start in tabletop games, Spector was honored as creator of Deus Ex and Epic Mickey, and for his work on System Shock and Thief. Spector gave an inspiring speech about he wanted video games to change the world, and closed by challenging everyone to make video games that made people forget about his generation.
Playcrafting has been on a mission to shine a spotlight on indie gaming and developers. The Bit Awards came just off the heels of the first annual Play NYC, a games convention in August again focusing on indie games. I talk a little bit about it here, and guarantee you it shouldn’t be something you sleep on for 2018. Playcrafting provides people with the tools to not only learn the skills needed to develop games, but how to get those games off the ground as well through workshops and game jams. This is an organization everyone should keep their eyes on, and with events like Play NYC and the Bit Awards, they’re sure to be responsible for helping a new generation of great indie titles make the scene.
Here’s a list of all the winners below. For more info on the other demos and trailers premiering at the show, check out the Bit Awards official site.
Best Student Game – Studio Wumpus, Sumer
Best XR Game – Team Panoptes, Panoptic
Best Style – David Su, Yi and the Thousand Moons
Player’s Choice – Mot & Dot, The Ultimate Clapback
Tabletop Game of the Year – Vance Hall, University of Dope
Mobile Game of the Year – Simple Machine, Calculator: The Game
PC/Console Game of the Year – The Deep End Games, Perception
Rising Pixel, Boston – Ryan Canuel
Rising Pixel, San Francisco – Sorob Raissi
Rising Pixel, New York – MaryMartha Ford-Dieng
Game Changer Honoree – Warren Spector
Oh, and let’s not forget that fun afterparty – thanks, ESC Games Theater!