Gears of War 2
Gears of War 2 may not have been an indie game and it was definitely not starving for attention, but it certainly made an impression when Cliff Bleszinski announced it back in 2008 at Microsoft's Game Developers Conference keynote.
There will be no keynotes at GDC this year from Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony, which makes us a little sad, as years past we've seen several game announcements at GDC.
However, EA did just unveil a new SimCity at a press event this week so that's something!
Back in 2007, Sony and Media Molecule took advantage of GDC to showcase LittleBigPlanet for the first time. This darling platformer charmed our socks off with its loveable mascot named Sackboy. The game went on to win plenty of awards and spawned a sequel a few years later.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Back when big game developers were still expected to make some announcements at GDC, Nintendo surprised everyone by revealing that The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass would be coming to the Nintendo DS during its keynote address in 2006. To everyone's delight, the game was to be released later that year.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Of course it came as no surprise when Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks at GDC in 2009. Having set this precedent, we've been anxiously hoping that Nintendo will reveal more each year at GDC. Unfortunately, it looks like we're going to have to wait until E3 for any new info from Nintendo.
Machinarium didn't exactly get announced at GDC nor did it have a big showing, but the PC point-and-click adventure got some extra recognition from the Independent Games Festival in 2009 when it was nominated for Excellence in Visual Art. The IGF has been running for 14 years and was originally set up to encourage innovation from independent game developers as well as student designers. The award ceremony is held during the week of GDC before the Game Developers Choice Awards.
Originally called "The Blob," the game was available for free on the PC and was a Student Showcase winner at the IGF in 2007. A game about an alien that wants to liberate and bring color back to the dismal monochromatic world of Chroma City, de Blob was designed by eight students in the Netherlands.
World of Goo
The game was developed by a team of two former Electronic Arts employees and the total cost of the game was about $10,000. World of Goo is one of the highlights on WiiWare and is also available on the PC.
Super Meat Boy
Great games like Super Meat Boy spread quickly via word of mouth, and venues like GDC and fan shows like the Penny Arcade Expo help raise awareness of games that often get ignored by big publishers.
The game went on to gross more than 7 million in revenue in 2010 alone. Not too shabby for Danish developer Playdead on their first go.
GDC may be developer-focused and lack the glitz and glamor of E3, but at the center of it all is an incredible amount of talent. The Game Developer Choice Awards will honor some of the best games of last year, but if you're looking for a game that invokes something special, take a look at this year's IGF finalists.
The IGF awards takes place Wednesday, March 7 at 6pm.