Independent Games Festival finalists

Gaming's stealthy creep towards recognition as a worthy art form owes a fair bit to award ceremonies.

We get BAFTAs for games now, while the Independent Games Festival has been slowly establishing itself as our own little Sundance: a celebration of the best independent work being done by small groups of passionate people. As it happens, this year Sundance's even-more-indie cousin festival Slamdance actually has a gaming category too, but IGF has a much more impressive crop of entrants, so it's to this year's IGF that we turn.

Those detailed here are the best we hadn't got round to telling you about, or- OK- hadn't actually heard of. Anyone glum enough to think innovation is dead or dying would do well to play these, and cheer the hell up.

Spawns Of Deflebub
Type: UT2004 mod

This is from the creative geniuses behind Air Buccaneers and Dragonfly Variations, and no less weird than either. It's a Lovecraft-themed light-hearted multiplayer strategy action game in which you fire bouncy balls at other baby Elder Gods, and build walls to defend yourself from theirs. Tough to get to grips with but sublimely unusual.