After existing as a peripheral event during Mobile World Congress each year in Barcelona, Spain, the International Mobile Gaming Awards this year moved its ninth annual show to San Francisco.
Launched in 2004, the IMGA is a competition for mobile games developed in countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Awarding is based on two rounds of judging by a jury of twelve, with 10 category finalists announced in the months leading up to the event, and one winner ultimately winning in each category. In addition, the IMGA also gives awards for Honorable Mention, People's Choice (based on online voting), and Grand Prix (best overall game).
This year's show was hosted by Australian blogger and television personality Maude Garrett from Geek Bomb, and it featured a handful of big-name games, as well as quite a few that we had never heard of. All of the nominees presented, though, looked fantastic based on the short video snippets that were presented. Check out the winners below:
Excellence in Visuals
The Room, a popular puzzle-solving, story-driven mystery game won the Excellence in Visuals award for good reason. Each new puzzle is presented in beautifully textured realistic 3D graphics complete with lighting effects. Even on the first puzzle, you will immediately see why this game deserved the award.
Excellence in Gameplay
Fairway Solitaire may seem like a strange choice for Excellence in Gameplay. After all, you have a truckload of solitaire options in the App Store. But with Fairway Solitaire, you play the card game to advance through golf courses with bonuses and minigames, golf clubs that act as cards, and daily challenges. If you want an exceptionally fun and addictive solitaire game, this one is tough to beat.
Excellence in Innovation
Spaceteam is a truly unique game for two to four players, each with their own iOS device. You're given a random control panel consisting of switches, dials, buttons, sliders, and other gadgets, along with instructions on what to do, all in technobabble. Your goal is to complete the instructions as fast as possible. Sound strange? It definitely is, but Spaceteam is incredibly unique and fun, making it a shoo-in for this award.
Best Social game
Candy Crush Saga is a switching and matching game (think of Bejeweled) where the object is to collect colorful candies while you travel through a candy-covered world. Seamless integration with the Facebook version, along with leaderboards, and the ability to challenge your friends makes Candy Crush Saga a great game to play with friends.
Best Serious game
Dragonbox+ helps you or your child learn difficult math problems while keeping it fun. The Best Serious game category highlights games that help you learn a subject, and Dragonbox+ has just the right mix of learning and fun to keep you glued to the screen. If you want to see what game-based learning is all about or learn to solve difficult algebra problems, this game will quickly show you why it won the award.
Excellence in Storytelling
Walking Dead: The Game is a five-part episodic journey through the world of the hit graphic novels and television show on AMC. Based on some of the characters from the graphic novels and new characters that live in the same timeline, you'll experience the life of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. With so many rich storylines to work with, it's no wonder this game won for storytelling.
Jury's honorable mention
As it was explained at the award show, the 12-person jury cast and recast their votes, and it always came up the same: this year two games would share the award for Jury's honorable mention. Devil's Attorney has you play as a charming, but morally challenged lawyer trying to free your clients while you rack up money you can use to furnish your 80s apartment.
The other honorable mention winner Zombies, Run! is a game that actually gets you in better physical shape, with a frightening storyline to get you running in the real world while you complete quests and try to stay alive in the game.
People's Choice Award
Also the winner of the Excellence in Visuals category, The Room was the favorite of the people who voted online at the IMGA Web site. It could be the visually stunning graphics, the mind-splitting puzzles, or the creepy atmosphere, but this game had what it takes to get the people's vote.
The top prize of all the awards went to the winner of Excellence in Storytelling. Yes, Walking Dead: The Game took the grand prize at this year's awards show and it's hard to disagree. With a complex story of survival, good looking graphics, and several tough moral decisions as you try to stay alive, it's easy to get lost in this game. While other games might have had the edge in addictive gameplay, Walking Dead: The Game gets so many gaming elements right that it makes sense as the overall winner.