Journey, the critically acclaimed, PlayStation Network title from independent game developer Thatgamecompany, has received the GameCity Prize after being selected from a shortlist of six other games; namely Catherine, Fez, Johann Sebastian Joust, Mass Effect 3, Proteus and Super Mario 3D Land. The award aims to ‘celebrate videogames as a cultural artform’ and was announced at Gamecity7, a festival which takes part in Nottingham every year.
The winner of the GameCity Prize award is judged by a panel of major thinkers in non-gaming creative industries. The panel includes 9 judges from BBC Radio DJs, namely Jo Whiley, to journalists, columnists and broadcasters, such as Lucy Kellaway and Samira Ahmed.
This year the jury was chaired by film producer Lord David Puttnam, winner of the Oscar for ‘best picture’ in 1981 for his work on Chariots of Fire, and recipient of the BAFTA Michael Balcon Award for outstanding contribution to the British film industry.
Commenting on the award, Lord Puttnam said: “Journey was a unanimous choice for the GameCity Prize 2012, many of the jurors were un-experienced in playing videogames and it confounded their expectations of what videogames were. Of all the shortlisted titles, Journey presents the player with an especially coherent vision, simultaneously fantastic and familiar.
“All of the Jury commented on the art direction in particular, the extraordinary sense of size and scale it portrayed. Whilst it was a short game, it was in no way small. It’s a focused, detailed piece of work – challenging you to measure it in terms other than just the length of gameplay. In particular, Journey was a videogame that had been created by artists immersed in a broad culture. Both obviously a game, but challenging of what a game could be – it displayed an extraordinary level of care and attention.
Jenova Chen, president and creative director of Thatgamecompany, replied to the announcement saying: “Thatgamecompany has always focused on making games for everyone, so it’s nice to see GameCity recognize our game and give us an award. In the end, we believe that games are a mature media that deserve to be enjoyed and loved by everyone, by people. Thank you very much for this prize“.
Although Journey was the winner, the panel also commended Fez, the indie puzzle platformer for Xbox Live Arcade created by Phil Fish, arguing that “ It explored, iterated and carefully mined a single idea – showing us new dimensions in it – but never descending into bland repetition. An extraordinary work of invention, whilst never losing sight of the fact that it was first and foremost a videogame.”
GameCity7 is running in and around Nottingham City Centre and will continue until the 27th of October.