New Norwegian game award is on a mission to promote and celebrate Norwegians’ games of high technical and artistic quality
Norway is right now about to get their first game awards that focuses solely on the games that have been developed within the borders of the country. The Norwegian gaming scene has seen a lot of action in the latest couple of years, and as a response the Game Developers Guild of Norway (Spillmakerlauget) has decided to set up a new award together with the Norwegian game developer’s trade organization, Produsentforeningen.
Norway already has one game award, the Gullstikka (The Golden Joystick), but these awards are run by the game distributors and traditionally focuses on the major foreign AAA releases, with winners decided by internet votes. However, in the latest years there have been a growing dissatisfaction with the Gullstikka Awards from some parts of the Norwegian games industry, and in 2013 the Norwegian Guild of Game Reviewers pulled their support to the event.
The new award, simply called Spillprisen (The Game Awards) until further notice, focuses solely on Norwegian releases, and also puts the deciding power of who should win the awards in the hands of a hand-picked independent jury. Their job is to “promote and celebrate Norwegians’ games of high technical and artistic quality.” And according to Anders Hillestad, co-creator of the new award, it’s about time that a new award materialized. One that celebrates the flurry of new initiatives and increased activity that the Norwegian games industry has seen in the last couple of years-
The Award was created because we think it would be a shame if no one managed to acknowledge and celebrate the Norwegian games industry’s redemption in 2014. Finally, it’s beginning to smell like something’s happening at the Norwegian developers after many years with very few releases.
Hillestad sees the new award as a part of that redemption. “I definitely think that Spillprisen is a part of that rejuvenation of the Norwegian games industry. It’s a result of this wave that is about to launch from our little peninsula and out towards the rest of the world.”
The awards will take place January 10th as an extension of the Norwegian Gameplay Championship, and will hand out five awards in the categories Best Game Design, Best Story, Best Audio, Best Artistic Effort, and finally, Best Game. The nominations and winners will be decided by an “independent jury”, and the award show is to tour the different parts of Norway with Bergen looking like a strong contender for hosting the awards next year.
Because they really wanted to get the awards in place to celebrate the Norwegian games of 2014, the organizers put the event on the fast track so that the awards could be handed out in conjunction with the Norwegian Gameplay Championships, which takes place this weekend in Oslo. But this also means that this years awards are to be seen more as a test run of the format before coming into its own next year. As the organizers put it in true computer game lingo – Spillprisen is still in beta.
In addition to Hillestad, the primary driving forces in getting the awards up and running has been Bendik Stang from Produsentforeningen, Anders Bredmose, lawyer at Produsentforeningen, and game developer Stefan Svellingen. Both the Game Developers Guild of Norway and Produsentforeningen are donating money or work to the awards show in order to get it up and running as fast as possible. And according to Hillestad, they are also looking at other possible sponsors and sponsorships.
Despite the beta-tag, the organizers hope the awards will be able to profile the Norwegian game developers – especially internally in Norway.
What we want to achieve with this award is to celebrate our colleagues and put a spotlight on how far we have come. Hopefully, this will also help emphasize the effect of the game support from the Norwegian Film Institute and the pioneering efforts put in by the developers in the latest years. Both towards the politicians and to the general public.
Finally, the organizers also hope that the winners might also be able to use the award to generate further publicity for their games and thus become even more successful.
For further details, visit either Spillprisen’s Facebook page, or see the full invitation below (in Norwegian).