A MAZE. / Berlin 2020 – Total Digital: The happy AWARD WINNERS are…

The 9th edition of A MAZE. / Berlin 2020 – Total Digital – 9th International Games and Playful Media Festival welcomed 2500 registered international professionals, digital artists, game developers, journalists, labels and visitors: around 10000 people in 4 days. Besides the festival chat options and the A MAZE. Stream, this time everybody could show up as a flamingo in the virtual A MAZE. / Space. 

There were 40 participating nations and more than 35 games and playful media installations, as well as countless live streams at the festival.

“This Total Digital edition of A MAZE. / Berlin 2020 brought the arthouse and independent games scene around the world even closer together. Many people who never could have been part of A MAZE. were finally connected with the international games movement and presented, shared knowledge and made business contacts. Now A MAZE. is definitely prepared for a hybrid festival in 2021”, Thorsten S. Wiedemann (Festival director).

Congratulations to all the winners of A MAZE./ Berlin 2020! 

Matthias Löwe (Head of the A MAZE. Awards): “In this year, we received 204 amazing works by international artists from 40 countries. The selection committee nominated 25 of them and our independent jury honored the most forward thinking, genre pushing works with one of the 5 awards, with the addition of the Audience Award choosen by the guests, presenting a total of 7.000€ in prizes. To support the creation and accomplishments of a-mazing future projects, our collaboration with Humble awarded one additional prize to deserving artists, presenting 15.000$ and an exclusive deal to create a Humble Original.

We thank everyone who submitted and encourage everyone to look at all nominations, honorable mentions and submissions. As every year, the selection is hard, but our artists’ entries excellent.“

The winners of the A MAZE. / Berlin 2020 – Total Digital –
9TH INTERNATIONAL GAMES AND PLAYFUL MEDIA FESTIVAL are:

MOST AMAZING AWARD

Nightmare Temptation Academy

by Lena NWW & Costcoddreamgurl (USA)

Nightmare Temptation Academy is profound, brave, shocking, beautiful, and singular on many levels. It is the type of challenging experience, tackling exceptionally difficult topics without shame, and a type of inspired bravery that demonstrates how far games have come for artists and how much further they can still go. This is the type of work that we love to see in this medium. – Nathalie Lawhead

HUMAN HUMAN MACHINE AWARD

BRAVE MOUSE CARTOGRAPHER I (USA)

by common opera

Brave Mouse Cartographer I by common opera is outstanding as an ambient freeform multiplayer game that lets its players decide the rules of engagement when building their map. Any number of people can contribute to the creative process, observe it, and join or leave at any moment. The brave mouse continues the journey of exploration regardless, but the core of this experience still revolves around connecting to others’ input and personal exploration, rather than being machine-driven. – rayzones

 

DIGITAL MOMENT AWARD

PROMESA (Italy)

by Julian Palacios

This work gave us a series of serene, beautiful, haunting moments that felt both like a dream and a memory of a real place once visited in childhood. Through the sparse interaction and constraints on movement to the music and delicate visual style, this experience achieves exactly what it sets out to do, creating a real Digital Moment. – Owen Hindley

LONG FEATURE AWARD

Knife Sisters (Sweden)

by Transcenders Media
Knife Sisters by Transcenders Media is a beautiful and atmospheric game that uses topics like BDSM and occultism to create an intimate experience about consent, manipulation, sense of self or who we really trust. Its amazing art style and excellently written characters won us over easily and made it a great winner for the Long Feature Award. – Sarah Rudolph

EXPLORER AWARD

Cook your way (Canada)

by Enric Granzotto Llagostera

 Without being an immigration simulator, Enric Llagostera’s game tackles the topic of the immigration selection processes and all the discourses attached to it. You could read articles about it in newspapers or watch a few documentaries as well, but Cook Your Way invites you to perform it by yourself so you can get a fragment of reality to better understand the absurd logic behind the system it depicts and critics. Cook Your Way starts with a very common topic – cooking – and offers us a playful physical interface to perform it. Before you realise it, you are already caught into a system about economical labours and the production of cultural stereotypes within the immigration discourses. Is it still a game or reality? – Simon Bachelier

HUMBLE NEW TALENT AWARD

Studio Oleomingus (India)

By Studio Oleomingus

 This year, we are awarding the Humble New Talent Award for the third time. In addition to all the other wonderful Awards, we invented this special and diverse Award in collaboration with Humble Original to empower emerging game creators from around the world. This award is an opportunity to highlight new global talents, whose work made a lasting impression on us and the world. The winning team agrees on publishing their game with Humble Original, with a supportive funding of 15000$ for development.

This years Humble New Talent Award Winner is pushing forward all aspects towards arthouse games. Their games are pure poetic and political by nature. Digital poems on the intersection of postcolonial writing and playful fiction. Making brilliant use of video game spaces as sites of discourse, resistance and record of the presence.

The decision obviously was a hard one – all the nominees are great authors. With this Award we wanted to create a spotlight to a game developing country with a lot of political controversy which is far more complex nowadays than in most other countries. – Thorsten S. Wiedemann

AUDIENCE AWARD

Utopias: Navigating without coordinates (Germany)
by AAA 

We liked it very much! – The Audience