Portal, Bioshock Win Big at GDC

Valve’s Portal and 2K Games’ BioShock both made out extremely well at Wednesday’s Game Developers Choice Awards, part of the Game Developer’ Conference in San Francisco. Each first-person shooter received three awards, with Portal, an obvious crowd favorite, taking the coveted trophy for Game of the Year. Gamers packed the auditorium as rising stars and living legends from the world of game development took the stage to honor the year’s top achievements in both independent and commercial interactive entertainment. The eighth annual event will be broadcast nationally for the first time on cable network G4TV in two weeks.

The evening kicked off with the tenth annual Independent Games Festival (IGF), which didn’t involve any marriage proposals this year, but did offer a couple of acceptance speeches in haiku form and a running gag involving a monocle that found its way into the eyes of several winners. The ceremony saw Crayon Physics Deluxe from Kloonigames honored with the $25,000 Seamus McNally Grand Prize. Creator Petri Purho from Kloonigames, a group formed at Helsinki Polythechnic Stadia, scribbled an acceptance speech on a napkin with Crayon that read simply ‘F*&@ Yeah!’ He then thanked his parents for letting him draw with crayons as a kid.

Other IGF winners Kokoromi’s Fez for Excellence in Visual Art, World of Goo by 2D Boy for Design Innovation and Technical Excellence, Invisible Handlebar’s Audiosurf for Excellence in Audio, and One Ton Ghost’s Iron Dukes for Best Web Browser Game. Synaesthete, a popular game hailing from DigiPen Institute of Technology, took home the Best Student Game Award, while the Audience Award went to Audiosurf.

The Game Developers Choice Awards was graced by appearances from gaming Legends Sid Meier and Ralph Baer. Considered by many to be the ‘Father of Computer Gaming’ Meier created such legendary titles as Civilization, F-19, Railroad Tycoon and Sid Meier’s Pirates!. Currently serving as director of creative development at Firaxis, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Baer, often called the ‘Father of Video Games,’ received the Pioneer Award. The electronic engineer behind Pong, and creator of the Maganovox Odyssey, the very first commercial video game console, holds more than 150 U.S. and foreign patents, and assured the GDC crowd that he’s ‘Still cranking out stuff.’

2008 Game Developers Choice Award Winners:

Game of the Year

Portal

Valve

Best Game Design

Portal

Valve

Best Debut Game

Crackdown

Realtime Worlds/Microsoft Game Studios

Best Audio

BioShock

2K Boston/2K Australia/2K Games

Best Downloadable Game

Flow

thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainmant

Best Technology

Crysis

Crytek/Electronic Arts

Innovation Award

Portal

Valve

Best Visual Arts

BioShock

2K Boston/2K Australia/2K Games

Best Handheld Game

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Nintendo

Best Writing

BioShock

2K Boston/2K Australia/2K Games