This year, we have DOUBLED our number of judges. We have two returning judges from last year, as well as six new judges with diverse backgrounds in indie and hobby game design and development. We have judges with experience in game design, game production, quality assurance, visual art, music, and many other aspects of the game development world. Each judge will be playing a extraordinary number of games over the two month judging period, bringing their unique skillset to bear to determine the best of the best.

It is our goal and our promise to swiftly and as objective as possible find the truly stellar games and make sure they get the rewards they deserve.

Judging will be performed in a tiered system, in which each judge will play a selection of games, then pass on top portion of their selection to the next phase of judging, where each set of games that pass will be sent to another judge to evaluate, then passing the top portion of those up to two more judges, then finally passing the top 10 from their side up to the other 4 judges, where the top 20 games will be played by the judges who haven't played them, and winners can be selected.

This Year's Guest Judges

Dan Emmons

A member of the team that produces Extra Credits, a web series that takes a look at game design and the games industry and makes it approachable.  Dan has been playing a huge range of games since he was three, but now, he works as a professional freelance Game Designer. He's worked as a designer on Magic: the Gathering, and teaches the occasional class on Game Design.  Dan heads up a live show on the Extra Credits' twitch channel where he does live analysis of games and their design, ranging from old classics to the newest releases. For over a year, Dan has taught game design on the channel with live Q&A every stream for anyone who wants to stop by and talk games.The show airs four days a week, but during late September, Dan will be doing a live analysis of some of the games submitted to the contest live on the Extra Credits Twitch channel!

Ed Greenwood

Also returning from last year we have Ed Greenwood, an amiable, bearded Canadian librarian best known as the creator of The Forgotten Realms® fantasy world. He sold his first fiction at age six, and has since published more than 200 books that have sold millions of copies worldwide in over two dozen languages. Ed writes fantasy, sci-fi, horror, steampunk, pulp adventure, and comic books, and has won dozens of writing and gaming awards, including multiple Origins Awards and ENNIES. He was elected to the Academy of Adventure Gaming Art & Design Hall of Fame in 2003. He has judged the World Fantasy Awards and the Sunburst Awards, hosted radio shows, acted onstage, explored caves, jousted, and been Santa Claus—but not all on the same day. He has worked on many bestselling computer games, most recently contributing to an adaptation of his classic Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Turbine).

Ed's most recent novel is The Iron Assassin. Ed hangs out on the Internet at: theedverse.com (and sells stories there, too).

Ed Greenwood

Team Isolation

The power trio of last year's contest has returned to judge your fate! It's Team Isolation, creators of last year's Grand Prize Winning Game: Remnants of Isolation

Red_Nova, the leader, contributed the main writing, scenario, and a good chunk of the programming. He's always enjoyed the stories in video games, and has been writing them ever since he was a child. Unity, the battle mistress, took care of the gameplay and level design. Her pervasive optimism led her to be known as a cheerleader both in the team and around the communities she participates in. Sooz, provided character art and battlers, and revised the dialogue and narration. A child at heart, Sooz is a freelance artist with a budding interest in indie games and a longstanding interest in games from the NES and Genesis days. You can also check out her portfolio and two comics. Her non-creative, non-gaming hobbies include keeping pet guinea pigs and trying not to kill plants.

Team Isolation

Kimberly "Sabre" Weigend

Another returning guest judge, Kimberly Weigend, better known as Sabre, former member of the Frag Dolls, is an avid gamer of all types and genres. Sabre started in table-top gaming (her favorite being Risk, with Last Night on Earth as a close second) and quickly branched out to card games, miniatures games (Tyranids FTW), and video games.

Sabre hosts livestreams on her Twitch channel and strives to create and expand gaming as a fun and welcoming venture for all. You can usually find Sabre at video game events like PAX and E3, or you can follow her updates on Facebook and on Twitter.

Kimberly 'Sabre' Weigend