Last week saw the return of the Canadian Indie Game Awards (CIGAs), which celebrates the very best in the Canadian independent video games industry. Notably, this was the CIGA’s first time back doing so in person after a three year hiatus, and the community’s excitement at being reunited was evident. The night’s biggest winner was the action adventure indie smash TUNIC, which took home a massive eight awards, up to and including Game of the Year.
The CIGAs, presented as part of IO Connect, were held at the Artscape Daniels Launchpad, and saw local game devs and industry insiders toasting the awards winners and then partying away the rest of the evening in the high tech campus. Studios from all across Ontario were out representing, including Phantom Compass, Games by Stitch, Cococucumber, Dog Street Studios, and many more.
This year’s ceremony was hosted by various journalists, developers, and personalities, creating a festive atmosphere of awards being handed from peer to peer. The talk of the evening was unquestionably TUNIC, the isometric action game about a small fox on a big adventure. Included in the whopping eight awards were Best Game Design, Best Audio Design, Best Console Game, Best Debut Indie Game, Best PC Game, and also Studio of the Year for the entire TUNIC Team.
Not to be outdone, local indie sensation Cuphead once again took home some serious hardware, with its 2022 expansion Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course winning for Best Animation, Best Art Direction, Best Technology, and of course Best Score/Soundtrack.
The evening was by no means solely about TUNIC and Cuphead, as the entire crowd cheered on the award for Best Mobile/ Casual Game, which went to Sundae Month and Kitfox Games’ Pupperazzi.
Next, the evening saw a victory for Northway Games’ I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, taking home the award for Best Narrative.
Once the Awards were wrapped up it was onto the IO Connect networking event, as always hosted by Interactive Ontario. The mood was festive as game devs reconnected in person, many who’d not seen each other since “the before times” of 2019. Cocktails were mixed, delicious kimchi poutine was consumed, and talent from across Ontario and beyond discussed the future of the indie gaming industry.
Across from the main hall, which featured a live DJ and 360 degree selfie booth, was the decidedly more chill jazz room. There, a local jazz quartet delivered smooth renditions of classic video game soundtracks, while the event also delivered incredibly filling pulled pork mac and cheese.
This amazing evening for the Ontario indie gaming industry was capped off with a toast, encouraging the crowd to celebrate the exceptional work being done, and look forward to what will be celebrated at next year’s awards. However, that wasn’t the end of the celebrations for TUNIC, which again went on to clean up awards the following evening at the Canadian Game Awards with additional wins for Game of the Year, Studio of the Year, and many more!