Shortlist announced for GameCity Prize 2012

“The GameCity Prize fills a gap in the cultural calendar and provides a much needed call for videogames to be taken more seriously” Lord Puttnam

GameCity, Europe’s biggest videogame culture festival powered by Nottingham Trent University, today – Thursday 4 October – announces the shortlist for the second GameCity Prize, an award that aims to celebrate videogames as a cultural artform.

From journeys of self-discovery through ancient landscapes to the fun-filled adventures of Super Mario; the pleasures and horrors of love to a digitally-enabled playground game set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, this year’s shortlist covers a diverse array of work.  The seven strong list has been selected by an anonymous academy of industry experts from a longlist of 18 titles released in the past year. 

After being asked to shortlist games that are “brilliant, interesting and meaningful” as part of an award that aims to develop cultural confidence and promote dialogue outside of traditional channels, the Academy, with a weighted voting system and subjective discussion, delivered the finalists:

•   Catherine - Atlus Persona Games

•   Fez - Polytron

•   Johann Sebastian Joust - Die Gute Fabrik

•   Journey - thatgamecompany

•   Mass Effect 3 - Bioware

•   Proteus - Ed Key and David Kanaga

•   Super Mario 3D Land - Nintendo EAD

The winning game will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges, all leading figures in their own creative fields including art, broadcasting, comedy, design, fashion, film, literature and music. Chaired by the film maker Lord Puttnam, they are: Lucy Kellaway, columnist with the Financial Times; comic artist and writer, David Gibbons; UK designer Wayne Hemingway; award winning journalist and BBC broadcaster Samira Ahmed; writer and broadcaster Ekow Eshun; the actress Louise Brealey; actor, writer, singer, comedian and novelist, Charlie Higson and BBC Radio DJ and television presenter, Jo Whiley.

Lord Puttnam, Chair of Judges, comments: “The videogame industry is one of the most creative industries in the world and yet still struggles to participate in mainstream culture in a non-trivial way. The Man Booker, the Mercury Prize, the Palm d'Or - serious cultural forms need barometers to record and celebrate excellence. The GameCity festival and its accompanying Prize fill that gap in the cultural calendar and provide a much needed call for videogames to both be taken and to take themselves more seriously."

GameCity Director and creator Iain Simons said, “The GameCity Prize isn’t really about which is the best videogame, it’s about how we talk about videogames and live with them in mainstream culture and modern life. Many of the jurors this year are playing games with their families too, and the perspective that they bring to thinking about the titles selected is going to be really interesting. I think we’ve got an amazing shortlist this year which really reflects the diversity of what videogames can be.”

The GameCity Prize was created and launched as part of GameCity6 in October 2011.   Minecraft, the open world building title and phenomenal success from Mojang founder Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, was the inaugural winner.

The winner of the 2012 GameCity Prize will be announced on Wednesday 24 October.  

Game City 2012 Shortlist synopses


Explore the pleasures and horrors of love and the choices we make for it in this action-adventure/puzzle game unlike any other. As Vincent, you have a hard choice to make: marry your longtime girlfriend Katherine or move on to the incredible blonde you just woke up next to--named Catherine. But beware! Make the wrong choice, and you could end up dead!

The press contact for Catherine is   


Gomez is a 2D creature living in a 2D world. Or is he? When the existence of a mysterious 3rd dimension is revealed to him, Gomez is sent out on a journey that will take him to the very end of time and space. Use your ability to navigate 3D structures from 4 distinct classic 2D perspectives. Explore a serene and beautiful open-ended world full of secrets, puzzles and hidden treasures. Unearth the mysteries of the past and discover the truth about reality and perception. Change your perspective and look at the world in a different way.

The press contact for Fez is

Johann Sebastian Joust

Johann Sebastian Joust is a no-graphics, digitally-enabled playground game for 2 to 7 players, designed for motion controllers such as the PlayStation Move. The goal is to be the last player remaining. When the music — selections from J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos — plays in slow-motion, the controllers are extremely sensitive to movement. When the music speeds up, this threshold becomes less strict, giving the players a small window to dash at their opponents. If your controller is ever moved beyond the allowable threshold, you're out! Try to jostle your opponents' controllers while protecting your own.

The press contact for Johann Sebastian Joust is


Journey is an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person’s life passage and their intersections with others. You wake alone and surrounded by miles of burning, sprawling desert, and soon discover the looming mountaintop which is your goal. Faced with rolling sand dunes, age-old ruins, caves and howling winds, your passage will not be an easy one. The goal is to get to the mountaintop, but the experience is discovering who you are, what this place is, and what your purpose is. Travel and explore this ancient, mysterious world alone, or with a stranger you meet along the way. Soar above ruins and glide across sands as you discover the secrets of a forgotten civilization. Featuring stunning visuals, haunting music, and unique online gameplay, Journey delivers an experience like no other.

The press contact for Journey is

Mass Effect 3

In Mass Effect 3, an ancient alien race known only as “Reapers”, has launched an all-out invasion of the galaxy, leaving nothing but a trail of destruction in their wake. Earth has been taken, the galaxy is on the verge of total annihilation, and you are the only one who can stop them. The price of failure is extinction. You, as Commander Shepard, must lead the counter assault to take it back. Only you can determine how events will play out, which planets you will save from annihilation and which alliances you will form or abandon as you rally the forces of the galaxy to eliminate the Reaper threat once and for all.

The press contact for Mass Effect 3 is


A game of audio-visual exploration and discovery by Ed Key and David Kanaga, Proteus is “an experience not unlike that bit in a movie where a child wanders into some weird wonderland and ends up gazing about in slack-jawed delight.” (Rock Paper Shotgun)

The press contact for Proteus is

Super Mario 3D Land

Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom friends return in this latest installment of the popular adventure series. Super Mario 3D Land promises to deliver a fun-filled adventure that all ages can enjoy. Expect all the fun you've come to love from Mario in this brand new addition to the franchise. Perfect to enjoy for a few minutes or a few hours, get ready to escape from everyday hectic life and fill in your "me" time with Mario!

Super Mario 3D Land is a new adventure for Nintendo 3DS, the latest Nintendo handheld system. You can use the 3D slider on the side of your Nintendo 3DS console to adjust the 3D to a level that's comfortable for your eyes - or turn it off completely. The console includes an array of parental controls for your complete peace of mind in case you want to share the fun with a child.

The press contact for Super Mario 3D Land is

~ Ends ~

For all press enquiries about GameCity Prize please contact:

Lucy Chavasse

Tel: 020 3023 9039

For more details about GameCity please contact

Chris White

Tel: 0115 993 2359


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·        Eligible games were released between June 2011 and June 2012.

·        Images of the shortlisted games are available through Four Colman Getty.

·        GameCity is an innovative arts and culture project powered by Nottingham Trent University. It delivers major research and inclusion projects such as the GameCity videogame culture festival, GameCityNights, the Interactive Technology and Games (ITAG) conference and the National Videogame Archive, a unique collaboration with the National Media Museum.

·        GameCity’s aim is to bring together developers and the public to explore and celebrate videogames and videogames culture, with a particular focus on students. We attract the best speakers in the world, offer up-and-coming artists and developers a platform for their games and create totally unique events.

·        Some of GameCity’s greatest hits include a world-record breaking zombie gathering, Keita Takahashi designing a children’s playground and Masaya Matsuura, Lorne Lanning, Alexey Pajitnov and Eric Chahi having headlined.

·        We’ve worked alongside some of the most prominent names in gaming, including;

·        Nintendo, Microsoft, SCEE, Electronic Arts, Rare, Crytek UK, Harmonix, thatgamecompany, Warner Bros, TTGames, Activision, Namco Bandai, Ubisoft, Freestyle Games, David Braben, Media Molecule, Splash Damage, Harmonix, Denki, Naughty Dog, Midway, Zoe Mode, Nana-on-Sha, Amanita Design and lots more.

·        Going way beyond just playing games, GameCity offers other new ways for people to interact with videogame culture. Art exhibitions, director commentaries, playground building, live recreations of videogames, gigs, gong-shows, three World Records, arcade trails, club nights – nothing is off limits for this most radical of videogame festivals.

·        GameCityNights is a series of after-dark monthly events that brings together developers, students and players in an exploration of videogame culture. Every month a series of brilliant headline speakers share their insights, passions and experiences in games as they offer a unique look into their work.


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