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The first annual Debug Indie Game Awards arrives this February

The first annual Debug Indie Game Awards is set to take place on February 2, 2024.

Hosted by TristaBytes, this new gaming award ceremony seeks to celebrate the best that the indie game scene has to offer, with nominations being welcomed from around the globe.

Indie games play a special part when it comes to marginalized players within the video games community. If we are to see ourselves, whether we be queer or disabled, etc, we mostly find that mirror in the narrative of indie games. It’s what makes them so significant and so beloved.

The awards are created by Daniel Crocker, the director of Debug and WAVE Game Studios, and the Editor-in-Chief of Debug Magazine, Andrew Dickinson.

“Debug was founded with the goal of championing independent games, and the tireless work of those who make them.” Crocker shares. “From coders to QA, and everything between, I believe that proper representation of these often underappreciated individuals is essential. The Debug Indie Game Awards is our way of putting these games, and their creators, in the spotlight.”

The full list of categories for the Debug Indie Game Awards can be found below:

  • ‘Safe in our World’ Award for Mental Health
  • ‘Everyone Can’ Award for Accessibility
  • Best Soundtrack
  • Best Sound Design
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Gameplay
  • Best Narrative
  • Innovation & Creativity Award
  • Physical Release of the Year
  • Free Play Award
  • Retro World Award
  • ICYMI Award
  • Unsung Hero Award
  • Best New Studio
  • Subscribers’ Choice Award
  • Debug Game of the Year

Nominations for the ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) and Unsung Hero awards will be open to the public, allowing them to vote for any game released prior to the 2023 — meaning two games that perhaps slid under the radar will get the chance to be celebrated and given the recognition they deserve.

Indie Game Awards Debug
Image Source: Team Debug

As for The Subscriber’s Choice Award, these nominations will come from Debug Magazine subscribers – who can then nominate their choices for games released in 2023, with them holding the overall final decision for said category.

Both Safe in Our World and Everyone Can will also be working with Debug to award indie titles that have had a positive impact on the conversation around mental health and those that seek to make indie gaming accessible for all.

Other categories will be sent in the studio themselves, allowing for various indie titles to be considered for an award. The Debug team will then shortlist these nominations and pass them to the Debug Indie Game Awards Committee — a newly formed group of 25 people hand-selected from across the games industry, who will vote on the winners of each category.

Each year, one person from each winning category of the awards will be invited to join the committee, alongside new hand-picked members. Therefore, the 2025 awards panel will consist of both previous winners, as well as other prestigious people from across the whole spectrum of the industry.

Nominations for the Debug Indie Game Awards remain open until 5 pm GMT on December 5, 2023. Shortlisted nominations for each category will be announced on the 29th December, 2023.

To find out more, visit the official Debug Indie Game Awards website.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.