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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, 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 filmmaker 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.