DANM student nominated for four Independent Game Festival Awards

UCSC grad student Deirdra 'Squinky' Kiai
UCSC DANM student Deirdra "Squinky" Kiai (photo by Sean McGowen)
Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai—a first-year student in UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media MFA program (DANM)—has been named a finalist in four categories of the 2014 Independent Game Festival Awards.

The IGF Awards recognize excellence across the independent game industry, including awards for art, sound, narrative excellence, and a $30,000 grand prize for best indie game of the year.

Kiai was honored for Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings,” an offbeat stop-motion animated detective adventure game about gender and the economy. Also, all of the characters frequently burst into song.

The game features original music by Squinky and the Squinkettes.

It was nominated for “Excellence in Narrative,” Excellence in Audio,” the Nuovo Award,” and for the “Seamus McNally Grand Prize.”

Kiai is a member of the Playable Media research group at UC Santa Cruz led by associate professor of computer science Noah Wardrip-Fruin, who is also chair of the Arts Division’s DANM program.

Wardrip-Fruin described the IGF awards as one of the two big festivals of independent games each year that are “the Sundance equivalents for games.”

Created to help promote and recognize the achievements of independent game development, the IGF Awards are now in their 14th year.

This year's awards ceremony will take place on March 19, at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco during the Game Developer’s Conference.

Watch a trailer of Kiai’s game on the Independent Games Festival web site.