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Sense of Wonder Night at TGS 2017, A Great Benchmark for Indie Game Quality

By Febrianto Nur Anwari

These Sense of Wonder Night’s winners are great benchmarks to make a standout indie game among the AAA giants.


These Sense of Wonder Night’s winner is a great benchmark for making a standout indie game among the AAA giants.

What makes indie games stand out among the AAA giants? Some gamers have an opinion that a unique and innovative gameplay can make an indie game stand out. Others have an opinion that great art style can make an indie game compete with AAA game.

So, what is the great benchmark that can be used to measure whether an indie game’s quality is good or bad? Sense of Wonder Night 2017 (SOWN 2017) that was held in TGS 2017 is one of the answers.

Sense of Wonder Night 2017 TGS

SOWN 2017 found out the game ideas cause “sense of wonder”. To make such unique ideas widely known, SOWN 2017 provided a presentation opportunity for game developers with unique ideas at TGS 2017. SOWN 2017 also commemorated the 10th anniversary with internationally increasing applications.

Total of 8 presenters had been selected out of 69 Indie Game Area exhibitors. The nomination process was conducted through the screening committee consisted of indie game experts, creators, and publishers from inside and outside of Japan.

Sense of Wonder Night 2017 TGS

There were 6 award categories in this event. They were: Audience Award, Best Technological Game Award, Best Arts Award, Best Experimental Game Award, Best Game Design Award, and Best Presentation Award. These awards were sponsored by PlayStation and Nintendo.

After a tough judging session, 6 games were out as winners of each category. We can say the award winners could become great benchmarks to measure an indie game’s quality from the gameplay, art, to music and the presentation.

So, who are the winners of SOWN 2017? Here’s the list.

Best Experimental Game Award: Strange Telephone

Strange Telephone is a point-and-click adventure game with pixel art style graphics offering multiple endings. Your objective is to collect items scattered through different worlds and use them to solve puzzles and ultimately obtain the key for your escape.

Start by simply making a phone call. Each phone number will uniquely define the generated world. Dialing the same number will take you to the same world every time. You can also share the number that you’ve found with your friend outside the game.

Strange Telephone Download: Android/iOS

Best Technological Game Award: Ace of Seafood

Ace of Seafood is a third-person action game in which you build a party of up to 6 fish/crustaceans. With your team, you will be exploring the vast ocean and battling with various marine life in order to expand your dominance of the ocean.

You will engage in battle with various forms of sea-life in order to capture and take control of the reefs they guard. Imagine this game like a deathmatch mode in a third-person shooter game, but now the characters are fish and other sea creatures!

Ace of Seafood Download: Steam

Best Game Design Award: Conga Master

In this PC game, you must guide your dancer across the floor, dancing around people to add them to your line as you go. Longer congas let you add people faster but watch out for pigs that can stink up your line.

You can play solo or, even better, drag three friends onto the dance floor for some local multiplayer conga madness. There are also over 30 characters and seven conga clubs to unlock, plus single-player Endless Conga and Story modes to enjoy.

Conga Master Download: Steam

Best Arts Award: Old Man's Journey

There’s no doubt that Old Man’s Journey has won the Best Arts Award. The hand-drawing art is very beautiful and can make you feel the emotion in the game. In this game, you must uncover stories of the old man’s life through beautiful vignettes of his memories.

Interact with the serene, whimsical environment as you solve playful puzzles and shape the landscape around you. And also, you must cultivate the hills to create the old man’s path forward.

Old Man’s Journey Download: Android/iOS/Steam

Best Presentation Award: Earth Defense Satellite

Earth Defense Satellite is a novel shooting game that let you fight by turning the moon. In this game, you are the earth and your weapon is the moon. The orbit of the moon will change as you move.

Your mission is to save the earth from falling asteroids or spaceships that will hit you. You can play the game by manipulating the moon and repelling the enemy’s Space Battleship.

Earth Defense Satellite Download: Itch.io

Audience Award: Ace of Seafood

Although it was initially out in 2016, this game still gets much appreciation from the audience. With its great technology and unique gameplay, it is only natural that Ace of Seafood received this award.

Edited by Devi

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About Writer


Febrianto is the Senior Editor of Duniaku.net and the Lead Editor of Gameprime.org. He started his career in game industry as a game journalist since 2008, and was one of the initial members of Duniaku.net since 2011. His biggest interest is local game developer scene. Currently, his mission is to spread the news about Indonesia’s game industry to both local and international game and creative industry’s enthusiast.