For the first time this year, 200 professional of the mobile game industry will have an important duty: they will review the 1000 games submitted to the IMGA MENA. Working as a first line of judging, each online jury member will review 20 games and every game will be reviewed by four persons. This first step will allow us to distill down the list of games to 100 games preselected for the jury session in Amman and nominated for the People’s Choice Award.
The face to face judging session! That’s when we welcome our internationally renowned jury members and we ask them to play the 100 pre selected games during two intense days of playing the games and debating their merits amongst the jury.
The first day of the judging session is taken up with nothing but playing games: the judges are broken up into groups and given the 100 games to play through. They’re looking for specific things and if they don’t find it in a game, that game gets cut. Does a game go above and beyond in the graphics or sound categories? Did they nail an art style or make up their own that’s beautiful or striking? Is the game attempting something truly innovative in a market known for copy-cats and recycling old ideas?
See who was part of our jury last year for the IMGA 12
The second day starts with a brief discussion on the categories. Some cornerstone categories repeated every year, Excellence in Graphics or Technical Achievement for example, but others category change year by year as the industry changes.
The jury goes through the full list and discusses which categories each game should be entered into. From there the list is distributed to the judges and the voting begins. Once that’s out of the way the real debate starts.
A game needs a majority of votes to stay on the list. However, if a game doesn’t receive a majority of votes a judge may chose to “champion” a game and must defend that game to the judges and persuade them to give it another try. If another judge is persuaded by the argument they can second his defense and the game is saved for the time being, usually as the judge who seconded takes a chance to pick up and play the game in question.
At the end of all of this we finally have the winners of each category including the Grand Prix and the Jury’s Honorable mention. During these intense two days the jury members will trim that 100 games down further to the final nominees. A number usually in the 50-60 range. And from there down the to 13 category winning games! Good job, right? Welcome to the big leagues, hope you brought your A-Game.