The 2010 indie game sensation Minecraft and thrilling psychological horror Amnesia: The Dark Descent have accrued three IGF Award nominations each ahead of the March 2 ceremony in San Francisco, California.
Minecraft, an ingenious multiplayer construction playset, ended the year with over 900,000 players having stumped up between €10 and €15 for premium status within the game.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a labor of love from the developers of Penumbra, received plaudits from critics for its genuinely frightening atmosphere as a hunted man tries to escape a nightmare scenario inside a Prussian castle.
The two front-runners, both of Swedish origin and playable on Windows, Mac OS and Linux, share nominations for the Seamus McNally Grand Prize and in the Technical Excellence category.
Minecraft takes its third from the Excellence In Design shortlist, while Amnesia crops up among the final five for Excellence In Audio.
Following them on two nominations each are the sweet monster-slayer Desktop Dungeons (PC, free download), the retro sword-fighting of Nidhogg (PC), and the lush designs of upcoming action role-playing game Bastion (PC, 360, PS3).
The IGF website hosts a complete list of all twenty-three competition finalists, including honorable mentions and the vibrant Best Mobile Game selection - those in the market for another portable distraction might like to take a hint from the IGF judges and check out Colorbind (iOS), Helsing's Fire (iOS), Solipskier (iOS, Android), Shot Shot Shoot (iPad), or Halcyon (iPad).