September 24th, The final day of Fantastic Arcade, started auspiciously with a talk from last year's crowd favorites, Young Horses (previously team Octodad) and the follow up to their previous year's hit. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a vastly improved and polished retake on the original, with a idiosyncratic sense of humor and visual style. The game is doubtless to be a break-out hit, and already has a great deal of buzz on Steam Greenlight.
The next of the developer commentaries was one of the most inense, with a trip through Time and Space (by way of their bastard lovechild Sound) at David Kanaga's Proteus panel. Like Austin Wintory, David took a trip through the history of music, but took us into the realms of music as play, conversation, and space. After an incredibly wild headtrip that included a guarded peek at his and Fernando Ramallo's next project. David treated us to some radical rescorings of mainstream games.
After David's talk we were taken to the world of Pietro Righi Riva's Mirrormoon:
Pietro's talk took some interesting turns, including questions about the general push towards long form games due to the expectations set by AAA titles, and the idea of short games remaining commercially viable by way of collections, like a book of short stories. Following Pietro was a talk from developer Jasper Byrne about his excellent Lone Survivor. A project that originated as a combination of an unfinished project and a "de-make" of Silent Hill 2, Lone Survivor is a uniquely inventive and personal game, while staying perceptively true to the sources it pays tribute to.
Two surprise tournaments ended up being some of the most intense of the festival- Samurai Gunn (an unreleased, 4-player action game by Beau Blythe) was a huge hit, and generated a lot of excitement for players and viewers alike, and a last second Luftrausers tournament ended in a Super Crate Box OST box and a complete Devolver Digital game collection being awarded to the victor.
The annual Starcade tournament saw challengers once again competing at classic games and slightly dodgy triva questions, after walking away with the grand prize, the winner revealed that as a child he had tried out for (and been rejected by) the original Starcade television show that the Fantastic Arcade version borrows its name from. So the victor, Tom (hailing from "parts unknown") got to experience a sort of catharsis that might only have been otherwise afforded by years of therapy.
Finally, closing out the event was the final Fantastic Arcade Awards ceremony. Each game in the spotlight selection received a beautiful trophy created by Lauren Hemphill of Ink It Labs, based on this year's artwork by Cory Schmitz.
This year's Spotlight Awards were:
Most Fantastic Game to be Later Cited By the Mainstream Media As the Reason For a Mass Shooting- Hotline Miami By Dennaton
Most Fantastic Reason To Go Cross-eyed: Super Hexagon by Terry Cavanagh
When it came time to announce the first place Adventure Time game, we were treated to a surprise appearance by a special guest:
Ultima-series creator and Portalarium founder Richard "Lord British" Garriott lept on stage, brandishing a functioning crossbow made by David Watson, aka "Iolo the Bard".
And the (very dangerous) first place Gamemaking Frenzy award went to JW Nijman and Kitty Calis' Adventure Minute.
The final prizes of the night were for the prestigious Audience Choice and Most Fantastic Awards. The Audience Choice award carried a prize of a professional software suite from Adobe, and the Most Fantastic Award was accompanied by a high-end graphics card from AMD.
The Audience Choice award went to the indie runaway hit Super Hexagon, by Terry Cavanagh.
Finally the "Most Fantastic" Award went to Hotline Miami, by Dennis Wedin and Jonatan "Cactus" Söderström of Dennaton.
Upon receiving their prize, host Wiley Wiggins asked if he could have a shirt from the game, at which time Dennis Wedin pulled the shirt off his back, and gave it to Wiggins, who then traded him his ceremonial salmon-pink corduroy Starcade blazer.
A night that ended in real live weapon powerups delivered by a man who has traveled into space, partial nudity, a lot of alcohol, and an avalanche of amazing games made despite all the odds. Not a bad way to end Fantastic Arcade 2012.
We'd like to thank all of the developers who contributed and attended, and all of our sponsors, for making this the best Fantastic Arcade ever.
Here's a list (in progress) of this year's games that are available for purchase, or that can use your support on Steam Greenlight: