2021 Australian Game Developer Awards finalists announced


Sydney, 9 September 2021 – Australian video game development peak industry body, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), today announced the finalists for the 2021 Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDAs). The AGDAs honour the incredible skill, talent, and creativity of game developers in Australia across 15 categories. This year’s AGDAs will be held online on 6 October at 7 PM AEDT on IGEA’s Twitch channel as part of this year’s Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW), with discussions on social media using the #AGDAs21 hashtag.  


Notable mentions include Brisbane-based Witch Beam’s zen puzzle game Unpacking, which is nominated for four awards including Excellence in Art, Excellence in Gameplay, Excellence in Accessibility, and Game of the Year. The Artful Escape by Melbourne studio Beethoven & Dinosaur is in the running for three awards: Excellence in Art, Excellence in Audio, and Game of the Year. A full list of finalists for each category can be found on the GCAP website and in the appendix below. 


Each year the AGDAs present a new Award linked to the Games Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) theme. This year’s GCAP-themed Award is the Raising the Bar Award, which recognises an individual in the Australian industry who has set the standard on industry performance, excelled in their work within the industry, and ‘raised the bar’ within their community, culture, and team to ensure success personally and professionally. 


“Australian developers have a long history of making award-winning games, and it’s wonderful to see so many new studios, developers, and individuals making their mark locally,” said IGEA CEO Ron Curry. “The industry has expanded and proven to be adaptable and flexible during the pandemic. There is a lot of confidence around our sector thanks to the Federal Government announcing the introduction of the Digital Games Tax Offset in 2022 which will ensure a complete thriving and creative game development ecosystem and community.” 


IGEA assembled a judging panel of over 50 industry professionals to determine finalists and winners in each category out of 59 award entries, another record-breaking year of entrants. 


This year’s AGDAs will have returning hosts, sisters Amanda and Angharad Yeo. Amanda Yeo, Mashable’s Australian-based tech and games reporter, said, “Rad and I are thrilled to be back hosting this year’s awards! The AGDAs are an annual highlight for the local games industry, and we’re excited to celebrate the hardworking developers creating some of Australia’s best video games.” 


Angharad Yeo, award-winning television presenter, video game critic, and tech commentator said, “The AGDAs are not at all unlike the Met Gala – except everyone is much more beautiful and we’re also celebrating the talent of Australia’s myriad of passionate and hard-working games developers. Australia consistently produces high-quality games bursting with warmth, humour, and heart – aided by the wonderful support from IGEA. We’re looking forward to an exciting evening full of laughs and festivity!” 


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About IGEA 

IGEA (Interactive Games & Entertainment Association) is the peak industry association representing the voice of Australian and New Zealand companies in the computer and video games industry. IGEA supports the business and public policy interests of the games industry through advocacy, research and education programs, and working with many stakeholders including all levels of government, agencies, media and other trade associations. 

IGEA advocates on behalf of its members, who range from one-person studio start-ups to larger multinational developers, publishers, platform holders and digital storefronts. IGEA’s role is to help members and the wider industry more effectively create, distribute and sell interactive games, entertainment content and related hardware. 

Through the provision of consistent and frequent industry research and data, along with communications programs, IGEA promotes the interactive games industry both locally and abroad. 

Further details are available at www.igea.net 



Media contact 

Felicia McEntire 

Account Manager 


+61 455 143 650


APPENDIX: Award finalists 


Core awards 

Excellence in Art 


Excellence in Gameplay 


Excellence in Narrative 


Excellence in Audio 


Game of the Year 


Specialty awards 

Excellence in Accessibility 


Excellence in Mobile Games 


Excellence in Serious Games (Applied/Impactful) 


Bespoke awards 

Excellence in Ongoing Games (Games as a Service) 


Excellence in Emerging Games (Student or Early Career) 


Winners of the Adam LancmanRising StarStudio of the Year, and the Raising the Bar Awards will be announced on the night. 

Nominate your game now for the 2021 Australian Game Development Awards


The AGDAs team are delighted to announce that submissions for the 2021 Australian Game Developer Awards are now open.

The Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDAs) are a national event celebrating outstanding games and individual achievements by Australian game developers.

The AGDAs are managed by IGEA, with the award ceremony to take place at GCAP, this year on the evening of Wednesday 6 October.

For any questions about the awards or submission process, please contact agdas@igea.net


To be eligible:

  1. Games must be in a digital format
  2. Games must be fully released between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021. *
  3. Applicants must make release versions of the game digitally available to the judge by submission close date, later builds and updates will not be accepted.
  4. Games that were nominated in previous years are not eligible for re-nomination *
  5. More than 50% of the game must have been developed in Australia.
  6. Applicants must provide valid contact information for each game submitted.
  7. The game must be in a complete and working state and be clear what software and hardware is required to use the product.
  8. Games with any required non-commercial bespoke equipment or any location specific requirements required to play are ineligible.
  9. Game submissions that do not fit the criteria of the category they have self-nominated for will not be judged in that category.
  10. Judges reserve the right to consider a game ineligible for judging.


  1. Ongoing Games must have had a major update between 1 October 2020 – 30 September 2021.
  2. Ongoing Games must include access to any relevant updates, DLCs or general content that game is to be judged upon.
  3. Emerging Games must be developed by a Student Team or an Early Career Dev (defined as a developer who has been developing for less than 5 years or producing their first major game).
  4. Bespoke Awards are treated as a standalone submission, they are not in the running for any other awards in any other categories.

*Excluding Ongoing Games


An entry fee of $30 (excl.GST) applies to each game submitted.
(If you are experiencing financial hardship, please reach out to agdas@igea.net)

There is no charge for submissions for Career, Contribution & Culture awards.


Based off community and industry feedback, we’ve changed our categories for our awards.
















The Studio of the Year of the award honours a studio that stands as a testament of what an Australian Studio can be.

This studio shows outstanding excellence in impressive business practices and policies, incredible products, amazing projects and creating opportunities for the Australian games industry.


Adam Lancman shaped the Australian Games Industry as we know it today.

Adam started out in games as the financial director of Beam Software in the early 80s, climbing the ranks to CEO, and later a founding member of Melbourne House for the duration of his career.

For more than 2 decades Adam traveled extensively, promoting the Australian industry internationally and was the strongest advocate of his day.

When the GDAA was established in 1999 – Adam was appointed its first president where he began laying the groundwork for where we are now.

Under the banner of the GDAA, Adam fought hard, working with government to get games recognised as a creative industry, educate stakeholders on games for the future economy, and worked tirelessly to raise our international profile.

This award is in memory of Adam’s work and early advocacy in games, of all the foundations he laid for us and to remind us all of the work and care that has been put into our industry.

The Adam Lancman Award (excellence in the industry) honours an individual or individuals who have helped the game industry advance to a better place, either through facilitating a better game community from within, or by reaching outside the industry to advocate for video games.


The Rising Star Award honours those who have made significant contributions to the Australian Games Industry in the past 1 – 5 years. They have become invaluable members to the community and show immense talent in their field, constantly working to facilitate a better space for the local industry


Each year we would like to provide an award that is intricately linked to the GCAP theme. This year’s award, Raising the Bar is for an individual or individuals within the industry who have Raised the Bar on industry performance, excelled in their work within the industry and raised the bar within their community, culture and team to ensure success, both personally and professionally.

Please note that all game categories must receive a minimum of 3 entries in order to proceed with an award. 


All winners will be selected by the Australian Game Developer Judging Committee based on submissions received during the nomination period. The Award Committee is comprised of external experts, with a strong knowledge of the game development industry.

Games will be judged by the expert committee using the publicly available assessment criteria.

This criteria has been reassessed this year and reevaluated based on community feedback and professional expert collaboration.

Submissions open 8th of June 2021 and close 15th of July 2021.

No submissions will be received or acknowledged after this date.

The Judging Committee members are not paid for their contribution and will abstain from any votes in the event that a conflict of interest arises.  The Judging Committee are bound by the following policies to ensure there are no conflicts of interest and that all entries are assessed fairly.

  • If at any time, a judge feels like they have a conflict of interest with a game they have been given, they may choose to opt out of judging that game and we will pass it on to someone else.
  • All games are judged by at least 3 people. All scores are then standardised to eliminate bias.
  • If a judge has submitted their own game, they do not judge their own submission.

Decisions of the Awards Committee are final and no further correspondence will be entered into once judging is complete.

Finalists will be notified via email and publicly two weeks in advance of the AGDAs ceremony.

For any questions about the awards or judging process, please contact agdas@igea.net

Please note that The AGDAs is a competition based purely on skill, no chance plays a part in the judging process.


The 2021 AGDAs will take place on the evening of Wednesday 6th of October 2021 as an in-person, live event. Our intention is to also stream the awards presentation in order to showcase the incredible Australian talent to the largest audience possible and ensure an accessible night for all.

All winners will receive an award, acknowledgement in all related media activity, and on the official GCAP 21 website.

Make a Games Submission.
Make a Career, Contribution & Culture Submission.


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