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For Developers, By Developers: Awards Night at GDC 2011

For Developers, By Developers: Awards Night at GDC 2011 (photo)

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The Interactive Achievement Awards handed out by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences a few weeks ago probably line up most analogously as the Oscars of the video game medium. And, of course, the Writers Guild Awards try to reward the scripting excellence of games like the, um, Writers Guild Awards does for movie screenwriting.

All of that makes the Independent Games Festival Awards and Game Developer Choice analogues for the Spirit Awards and (probably) The Directors’ Guild Awards, respectively. They were handed out in a double-bill ceremony on Wednesday night, with the indies going first. Frictional Games’ “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” was the night’s winningest indie, pulling in the Technical Excellence, Excellence in Audio and the Direct2Drive awards survival horror PC. (Go here the other winners.) Frictional’s devs talked about how the trophy was just so much shiny gravy, stating “We were just happy to get [the game] done!” “Minecraft“–the build-your-own environment indie phenomenon that grew exponentially and made millions of dollars in 2010–won the Audience Award and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. There seemed to be a puzzling bit of backlash against “Minecraft” in the air, though. Maybe some felt it got too big and too successful for an indie game?

As the focus shifted away from exclusively indie title, Markus Perrson’s blocky masterpiece stayed in the spotlight, garnering Choice Awards for Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game and Best Innovation. But the developers voting on last year’s games lavished the most love on “Red Dead Redemption.” Rockstar’s hit Western took home the most wins overall, notching victories in the Audio, Game Design, Technology and Game of the Year categories. Also notable was a Lifetime Achievement Award for visionary designer Peter Molyneux. What made the “Red Dead” wins so significant was they might’ve marked the first time that Rockstar earned such universal acclaim at a GDC ceremony. Rockstar’s development processes are always shrouded in mystery and that tends to make them a sometimes divisive entity in the game development business. This year, though, everyone seemed to agree that James Marston’s playable saga pushed the creative ambitions of video games one step closer to the sublime.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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