Denki’s much-loved strategy-word game, Quarrel, added two more awards to its tally last night when the Xbox LIVE Arcade version picked up “Best Social Game” and “Best Serious Game” at The Independent Game Developer Awards (TIGA) in Bath.
These are two categories we’re particularly pleased to achieve recognition in as they relate to aspects of the game we’re all very proud of at Denki, but which we feel can often get overlooked.
The game doesn’t fit neatly in the classic definition of a Social Game as it might be imagined when thinking of a Farmville or a Bejewelled Blitz, but we’ve considered Quarrel “social” in the traditional sense since its very inception. It’s first and foremost a digital board game, and that ability to bring together families to play collaboratively against either the artificial or real players over Xbox LIVE Arcade is something we consider to be quite special.
Similarly the “Serious Game” accolade: as far back as when we were showing the game at the Edinburgh Festival in 2009 we had parents and teachers telling us how much they liked Quarrel’s ability to engage children with words and numbers without feeling obviously educational. We believed it was important to have definitions for the words in the game to prevent disputes over “that’s not a real word” and so on, but we were also aware how many words we were adding to our own vocabularies in the process of playing. We were sure that would be the same for everyone else too.
Similarly with the fast mental arithmetic necessary to calculate word scores in the heat of battle. In fact, it was at the direct request of parents we spoke with during development that we never implemented an automatic score counter to tell players how many points their word was worth before submitting. Everyone said they liked that kids had to add the numbers in their head to know their word score, and the uncertainty added to the drama. So we left it as it was, and better for it too.
So for us, these are two awards that really get to the heart of why we’re all so proud of Quarrel – it’s social without being obviously Social and educational without being obviously Serious. We’d like to applaud TIGA and all the judges for spotting that and championing it – it would have been very easy to overlook given the very high quality of the other entrants. We really do appreciate it.
Well done to all the Quarrel team past and present, as well as all the other winners and nominees last night too!
BTW – Romana and Gary have just brought the two gongs back to Denki Towers. These are *seriously* high-quality awards. Without doubt the weightiest trophies we’ve ever had the pleasure of winning. I think we’ll probably need to reinforce the shelf we put them on to meet Health & Safety requirements…