The Pavs: NZ Game Awards is a night to celebrate the exceptional games created by New Zealanders. It's about highlighting the amazing experiences people are creating in our community. To this end, the NZGF committee supports transparency in how the awards work and we want to take this opportunity to share it with you.

the judging process

While The Pavs are organised by NZGF, the judges are independent volunteers. These volunteers have graciously given large amounts of their time to review the submissions.

The Judges are invited from our community both in New Zealand and in Australia. The Judging Manager from the NZGF committee reviews past judges and brings in new judges. Past judges have been invited back and invited to suggest others. New judges are invited because of their unique perspective or work they have done for the community.

The number of these judges ranges each year and is dependent on the number of award submissions. We have around 20 Judges for 2020.

Once game submissions are completed, these Judges receive a list of games to vote on. This list is first reviewed by the Judging Manager to resolve any conflicts of interest. Before Judges can vote on a game they must also certify that they are not aware of any conflicts of interest. If any conflicts exist then they are not allowed to vote on the game and a new submission is supplied to them to review in its place.

Over the month long period of judging, the Judges take time to carefully review each submission. By the end of the voting period, they will cast their votes, and finalists are determined from the vote totals. The Judging Manager selects a final Jury who are not affiliated with any of the finalists. This Jury looks at all the finalists for each award category and votes to determine the winners for each award. These votes are collected and totalled by the Judging Manager and sent on to the Event Manager so they can be celebrated at the Pavs awards night!

sponsorship in relation to the pavs

NZGF receives no sponsorship or donations for the awards judging process. We ensure the judging process remains independent by:
  • Having the judging managed by one committee member, and awards night co-ordinated by another.
  • Requiring any judges with ties to a sponsor to abstain from voting on any of that organisation’s submissions.
  • Excluding sponsors from participating in the final Jury.

a big thank you to all the pavs: nz game awards judges for 2020!

Marigold (Goldie) Bartlett
Ghost Pattern / Freeplay Festival – Art Director
Goldie is a freelance artist and consultant in the Melbourne indie games industry, art director of upcoming title Wayward Strand, and art lead for Freeplay Festival. She teaches at RMIT university and is a Film Victoria women in games fellow.
Ben Tuhoe Kenobi
Independent Consultant – Designer / Producer / Curator / Event Coordinator
After working as a game designer at Auckland’s Gameloft studio, Ben worked as an academic researching in the area of game design for 7 years while working on various NZGDA initiatives. He is transitioning in to an independent consultant for the design of the playful side of any product or service.
Tom O’Brien
Studio Mayday – Graphics Programmer and Technical Artist
Tom is a programmer and technical artist at Mayday, having worked professionally in games for over three years. When he’s not working, he enjoys creating procedurally-generated art pieces that explore mathematical concepts in pretty ways. His patronus is apparently a dolphin, but a labradoodle would make more sense.

Jordan Carlton
Freelance – Gameplay Engineer
Jordan is a gameplay engineer with a background in psychology, who enjoys combining these two disciplines to make games great to play. She is currently working with League of Geeks, on a project that is under NDA (ain’t that always the way).

Previously, she has spent a lot of her time in games working on and championing the companion AI for the award-winning mixed reality title, Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders for the Magic Leap One with the Weta Workshop and Magic Leap team.

Jordan hates referring to herself in the third person but loves being part of this game festival’s judging process, it’s a great opportunity to appreciate all that the local developers have been pouring their talent into.

Alex Humphries
JaffaJam – COO
Alex is a Co-Founder of the Auckland based mobile games studio JaffaJam. He has over 15 years’ experience in the games industry, producing AAA console and PC games for SEGA Europe. He was also the Studio Head behind the award winning game Samsara and has Produced a variety of mobile games for other big Publishers including Disney, Sony and Zynga.

Emre Can Deniz
Studio Mayday – Studio/Art Director
Emre is the Art and Studio Director at Mayday, formerly the founder of Opaque Space and multi-award winning VR franchise ‘Earthlight’. Emre comes from a background in working with international partners on XR experience design, ranging from NASA, Boeing to the United States Air Force, with a focus on gamification, training and user interaction.

Robert Curry
Dinosaur Polo Club – Director, Designer
Robert Curry has been part of the Wellington games community since starting at Sidhe Interactive back in 2002, working on sports games for the PS2 and Xbox. Since then he’s co-founded indie studios Wandering Monster and now Dinosaur Polo Club, where he is part of the team behind hit games Mini Metro and Mini Motorways. He also helped set up the Play by Play festival and was one of the directors from 2016 till 2019. He can be heard regularly cursing about totally avoidable deaths in Spelunky.

Patty Shannon
Game Designer
Patty is well known for being tall and having good shoes but she is also a Game Designer, her work can be found in Ashen and several educational modules created for Gamefroot. Now she is currently working on an unannounced Action RPG for PC and Consoles.
Marc Loths
Joy Business Academy – Game Artist
Marc is an experimental game developer and artist. He makes art for virtual reality games during the day and explores the depths of how bad a game one can make at night. When not collaborating with tiny indie collectives Sand Gardeners and A Crown of Moths, Marc is out singing the praises of microindies, building worlds or dabbling in academia.

Isabelle Dela Torre
Ninja Kiwi – Game Artist
Isabelle is currently a resident artist at Ninja Kiwi – working on titles such as the worldwide phenomenon Bloons TD 6. She also worked on an award winning Tabletop game “Cublox” and Steam released “Robin”.

Dylan West
Rocketwerkz – Producer
Dylan splits his time between both Rocketwerkz studios, primarily working as a Producer on an unannounced project in Auckland.  He is also a Programmer and Project Lead for Stationeers, a complex scientific base-building game still in development in Dunedin, and available in Early Access on Steam.

Lisa Blakie
Runaway Play – Community Director and Narrative Designer
Lisa is an award winning Narrative Designer and the Community Director for mobile free-to-play developer Runaway Play. Prior to joining Runaway she wrote an honours dissertation about indigenous storytelling in video games. Lisa is also a writer, an international speaker, a community organiser, a scholarship recipient to attend GDC, a finalist for the Play by Play “Teina” award and has served on the NZ Game Developers Association Board.

Humphrey Hanley

And a big thank you to all of the rest of our judges!

We hope that knowing more about the process will help everyone appreciate just how much each of our award winners has earned their spot on the stage. So grab your tickets, prepare your wardrobe, and be ready to enjoy a night of celebration of our wonderful community!