Four Mobile Games Vie For Best Handheld or Mobile Game at GDC

Mobile games have claimed four out of the five nominations for the Game Developers Choice Award for the best handheld or mobile game of the year.

Organizers of the annual awards ceremony revealed today they had nominated NimbleBit’s Tiny Tower, Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride, Chair Entertainment’s Infinity Blade II and Superbrother’s Sword & Sworcery EP for the award for the best handheld or mobile game of 2011. A single “traditional” handheld entry, Nintendo’s Super Mario 3D Land rounded out the finalists.

This year’s GDC awards nominations mark a significant step forward for mobile developers in the games industry, reflected in the name change of the award from Best Handheld Game to Best Handheld or Mobile Game. This is the first time mobile games have made up a majority of the finalists.

It is also the first time a free-to-play game, NimbleBit’s Tiny Tower, has been nominated for the honor. (Although Jetpack Joyride is now free, it was a paid app at launch.) Last year, Zeptolab’s Cut the Rope was the first mobile game to be named Best Handheld Game of the year, beating out Sony’s God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Level 5’s Dragon Quest IX, Konami’s Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Kairosoft’s Game Dev Story.

Winners of the 12th annual Game Developer’s Choice Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on March 7 in San Francisco. A full list of the nominees can be found on the GDC Awards’ website.