March 7, 2003 - At yesterday's opening of the 2003 Game Developers Conference in San Jose, CA, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) announced the many winners of its annual Game Developers Choice Awards -- what it considers to be "the Oscars of games." The awards are voted on by the many videogame industry professionals attending the conference each year and represent the voice of talented game developers across the world.

GameCube fans will be pleased to learn that Nintendo performed quite favorably this year, as its flagship Metroid Prime title beat out all other competition to bring home the coveted "Game of the Year" award. Retro Studios, the talented development studio behind the project, also garnered recognition in receiving the "Rookie Studio of the Year" award and "Excellence in Level Design" award for its work on Prime.

Nintendo's Animal Crossing was also mentioned with a "Game Innovation Spotlight," earning a nod for its creative focus on communication-based gameplay.

IGDA chairperson Graeme Devine of id Software says that, "A Game Developers Choice Award is a stamp of excellence and innovation. ... These titles and developers have the cachet among the game insiders."

IGN would like to congratulate Nintendo, Retro Studios, and all of the 2003 GDC Award winners, and thank them for bringing us some of the best titles in the history videogaming.

Read on for the full list award winners below:

Game of the Year
Metroid Prime (Retro Studios)

Original Game Character of the Year
Sly Cooper from Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus by Sucker Punch

Rookie Studio of the Year
Retro Studios for Metroid Prime

Excellence in Audio
Jack Grillo, Rebecca Hanck, Erik Kraber and Yuan Liu for sound effects in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

Excellence in Game Design
Romain de Waubert de Genlis, Ola Holmdahl, Johan Persson, and Niklas Persson for game design in Battlefield 1942

Excellence in Level Design
Metroid Team for level design in Metroid Prime

Excellence in Programming
Mark Brockington, Scott Greig, Jason Knipe, Don Moar and Don Yakielashek for network programming in Neverwinter Nights

Excellence in Visual Arts
Shinji Hashimoto and Tetsuya Nomura for art direction in Kingdom Hearts

Excellence in Writing
Clint Hocking and JT Petty for writing in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Game Innovation Spotlights
Animal Crossing (Nintendo)
Battlefield 1942 (Digital Illusions)
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (2015, Inc.)
The Thing (Computer Artworks)

The GDC Awards advisory board also presented three special awards to the following:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Gunpei Yokoi, creator, Game Boy

The First Penguin Award
David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Jim Levy, Alan Miller, and Bob Whitehead, founders, Activision

IGDA Award for Community Contribution
Doug Church, technical director, Eidos