Retro Studios of Austin, Texas was at the top of its game, winning Game of the Year and Excellence in Level of Design for its METROID PRIME, as well as Rookie Studio of the year honors March 6, 2003, at the 3rd annual Game Developers Choice Awards during the 2003 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Jose, California. The Oscar-equivalent in the gaming world, the Choice Awards are true peer recognition honors, as all nominees and recipients are voted on free of charge, by professional game developers around the world. Super X Studios of Federal Way, Washington was another triple winner as the evening kicked off with the 5th Annual Independent Games Festival (IGF). Super X won Innovation in Game Design, Innovation in Visual Arts and the $15,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Independent Game of the Year for its production of WILD EARTH. Other winners were REINER KNIZIA'S SAMURAI by Klear Games, LLC for Technical Excellence, TERRAFORMERS by Pong Interactive HB for Innovation in Audio while Chronic Logic's PONTIFEX 2 received the popular Audience Award. Game Innovation Spotlights went to ANIMAL CROSSING (Nintendo), BATTLEFIELD 1942 (Digital Illusions), MEDAL OF HONOR: ALLIED ASSAULT (2015, Inc.) and THE THING (Computer Artworks). Top character was Sly Cooper from SLY COOPER AND THE THIEVIUS RACCOONUS by Sucker Punch, winning Original Game Character of the Year. Excellence in Game Design went to the team of Romain de Waubert de Genlis, Ola Holmdahl, Johan Persson and Niklas Persson for BATTLEFIELD 1942. Excellence in Programming went to Mark Brockington, Scott Greig, Jason Knipe, Don Moar and Don Yakielashek for network programming in NEVERWINTER NIGHTS. Shinji Hashimoto and Tetsuya Nomura won Excellence in Visual Arts for their art direction in KINGDOM HEARTS while Clint Hocking and JT Petty picked up Excellence in Writing for TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL. The Excellence in Audio honors went to Jack Grillo, Rebecca Hanck, Erik Kraber and Yuan Liu for sound effects in MEDAL OF HONOR: ALLIED ASSAULT. Three special honors selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards advisory boards, were also presented. Gameboy creator Gunpei Yokoi was recognized posthumously with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Doug Church, technical director at Eidos, was recognized for service to the gaming community with the IGDA Award for Community Contribution. The First Penguin Award, awarded for developers who have taken risks to break new ground in the game industry (the first penguin to jump in to test the water), went to Activision founders David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Jim Levy, Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead. The Game Developers Choice Awards were sponsored by Nvidia, Renderware, G4 and Gamespot. More information on the awards and recipients can be found at www.igf.com and www.IGDA.org/Awards.