NO SPANDEX SATURDAY: It’s Time to Cast Your Vote in This Year’s Game Awards

2
25

December is right around the corner, along with ugly sweaters and blinking lights comes the responsibility of helping renowned gaming journalist, Geoff Keighley pick the best games of 2017 in this year’s The Game Awards. Earlier this week nominees were announced for the various categories and while there weren’t many surprises, a few odd choices in certain categories were present.

Here’s a rundown of the most notable categories for 2017. To cast your vote and see the full list of nominees, head over to The Game Awards website then watch the show live on December 7 through Twitch, and YouTube in 4k.

GAME OF THE YEAR: 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD/Nintendo)

Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD/Nintendo)

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corp.)

Persona 5 (Atlus)

Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

My Pick:

Hands down, Horizon Zero Dawn. Guerrilla Games is a talented studio which boxed themselves into a corner of stereotypical shooters with Sony’s Killzone franchise. Horizon broke them out of a mold. The game about a female warrior in a post-apocalyptic land fighting giant robot animals was rad enough. Then for good measure, the studio crafted one of the year’s best stories about fighting against all odds and saving a world which did nothing but shun you at every turn. Even though the game came out in February, it managed to constantly be in gaming conversations throughout the year. In a medium where we forget things week to week, it’s truly a special thing to have that kind of resonance.

BEST NARRATIVE:

What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive)

NieR: Automata (Platinum Games / Square Enix)

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)

Wolfenstein II (MachineGames / Bethesda)

Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

My Pick:

If I was looking to make money by betting on the winners, I’d probably go with Wolfenstein II. It’s a fantastic story about an alternate history where the Nazi’s won WWII. Think of Amazon’s Man in the High Castle but with killer robot dogs and bigger guns. What gives it an advantage is it’s still fresh in the mind of people casting votes where most of the other games in the category were early releases. Who I’d like to see win and my personal pick? What Remains of Edith Finch, a story about a young girl born into a cursed family lineage. You’ll explore the various tragedies that befell them through levels packed with imagination and emotion. It’s probably one of the best twist endings in gaming this year and deserves to be recognized.

 

BEST ART DIRECTION:

Destiny 2 Bungie/Activision

Cuphead Studio MDHR

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild  Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

Persona 5 Atlus

Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

My Pick:

There’s no other choice than Cuphead. The classic propaganda animation style brought to video games using the same hand-drawn techniques is unlike anything the medium has ever seen. It’s a psychedelic fever dream you can’t take your eyes off of. Even with its controversial difficulty there’s no denying when it comes to the visual, Cuphead should be under the definition of the word “art”. Just to note, I liked Destiny 2 and I’m fairly indifferent to Zelda: BOTW, but neither have the level of originality Studio MDHR brought to the table.

GAMES FOR IMPACT:

Please Knock on My Door (Levall Games)

Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)

Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Deck Nine / Square Enix)

Bury Me, My Love (The Pixel Hunt/Figs, ARTE)

What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive)

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)

My Pick:

This is the most difficult category to call a winner yet alone choose one myself.  Each of those games defines what it means to impact the industry by challenging the archaic stereotypes of graphics and action as the most important thing in making games. They also hold up a mirror to how we view different aspects of society. Life is Strange: BTS gives me the same feeling as when I read Jeph Loeb’s Fallen Son books which were a processing of the loss of his own child. They share the distinction of a universal contribution beyond their mediums by being a lesson in what it truly means to live with devastating loss. By a similar token; Edith Finch and Bury Me, My Love were unapologetic takes on what it means to live as a damaged person by birth. The one game that’s most original in this category and my personal pick is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. A game which not only proved to the industry you could make something with the polish of a blockbuster experience on an indie budget but also serves a tale which also didn’t shy away from using a character with a clearly defined mental health issue over 3.5 million people in the United States live with Schizophrenia.

 

With this getting a bit longer than your Saturday attention span. I’ll just give you a take on some other noticeable things among the rest of the categories.

It stings a bit that comic books in gaming were relegated to only being nominated in the fighting game category. Marvel vs. Capcom and Injustice 2 are competing for the same prize and that’s fine but a lot of things have been overlooked in other places. The Game Awards needs a category specifically for games based on comics characters adaptations. In 2017 along with Injustice and MvC we got Batman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Rogue Trooper, a new Lego Marvel Game, not to mention how good Marvel Heroes Omega turned out on console. If comics is soo interwoven into the pop culture tapestry why does it simply get ignored by other medium awards profiting off the hard work of Kirby, Lee, Gibbons, Finger, and a hall of fame’s worth of others? We need a special Oscar, Emmy, and yes… a Game Award.

Then there’s VR games. How does Farpoint VR get nominated for VR GOTY? It basically amounted to an Aim Controller software demo for Sony. Meanwhile, more fun experiences like John Wick VR and Skyrim VR are left off. Out of the 51 groups on the judges panel, less than half talk about VR regularly. Hell, we talk about VR more than some of those groups. It’s not sour grapes because I do respect a lot of the groups judging this year but it feels like the VR category was more an afterthought than careful consideration.

Lastly, “Most Anticipated Game” could have been filled with all PlayStation exclusives. In addition to God of War and Spider-Man, we’re still getting Days Gone from Bend sometime in 2018. Not to mention that feudal Japan-inspired game announced by Sucker Punch during Paris Games Week. If we’re not setting boundaries on what qualifies as an anticipated game, Half-Life 3 should win every year because we all want it even though it’s never coming so it’ll always be “anticipated”. I’m a huge supporter of The Last of Us and like the rest of the world can’t wait to play The Last of Us Part II, but awards like “most anticipated” should only be given to games confirmed for the following calendar year. It would shock me to see TLOU Part II in 2018 and scare me a little because there’d be no way that game wouldn’t have been rushed out the door. It’s a very small thing to complain about and I haven’t the foggiest idea of why it stands out to me.

Regardless, for the most part, The Game Awards has been doing right by video games and balances industry recognition with inclusion of the fan base better than film, television, and music does,  so go and vote for your favorites then watch the awards show on December 7th.

2 COMMENTS

  1. PUBG being nominated for Game of the Year when it’s still in early access is stupid, but not as stupid as the time they nominated Star Wars Battlefront when it wasn’t sort of out.

  2. I hate game awards because Nintendo always wins because of bias. Zelda always gets game of the year because of overhype and then 2-3 years later a lot of people say “that game wasn’t that great.”

    Happened with Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. Don’t get me wrong Zelda games are always actually pretty decent but I’m sick of these games always getting perfect 10 reviews no matter what.

    I’m sure I have a bias because I am a Sega fan but c’mon! Sonic Mania has only been nominated for best family game? It should have got an nomination for best audio.

    I think I just hate game journalism in general.

Comments are closed.