Red Carpet

I grimace at consensus accolades because they generally choose the least polarizing entry. It is the same for the Game Developer’s Choice awards, of which I am honored to vote on every year. Last year was the straw that broke the figurative camel’s back when Wii Sports won for Best Design and Gears of Drivel won Best Overall Game. Oh, and Twilight Princess won for best writing (aka Best Use of Same Fantasy Cliches As Every Game Since Gauntlet award) in a year where Dreamfall & Oblivion were on the ballot.

As you can tell, I’m in a foul mood today.

I digress. The nominees this year were pretty good overall. You can see them here. We get a call for nominations at the end of the year and all of my nominees but one actually made it to the final list (I nominated Skate for Game Desig, but it didn’t get a nod.) I give a favorable reaction to seeing Bit-Blot on the list for best debut. I haven’t gotten around to playing Aquaria yet, but it certain looks to be a labor of love. And double kudos to the throngs that must have voted Peggle for the iPod in as I hadn’t even thought of a non-DS platform in that category, but I totally want to re-do my vote at this point.

So unless I have a change of heart, here’s how I plan on voting:

Game of the Year: Portal (Call of Duty 4 better not win…)
Best Writing: Portal (Mass Effect better not win…)
Best Game Desig: Portal
Best Technology: Assassin’s Creed
Best Visual Arts: Bioshock
Best Debut Game: Aquaria (But only if I actually play it before the vote and it is deserving, otherwise, I’ll leave this blank)
Innovation Award: Portal (If Mass Effect wins here… I swear…)
Best Handheld Game: Peggle or Puzzle Quest, can’t decide yet.
Best Audio: Bioshock
Best Downloadable: Peggle
Most Underrated Overrated Game: Halo 3
Most Underrated Underrated Game: Assassin’s Creed
Most Overrated Overrated Game: Super Mario Galaxy (A 97? really?)
Most Overrated Underrated Game: Flow
President: Ron Paul (kidding)

The last five aren’t real categories.

3 thoughts on “Red Carpet

  1. “The last five aren’t real categories.”

    I wish they were though! I completely agree with the first four.

    I’m curious why you singled out Call of Duty 4 as not worthy of GOTY. It had a surprisingly innovative single player campaign (especially for a war game), the best online multiplayer of any game this year, and while it wasn’t terribly revolutionary, it was polished to perfection in every way.

  2. It’s not that I feel that Call of Duty 4 wasn’t a good game – it was. I just didn’t find it worthy of all the superlatives the community graced it with. And while it is a good game, I can think of at least ten games this year that were both polished AND provided a more innovative experience. At its heart (and especially up to the Death From Above level) it was your standard throw-a-million-guys-at-you corridor shooter. I commented to my roommate a bunch of times that I felt like I was playing Time Crisis what with all the suicidal enemies that took fifteen shots to the gut before they reacted. Especially on the level where there were trucks chasing you as you escaped. I was wondering where to put my quarters in.

    Your comment about multiplayer may be dead-on as I completely avoided it. I know what kind of people play popular FPSs on Live and I don’t get a kick out of it. I may be underestimating it, but the single-player left me wanting.

    *spoiler ahead for those who haven’t played the campaign* They totally ruined the emotional impact of the whole nuclear blast angle by 1) not making the player feel connected to that character in any way. I can’t even remember the guy’s name and I played last week. And 2) putting a damn loading screen in between the crash cutscene and the last gasp cutscene which would have been tremendously powerful if uncut.

    I actually found Halo 3 to be a more enjoyable single-player experience, all-told. But there were things I enjoyed in CoD4 – the Death From Above level was great. Calling in airstrikes was pretty entertaining. Throwing a sneak mission right in the middle was a great change of pace.

    I just don’t think it was Game of the Year material.

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