It looks like I don’t get an AIAS ballot this year since I don’t work for EA anymore. *shrug*. I’m not going to pony up $95.00 to get a vote, but if I did, here’s who would get my votes. Update: As an IGDA member, I get to vote. Huzzah.

Of course, this sucks for the folks making the games I haven’t got to yet (Uncharted 2, Assassin’s Creed 2), but that is the nature of timely awards, I suppose. I simply deleted the categories I wouldn’t vote in due to lack of familiarity with the titles listed. Designers generally only vote in the design-related categories, so things like Art Direction have been omitted as well.

Overall Game of the Year
o Assassin’s Creed II / Ubisoft / Ubisoft Montreal
o Batman: Arkham Asylum / Eidos/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / Rocksteady Studios
o Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 / Activision / Infinity Ward
o Dragon Age: Origins / Electronic Arts / BioWare
o Uncharted 2: Among Thieves / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Naughty Dog

Wow, I haven’t played the majority of these. Am I out of touch?

Outstanding Innovation in Gaming
o Demon’s Souls / Atlus / From Software
o FarmVille / Zynga / Zynga
o Flower / Sony Computer Entertainment America / thatgamecompany
o Scribblenauts / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / 5th Cell Media
o Uncharted 2: Among Thieves / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Naughty Dog

Seeing as Farmville is stolen whole cloth from another company seemingly, it would be hard to vote for them, but I understand the thrust of nominating something from the social game scene and Farmville is #1. Still, Scribblenauts is so innovative that I honestly didn’t believe it was possible until I played it, bugs aside.

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction
o Assassin’s Creed II / Ubisoft / Ubisoft Montreal
o Batman: Arkham Asylum / Eidos/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / Rocksteady Studios
o Brutal Legend / Electronic Arts / Double Fine Productions
o Flower / Sony Computer Entertainment America / thatgamecompany
o Uncharted 2: Among Thieves / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Naughty Dog

Bingo. This is the perfect category for Batman. Take a franchise that has had nothing but middling action games and create one of the most compelling licensed games of all-time? The fanboys and the casual even agree. Hot damn. Outstanding direction.

Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year
o Borderlands / 2K Games / Gearbox Software
o Champions Online / Atari / Cryptic Studios
o Demon’s Souls / Atlus / From Software
o Dragon Age: Origins / Electronic Arts / BioWare
o Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story / Nintendo / Alphadream

While Borderlands was excellent, it wasn’t for its role-playing. Dragon Age: Origins pretty much defines what an RPG needs to be this decade.

Sports Game of the Year
o FIFA Soccer 10 / Electronic Arts / EA Canada
o MLB 09: The Show / Sony Computer Entertainment America / SCE San Diego
o NBA 2K10 / 2K Sports / Visual Concepts
o NHL 10 / Electronic Arts / EA Canada
o Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (Wii) / Electronic Arts / EA Tiburon

I’ve got to show some love, even though The Show 08 was a great game and 09 was probably better.

Portable Game of the Year
o LittleBigPlanet / Sony Computer Entertainment America / SCE Cambridge Studio
o Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story / Nintendo / Alphadream
o Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box / Nintendo / Level-5
o Scribblenauts / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / 5th Cell Media
o The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks / Nintendo / Nintendo

While Scribblenauts was incredibly interesting and innovative, it didn’t hold together as a game nearly as well as Layton.

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year
o Brutal Legend / Electronic Arts / Double Fine Productions
o Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon / Nintendo / Intelligent Systems
o Halo Wars / Microsoft Game Studios / Ensemble Studios/Robot Entertainment
o The Sims 3 / Electronic Arts / The Sims Studio
o Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2 / THQ / Relic Entertainment

Casual Game of the Year
o Drawn: The Painted Tower / Big Fish Games / Big Fish Games
o Flower / Sony Computer Entertainment America / thatgamecompany
o Flight Control / Firemint / Firemint
o Plants vs. Zombies / PopCap Games / PopCap Games
o Scribblenauts / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / 5th Cell Media

Social Networking Game of the Year
o Bejeweled Blitz / PopCap Games / PopCap Games
o Farm Town / Codebell / Codebell
o FarmVille / Zynga / Zynga
o Restaurant City / Electronic Arts/Playfish / Playfish

Really? Can I vote for none of the above? I guess you have to give it to Farmville just to recognize their success.

Outstanding Achievement in Portable Game Design
o Henry Hatsworth / Electronic Arts / EA Casual Studios
o LittleBigPlanet / Sony Computer Entertainment America / SCE Cambridge Studio
o LocoRoco 2 / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Sony Computer Entertainment International
o Patapon 2 / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Sony Computer Entertainment International
o Scribblenauts / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / 5th Cell Media

Didn’t we do this category already?

Outstanding Character Performance

o Batman: Arkham Asylum – Joker / Eidos/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / Rocksteady Studios
o Brutal Legend – Eddie Riggs / Electronic Arts / Double Fine Productions
o Resident Evil 5 – Sheva Alomar / Capcom / Capcom
o Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Chloe Frazier / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Naughty Dog
o Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Nathan Drake / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Naughty Dog

Outstanding Achievement in Adapted Story
o Batman: Arkham Asylum / Eidos/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / Rocksteady Studios
o Ghostbusters: The Video Game / Atari / Terminal Reality
o Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 / Activision / Vicarious Visions

Outstanding Achievement in Original Story
o Assassin’s Creed II / Ubisoft / Ubisoft Montreal
o Brutal Legend / Electronic Arts / Double Fine Productions
o Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box / Nintendo / Level-5
o Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Insomniac Games
o Uncharted 2: Among Thieves / Sony Computer Entertainment America / Naughty Dog