The Game Awards for this year are out. The Game Awards are an interesting thing. I don’t pay attention the Emmys or the Golden Globes, so its weird to have an awards show I’m invested in.
The categories break down about the way you’d expect. There’s obviously Game of the Year, which doesn’t sound too special when you remember there are two hundred gaming websites willing to call anything “Game of the Year.”
Then there are the types of categories that fit under ‘story’ and ‘production.’ The first one covers best direction, best narrative, and best performance while the second one includes things like art direction, score, and audio design.
Best Direction is an interesting one because it’s more than just the direction of the visuals and performances; it includes the game’s overall vision. On a scale of Minecraft clone to Hotline Miami, how original are the game’s mechanics, tone, and themes?
With the exceptions of A Way Out and Detroit: Become Human, nominees for Direction are all sequels, so maybe “original” isn’t the right word. Execution is a factor. After years of lackluster Spider-Man games, Marvel’s Spider-Man is included because while we’ve known how to make a good Spider-Man game since 2004, we just waited 14 years to do it.
Then the awards are broken down by genre or platform. VR/AR and mobile games each get their own categories. There’s too many genres for me to list all of them, but the categories are comprehensive.
I’m not listing nominees or my faves because you can get that shit anywhere. That said, I’m hoping Battletech takes Best Strategy Game because it was far more solid than I expected and I trash talked it a lot.
There are also publisher categories which reward indie studios, indie debuts, and games produced by high school or college developers. That’s a relief because the board of The Game Awards is a list of top-tier video game companies. Ubisoft, Microsoft, and Steam are a representation of the types of companies whose members sent on TGA’s board. Steam and AMD seem like a minority share of the board and the only ones who’d lobby to support independent games and I’m glad they’re doing it.
There’s also community awards and ongoing game awards, which are there solely to reward YouTubers and No Man’s Sky. It’s reasonable to recognize YouTubers like Ninja, but I feel like there should be a distinction between something like No Man’s Sky—which did not release the game they said they would and finally released that game years later—and whatever Overwatch and Destiny 2 are doing to earn the title of ‘ongoing’ games.
Do lootboxes count as “ongoing content that evolves the player experience over time”? Wait. Is this whole award ironic?
The last broad category is esports, which I know nothing about. I might look up some of the best esports moments of the year because I’m sure they’re exciting, but it’s a whole other world that I don’t know anything about. If you do, let me know.
The game awards will be December 6th and you can vote by registering on their website or by Twitter, Facebook, Discord, or even some of those fancy in-home voice assistants.