Thoughts on the Game of the Year Award

So, yesterday, Belghast actually published a post on his games of the year 2020. His list featured a variety of games that I have either been eyeing or that I’ve watched or even played. I definitely recommend his post!

But this lead to me thinking… what is a “game of the year” anyway and why does it have to be just one and no more than one title?

In my opinion, the title of “game of the year” should go to a game that really coined a year. A game that you couldn’t escape from no matter where you went… a game is omnipresent on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and on all other streaming platforms, media outlets and websites. I feel like a game like that is probably hard to make. A game that doesn’t get outshined by other games despite being released before any other games. I feel like that would be a game of the year.

The Game Awards nominated six games for the title: Doom Eternal, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and The Last Of Us Part II. In the end, I had to google who won and apparently Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us Part 2” is now the game of the year 2020 which actually surprised me.

The surprise mostly came because I didn’t really realise that it came out this year. At the same time, the hype wasn’t that big around it, if I remember correctly, and it wasn’t as present on Twitch as Ghost of Tsushima, for instance. On top of that, I also heard a lot of bad things about TLOU2 and the one instance of me watching a stream of that game… was not good. I’ll post on that eventually as well but uh spoilers and stuff.

Anyways, that resulted in me checking up on how nominees are selected in the first place and what kind of authority the game awards are to be able to just decide what game deserves that title… and well, apparently, that’s a stupid question. I mean, The Game Awards apparently are kind of a big deal and I just wasn’t aware of that, really. There is an “international jury of over 95 global media and influencer outlets, selected for their history of critical evaluation of video games” in place that decides nominees based on a lot of factors, also including categories like esports and accessibility. The producer of the Game Awards, Geoff Keighley, himself is not a member of the jury and doesn’t vote on winners or nominees. As far as the nominations go, the jury I mentioned above votes via ballots and votes on their top five titles. Based on those votes, five titles are nominated each year. In case of a tie, there will be six nominees, just like this year! 

Alas, it makes sense that there are titles by big studios like Nintendo and Square Enix while also smaller studios like Supergiant Games represented in the top six, this year. Hades probably would have been my vote as I didn’t play any of the other games (although, I did buy Doom Eternal and will play that soon). I’m not too fond of remakes, especially after what they did with Destroy All Humans earlier in 2020… and I don’t own a Switch so I won’t be able to play ACNH anytime soon. I don’t own any consoles, making it hard for me to play Ghost of Tsushima or TLOU2. In the end, I only played Hades (as far as the nominees go) and would probably have nominated Lightmatter, Drake Hollow, Risk of Rain 2, and some other titles.

Obviously, “The Game Of The Year” is not a game that coined the year… but I just feel like the title kind of implies that. It kind of implies that it’s THE game of THAT year. When you’d talk about 2020 in gaming you wouldn’t be able to talk for two minutes before bumping into that game… It is the game of the year after all… So maybe I’m a bit hung up on that name or the title or my definition but it doesn’t seem like it actually means what it, in my opinion, entails or implies.

When I think of titles that coined the year, I’d probably think of Fall Guys or Among Us. I literally couldn’t escape Among Us for the longest time, so I played it as well, got burned out, and eventually, it came back to me when friends from my old high school chatted me up and wanted to play it with me. Even Ms Magi who doesn’t really play any games was aware of Among Us and did install it on her phone at one point, resulting in us having conversations about it… although she wasn’t too captivated by it.

Anyways, Among Us probably wouldn’t be eligible for nomination since it came out two years ago… or it didn’t get nominated. 

But there’re also other categories and Among Us ended up being the “Best Mobile Game” and Fall Guys, for instance, also scored in quite a lot of categories. Hades won Best Indie and Best Action, which was lovely to see. It was great to see Carrion, If Found, Spiritfarer, Through the Darkest of Times, and some other indie games also seeing love. 

In the end, I don’t really think highly of game awards like that but I love seeing that Indie Games stand close to other games in categories like “Best Action” or whatever. I love seeing a lot of games that I’ve watched or played be nominated for big awards like that but I don’t really care about the winner, to be honest, unless it’s a game I’ve never heard of – in which case, I’d google and potentially wishlist it. So, while I enjoy seeing the nominees, I don’t like the actual award being handed to a title, as I most likely would wrap my hands around my head and wonder why that specific title got that specific award. 

This sounds like I’m constantly whining about why my favourite game didn’t win or whatever but in reality, it’s just me complaining that “of course The Last Of Us Part 2 got the GOTY award” for a minute or two before sipping my coffee and moving on. It doesn’t really matter much… I mean, there’s going to be a GOTY edition of this game that I probably won’t play. Again, more on that soon. But in the end, it doesn’t affect me. I don’t have these annoying friends anymore that would just try and annoy me by saying that they were right and that I was wrong or whatever. Honestly, I don’t care really. I just moan about it once and forget about it two minutes later as I browse who else got nominated for the indie titles that actually interest me. 

Congrats to the winners. Congrats on the nominees.
Happy New Year to everyone else!

Cheers.

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.