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.

TSS#65 – My Shaky Moral High Ground

In the past, I’ve talked about my core beliefs and ideals already. It has lead to the decision to not review Heartbeat, for instance, because I wouldn’t want to review and promote a game that is made by people actively harming others…

But as time went on, I noticed that my thinking may be flawed. It’s causing me a headache again because that’s a moral standard or an opinion rather that I can’t really hold that easily. If I don’t support this Indie Studio because there is one dev that is a terf, that’s one thing… but why do I stop there? 

I still regularly play League of Legends because I love the game and the champions in there… but I know that Riot Games (and Tencent) are full of a lot of issues like sexual harassment, discrimination, toxic masculinity, and a lot of other things. There are a lot of things going wrong at Riot Games and there are more and more stories coming out about the behind the scenes stuff right there. One of the higher-ups saying that “no doesn’t always mean no” (linking one of the many articles I found but if you want to dig into the topic, sure, go ahead and you’ll find plenty more dirt without digging too deep) is not at all in line with what I believe in… and yet, I’m not boycotting Riot Games. I’m not spending any money on League of Legends, TFT, Legends of Runeterra, Valorant, or anything else… but I’m still playing these games and even writing about it here and there… and that’s a contradiction, isn’t it? 

The gaming industry is full of cases like that. There are plenty of shitbags in the Industry and plenty of companies and dev studios and publishers that are full of shit – but I love video games and alas, am still playing games and writing about it… and my moral high ground of not wanting to support the TERF and her girlfriend who worked on Heartbeat or not wanting to support the homophobic Brazilian Muslim that reached out for a video game review but ended up trying to convince me that I’m sinning for being bi and coming out like that… well, that moral high ground is shaky. I can’t stand on it. I can’t just go ahead and ignore review requests from studios that I know are bad… and go ahead and play games by people that are equally full of shit. 

I love the games published by Chucklefish Ltd. – But even they have mud on their shirt with them not paying some devs or whatever (haven’t really dug too much into that). 

And well, there’s also Blizzard, Activision, Ubisoft, Valve, and a lot of other bigger companies that are equally full of shit than the ones I mentioned before. But I still play their games, which is shitty and hypocritical in a way. In the long run, I won’t be able to hold up that moral high ground of mine where I don’t talk about some games but still support other games that I personally like but who are made by equally bad people. 

Uh, lots of (not exactly) Ivory Towers and uh, a High Ground… I guess?

And as previously mentioned, stuff like that gives me headaches. I’m in a conflict with my own beliefs of what’s right and wrong. I get migraines at the worst possible time and I end up questioning whether or not I should maybe write a review of Heartbeat. 

I mean, even TERFs quite often have a reason for being the way they are. If you’ve been traumatized by men in the past, you probably don’t feel that safe around anyone who’s been a male before or who still is a male – especially in “safe spaces”. At the same time, I still disagree with them and I do feel like there are better ways of handling things. Insulting and discriminating against trans-women isn’t at all what I want to defend here… but at the same time, I can’t say that I know their stories. I don’t know whether or not, I can just shit on terfs without ever really knowing what they’ve been through – and I doubt that I can get in that mindset either since I’m just a male myself. 

It’s a tricky subject and while I will not support that dev who tried to “make me hetero” because he personally harmed me, I may consider actually writing a post about Heartbeat… as a game… made by people that cared about the game. People that actually are inclusive. People that spread love and make games for the sake of bringing joy to people of all kinds. People that created something that taught me a lot about self-love and loving others despite our differences. In the core, Heartbeat is a great game that I really recommend. My stance on that one dev doesn’t change necessarily. That one dev isn’t part of the studio anymore. Everyone in the studio distanced themselves from that one dev or left the studio. 

A lot of the things that that one dev did to harm others are unforgivable. The way they handled things shouldn’t be able to get excused purely by trauma. I don’t think violence solves violence – physical or verbal doesn’t matter in that regard. I don’t think it’s fair for me to judge someone from this ivory tower that I’m sitting in. I mean, if someone actively harmed me or my friends or anyone in my community, I wouldn’t want to support them. 

The Gaming Industry might as well be as rotten as the Curse-rotted Greatwood! idk, it’s just a picture, move on.

My ideals don’t change. My ideals are the same as before. Transwomen are women. Transmen are men. Trans rights are human rights. For every bad person, there are ten good people in the world. Love and let love, live and let live. I’m still trying to be my best possible self and I want to grow as a person and I feel like taking a look at these stances that I took in the past and that I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of months already is only natural and actually quite important. You can’t always stick to one opinion unless you’re really stubborn. 

So what I’m trying to say is that I still don’t know if I can hold that moral high ground up. I doubt it. I’m still against people that cause other people harm and I still want to improve and become a better human being. My ideals and principles haven’t changed at all… but I can’t act as if that one small Indie Studio is the worst part of the Gaming Industry when it’s really just one dev there… and I can’t just ignore all the other parts of the Gaming Industry. Instead, I feel like it’s a lot easier to put up a disclaimer of sorts in a review. “The members of the studio distanced themselves from the lead dev (aka the terf) and I personally don’t like what the terf did but a lot of other people put their heart, sweat and blood into this game, so I’m still writing a review on this game. I hope you can understand” or something like that. 

I’m still torn about this. I still don’t know what to do about this. I’d love to hear a lot more opinions on the matter. If you’ve got one about it, please let me know. I’d be more than pleased to know.