Whose Game Of The Year Matters Most?

Around now is the time when most outlets and people will be coming out with their personal games of the year for 2016. The rule goes that if you’re literate, have opinions, and are a gamer, somewhere tucked away in your mind, or website, there is a list of the best games you played last year. Because like songs, movies, and shows, everyone has their own favourite video game. But the best of the year aren’t always decided based on singular opinions, but instead, a collaborative group that critiques the quality of something on a more in-depth level, going into matters such as the making of, cast and crew, development, and so on, of a particular project. However, when it comes to gaming, there is no single honour given out that is definitively bigger than the rest. While film has the Academy Awards, music the Grammy Awards, and T.V the Emmy Award, the games industry has no such thing. Now, why is that?

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Sure, arguments can be made for the Game, D.I.C.E, and GDC awards, but none of those are able to strike a balance between being both prestigious and popular. The D.I.C.E and GDC awards are mainly an industry congratulating its own developers; however, no one would really call either of them the pinnacle of achievement one can receive working in gaming. The Game Awards, on the other hand, has the potential to be both popular and prestigious, but it suffers from a whole host of other problems that stop it from being so. The show itself has had many different successful and unsuccessful incarnations over the years, making it seem as if it doesn’t have any kind of history, and could basically just be a flash in the pan. Furthermore, The Game Awards seem to, in general, lack a concrete identity, which in turn means it lacks a specific audience. 

Getting back on track, the reason why video games don’t have the kind of definitive ceremony and award that other forms of entertainment possess, is because gaming itself sort of started as an unofficial art. Even nowadays there are still arguments about whether video games are indeed art, so it’s no surprise that it has taken a while for this young medium to be celebrated in a formal way, that can be widely considered as the ultimate achievement, like an Oscar is for filmmakers; the video game industry simply doesn’t have anything as big as that. But is that really a bad thing?

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While games are still in a state of slight immaturity, regardless, there are several ways the gaming industry is ahead of everything else. Because of its connection to the internet and modern culture, games don’t necessarily need the old fashioned way of doing things. So in the end, whose game of the year matters most?: Yours.

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4 thoughts on “Whose Game Of The Year Matters Most?

  1. Gaming being in its infancy by comparison to other forms of media is a significant factor here I think. There hasn’t been a great deal of time to grow a full on awarding body. Things like The Game Awards are trying to grow into that powerhouse I would say, but I suspect it’ll be a long time until there truly is one.
    On the other hand, does gaming really need one? Does film really need the oscars?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I would say you’re right about what awards are important. I think publications have the most clout though, catering to their specific audiences (IGN and Gamespot with mainstream, Jim Sterling and Destructoid with the PlayStation crowd, Polygon with the indie fans).

    I’d also say that while the events like The Game Awards have the potential to become the videogame version of the Oscars, they likely won’t anytime soon if they continue like they have been. The corporate sponsorships, the painfully awkward scripts, and what I can only describe as pandering.

    Your last assertion that the opinions that really matter are the individual’s is true for sure. What game gets the GOTY treatment doesn’t really matter for large studios. It’s not like there’s any benefit that us gamers see from a publication or awards ceremony declaring a game as GOTY anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you wrote about this. I talked about this a little while ago on my blog, so I’m happy to see someone else questioning game award shows! Games are still maturing as a medium, so I do think it’s important for them to have a comparable award show, just to be able to show non-gamers that our medium is legitimate. For games to have a comparable awards show to other “respectable” mediums is to show that games are a comparable, respectable medium.

    Like the Academy Awards, I don’t think people should just blindly follow whatever the awards folks say are the best games, because so many people have different preferences. That’s one of the reasons I love seeing other people’s GotY lists – there is no one game that is definitively the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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