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All Hail The Game Awards

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the Game Awards. That means a fanbase who simultaneously don’t value awards but get incredibly angry when their favourite titles don’t get any. There’ll be some fun trailers and, as is tradition, absolutely no mention of Silent Hill.

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And, genuinely, for all the downplaying that gets done at this time of year, it’s still and event that gets people talking at a time when there isn’t much new to talk about.

That’s especially true after nearly two years of coronavirus, where good gaming news seems so rare. It seems an eternity since E3, and I’m not sure there’s been anything major since. Sure, there have been news stories – big news stories – but nothing on this scale.

And so I say forget the haters (because I’m apparently 13 now). The Game Awards are a force for good.

Awards and More Awards

No award is definitive, and most awards are far from it. If you held an awards show for an industry with only one really good developer and one really bad one, you’d still end up with a 600-page Neogaf thread about how the people behind Shitty McShit were robbed.

And sadly it’s nowhere near that simple. Most years see dozens – maybe hundreds – of amazing games released. So when you see a list of GOTY contenders that include Resident Evil Village, It Takes Two, Ratchet and Clank, Metroid Dread, Psychonauts 2 and Deathloop, any single one of them can win. It Takes Two is probably the outsider of that list, and it still 100 per cent deserves its win.

The average gamer plays maybe 15 hyped-up AAA titles each year, and it skews them. It’s where the “game sites only give 7/10 reviews or above” nonsense comes from. If all you’re playing is the best of the best, you’re going to struggle to differentiate them.

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In one way the Game Awards are a celebration of the top tier of our industry. Everything nominated represents teams of people who are at the absolute top of their game. That’s what it should be.

What it becomes is fans of individual games nitpicking out of frustration. It becomes winner takes all. This isn’t a fault of the Game Awards, no more than it’s the fault of any awards show. Rather it’s the increasingly prevalent ‘Us Vs Them’ that exists in every walk of life.

It’s an honour just to be nominated is the oldest cliche in the book, and yet it is a cliche for a reason.

The Trailers

There was no big announcement this year. There was nothing that knocked me out of bed this morning when I woke up and checked out the headlines. But I spent a happy 40 minutes or so afterwards catching up on trailers.

Senua was a particular highlight, but most everything showed a lot of promise. Even Suicide Squad, in its rapid, hyperactive cut way, showed a game that’ll be worth playing. Hell, sign me up for the Sonic Cycle because I love how Frontier is shaping up.

Once I’d finished I thought about my current backlog and worried a little about how I’m going to survive 2022. I might have to sell a kidney or two in the hopes of catching up.

And as depressing a thought as that is, it came at just the right time. Here, on the cusp of a new year, we can look forward and remember that there are always new titles on the horizon. Our industry is alive and well, and full of incredible people. NFTs might be getting various publishers in all sorts of trouble, and we can talk all day about harassment and working conditions, but ultimately there’s still a bit of brightness.

The Game Awards were a more than welcome reminder of that.

 

Article By

blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott    Google Plus: matgrowcott