Sunday, December 5, 2010


Part Un

Greetings, ladies and gentlegerms! With December well into it's first week, it's time again for the yearly tradition that all gaming journalists bestow upon their medium of choice - Game of the Year awards. It's that very special moment where all the greatest games of the gaming year are given meaningless titles and trophies, so that the developers perhaps can feel some sort of pride knowing that their game was truly better than everyone else's! This is probably because developers are hired based on Metascore and not genuine skill or creativity - so it helps for us all to revisit our opinions once in a while. In case we were high, or distracted by the giant green hype monster sitting on the couch next to us while we convinced ourselves we enjoyed looking at a horse's arse running across an empty desert looking for samey gunfights to enter. But I digress - this is Part Un of Andy's Game of the Year Awards; or as I like to call them, the "Crazy as Heck" categories!

Rick Moranis Award for Kind-of (Probably) Best Humour

This award is bestowed upon the game which caused the most guffaws! The most belly-laughs. The most unstoppable fits of crying laughter! I am, of course, not above enjoying a laugh or three while playing a video-game - after all, if I can't laugh while shooting foreigners or stopping the regime of an inhuman alien dictator hell-bent on uprooting the school districts of the American south-west, then what can I laugh at? I mean, besides midget clowns. Well, I think I can safely say with possible confidence that the game this year that was most probably hilarious was Capcom's zombie tear-'em-up Dead Rising 2. It wasn't meant to be a comedy, of course, it was meant to be a semi-serious action game for the Gen X and Y "Zombie Generations". But much like the original Dead Rising, many of the every-day items and fashions were just too damn hilarious to take the plot anything close to seriously. Of course if Valve had released Portal 2 on time instead of delaying it twice, no doubt Portal 2 would win this award, but we all know Valve are no strangers to postponing the release of their sure-to-be-successful-regardless-of-quality games - right fellas?

Winner: Dead Rising 2
Runners-up: Halo: Reach, Fallout: New Vegas

Peter Molyneaux Award for Least Work Put into a Sequel

Now on first glimpse this should probably awarded to Fable 3, what with it being a Peter Molyneaux game, but surprisingly there was a game that indeed did less work than that! I am, of course, talking about Obsidian Entertainment's Fallout: New Vegas, an expansion pack that decided it wanted to be a whole new game! How cute. Unfortunately it forgot to take from Fallout 3 the vocals of Liam Neeson, the only good thing about the intrepid introduction, and a relative sheen of polish. Regardless, it's strange that they did little to nothing to improve upon the graphics and animation of the original Fallout 3 - which I constantly remind people were godawfully featureless even at its release. Runner-up for this award is Nintendo's ingeniously titled Super Mario Galaxy 2, but it loses the award for actually kind of attempting to bring something relatively fresh to the table - even if it was only after you defeated the final boss.

Winner: Fallout: New Vegas
Runners-up: Super Mario Galaxy 2, Bioshock 2, Fable 3

Garreth Gobblecoque Award for Most Innappropriately Titled Game

Some games dare to call themselves by a title. Sometimes the title is rather self-explanatory - such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. At other times, it's awkward and almost completely unreleated, like Plants vs. Zombies. Regardless - what game this year was the most inaccurately named? Well I believe it is Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar's inexplicably well-recieved Wild West epic. For one thing, there was no red. I did notice a lack of red. There was a little dead, but not enough to fit in the title - and then redemption. Okay well okay, I guess the plot was about redemption - if only barely - but that's the subtitle. The subtitle can't hold up a game on its own. Frankly, a more accurate title would be Grand Theft Horse - but even THAT joke title is wildly inaccurate! For one, you hardly steal horses with the frequency you steal cars in Grand Theft Auto; this leaves us with Grand Horse, yet the scope of the game is fairly small, covering but the exploits of one man. And that just leaves us with Horse. So yes. Rockstar, screw this "Red Dead" bullocks - you should have just called your game Horse. Since that's 85% of the game's content anyway, when we're not struggling with the godawful targetting system ripped from GTAIV.

Winner: Red Dead Redemption
Runners-up: Final Fantasy XIII, Call of Duty: Black Ops

Hideo Kojima Award for Best Verbal Diorhea

Some games just won't shut up, will they? You just want to play the game. You just want to play the "game". But they keep loading you with shitty exposition you can't follow cos you leant on the spacebar during the opening cutscene. Balls! But funnily enough, one game this year totally used non-stop verbal spewage as it's major selling point. I am talking, of course, about Poker Night at the Inventory. The sheer hilarity of the writing, and the comic timing of the performances, meant that - unlike most conversation or cutscene-heavy games - we didn't want the characters to shut up. Each and every quip had us laughing our arses off, and hanging on to hear what the next one would be - the game included a "Gift of the Gab" conversation option that made absolutely sure the character couldn't shut their pie-holes. So yes. The award goes to... that poker game with the Heavy in it.

Winner: Poker Night at the Inventory
Runners-up: Final Fantasy XIII, Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Jason Bourne Award for Genuinely Goodest Set-Piece

Action games may have some shooting sections and some dialog - this goes hand-in-hand with the genre. But scrape away the stories and shootings and you're left with set-pieces. Yes, set-pieces are the glue that hold together a modern action game. Whether you're throwing a million cutscenes at the player Devil May Cry-style or creating the stunning illusion of freedom ala Crysis, the action set-pieces are what define the stylistic choices of every game that dare wear the "action" genre as their big fat stinking label. So what action game this year had the best set-piece - and what was that set-piece? Well, hold onto your hats folks, because the genuinely best set-piece - or at least, the one that sticks out in my mind - is from the GTAIV expansion The Ballad of Gay Tony, which was released early this year, and later alongside The Lost and the Damned in the stand-alone Episodes from Liberity City. What set-piece am I referring to? Well, to be honest, from the start of Gay Tony, Rockstar threw the hilariously awesome at us - a 15km/h golf buggy chase through the streets of the city, a ride in a destructive-as-hell chopper; but the best scene came from early on in the game. A blogger is writing awful things about Gay Tony's bars, so Gay Tony offers the blogger a helicopter tour of Liberity Island. Fun! Once up in the air, though, Louis (you, the player character) and Tony hold the guy out the open doors of the chopper and threaten him to stop writing such awful things. Despite slapping the guy around like a cheap hooker for about five minutes, the blogger still doesn't agree - so you drop the bugger out of the copter, essentially meaning he'll never blog again. Brilliant, right? well, Tony double-takes - "what are you doing, Lou?!" - so you get your parachute and free-fall to catch up with the man who is already free-falling, before opening up your parachute moments before you and your new best blogger-friend are imprinted on the sidewalk - or impaled on the torch of the Liberity Island statue. It's out-of-the-blue, it's genuinely heart-pounding, and it's funny - the perfect set-piece.

Runner up? Dark Void. Now, Dark Void was by no means a great game. But for lack of a better phrase, it did have its moments. One of which was really exciting, and it involved turning on your jet-pack mere seconds before you became imprinted yourself on the grou- oh. Ehh, the champion is Ballad of Gay Tony.

Winner: Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Runner-ups: Dark Void, LIMBO

Well, that's the first batch of awards. Tune in tomorrow for Part Deux - or as I like to call it, the "Genuine, Not-Jokey Awards". It'll be slightly more serious than today's batch! Until then, Andy out.

Oh! Why not do something fun? You guys - comment in the... well, comments - what is your favourite game of 2010? In Part Trois of this little series I will tabulate the votes and, alongside my choice for Overall Game of the Year - you will see your "Reader's Choice" award, too! Won't that be fun, kids? Yes? Yes, I thought you'd say that.