So last year the GWJ GotY thread kept erupting in discussions of what does and doesn't or should or shouldn't count in regards to the arbitrary marketing gimmick of entertainment awards. I had intended to create a separate discussion thread for the logistics of gaming awards and award shows, but never had the time to do so. Whelp, today on my Tweeter feed I saw GamesRadar (I still follow them?) that they are letting readers vote on their Golden Joystick Award nominees already, which just seemed like the perfect time to spark this silly conversation.
Why discuss it at all? Why can't game awards just be a silly little thing? A few reasons, I think. We all grew up with the Oscars, and I think there's not only a sort of attraction to the pomp and circumstance of such an awards show, but something to be said of seeing something you enjoy being given recognition by a body of respected individuals.
Which is also why we ditched the Oscars and made our own award programs
with blackjack and hookers because screw those guys.
For the developers and publishers, awards are theoretically a way of earning excellent marketing material. I say theoretically because, while oscar nominations and awards make for great incentive to get an audience to buy your movie or see the next one in theaters, I'm not sure anyone cares if your game got 200 awards at E3. Do they even know what E3 is? What significance does it have? If it's so special how come the cover has some grim looking soldier with a crew-cut turning his back to the consumer just like that other game with a grim looking soldier with a crew-cut turning his back to the consumer? These covers all look alike!
If you'd rather not think about the fact that awards are even more pointless than the review leading up to the arbitrary and pointless review score, then there's still plenty to bicker and debate about. For example, what the Hell even is an Action-Adventure game, and why does it seem to encapsulate everything from "Not a shooter" to "Not an RPG"? In fact, what is an RPG since half of these Action-Adventure games have RPG elements? Is Assassin's Creed: Origin's an Action-Adventure like its predecessors? Or is it an RPG now that it has loot boxes and stats on the gear? Is Destiny 2 an RPG or a first-person shooter?
Oddly enough, GamesRadar seems to have dealt with some of the troublesome categories by getting rid of them altogether. However, they also have several vague categories and even categories dedicated to things such as Streamers. I mean, Oscars never gave Roger Ebert an award for being a prolific critic, so why give a Streamer an award? Shouldn't Twitch have their own awards for that purpose?
Most interestingly, they created a category for one of the controversial topics that led to me wanting to make this thread in the first place: Still Playing. This is a category reserved for games that did not release within the year-long window, but through updates and maintenance continue to draw players in on the regular. A game like EVE Onine sparked a bit of discussion and debate regarding validity, and BOOM! GamesRadar (I swear the only interesting thing I've had to say about them until now was "Oh snap, Susan Arendt is taken the reigns there" followed surprisingly shortly by "Oh snap, Susan Arendt is leaving GamesRadar already") has us covered.
So if you're the sort to overthink and take everything too seriously – like me! – then this thread is the place to have the discussion. This way, even though the GWJ Community GotY will be handled by a new crew, we can leave the serious and sometimes heated conversation out of a thread dedicated to just plain fun and instead bicker and argue over here.