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9:00 PM on 01.13.2015

Big names dominate Writers Guild Award nominations

Anyone that's of the belief that mainstream videogames are often devoid of great writing will need to look somewhere other than the Writers Guild of America for vindication. The organization's nominees for Outstanding Achieve...

Brett Makedonski


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2014's Game of the Year from 2006 because 2014 kind of sucked for games photo
2014's Game of the Year from 2006 because 2014 kind of sucked for games
by Steven Hansen

Yes, it's now 2015--though I'm still writing 2014 on all my checks!!!--but how can anyone do a definitive Game of the Year award until the year is officially over? Until that big dang ball drops down in The Big Apple, the Big City, New York, New York baby! What if Valve decided to stealth release Half-Life 3 on 12/31 like Beyoncé in 2013 or Run the Jewels 2 this year? It would be everyone else with egg on their face and my face wouldn't be covered in egg at all.

I tried to go back and find the tweet wherein I predicted 2014 would be The Worst Year, but all I could find were really good jokes about Pokémon and cellphones and unrequited yoga-friend seeking. Fitting that I started 2014 unable to find someone to do yoga with and end it unable to find someone with whom to hoop.

So I hid the prediction too well. Like any good prediction, it would have been forgotten if it hadn't come true at no cost to my reputation, but if it did come true? Man, I'd be direct linking that piece of soothsaying ad nauseum (by the way, sources tell me that Half-Life 3 is going to be released on April 4, 2015). 

Unfortunately, this prediction did come true and 2014 was the worst year since 2009 and I don't even get to take credit for calling it. But I won't bore you with My Bad Year. Instead, I want to award Clover Studio's God Hand with the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's Game of the Year 2014 Award for Best Game of the Year from 2006 because 2014 kind of sucked.

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5:00 PM on 01.08.2015

PlayStation owners loved Destiny more than any other game in 2014

We're well into the new year, but not everyone's put 2014 squarely in their rearviewmirror. PlayStation Blog just finished tallying the votes to determine which games Sony fans were most fond of last year. All PlayStation pla...

Brett Makedonski

3:30 PM on 01.07.2015

2015 Independent Games Festival finalists named

We're a couple months away from March's Game Developer's Conference, where everyone has to travel to where I live (uh, the city, not my home) and I just get to roll out of a nice non-hotel bed and make my way to appointments....

Steven Hansen



Swery's 2014 games that I haven't completed, but think are amazing photo
Swery's 2014 games that I haven't completed, but think are amazing
by Steven Hansen

[Swery is the man behind Deadly Premonition and D4. The latter has kept him busy over the last year, so he hasn't been able to finish every game he loves. But love is not finite, finished, and with an eyebrow game this on point, Swery's offered to tell us all about the games he loves anyways - Steven Hansen]

At first, I'd just like to make one thing clear. I think that all the games on this list are excellent, top-quality games. I haven't completed them due to personal reasons, and this in no way affects my evaluation of them. I love all games from the bottom of my heart.

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GOTY 2014: Best evidence that we should go full communism  photo
GOTY 2014: Best evidence that we should go full communism
by Steven Hansen

I'm back, baby!

You thought Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY awards were done at three, come sambuca con la mosca? That we want health, happiness, and prosperity, rather than four (death)? We're up all night to get unlucky my friends. And to drink a bottle of Chartreuse so that our New Year's Eve vomit looks like Ecto Cooler Hi-C and the Streets of San Francisco run green with ghost spume.

I believe it was communist philosophers Groucho Marx and John Lennon who said, "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas," and that's, like, so true! A distanced citizenry treated as targets (consumers) versus an engaged citizenry treated as co-conspirators and friendos can lead to anti-consumer practices. That's why the open nature of crowd funding and early access development has been big this year, as invested fans have helped bear titles that did not need mass market appeal. Sometimes you can use a little help from your friendos, because we're all in this together, man. 

Invisible Inc. is das kapital example of Early Access success and the winner of the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY award for Best evidence that we should go full communism. It is, by a wide margin, the game I have played most this year, and it's not even "finished." And, hey, maybe it sits on the wrong side of its tekno-Cold War-era aesthetic (the English-speaking side), but that angular 2D art and XCOM-like turn-based stealth are fresher than you might think given I just used a 20-year-old game as a reference point. Seriously, though. Turn-based stealth. It's amazing. 

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7:00 PM on 12.29.2014

Destructoid's Game of the Year 2014 Community Choice Award!

What a wild year it's been for us gamers. In spite of all the insanity this industry inevitably attracts, when we look back on everything that has happened over the last 12 months, I think there's one thing we can all agree o...

Mr Andy Dixon



Destructoid's award for Overall Best Game of 2014 goes to... photo
Destructoid's award for Overall Best Game of 2014 goes to...
by Jonathan Holmes

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

Why do we love videogames? Some say it's the escapism, or the ability to wrap you up in a story that you get to help tell as it's being told to you. Others say it's the way they can bring friends together, or occupy your mind with interesting mechanics to master and problems to solve. 

The truth is though, no one really knows why we love videogames so much. When you truly connect with something, be it a song, a movie, a game, or another person, it's not always easy to put the feeling into words. When asked "How do you know when it's love," legendary rock and roll group Van Halen responded with the unhelpful axiom "I can't tell you but it lasts forever." If Van Halen couldn't explain love, then how the heck are we supposed to? 

We may not be able to explain why we love games, but we sure as spit can talk about which ones we love the most. We saw a lot of write-in votes here, for games like Bravely Default, Hyrule Warriors, Grimrock 2, inFamous: Second Son, Tomodachi Life, and a bunch of others that we talked about in the Mechanics, World Design, Multiplayer Design, and Narrative Design award announcements earlier this week. In the end, the top four games came within arm's reach of each other. Dark Souls II came in fourth, Shovel Knight beat it out for third. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U just barely missed the top spot, landing in second. 

The winner is a true Cinderella story of gaming, which I will likely gush about in the paragraphs to follow. Before we get into that, be sure to vote in our reader's poll. It's democracy in action.

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The winner of Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014 is... photo
The winner of Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014 is...
by Jonathan Holmes

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

Any game can use cut scenes to tell a great story. That trick was impressive back when CD-ROMs were cutting-edge technology. Today, the expectation for story-focused games is to work towards interweaving narrative techniques into every aspect of the design. Videogames can do so much more than pure linear storytelling devices like text or film. The best Narrative Design award is Destructoid's way of acknowledging the games that best proved that in 2014. 

Telltale had two games nominated this year. Neither won the award, though they didn't do half bad either. The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead Season 2 found a place next to Broken Age: Act 1, Either One, and Dragon Age: Inquisition near the middle of the pack. Notable write-in votes include The Talos Principal, The Banner Saga, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Danganropa 2, Civilization: Beyond Earth, 80 Days, Wasteland 2, and Valiant Hearts, among others.

In what some would call a Christmas miracle, two games got the exact same amount of votes to win, making them Prom King and Queen of this year's best Narrative Design award ceremony. I know a lot of people hate ties, but I love them, so I'm going to embrace it. Sometimes two things are equally successful, standing side by side with their own important roles to fill. It's hard for me to find anything not to like about that. If you don't feel the same, go on and vote in our Reader's GOTY poll and make your tie-hating voice heard. The two winners of today's best narrative design award will be waiting for you below when you get back. 

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The award for Best Game Mechanics of 2014 goes to... photo
The award for Best Game Mechanics of 2014 goes to...
by Jonathan Holmes

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

The idea behind the best mechanics category is to highlight games that you'd love to play even if they had stick-figure graphics, no multiplayer, no music, and no story. Some of them may be filled with complex operations. Others may be simple one-button affairs. Regardless, these are games that keep you coming back again and again, hoping to get all the parts to fit together just a little bit better each time.  

The votes were really all over the place here. Games that I figured had a good chance of taking the top spot like Sunset Overdrive and Geometry Wars 3 were beat out by write-ins like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, The Castle Doctrine and Divinity: Original Sin. Other surprise staff nominations like Wolfenstein: The New Order, Xeodrifter, Road Not Taken, Mario Kart 8, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Bravely Default, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Xenonauts, Mercenary Kings, Freedom Wars, Destiny, and Infamous: Second Son didn't do quite as well, but regardless, the message is clear: the Destructoid staff plays a lot of different kinds of games strictly for the mechanics. 

There was also a three-way tie for third place in this category, between three games that couldn't be much more different. In the end, Bayonetta 2, Octodad, and Shovel Knight all tied for the bronze medal in this particular popularity contest. Now that's a three-way crossover I'd pay top dollar for. With those games down, only OlliOlli and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor remained. Keep reading to see which one landed on top, and don't forget to vote in our Reader's Poll for your favorite game of 2014

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Rust Cohle's GOTY games for 2014 photo
Rust Cohle's GOTY games for 2014
by Rust Cohle Games

Another year, another series of GOTY lists fueled by fanboyism and cognitive dissonance. We all know the AAA games get their fair share of nods and stick shakes. That's why I'm here to tell the world what my GOTY games are for 2014.

Not that it matters; we're all living in our own linear perceptions, anyway. Our ideals, biases, telling us right and wrong. All I can give is a taste of what my mind perceives to be true.

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The winner of Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of the year is... photo
The winner of Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of the year is...
by Jonathan Holmes

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

Counting up the votes for Dtoid's Best Multiplayer Design was exciting. I had no idea how the voting would go. Big games like Destiny, Titanfall, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare didn't do half as well as you might have expected In fact, Advanced Warfare got just as many votes as small-but-scrappy titles like Sportsball and 1001 Spikes. Nidhogg and Sportsfriends managed to beat the lot of them though, landing near the middle of the ranks.

Sadly, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare didn't do so hot, though I chalk that up in part to the fact that not a ton of our staff have played it yet. On the other hand, it was nice to see a strong showing from write-ins like Samurai Gunn, Octodad, Divinity: Original Sin, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Screencheat, Crawl, Cannon BrawlGang Beasts, Mercenary Kings, Hearthstone, Magicka Wizard, and GTA Online.

In the end, it was down to three big games: Towerfall: Ascension, Mario Kart 8, and Smash Bros. for Wii U. Keep reading to find out which title won, and don't forget to vote in the Reader Poll!

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Nominees for Destructoid's Best World Design of 2014 photo
Nominees for Destructoid's Best World Design of 2014
by Steven Hansen

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

If we are the world, then technically this award is for all of us. Pat yourselves on the back. Only 12 games are being nominated, though, and only 1 will be winning the award. But it's an honor just to be nominated. 

Creating worlds, interactive digital spaces for us to dive into, is one of the strength of games, tying back to that good old feeling, "immersion." These nominees created coherent or otherwise arresting virtual realities. Alien tension. Sweeping scope. Hot Topic's vision of punk rock. Southern Gothic magical realism. 

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Nominees for Destructoid's Best Game Mechanics of 2014 photo
Nominees for Destructoid's Best Game Mechanics of 2014
by Brittany Vincent

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

You can have the greatest narrative in the world and sprinkle memorable characters and scenes throughout a game, but all of it's for naught if your mechanics can't shine through. As the great Irving Mills once wrote, "it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing."

These nominees spotlight the best of games that transcend the simple title of "functional" and instead go for the gold when it comes to making things feel absolutely solid. Pulling off combos is akin to wrapping yourself up in a silk robe. You never have to fight these games in order to complete objectives. They're all titles you'd be playing over and over even if the other aspects were lacking. They simply feel right. We all know I'm talking about Bayonetta 2, but here's a list of other games, I guess. 

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GOTY 2014: Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum photo
GOTY 2014: Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum
by Steven Hansen

Someone once told me I talk like Jeff Goldblum. This is not true. I also don't look like Charlie Day, Peter Frampton, Bret McKenzie, Michael Sheen, or Dikembe Mutombo. But at least I appreciated the former (tip: don't tell people who they look like; it is confusing and uncanny at best, offensive at worst). If I could channel a fraction of Goldblum's swarthy, gangly, aloof sex appeal or ability to vomit stomach acid onto his food while his shedding, greasy hair starts to look like a perm, my life would definitely be better. Especially if I had the vomit thing. 

And so it is that the third Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014 award is for the Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum. If you missed them, here are the awards for illiteracy (Best willful misspelling in a title) and Best musical.  

Because I am being sneaky/horny and using a shirtless Goldblum to adorn this post rather than art from the winner, now it feels like I have the element of surprise on my side and I'm pussyfooting around giving the award. Juking left, juking right. Will there be a world-shattering upset? I can feel you tittering with suspense as if you were hanging on Jeff Goldblum's every word and "Look," hand gestures. 

Without further stalling, I hereby award Transistor the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014 award for Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum! Supergiant's sophomore effort is almost cool to a fault. It is aloof, but with a sumptuous, angular aesthetic that mirror's Goldblum's icy-hot mystery. 

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Nominees for Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014 photo
Nominees for Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014
by Brett Makedonski

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

It's impossible to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes for great narrative design. It's just something you know when you see. It's more than an outstanding story (although, that's certainly a requisite). It's the melding of game mechanics with narrative to create an experience that's elevated beyond those two parts individually.

But, the thing is, there's no formula to ensure it'll work in perfect harmony. All too often, games that excel at telling a story fall somewhat flat with gameplay, or vice versa. It takes a special title to work hand-in-hand with itself to create that seamless whole.

When that happens, it's a wondrous feeling. We're left with the games that can keep us on the edge of our seat in delight, or slouched as deep in the couch as possible, gutted with despair. We're left with the games that we can't stop playing, or that we can't stop thinking about when we're not playing. We're left with the titles that cement the idea that videogames are a transcendent medium.

These are Destructoid's nominees for Best Narrative Design of 2014.

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