What a year, eh? Another triumphant year for current gen consoles, the introduction of the next generation, the higher standards of AAA experiences and the greater exposure and availability of indie games. Yep, it’s a pretty great time to be involved in gaming.....
But fuck that, let’s complain and think up stupid categories for stuff I want to talk about.
Fork-Tongued Merchant of Lies Award – Randy Pitchford
Gearbox were on a roll, the terrible-but-totally-not-their-fault-they-swear Duke Nukem had become little more than a bad memory, and they were basking in the afterglow of Borderlands 2’s critical reception, Gearbox had finally rid themselves of the stigma of releasing awful, broken games and were on the road to recovery. Then Aliens: Colonial Marines happened. Now, when most developers and publishers don’t have confidence in a game there’s a few steps they take to minimise damage, they don’t send review code to game websites, they cleverly edit trailers so as not to show gameplay for more that second-long flashes at a time, and basically release the game quietly and hope for the best. No hype means no backlash.
But Gearbox took things in a different direction, deciding to instead embargo the review code till the game was released, falsifying trailers to the point of being unrecognisable, and going into a complete media shutdown, only breaking the silence to acknowledge the rare flicker of praise the game got. The only indication of the game’s quality we had was an unusual talk Randy gave at DICE a week before release in which he was adamant we recognise that other studios worked on the game. All this was bad enough before the accusations of embezzlement, the lawsuits, the finger pointing and that time he spent $25000 for a magician’s ponytail
. But at least we know their true colours now, never again will they sink their teeth into one of our beloved...JESUS CHRIST TELLTALE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? RUN!! GET AWAY FROM HIM!
Runner Up – Peter Molyneux.
What was inside The Cube? A publicity stunt....damn it, Molyneux.
Post-Trilogy Prequel in a Massive Franchise You Already Forgot About Award – Gears of War: Judgement
Gears of War was a big deal. Where Resident Evil conceived the over the shoulder shooter Gears popularised it, for better or worse, Gears of War played a part in shaping the current generation. You’d think the fourth entry would have done better. The prequel starring Baird, because apparently when your choice is between the fan favourite and a guy created to justify four player co-op the black guy still can’t be the lead, was released to average critical acclaim and poor commercial success. Could this be a sign that we’re finally tired of freakishly muscular men shooting aliens in the face? Or are we just tired of these particular
freakishly muscular men shooting aliens in the face? Only time will tell.
Runner Up – God of War: Ascension
Maybe we’re just sick of the Gs of War.
Evil Genius Award for Achievements in the Field of Bastardry – Don Mattrick
The Xbox One reveal was a trainwreck, between the invasive concepts and attempts to control what we did with our games to the mixed messages and Don Mattrick’s displays of outright contempt for the core audience, it was almost as though he wanted the Xbox One to crash and burn. Not long after the PR disaster that was our introduction to the Xbone Mattrick left Microsoft for Zynga, it seemed he screwed up so bad he was fired...........OR WAS HE???
You don’t just clear up your desk and become CEO of the world’s leading casual game provider, Don knew where he was going well before E3, at best he was completely checked out at that point and didn’t care about the Xbox One, at worst, remember that Zynga is the company that constantly espoused the coming revolution of social gaming and the death of consoles. Don Mattrick wasn’t just jumping ship, he was cutting loose the lifeboats and poking holes in the hull first.
Runner Up – Randy Pitchford
Did I mention the whole Aliens thing?
Oddly Specific Genre Award – Aging Father Figure Travels Through a Hostile World With Young Woman
The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, and The Walking Dead are games about ageing men in a world gone to shit as they travel with and protect young women that circumstance has placed in their care, perhaps over time the women will begin to take care of themselves and toughen up as they come to terms with harsh realities of this world, perhaps the men will open up and let themselves care again, perhaps game journalists will call it “emotional” because our lexicon is severely limited and we have such low standards that making us feel any emotion at all is considered an achievement in this medium. Snark aside, it is promising that three games can be so similar yet offer different experiences, and all three can reach varying levels of success. Both game developers and players are reaching their 30’s and 40’s and many are now parents themselves, and it’s wonderful to see this shift reflected in gaming.
Seriously though, stop it, we’re playing to get away from the damn kids.
Runner up – Incredibly Boring Thing Simulators
They’ve always been around, but 2013 was the year the gaming community at large became aware of the incredibly boring thing simulators. Have you ever dreamt of delivering a crate of tomatoes from Southampton to Amsterdam? Of course you haven’t what’s wrong with you? But somehow there enough people out there to make truck, train, and airport simulators not just successful, but flourishing yearly franchises
. We give Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty a lot of shit, but how different do you imagine Tractor Simulator 2014 will be from Tractor Simulator 2013. What amazing advancements have been made in the world of tractor simulation since then?
Controversy That Missed the Point Award – Bros Before Hos
I’m not going to defend it, the God of War games are pretty vile in my opinion, they’re brutal, cruel, and borderline embarrassing for the industry. But for some people, a trophy called “Bros Before Hos” crossed the line. Half the women go around with their breasts out, every game involves having QTE sex with a random women for XP, this isn’t even the first game in the series built around viciously killing a trio of sisters, in the third one you have to kidnap a consort and mutilate her in some gears to hold a door open, and in the finale of Ascension you literally stab the final boss in the tits. But no, all that was fine, the real point of contention was a bros before hos joke that Adam Sessler misinterpreted.
Runner Up – Like, 90% of the Other Controversies
Least Amount of Fucks Given – Hideki Kamiya
Hideki Kamiya wouldn’t give a shit if he had diarrhea at a scat convention.
Schoolyard Slapfight of the Year – Marcus Beer vs Phil Fish.
In what started as a (for once) completely uncalled for outburst on Phil Fish escalated into full on name calling and nonsensical “say that to my face over the internet” exchanges, things came to a head when Fish cancelled FEZ 2 and took his ball home while Beer’s mother called him in for dinner. Cliff Bleszinski, comically unaware of his position as King Dick of Dude-Bro Mountain, pleaded for Fish to return to the industry, but it fell on deaf ears. At the time of writing Fish remains secluded in his pillow fort and Beer was reprimanded by his superiors with no dessert for a week.