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.
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.
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 Transistorthe 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.
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.
What a dismal showing this year. Last year had Frozen, which tailed into this year, world without end, amen, with a long icy tail like Halley's comet. When are we going to have the "Let it Go" of videogames? We'll never have made it as an artform until games can produce a number with such virality and ubiquity that I start to wonder, "Wouldn't my life be better without a son," and "Remember the end of Ichi the Killer, with the sewing needles? That movie had some good ideas."
Here are some of the so-called "big musicals" of 2014 that failed to register a single musical number: Alien: Isolation. Dragon Age: Inquisition. The trailer for the new Star Wars film. Bayonetta 2. Dark Souls II. Embarrassing.
While no one put their bach into it to interrupt all sense of tone and pacing with a barrage of gaudy sung intermissions, I hereby award Kentucky Route Zero Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014 for Best musical, namely for its one stirring musical number in Act 3. This is quality over quantity folks. Kentucky Route Zero's first two parts are enough to make it one of the best games of last year, and the lone Act 3 enough to make it one of this year's best--and the best musical.
First, the number pop ups organically, at a place you might expect song singing to happen, rather than in a prison or a dementia care home or the post office or just generally a place where you might not expect synchronized singing of thoughts and emotions by patrons. Oh, also a hair enhancement clinic. That's another one where a musical number feels out of place. Anyways, the sensibility of the time and place clashes beautifully with the levels of mediation inherent to the genre and toyed with in the mechanics. Just play the damn thing, the whole of it.
Friends can make any game worth playing. Growing up, couch play was a staple in my household. I would often have videogame themed birthday parties, inviting all of my buddies over to have fighting game tournaments and, one time, a Tenchu II level editor challenge.
While a great single-player game can always elicit strong emotional reactions within oneself, a great multiplayer game lets you share those emotions with your loved ones. These are the games that made us feel special this year. The ones that had an impact on our lives as we gamed into the late night hours with the best of company.
These nominees have mechanics specifically designed to facilitate engaging interactions with others, which inherently differs from the design choices found in solo experiences.
Might be your taste makers on this webpage made a Huge™ boner and left Samurai Gunn out of its 2014 game of the year plans. Because of its mid-December 2013 release, it was left out last year, too, and should have had 2014 eligibility. And there certainly isn't a multiplayer game I've had more fun with over the course of the year than the only game trying to carry Bushido Blade's torch.
And there ain't a game that makes better use of a superfluous double consonant neither, so I am hereby awarding Samurai Gunn the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY award for Best willful misspelling in a title.
Like a real gun or a decorative katana beneath your anime tits wall scroll, the second 'n' just makes you look cooler. This is how you name a game folks (incidentally, this is how you don't name a game, for the love of my Rouroni Kenshin reverse blade replica katana).
Do you see a lazy, '90s raditude 'z' slapped on the end there? Oh hell no. You may get three bullets per life, but there ain't no god damn, highfalutin pluralization nonsense happening here on the part of developer Teknopants. No. They doubled downn. That shows grit. Character. "You pronounce every god damnn letter," it screams. And you have to, or else you're pronouncing it wrong, like when you pronounce anno (year) as ano (anus). This isn't Samurai Ass. It's Samurai Gunn. Though I wouldn't mind seeing the former. Hit me up.
With regard to games shown at last weekend's PlayStation Experience, Sony had two noticeable strengths: its first-party mega-titles and the projects of its ever-growing stable of independent developers. While PlayStation fans finally got the chance to go hands-on with the publisher's biggest names like The Order: 1886 and Bloodborne, it was the indies along the length of the entire side wall where the true gems could be found.
In that sense, PlayStation Experience stepped right in line with all the year's other conventions; in relatively small crowds, players got to move from station to station, and fell in love with new games that they knew little-to-nothing about. Checking out the giant booths is all fine and fun, but ask anyone and they'll tell you that talking to passionate indie devs about their games and playing it at their small, humbling exhibits is the glue that holds community shows together.
These were Destructoid's favorite indie games at PlayStation Experience.
At the Game Awards tonight, the founders of Sierra Ken and Roberta Williams were honored with the Industry Icon Award for their work in the early days of videogame development. After Ken demonstrated his inability to adjust ...
Geoff Keighley's not-affiliated-with-Spike Game Awards are tonight. Gosh, it really has been a year since he co-hosted VGX with Joel McHale. (Let us never speak of that again.)
The show will be streamed live out of Las Vegas...
There are a few dates every year that we can bank on new videogames being revealed. The first couple days of E3 are the best for this. However, in recent years, the annual December videogames awards show has proven to hold it...
Next week is looking to be a pretty exciting time for gaming. With The Game Awards showing off world premieres of upcoming titles, and the PlayStation Experience doing the same, it's definitely going to be a busy and eventful...
Max and I had fun last year getting drunk and making fun of the Spike "VGX" at a slightly slower rate than its own co-host, Joel McHale, tore into it.
Former VGX producer Geoff Keighley is now putting his weight behind ...
Game Connection Europe held its annual Development Awards this week in Paris, with Area Effect's Izle leading the way with five wins. Each of the ten categories feature two possible awards, the European Games Booster Award an...
PAX is always a wonderful show because of the way that it melds the presence of both the industry's largest games and the smallest developers. Into giant triple-A titles? Yup, PAX has plenty of that for you to get your hands on. Indie or experimental stuff more your speed? Fret not, there are tons of hidden gems at every turn to keep you constantly busy.
Unsurprisingly, we found some amazing stuff from both categories. In no particular order, these were Destructoid's top ten games from PAX Prime 2014.
Gamescom is the largest videogame trade show in the world. Sound like a big deal? It absolutely is. Hundreds of thousands of people cram together in a convention center that's massive, but doesn't feel even close to huge enough. Need a frame of reference? This is the crowd in the main hall on Thursday -- what's supposedly the least busy of the three days it's open to the public.
Reciprocating the scale of the event is the size of the games that publishers have on display. That was the theme at gamescom 2014: Big. All the biggest titles are here, and given how close we are to the holiday launch season, they're looking the most polished that we've seen them yet.
In no particular order, these were Destructoid's top ten games of gamescom 2014, as explained by Dale North and myself.