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VGAs GOTY Happy Nomination Shock

Something quite amazing has happened in the world of video games. A video game award show, that has the public opinion of being a glorified trailer exhibit, has done the unthinkable. I’m talking about the VGAs game of the year nominations.

Before I get down to the main topic of this article, lets first look at what has not been nominated for goty. There is no Halo 4, which judging by the comments on said site is a tad frustrating for some people. Neither is there Black Ops 2, Diablo 3, Fifa 13, Borderlands 2 or X-Com. The two big omissions are obviously Black Ops 2 and Halo 4. While I don’t have a problem with these two games being missed out, it shows a maturity which has never really been seem before with the VGAs. This maturity stems into the games that made the cut to be goty, with one in particular, showing the whole gaming landscape might be in for a changing.

The nominations for VGAs goty are, Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed 3, Dishonoured, The Walking Dead The Game and Journey. While the first three are all worthy contenders, with Mass Effect 3 having quite a lasting effect on me because of a certain mission on Tuchanka, the most significant entries on this list are The Walking Dead The Game and Journey. The significance of these games being nominated is only really seen when looking at the previous nominations and winners of this award;

2011 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (winner), Batman: Arkham City, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Portal 2, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

2010 – Red Dead Redemption (winner), God of War III, Mass Effect 2, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops.

2009 - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (winner), Assassin's Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2.

There has never been a game that wasn’t a million dollar AAA blockbuster nominated never mind a downloadable game. This is from a time which has brought us Bastion, Limbo, Braid and Plants vs Zombies. Before this year the VGAs never had the foresight to include these small downloadable games in the same league as a franchise such as Call of Duty. But this year that changes.

I would like to admit I have never play The Walking Dead game, judging by the reviews and my experiences with Telltales other games; it looks like a fine contender. It’s inclusion on the list, is by no means, as groundbreaking as Journey’s. I downloaded Journey on day one it came to PSN. I’d seen the trailers and read a lot about it. What I knew about it was that it was a gorgeous game which offered something different, a trait of ThatGameCompany. What I didn’t expect was just how gorgeous the game actually was. There is a bit in Journey where you are sliding down a bed of sand, which has all the properties of liquid gold. The sun is beating off this gold while, what can only be described as carpet dragons, are flying around you. When you get to the bottom of this slide you go into a temple and the camera turns sideways. What follows is an image so beautiful I could actually feel my pupils widening to see more of it. This is an extreme example of Journey’s graphics. The whole game is beautiful from start to finish. While its graphics is one of the factors that sets it apart from the norm, it is only one aspect of why this game is amazing.

In Journey you meet other players along the way. At any time you can have one travelling companion, who is always another person playing the game. They, or you, can choose to travel with this person or walk away, it is up to you. Where it differs from other co-op games is in the information it tells you about said other player. The only thing you know about him is that he is going the same way you are. Communication is dealt with by pressing O and having a chime come out. They enter your game, by what seems like stumbling into your game space and you only find out their name at the end of the game. All these gameplay techniques are used in the game to such a degree you need to huddle together in some levels to keep your energy up. What this achieves is one of the most intimate and emotional video game experiences I have ever had.

I could go on about Journey till I am blue in the face. Describing when I played the game through and stuck with the same person for the entire journey, a difficult feat to do without getting lost from each other, and he actually waited about 3 minutes for me in the final level because we got separated and I’d been running around trying to find him. Or when one of my friends played through the game and a more experience player guided him through the game. The point I am trying to make here, but got sidetracked by excessive ThatGameCompany ass kissing, is that I’d already decided that Journey was my goty, with the only game being able to beat it being Assassin’s Creed 3 and if it wasn’t for the bugs it might have. The reason why Journey is my goty is because it does, in less than two hours, what other AAA games can’t manage to do in 30. It bonds me to the characters, world and story. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to dilute any other game by comparing it to Journey in this fashion. Games such as Skyrim and Uncharted 2 are some of my favourite games of all time. The fact is there though; a two hour game with no dialogue is my goty and could be the VGAs first ever downloadable title that wins goty. If it does then this industry could be in for a shake up. A lot of people have said that the age of AAA blockbuster games is coming to a close. This could be the tipping point. Although, if Journey is an example of the way gaming is going, then I’ve already got my ticket for the front seat.

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hennessey862190d ago

Deserve to be there but I would have liked halo 4 there as well.

Blastoise2190d ago

I thought the nominee's were a bit "meh" to be honest. Good for games like Journey & The walking dead though. They're so...predictable. Assassins Creed check, Mass effect 3 check.

I don't know, I feel it will always be a popularity contest. It's a shame that some of the lesser known titles get no look-in when lazy games like Skyrim win by a landslide.

Bethesda - Developer of the year 2011. Absolute joke.

Locksus2190d ago

I wouldn't call Skyrim a "lazy game". Sure, it was, and is a glitchy game, but not by any means lazy. If you look beyond the glitches, you'll see an amazing world with tons to do, an amazing lore, amazing music and spectacular atmosphere.

It is by no means a flawless game, far from it, but it is far from lazy.

Blastoise2190d ago (Edited 2190d ago )

"you'll see an amazing world with tons to do, an amazing lore, amazing music and spectacular atmosphere"

Not really, I spent hours on Skyrim and after a while I realised I was doing the same thing over and over. The quests are garbage, the combat is repetitive, the world is bland and empty, the levelling up system is flawed, the story is cliche, the children have all the same faces and they seem to have hired about 5 voice actors.

The music IS amazing, but that's about it.

Locksus2190d ago (Edited 2190d ago )

That's your opinion, then. True, the main story is nothing spectacular but I've spent about 200 hundred hours on the game, just wandering around without any destination, doing guild quest and so on.

I love the artistic design and the game, to me, looks absolutely breathtaking. Especially at night when you can see the northern lights etc.

Just because you don't like the game, doesn't mean it's bad and lazy. You've got to look at it objectively.

Anyhoo, you have your opinion and I respect it.

By the way, what do you think is the best game of 2012?

Blastoise2190d ago (Edited 2190d ago )

Well there were times in Skyrim when I was impressed, the northern lights like you say were pretty awesome. So awesome that I think I saved just to see that little screen of it on my save file. And the moon looked incredible. But I still think its a super lazy game that could have been so much more.

As for the best game of 2012 I really don't know. I haven't played Journey or Halo 4, I thought All-stars was awesome (Based on the Beta) but I'm getting the full game for Christmas. Tekken tag tournament 2 is a christmas present also.

Not a fan of Assassins creed nor Mass effect & I'm waiting for some kind of complete bundle with Borderlands 2.

So for me personally nothing has really shined this year, it's all about 2013 with Bioshock infinite, Animal Crossing New Leaf, The last of us, Beyond, Until Dawn ect

What about you?

Edit: Aaaah GTA V, forgot about that. Almost guaranteed to be a game of the year contender for 2013.

Locksus2190d ago

I see. Well, for me, this year has been slightly underwhelming. There have been quality release for sure. Dishonored, Mass Effect 3, The Witcher 2 for the 360 and Halo 4, but I don't know, I still feel a little underwhelmed. I might be spoiled by last year's superb lineup of games.

Oh, and Dust: An Elysian Tail was an impressive game and extremely beautiful. Glad to see it was nominated in the Best Arcade Game of 2012 category.

As for next year, I'm anticipating Bioshock Infinite (believe it or not, I found the first 2 Bioshocks to be just good. Not great, but good.) and GTA V, of course. I'm also hoping that either the next Xbox or PS4 will be revealed. I can't wait to see how to games will look on those machines.

OmniSlashPT2190d ago

Blastoise @

Exactly, I played something like 100h in a week, I was completely addicted. Then suddenly I felt bored. Everything felt the same, everything WAS the game. So much content, but with no depth at all. Skyrim is all about addiction and how the world immerses you once you start playing. But story wise is poor, gameplay is clunky, quests are repetitive and even the world starts to seem dull.

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shotgun_ps32190d ago

It took me a while to see how I felt about Skyrim, around about 300 hours over 3 playthroughs actually. What I finally decided was that Skyrim was one of the most absorbing experiences I've had with a game. Literally almost failed uni because of it. And yes it does addict you to it, but it can only do that because of the amount of effort Bethesda put into crafting one of the most dense open worlds ever seen in a game. Skyrim to me is one my favourite RPGs and is in no way a lazy game.

Bethesda on the other hand are some of the laziest developers in the industry, speaking as a PS3 user. I know I'd think differently of them if I was a PC or 360, but I play on PS3 and they have continually shafted us with Skyrim being the worst example. Every other company in the video game industry is able to code for PS3 now. Bioware started out not doing PS3 games this generation yet ME3 looked identical across the board. But Bethesda, one of the greats in the industry, can't tweak their engine to run on PS3 properly.

The realisation I came too was that there are some developers I love; Naughty Dog, Media Molecule, Platinum Games. Then there are developers I love just because of their games. And Bethesda and right at the top of that one.

BTW goty next year is between GTAV, Last Of Us and Bioshock Infinite and I'm not ready to call that one.

TuxedoMoon2190d ago

After the last couple of GOTY shows, I gave up. Most of the games nominated were good, but predictable. Though Journey and The Walking Dead are on the list, the list was still a little disappointing. Dishonored was just plain dull, IMO, and wasn't there a whole issue with Mass Effect 3's ending?

A lot of people praised games like Xenoblade and The Last Story, yet it didn't make it for GOTY? That's probably my biggest disappointment and just more evidence of Western domination.

KingKevo2190d ago

Really nice and true post. Thanks for writing it. I can only hope it will win, because it's the most different and pretty much perfect game in every aspect, I cannot find any flaus in the game. They had a vision and they delivered it. It's just polished in every aspect. Some people might find flaws in the game, saying it's too simple or doesn't have a real story (even though it has (actually two, your journey and the cryptic story shown in the cutscenes and on the hidden boards), but that's just what TGC intended. Look at any other game in the category and you can't say that about ony of those games. It's my GOTY too and I can only hope that it will win the award, along with the one's for its OST. I don't want it to win cause it's my personal favorite, but because it's overall the best and most polished entry. You cannot compare it to anything, and that's an achievement in a time where we have mostly 2s, 3s and 4s in a games title. And if it's not a sequel, like Dishonoured it's a lot like other games in sooo many ways, maybe a bit better in terms of actual gameplay. The only proper way to describe Journey to another person would be to tell the person that it's an experience that's never been there and that you will remember for a long time if you just start playing it. And Journey was the first game really that made me talk about my feelings I had while and after playing it rather than the actual game(play) itself. And thats an accomplishment for sure. I could go on forever as well, but let's just end with the assumption, that probably 100% of the people who played Journey feel like it's been one of the best experiences for them in gaming ever.

coolbeans2190d ago (Edited 2190d ago )

Now if only they could learn to not announce nominees, or at the very least halt the show, until the year is actually over.

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