Holy shit, it’s new content on the blog. The year is almost over, and that means it’s time for the first annual Turnip Awards! The most prestigious honors that can be bestowed on anything videogame related, EVER. This should go without saying, but all opinions stated here are solely my own and don’t reflect any of VGZ’s owners, streamers, staff, etc.
Game of the Year
Alice: The Madness Returns (EA)
Let’s just get this one over with first. I chose Alice because it’s incredible looking, well polished (something I really gained an appreciation for this year- see my Burn of the Year award), a blast to play, and the one of the only 3D platformers released this year, hell, in the last few years. It’s a genre that is definitely in the decline, which is a damn shame.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos/Square-Enix)
Dead Space 2 (EA)
Terrible at Games Award
This is my award for the game that made me most disappointed in myself. Catherine wins because it’s a game that I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of, except for the GAME itself. I found the meat of the game, the maneuvering blocks to ascend portion, utterly infuriating. It was fine at first, but as the difficulty ramped up, I reached my breaking point….that balance between wanting to see more of the fascinating plot and forcing myself through the puzzle sections finally tipped in apathy’s favor. I don’t really blame the game’s creators because many people seem to have no problem with it. So I can only lament, WHY AM I SO TERRIBLE AT GAMES.
Dark Souls (FROM software)
Burn of the Year Award
Bethesda – Skyrim for the PS3
This is the award for the company that burned me the most as a consumer this year. Hands down, this goes to Bethesda for their shameful PS3 release of their popular game Skyrim. Bugs are one thing and some would argue par for the course in a game this complex, but the PS3 version is flat out broken once you play it past a certain point. The game literally collapses under the weight of all the data it has to manage. That this didn’t turn up in QA is laughable, and tied with the fact that no PS3 versions were given to reviewers before the games release the only conclusion is that Bethesda knew the problem existed and dumped it on the public anyway. I’m one of those suckers that bought the PS3 version on launch day, and I’m feeling the burn. Made all the worse for the fact that the game is actually incredible, if you can play it.
Can this be fixed with a patch? It seems unlikely…but possible. Bethesda has yet to even clearly admit what the problem is. Most likely they are waiting for our short attention spans to move on and quietly release patches for minor bugs they can actually FIX.
Nintendo – buying a $250 3DS
To the Moon (FreebirdGames)
Awarded to the game who most successfully invested me in the characters of its story, even to the point of empathizing with them. An extremely rare quality, and not even one that’s necessary for a good game. To the Moon pulled my heart strings as much as any movie or TV show I’ve seen this year, and this was the year I discovered Toradora. Not in a manipulative way, either; I mean, every narrative manipulates it’s audience to some degree, but To the Moon is a genuinely great story that made me feel for the characters on it’s own merits and not just because a character happened to be tragically dying or crying at the grave of his/her lost love. I really hope to see more games of this fictional caliber in the future.
Ghost Trick (Capcom) – the characters might be wacky, but I still loved the story and truly felt a twang of empathy for em
Corpse Party (Team GrisGris / XSeed)
Spike TV’s Videogame of the Year Awards
Awarded to any videogame related event/show that truly represents the emotion of . I could literally feel my brain crying out in as I watched this year’s VGAs. The funny thing is, no one expects anything but garbage from these things, but somehow they end up even worse. This year they even skipped through most of the “awards”, spitting them all out at once, to the confusion of some of the poor nominees that actually showed up. You can literally see people on stage asking themselves “What the fuck am doing here?” The VGAs are a dark mirror to the pointlessness and stupidity of the subculture that has taken shape around videogames, and like some have observed, maybe they are what “we” deserve. Like a cold splash of water to the face for those of us that get sucked into the cycle of pre-release hype, console wars, review score debates, etc.
Anything vaguely related to videogames on television except for Game Center CX
Track of the Year
Kirby Mass Attack – Meadow Breeze
Awarded to the best single song from a videogame soundtrack. This year it was Kirby Mass Attack‘s main theme, Meadow Breeze. Utterly catchy and original, it makes me totally nostalgic for the simple yet brilliant themes of Nintendo’s 8 bit era. Plus it’s got those accordion licks I can always appreciate.
Anime of the Year
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Sorry, I couldn’t resist throwing in this non-videogame related category. In my defense, a significant portion of VGZ’s streaming time is dedicated to anime.
I didn’t know what to think about Madoka Magica at first; it seemed like a typical “magical girl” anime, albeit with the SHAFT visual flair. But people kept saying, “keep watching, trust me.” So I kept watching, and all of sudden I wasn’t sure what the hell I was looking at. Equal parts tragedy and action, it invokes the same feeling as the classic Neon Genesis Evanegelion, while at the same time being nothing like it. Maybe the similarity I’m seeing is that they are both retellings of classic anime narrative conventions, with darker, more mature overtones. NGE has the Gundam story: a teenage boy finding a robot suit and saving the world. And Madoka has Sailor Moon: young girls saving the world with magical powers and costumes.
From the perspective of a long-time videogame player, I’m seeing another theme here, and that’s of the Sacrificial Maiden. Young girl, always innocent, usually virginal, sacrificed for power or knowledge. Temple Maidens, etc. Usually it’s the role of the player to save the Maiden, or in darker games, deal with horrible after effects of that sacrifice, usually supernatural. Hardly just a Japanese idea…the ancient Greek oracles were also young women, who most likely died young from the drug inhalations that gave them visions.
Regardless of my bullshit, it’s hard to think of another show this year that stood out as much as Madoka Magika. It might not rank up with the classics like Cowboy Bebop or Paranoia Agent, but it is definitely…something.