That most special time of year is upon us, the time when the guys who make the digital blood splatter on your screen put on suits and reap the recognition their efforts deserve. While the hundreds of Game of The Year articles that pop up all over the web at year’s end are nice, there’s nothing like getting a hunk of glass with your team’s names on it for the ol’ trophy case. Thankfully, just like the movie, music and publishing industries, the video game business offers up a host of opportunities for developers and creators to congratulate each other. Game Awards Season arguably starts in December with Spike’s VGAs and stretches to the spring when the Game Developer’s Choice statuettes are handed out at GDC every year.
So, we’re in the thick of the season right now. Last week, during the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ annual DICE conference, more than 20 AIAS awards were handed out to 2009’s best games. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves cleaned up with a whopping ten wins, including Game of the Year. Two of my personal favorites from last year, Flower and Batman: Arkham Asylum, won for Casual Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Game Design. I was also happy to see Mark Hamill earn a Outstanding Character Performance nod for his amazing work as the Joker in Arkham Asylum. You can see the full list of winners and nominees here. The biggest surprise to me was Brutal Legend earning Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year, in a cycle where strong competitors like Halo Wars and The Sims 3 also came out.
Then, this past weekend, the Writer’s Guild of America patted tons of film and TV scribes on the back. (Mad Men got its props, so all is right with the world.) It’s the third year that the WGA’s recognized excellence in video game writing and, honestly, there were some questionable choices along the way. (Was Dead Head Fred really the pinnacle of game writing achievement in 2007? Really?) But, this year, the WGA Videogame Writing award was just another treasure for that hunky Nathan Drake to plunder, as the Guild honored Amy Hennig’s excellent work on Uncharted 2. Y’know, mentioning Mad Men and Uncharted in the same post makes me think that Jon Hamm would make a pretty good Nathan Drake.
At the Game Developers Conference in little less than a month, we’ll see if Naughty Dog and Uncharted 2 will continue their win streak. Also, indie developers get their chance to strut as the Independent Gaming Festival salutes the best in non-corporate pixel entertainment. Look for more on GDC and IGF on Techland. We might even have some awards of our own to give out…