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The Other Game of the Year Awards

Hall of Game

It’s beginning to look a lot like game of the year season. People are talking about best graphics, best story, best console… but we all know these aren’t the *real* accolades. We’re here to deal with the proper winners and losers of the year; who had the best costume changes? Who made the biggest u-turn? What exactly is a PUBG?. So settle down, children, as Jonny and Kieran present you with these, the ‘other’ game of the year awards.

Lootiest Lootbox: Star Wars Battlefront 2
(judged by @jonnafang)

You don’t need to add anything to Star Wars to get Star Wars to make money. It’s STAR WARS. You could put that logo on roadkill and people would pay £20 for it. It’s a mystery, then, that EA saw it necessary to add their My First Gambling mechanics to Battlefront 2 to try and squeeze even more cash out of their loyal, yet somehow never happy, fans. Despite all this, loot boxes are somehow still less of a cynical cash-grab than Porgs, though.

The Publisher’s Award for Worst Publisher: Nintendo
(judged by @kieranmcclung)

The problem with Nintendo is they focus on generating incredibly fun and concise content. No paywalls, no loot boxes, just pure gameplay that, quite frankly, doesn’t sit in today’s world. The problem with Nintendo’s attitude to gaming is that it negatively affects literally everyone else trying to make a quick buck. The shill companies that release half-baked ideas locked behind a barrage of payment gateways are being made fools of by Nintendo’s purity. Sure, it’s fine if all you care about is the game and ensuring that players have an emotional, engaging and rewarding experience with their £50 they’ve just parted with but they need to start thinking long term. Gamers love buying virtual items so there’s really no need to keep releasing 10/10 titles and it’s not fair on the other studios out there.

Best Costume Changes: Mario Odyssey
(judged by @jonnafang)

Memes for DAYS, lads. Perhaps representative of Nintendo loosening their vice-grip on how they allow their IP to be treated, Odyssey gave you the chance to pick Mario’s attire for the first time, and boy howdy did they go to town with it. Underwear, wedding dresses, even Luigi’s costume; it was like having your own Mario Barbie. Honourable mention here to BoTW too, which while not quite as left-field did at least give you the chance to dye your armour any colour and dress everyone’s favourite androgynous elf in women’s clothes too. Nintendo embracing cross-platform and cross-dressing in one year!? Things have truly moved on.

Best Horses: The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
(judged by @jonnafang)

Quite a year for equine fans, as both BoTW and Horizon Zero Dawn provided the chance to catch and ride your own steed. Typical of the game itself, however, BoTW went further than anyone else. BLUE HORSES! MASSIVE HORSES! NAME YOUR HORSES! I cared about my first steed far more than I did about the Princess, to be honest. Meanwhile, HZD’s mounts are…. are they cows? Robot cows? I’m not sure, but it’s harder to love a bunch of angry pistons than it is a friendly, neighing mare.

Best Worst System Storage Issue: L.A Noire
(judged by @jonnafang)

A lot of people would probably have bought LA Noire on the Switch. A renowned game now on everyone’s favourite console, it would have probably done gangbusters at a cut price and if it had ACTUALLY FITTED ON THE CONSOLE. Sadly, the download of the game was too big for the Switch’s internal memory, meaning anyone wanting to bad-cop some dirty crims would have to get separate SD card storage too. All this despite Mario Odyssey, the newest and shiniest big title on the console, taking up a mere 5GB. WWE 2K18 also fell foul of this strange storage situation, but to be fair that’s probably to make room for Brock Lesnar’s big ol’ muscles

The ‘Pokemon Go’ Award for Game Everyone Played for Precisely One Week Then Forgot About: Fortnite
(judged by @jonnafang)

A friendlier-looking clone of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite dropped for free on PS4 and was so popular you couldn’t get a single bloody match without queuing for the first two days. It is actually a lot of fun and it’s free, so it’s hard to complain even if you had a reason to, but the player base dropped off fairly quickly after that. Playerunknown, the developer of Battleground, kicked off about the clear similarities between the two games, but to be fair if they were really worried about losing sales they’d have made a better job of the shoddy PUBG XBoxOne port. Loser, loser, chicken Bhuna.

The Future Brexiters Award for Biggest U-Turn: EA
(judged by @kieranmcclung)

EA has a knack for pissing off the gaming masses and this year played out no differently. Loot boxes are all the craze and if you’re unlike Nintendo you’ll need to rely on them to bring in the dollar. After all, how else will you get a return on a weak game? Yes, EA decided to put loot boxes in every game this year. Want to level up? Buy a loot box. Want a new in-game item? Buy a loot box. Want to invert your aim? Buy a loot box. Sorry, you got the default controller layout, try again.

The problem with coaxing young children into gambling their parent’s hard-earned cash on virtual items is that us slightly older children aren’t particularly fond of the idea. After much outcry from social media, it didn’t take long for EA to tone down the method in which we pump money into the games. This was accompanied by a statement exclaiming that they didn’t mean to upset anyone. To be fair I can see why they were confused about the uproar because if I sold a game for £50 and put in a bunch of gated content that required more money to be exchanged in order to unlock it I’d sleep pretty comfortably.

Best Case of ‘What The Fuck Is Happening!?’: Puyo Puyo Tetris
(judged by @jonnafang)

I took part in a video review of this and I’ve still got no idea what was happening. Recently our editor’s wife tried to describe this game to him and me, literally an editor and a reviews editor of a games website, and we had no idea what she meant for, like, five minutes.

Most Awkward Presentation: Sony (Paris Games Week)
(judged by @jonnafang)

Behold, as Sony intersperse trailers for colourful fun-em-ups Concrete Genie and Spiderman in amongst harrowing scenes of violence against women and children, courtesy of The Last Of Us 2 and Detroit respectively. I’m not saying games shouldn’t deal with these sort of things, but maybe consider the jarring tonal shifts happening when you put them into a short trailer devoid of any context. Honourable mention to The Game Awards here too, featuring The Geoff Keighley trying to keep a lid on Josef Fares swearing like a sailor who just stubbed his toe while having a fairly unclear rant about the Oscars and maybe being the only person so far this year to come out as being pro-EA.

As an aside, Josef’s brother is called Fares Fares. It has no bearing on this award, it’s just nice to know.

The Sequel We’d Rather Wasn’t Happening TBQHWY: The Last Of Us 2
(judged by @jonnafang)

The art of telling a single story in a single instalment is dead. I’m not saying Marvel are entirely to blame for this but while they may not have taken the idea of a single-instalment story arc directly to Dignitas they definitely packed its bags and paid for its flight. The Last of Us ended perfectly, and people were certain a sequel wouldn’t happen. Why would you need one? The ambiguity is the whole point of it! Good to see then that not only are they doing a sequel, it looks harrowing as all fuck.

I bet there’s no giraffes in this one.

Conclusion

So, 2017 eh? That was certainly a year that happened. For all the despair and loot boxes, we’ve been pretty spoiled, though. Don’t believe us? Check out the real NGB Game of the Year Awards for the proof. If you disagree with any of the choices I don’t care, write it on a pigeon or something.

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