What Do Game Awards Mean, Really?

No TUD for a while, so I'll reopen the raging debates. And we had one going around the tower lately about the meaning, and utility, of video game awards. I'd like your opinions on this.

We just had the 2008 VGAs, which was compelling TV only when it was hyping things coming out next year, rather than honoring the best of the art form in this one. And, of course, numerous sites and publications are doing their own best-ofs and year-enders and games of the year. Crecente mentioned in a discussion that it can risk looking like a gift guide rehash, and I agree.

So here's where you get to weigh in: Are video game awards and honors at all meaningful? Are they foregone conclusions honoring top sellers and major releases only? Can you really hand out a "game of the year" when your candidates can be as disparate as racers, fighters, shooters, RPGs, sports titles and more? On the other hand, does giving out genre-specific honors water down it down more? Does anyone even give a shit? Tell us, dammit!


    Video game awards hold relevance to people when they have some association or respect for the people issuing them. Take the Oscars as an example. The "Academy" has respect as an institution for appropriate delivery of awards for movies of different genres. The "Academy" could consist of some expert film critics and masters of the art form, or it could consist of some monkeys and a very big dartboard. Regardless, it is respected and the prize is coverted, even though there are countless awards and gratuities offered by magazines, websites, and organizations for 'Best Movie' each year.

    Game Awards needs to have the backing of a respectable institution. The awards have to be sought after by a majority of the industry. And viewers have to respect the institution enough to want to hear what they have to say.

    As for categories, there are many contenders each year for all game genres. FPS players would respect a FPS awards over a single "Best Game" award, as the winning game would be rated against FPS standards and other FPS games, rather than Ziggy's Adventure or Bejeweled.

    If enough respect for these awards can be generated, it could even effect the way game studios work. Will they continue to spend more than a year on a game to produce awesome games? Or would they speed up to run contenders for awards? Would studios start hamming it up for achievements?

    Game awards would be a good idea. If not for the publicity and accessibility it provides the layman, then for the people who have worked hard to produce something creative, ground-breaking, imaginative, artistic, or just sunk metric tonnes of cash on a blockbuster.

    No awards for games that are NOT OUT IN SHOPS YET. Seriously, it's the stupidest thing in the world. Winning an award and branding the front of your games cover with it is like winning an argument on the internet.

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