Portal 2 Takes Kotaku’s 2011 Game Of The Year Award For Science, You Monster

Portal 2 Takes Kotaku’s 2011 Game Of The Year Award For Science, You Monster

After several weeks of debate, discussion, and deliberation, Kotaku‘s 2011 Game of the Year Award came down to a simple vote, and the majority voted for science.

We voted for Wheatley, the delightfully ditzy but well-meaning artificial intelligence that unwittingly guided us to our potential doom. We voted for GLaDOS, the power-hungry robot with a heart of solid gold spite, with whom our relationship grew closer and stranger than ever before. We voted for Cave Johnson, founder and CEO of Aperture Science, whose words of wisdom will guide us til the end of our days. We voted for Atlas and P-Body, a mechanical consciousness built for two. We voted for Chell, history’s most resilient guinea pig.

We voted for the team at Valve that delivered such a solid and entertaining experience, building an extremely clever puzzle game into something far greater. We voted for Erik Wolpaw, Jay Pinkerton and Chet Faliszek, the writers that kept us in stiches at every turn.

We voted for Portal 2.

Not all of us, mind you, but enough that it would take the assassination of at least two of our editors to make the voting a tie.


The outcome came as a surprise to many of our editors, especially with a powerhouse like Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim hitting hard and deep so late in the year. Indeed Skyrim was my original pick for Game of the Year (Luke Plunkett’s as well), but then it took an arrow in the knee (I am so sorry).

That arrow was Evan Narcisse’s impassioned argument for Valve’s Portal 2. Game’s released towards the front end of the year (Portal 2 hit in April) are often at a disadvantage when it comes time for Game of the Year arguments, but Evan’s nomination and subsequent explanation reminded many of us how nearly perfect Portal 2 was.

Of course this doesn’t mean that the other three games (nothing doesn’t count) we nominated this year are failures. They still represent the very best titles we played this year. Portal 2 was just better than that.

Be sure to check out the stories below to experience the process we went through to get to where we did today, and if you see anyone from Valve’s Portal 2 team today, be sure to give them a vigorous face licking for us.


Who Will Win Kotaku‘s Game of the Year 2011 Debate?

What was the best game of the year, according to those of us here at Kotaku?

We don’t know.

We don’t know… yet.

Throughout the week of December 26, we will present five Game of the Year arguments. More »


Is Skyrim Kotaku‘s Game of the Year?

Oh look. Somebody is voting for Skyrim as Game of the Year. How shocking.

Truth be told, I very nearly voted for something else. Total War: Shogun 2 had me hooked for most of the year, and its near perfection of the series’ blend of strategic planning and real-time tactics seemed to make it, for… More »


Is Sword & Sworcery EP Kotaku‘s Game of the Year?

I played a ton of games in 2011. More, probably, than any other year of my life. So when it came time to choose the best from among them, I spent a lot of time thinking back, sifting through the triumphs and the frustrations, the unexpected joys and the unfortunate disappointments.

Arkham City and… More »


Is Nothing Kotaku‘s Game of the Year?

This may sound off-key coming from the guy who nominated the 12th edition of annual sports franchise for overall GOTY last year. But I’m inclined to say “None of the above,” this year. More »


Is Portal 2 Kotaku‘s Game of the Year?

What Valve did this year seemed impossible: they improved on the perfection that was the first Portal. That feat was accomplished, surprisingly, by making everything about players’ return to Aperture Science less perfect. More »


Is L.A. Noire Kotaku‘s Game of the Year?

The hardest thing at the end of the year is to parse yourself from the hype you’re experiencing and think back to the games you played during the summer, the spring, and yes, 2011’s early months. More »


  • Deux Ex was my pic. Also sometimes I feel like the only person alive who didn’t like Portal 2. Anyone besides me?

  • great pick, elder scrolls was great, but i think it’s only beating portal 2 in some awards because it was released later in the year…

  • I can’t say I agree with this. 250 hours of my life went on a single play-through of Skyrim, as compared to just 6 for Portal 2. I’ve never looked back at Portal 2, whereas I’ve already started a new playthough for Skyrim simply to see how I can play it differently. The soundtrack for Portal 2 never caught my heart, but the soundtrack for Skyrim will still be with me in 2 years time.

    For me, Skyrim was the game of the year, if not the last decade. But Portal 2 is a respectable choice for 2nd place in my list, and people’s preferences differ, so fair enough

  • This.

    Portal 2 was great, but for me was just too similar to the original to make as much of an impact as Skyrim did.

  • Would have had Deus Ex but Portal 2 was my pick earlier in the year and probably my 2nd place pick.

    Skyrim was addictive and had quantity, but in 100 hours I can’t say I enjoyed myself more than I did in Portal 2 (let alone Deus Ex). Skyrim after the first 15 hours or so was about keeping the fun factor narrowly ahead of frustration. Shallow combat and shallow story and I just cannot for the life of me work out how so many people have Skyrim ahead of Deus Ex. What about Skyrim is better than Deus Ex? It boggles me, as an RPG fan… people complained loudly about Deus Ex’s boss fights, but not about Skyrim’s fights? Deus Ex’s ending but not Skyrim’s ending? BOGGLES.

    • Agree about the skyrim boss fights, at least the dragons. The amount of times I have been killed with that silly cheap unblockable, somewhat random scripted animation of the dragon picking me up in its teeth (note thats a one shot kill) when I’m at 90% health after 3 mins of waiting for it to land, arghhh mabye I’m doing it wrong but its a design flaw thats enough to make me avoid dragons altogether as a melee class. Agree about deus ex being awesome, was very surprised.

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