A "Game of the Year" Award Is a Bad Idea

Arnoxthe1

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I've always had kind of a problem with GOTY awards and I never knew exactly why. But I never really gave it much thought either. But now I have.

So why is it a bad idea? I think Jim Sterling said it best.


Having a Game of the Year award is pretty much making a statement that, no matter what, this particular game is better than all the others that came out that year.

And this is downright nonsense. As Jim states, there is no perfect video game. Only perfect video GAMES. And not only that, we're comparing games to other games that shouldn't even be compared in the first place because some games will obviously aim for something totally different than the other. I mean, are we going to blame Undertale for not being a good FPS? No! Of course not.

Having said all that though, I might go with awards for games that excel in certain areas, and even that is kind of rickety. This is, of course, already being done though. And that's great, but having some end-all be-all Game of the Year award is just downright silly at best, and harmful to the industry at worst, encouraging the toxic notion that some games are just better to make than others. Which thinking led to the massive propagation of modern military shooters and other such tomfoolery.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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I'll disagree here. A Game of the Year can serve a purpose by highlighting what a specific person or publication (by aggregate) considered was the best game of the year to them. Using it as some sort of objective measurement of best game is silly, but as a way to promote a game that I think is subjectively better, for whatever reason, it works well. That way if people know they have my taste in games and I say that my GOTY 2015 was The Witcher 3, they can take that as a really strong endorsement. It is not an objective award by any stretch and should not be thought of as such, but rather a way to distinguish which game resonated most with me, or left the biggest impression, last year
 

Corven

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Gethsemani said:
I'll disagree here. A Game of the Year can serve a purpose by highlighting what a specific person or publication (by aggregate) considered was the best game of the year to them. Using it as some sort of objective measurement of best game is silly, but as a way to promote a game that I think is subjectively better, for whatever reason, it works well. That way if people know they have my taste in games and I say that my GOTY 2015 was The Witcher 3, they can take that as a really strong endorsement. It is not an objective award by any stretch and should not be thought of as such, but rather a way to distinguish which game resonated most with me, or left the biggest impression, last year
This is pretty much the answer you are going to get. GOTY awards all boil down to "what I liked most this year" none serve to objectively chose the best out of everything, because people can't be objective when it comes to things they enjoy or dislike.

The only value in GOTY lists in my opinion like the person I quoted said is to find reviewers/youtubers/streamers that have the same tastes (or close to the same) as you and find games on their list that you may have not played and give them a chance in the future.

Here is a real life example, Totalbiscuit had Wolfenstein: The New Order on his GOTY list a few years ago, before this I had passed on the game for whatever reason but his video showed me what he found interesting and compelling about it that it got me curious enough to buy it, turns out it was really fun and I'm glad I bought it off of a goty recommendation.

Also an interesting thing TB said that I find useful to keep in mind; a bare-bones list by itself is useless, it is the explanation of why the games were chosen to be on the list which makes the list useful in any capacity.
 

Here Comes Tomorrow

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GOTY awards are probably the most meaningless title every created.

"Hey PR guy, make a blog post about how our game is your game of the year."

Coming November 2016: Toilet Flushing Simulator Game Of The Year Edition!
 

s0denone

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Yeah let's remove the Academy Awards aswell as the Golden Globes too. Take the Emmys, the Grammys and the MTV Music Awards too.

Who's to say a rap album is better than a country album? That an action film is better than a drama? Than an RPG is better than a FPS?

Come on, OP :eek:)

Of course there are no "perfect" anything. Infallability and flawlessness is impossible, but why not give special recognition to a title that you thought stood above the rest? It is subjective in the same way a review is subjective. Nobody ever called a "GOTY Award" objective.

If you realise that you're not expected to thing the award is objective, then you can surely see the idea behind wanting to hype and prop up a title that you feel deserves it?
 

Arnoxthe1

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Gethsemani said:
I'll disagree here. A Game of the Year can serve a purpose by highlighting what a specific person or publication (by aggregate) considered was the best game of the year to them. Using it as some sort of objective measurement of best game is silly, but as a way to promote a game that I think is subjectively better, for whatever reason, it works well.
We can have individual awards in specific areas that do this better than just tallying up some super subjective votes on the best game in the staff's opinion that they've had a chance to review. This sort of measurement means absolutely nothing because it tells us nothing that individual awards in certain areas couldn't tell us and in more detail.

s0denone said:
Yeah let's remove the Academy Awards aswell as the Golden Globes too. Take the Emmys, the Grammys and the MTV Music Awards too.

Who's to say a rap album is better than a country album? That an action film is better than a drama? Than an RPG is better than a FPS?

Come on, OP :eek:)

Of course there are no "perfect" anything. Infallability and flawlessness is impossible, but why not give special recognition to a title that you thought stood above the rest? It is subjective in the same way a review is subjective. Nobody ever called a "GOTY Award" objective.

If you realise that you're not expected to thing the award is objective, then you can surely see the idea behind wanting to hype and prop up a title that you feel deserves it?
There's other kinds of awards they can do that were already talked about in the OP that serve the purposes you're talking about. Please read it again.
 

DrownedAmmet

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Arnoxthe1 said:
Gethsemani said:
I'll disagree here. A Game of the Year can serve a purpose by highlighting what a specific person or publication (by aggregate) considered was the best game of the year to them. Using it as some sort of objective measurement of best game is silly, but as a way to promote a game that I think is subjectively better, for whatever reason, it works well.
We can have individual awards in specific areas that do this better than just tallying up some super subjective votes on the best game in the staff's opinion that they've had a chance to review. This sort of measurement means absolutely nothing because it tells us nothing that individual awards in certain areas couldn't tell us and in more detail.
But games are more than just those specific areas, noone plays games like that. Its how it all comes together that matters. I think you need both kinds of awards, so you can point out moments of excellence in specific areas (like the graphics in the Order 1886 or Star Wars Battlefront) but then when a game comes along that as a whole is just excellent, that needs to be recognized too.

What I think gaming awards shows needs is more "technical" categories, similar to best make-up or best lighting for movies. Like best level design, best A.I, best "game feel," and the like
 

Bobular

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DrownedAmmet said:
What I think gaming awards shows needs is more "technical" categories, similar to best make-up or best lighting for movies. Like best level design, best A.I, best "game feel," and the like
To be honest I would really like that idea. I generally treat any 'game of the year' awards as 'Most Popular Game of the Year'. I usually prefer to look at any individual category anyway (usually Best RPG)
 

Shoggoth2588

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I think once you try and make something official, that's when you take things a bit far. Every summer I can't help but role my eyes when I see several unreleased games (sometimes games not scheduled to launch until the following year) that's been nominated for 5, 10, 20, 50+ awards...despite not being a complete product. When I'm talking to my friends or talking about games on here that's one thing. I still maintain that Project Giant Robo is going to be an amazing new Teleroboxer game but I don't need a faceless entity to slap a sticker on the box with the words "BEST REVIVAL OF A SERIES" in bold. That's just silly.

I kinda like how Total Biscuit does his yearly awards too, and especially his arbitrary awards which he's done twice. They're completely subjective, it's clear that the 'winners' are subjective and downright arbitrary...it's just a boat-load of fun.
 

Ihateregistering1

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Arnoxthe1 said:
Having a Game of the Year award is pretty much making a statement that, no matter what, this particular game is better than all the others that came out that year.
According to the opinion of those giving out this particular award. So, who cares?

I mean really, it's not like the GOTY automatically is given a giant cash prize, this is literally nothing more than a sticker you can throw on the game to try and sell more copies.

So if those particular people do think this particular game is the better than all the others, who cares? It's not stopping you or anyone else from playing it or not playing it.
 

MysticSlayer

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I think it's worse that developers advertise their games by saying "Won X number of awards at E3 20XX!" That's like saying that your unfinished product was marketed better than other people's unfinished product, not that it was better. And I'm pretty sure some games that had good showings at E3 later went on to bomb (didn't this happen to Colonial Marines?).

Game of the Year awards are just a harmless way for people to celebrate the best games of the year. It's sort of a nice recollection as we look to the next year.

Edit: In short, GOTY are a fun celebration. Advertising your E3 awards just puts way too much emphasis on the marketing rather than actual design, so if we're going to go after awards, it seems that that is where we should start.
 

Arnoxthe1

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DrownedAmmet said:
But games are more than just those specific areas, noone plays games like that.
Awards aren't supposed to be game reviews though. They're there to mark excellence. Nothing more or less. If a game works well at its whole, then a good review will say it and that's the thing a possible player of the game should look at to get the full picture before playing it.

Also, different games excel at different and equal types of experiences, and to say, "Well, this experience was the bestest ever," is just a silly thing to state. It may be fine as one person's personal opinion, but when it's deciding any kind of a group of people's game of the year, then it falls right apart.

And I wasn't just talking about awards for technical design either like Best Sound or Best Graphics. It could be overall awards in individual genres as well. Again some sites are already doing all this.

MysticSlayer said:
I think it's worse that developers advertise their games by saying "Won X number of awards at E3 20XX!" That's like saying that your unfinished product was marketed better than other people's unfinished product, not that it was better. And I'm pretty sure some games that had good showings at E3 later went on to bomb (didn't this happen to Colonial Marines?).
Well, that's a separate matter, really. But yes, I agree as well.
 

Maximum Bert

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I have no problem with them if they are taken as what they are i.e that companies/persons game of the year because they liked it the most out of games they played or received the most amount of money from certain people to make them see that it is the game of the year. Its when it is marketed as something more than a completely arbitrary title that is the problem although it is marketings job to make a game look good rather than be honest about how they do it.

Honestly though I dont think it carries that much weight anymore however if someone you trust says a game is awesome then it does at least make you consider it in some capacity.
 

RJ 17

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Arnoxthe1 said:
Having said all that though, I might go with awards for games that excel in certain areas, and even that is kind of rickety. This is, of course, already being done though. And that's great, but having some end-all be-all Game of the Year award is just downright silly at best, and harmful to the industry at worst, encouraging the toxic notion that some games are just better to make than others. Which thinking led to the massive propagation of modern military shooters and other such tomfoolery.
You do realize, of course, that every award - regardless of the medium or category - is utterly arbitrary, right? Despite the fact that a lot of people ended up crapping all over MGS5 because the only thing it had going for it was gameplay that grew rather repetitive by the end, Angry Joe still said it was one of his top 3 favorite games of the year.

The question isn't "should we get rid of GotY?" But rather: "Why do you care what is named GotY?" The bottom line is that everyone has their own personal GotY. For instance, last year my personal GotY was Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires. I doubt anyone would really agree with me, but that's the game I had the most fun playing.

Besides, the "official" game awards is pretty much just the industry giving itself a handjob anyways. A game can win GotY regardless of how many sales it had, just as a movie can win Best Picture regardless of how many people actually saw it. The award means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. The far bigger influence on the industry in terms of what games they want to make more of isn't "Which game won GotY last year?" but rather "Which game made the most money last year?"

You want to know why the Modern Military FPS genre exploded? CoD4: Modern Warfare sold a bazillion copies, that's why.

So let the industry have its night of wanking off and do what most outside of the Dorito&MountainDew demographic do and just completely ignore it. Besides, most people give much more credit and credibility towards their favorite youtubers than the BS circus that is the "official" games awards show.