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Building a Better Video Game Award Show.

Today I ponder, how I would go about creating a mature video game award show.

Josh Bycer, Blogger

June 23, 2011

3 Min Read

It's not often that I comment on other blogs or videos on game design but I'm going to make an exception today. One of my favorite series on The Escapist is "Extra Credits." Each week they talk about game design and the industry as a whole. Many of their thoughts on design are the same that I had, and it feels good to hear that there are like minded individuals out there. One of their recent topics was on the issue of why we don't have a legitimate video game award show in the US. Even though they have beaten me to the punch of talking about it, doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about this for some time. Incidentally that began after watching the first Spike TV award show.

Over the last few years I've been dreaming up how I would create a mature show honoring video games. Before you read on, I suggest you watch the Extra Credits video I linked in the first paragraph, as many of my thoughts echo theirs. I agree that having celebrities for the sake of celebrities is wrong, I think we could drum up charismatic people in the industry to present and talk, like Ken Levine or Tim Schafer.

The big issue and question has to do with the awards themselves. For a legitimate show, we should avoid joke awards like "best head-shot" or "best breast physics in a game". Out of a sense of morbid curiosity I watched part of the MTV movie awards and hearing categories like "best kiss" or "best hook-up" cemented this thought for our award show.

Another issue is how do we classify our games into the award categories? Movies can easily be categorized by their genre, like romance or action. However, games these days (especially the better ones) meld different game-play genres together to create something new. Uncharted 2 for instance, has plat-forming, adventure, puzzle-solving, multiplayer and shooting elements all mixed in. From previews of the latest Mass Effect game, while it still has some RPG elements, the designers are putting a greater emphasis on shooting and combat.

With that said, does that mean that a game like Mass Effect 3 would be eligible for "best RPG" and "best action game?" Personally, I think that a game should only be eligible for one "best of" award. Not only to have more games nominated, but also to diversify the list of winners. Besides having a "game of the year" award, I would also have a studio of the year as well.

Here is a list of all the awards I think would work in our award show:

Best Action Game

Best Strategy Game

Best Adventure Game.

Best Puzzle Game<

Best RPG

Best Shooter

Best Multiplayer Game.

Best Sports Game.

Best Indie Game.

Best Handheld Game.

Best Writing In a Game

Best Sound Design In a Game

Best Original Game

Best Graphics (Realistic)

Best Graphics (Surrealistic)

Game Of The Year

Studio Of The Year

Game Designer of the Year

I'm conflicted on that last award, mainly because as we all know, a video game is a collaborative effort, with rare exceptions. However as the Movie industry has an award to the best director, I think to legitimize our awards, we do have to honor people who stepped up to create something amazing or never before seen. Also that list of awards is not set in stone, while typing up this entry I reedited the list several times as a new idea came to mind.

Video games have become a mainstream form of entertainment and being able to say that we have our own award show on par with the Oscars in the US, would be further proof of the effect the industry has on the World.


P.S: No musical numbers.

P.P.S: Unless we get Video Games Live to perform.

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About the Author(s)

Josh Bycer


For more than seven years, I have been researching and contributing to the field of game design. These contributions range from QA for professional game productions to writing articles for sites like Gamasutra and Quarter To Three. 

With my site Game-Wisdom our goal is to create a centralized source of critical thinking about the game industry for everyone from enthusiasts, game makers and casual fans; to examine the art and science of games. I also do video plays and analysis on my Youtube channel. I have interviewed over 500 members of the game industry around the world, and I'm a two-time author on game design with "20 Essential Games to Study" and "Game Design Deep Dive Platformers."

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