First Annual IV Community Game Awards: Voting Time!

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First Annual IV Community Game Awards: Voting Time!

Postby bert_the_turtle » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:45 pm

I suggest we determine what the Introversion community considers the best games that have come out 2010. Sort of in the same vein as this thread, only less fundamentally flawed :) Why do this? Because we can!

General rules:
- IV games are disqualified.
- There will be different categories, more on that later.
- First, we will collect nominations. Everyone can nominate as many games as one likes. A nomination consists of the game's name, the categories you nominate it for, a short description (one paragraph at most) of what it's about, and another short reason why you think it's an awesome game worthy of being declared best of its category later. Or just one paragraph with both. Just remember you're writing it to convince others to vote for it later. You need to have played the game in question.
- Category assignment is going to be moderated by yours truly.
- The game you nominate needs to actually have been released in 2010 in one region on one relevant system and must not have won a previous AIVCGA (not an issue this year, of course).
- Nominations need to be posted here before the end of December 2010.

Vote process: http://forums.introversion.co.uk/introv ... 6983#96983

What follows: Celebrations!

See next post for a list of categories, here rules to be applied.
For the 'Best game, price X, all platform' categories: no ports from releases of previous years are allowed. Bit.Trip Beat can't be here just because it came out on the PC this year, it can only be nominated as "Best game on PC".
For the price ranges: the price is the regular launch price, no promotions, no sales, no later price drops.
Freeware games: no cost at all, ever, apart from what you pay for internet access
"Free to play" microtransaction based games don't fall in the 'for X$ or less' categories because a) the average player will pay for them and b) they may get better the more you pay and we can't have "I'm filthy rich!" win the Freeware category because it collected votes from all those who chose to spend a fortune on them. They should be in the highest price category unless you can bring up specific arguments why they shouldn't.
A game can only be in one price category.

Feel free to make up your own new category if the above don't fit at all, but there will only be polls and celebrations if the category actually gets several serious nominations. And no further subcategories. No "Best PC RTS". No "Best 2D Platformer". No "Best XBox 360 Sci-Fi Shooter with Space Battles and Jetpacks". You know you just want those categories to make sure your favorite wins at least something. Also, fight Genreism! No "Best Graphics" categories, either. What matters is the fun that comes out at the end. Does single vs. multiplayer matter to you a lot? If yes, those would be subcategories to allow, but not for the individual platforms. Do the platform differences matter to you at all? If no, the individual platform awards can be removed to tune down the vote thread spam. Just 'best PC/stationary console/mobile', perhaps?

Post will be edited when rules need to be changed, typos corrected or categories added/removed.

Edit2: changed nomination rules (no count limit), category list is now only in the next post to ease editing.
Last edited by bert_the_turtle on Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby bert_the_turtle » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:46 pm

Collected nominations:

Best game for 20$ or more
Mass Effect 2(Icepick)
Bioshock 2 (Xocrates)
Starcraft 2 (Xocrates)
Civilization 5 (Icepick)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (Cooper42)
R.U.S.E. (Jordy...)
Red Dead Redemption (ynbniar)
Splinter Cell: Conviction (xyzyxx)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (bert_the_turtle)

Best game for 20$ or less
Super Meat Boy (bert_the_turtle)
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (Xocrates)
VVVVVV (zach)
Sonic the Hedgehog 4(xander, sort of)
Amnesia: Dark Descent (Cooper42)
Limbo (bert_the_turtle)
Approval pending for the following two, discuss!
Frozen Synapse (Jordy...)
Minecraft Cooper42)

Best Expansion/DLC
DOW2: Chaos Rising (Xocrates)
Borderlands: Secret Armory of General Knoxx (Xocrates)

Best Freeware game
Hydorah (Cooper42)

Best PC game for 20$ or more
Mass Effect 2(Icepick)
Starcraft 2 (Xocrates)
Civilization 5 (Icepick)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (Cooper42)
R.U.S.E. (Jordy...)
Splinter Cell: Conviction (xyzyxx)

Best XBox 360 game for 20$ or more
Mass Effect 2 (Icepick)
Red Dead Redemption (ynbniar)
Splinter Cell: Conviction (xyzyxx)

Best PS 3 game for 20$ or more
Red Dead Redemption (ynbniar)

Best Wii game for 20$ or more
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (bert_the_turtle)

Best PC game for 20$ or less
Super Meat Boy (bert_the_turtle)
VVVVVV (zach)
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (Xocrates)
Amnesia: Dark Descent (Cooper42)
Approval pending for the following two, discuss!
Frozen Synapse (Jordy...)
Minecraft Cooper42)

Best XBox 360 game for 20$ or less
Super Meat Boy (bert_the_turtle)
Sonic the Hedgehog 4(xander, sort of)
Limbo (bert_the_turtle)

Best PS 3 game for 20$ or less
Sonic the Hedgehog 4(xander, sort of)

Best Wii game for 20$ or less
Sonic the Hedgehog 4(xander, sort of)

Best Mobile game, price ranges pending, mobile being all of DS, PSP, iOS, Android, etc.

Best board game
Best card game
Worst disappointment
Best industry trend
Return of the 2D Platformer (bert_the_turtle)
The increasing acceptable price of an indie game (zach)

Worst industry trend
Game fragmentation (bert_the_turtle)
Last edited by bert_the_turtle on Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:34 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Postby bert_the_turtle » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:24 pm

Nominating Super Meat Boy for Best game for 20$ or less, overall and for the XBox 360 and PC.
What it is: Super Meat Boy is a classic, fully 2D, platformer. Your character, either the titular slab of raw meat (with face and limbs) or one of several unlockables, is extremely nimble with single jumps capable of covering a whole screen worth of distance. Levels are short and can usually be completed within seconds, but get filled with borderline insane amounts of obstacles later on.
Why it's great: From just the four basic commands, move left, right, run, jump, you can construct complex sets of moves. Walljumps. Wallslides. Walljump from side to side. Wallslide past a spinning blade. Climb a single wall by repeated walljumps. Walljump, clear an obstacle on top of the wall, reverse, and touch the wall on the other side, timed so you can walljump off, avoiding the homing missile that just got your scent. Levels are both mazes where you have to navigate the best way through and tests of your timing skills. Fast reflexes help, but are entirely optional. There are a ton of levels, with new obstacles introduced on a regular basis. The final difficulty is high, but only rises slowly, and there is virtually no punishment for failure, so you are driven to press on.

In line with the above, nominating The return of the 2D platformer into the mainstream as Best Trend. We already had Braid, which barely qualifies. In 2009, we saw 'Splosion Man and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but in 2010, we got Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV, Kirby's Epic Yarn and Donkey Kong Country is about to return. Sure, we always had platformers in the Indie freeware and low budget scene, but who would have dreamed two years ago there would be full price titles in the genre ever again cracking the 90% review average? Not me. And the more genres there are that are commercially viable, the richer the gaming world is as a whole. Which genre is going to come back next? Space Combat Sims, please!

Worst Trend: Fragmentation of games with DLC. Today, I can buy a used or discounted singleplayer game from five years ago and expect to get the full experience out of it. Five years from now, I won't be able to do that with some games that come out today, because the full experience is not on the disk, it's spread across the disk and additional downloads, some free, some I need to pay for. Some games later get editions with all the DLC included, granted, but that is the minority. And in ten years? Will the DLC delivery systems even still be in place then?
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Postby Xocrates » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:29 pm

May I suggest a Best Expansion pack/DLC category?

Also, wow, out of curiosity I went and check what I actually played that came out this year, and it's not a long list. Pretty much the only games that I can nominate are Lara Croft and the Guardian for best game less than 20$ (PC) and Starcraft 2 for best game (PC). With the possibility of DoW2: Chaos Rising for best expansion.

I have no comments on industry trends.
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Postby zach » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:25 pm

Nominating VVVVVV for Best game for $20 or less, as well as for Best game and Best game on PC.
VVVVVV is a puzzle-platformer with very, very simple controls; Arrows move you left and right, and space inverts your gravity. That is it, no powerups, no locked areas. The only thing separating you and the win is your skills – and spikes. Lots and lots of spikes.
The game explores the extent of the mechanic described above in an impressive number of rooms, each its own puzzle, and each feeling clever and so very distinct from the other that no two rooms feel alike. It manages to never get old, even without any sense of progress but the actual progress. Everything about the game just screams “video game” - it strips the genre to its bare minimums, adds a single twist (reversal of gravity), and does this so well that I believe VVVVVV ought to be mentioned in the Platform Video Game article of every encyclopedia.
VVVVVV combines the well-executed C64-esque retro visual style with matching music so great (in my opinion) that if there was a category for Best game music, I would nominate it here as well.

For Best industry trend, I was torn between The increasing acceptable price of an indie game, The tendency to have (more or less) in-depth devblogs, and The return of the pixel. The first trend is my nomination.
When justifying price tags on games, there seems to be an increasing tendency to look more at whether the game is fun/interesting, and not as much focus on how long it took to develop, how many people did so, how much content/good graphics it has and so on. That is, the cost of an indie game can now more than ever be based on its merits alone (remember how much fuss there was about Braid costing $15?). Of course, there is still a huge gap from expensive indie game to expensive video game, but it is becoming ever smaller, and this is a Good Thing for the industry as a whole and the indie game scene in particular - in my opinion, as a dabbling indie game developer and a loving video game player.
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Postby Icepick » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:43 pm

I'm gonna nominate Mass Effect 2 for the best game, and best game on 360 categories simply because I remember thinking when I was playing it, "Wow, it's only January and the game of the year is already out!". Nothing else has come close for one reason or another. It's not quite perfect, but it's as close as anything has come this year, in my mind.

Civilization 5 is my nomination for best game on PC, because, damn. I think I've sunk over 120 hours in that one. Best strategy game I've played since... Civ 4!
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Postby Cooper42 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:32 pm

I'm going to assume Minecraft is out of the running, as it's not actually a finished game yet?

VVVVV has already been nominated.

So:
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (Technically released October 2009, but only for CIS countries. Feb. 2010 for the rest of the world.)
Nomination for Best PC game of 2010.
The Stalker series, stupid punctuation aside, should be rightly understood as an important addition to gaming as a whole, as well as one of the most interesting and engaging shooters we have ever seen. Call of Pripyat is the best of the series by far. The word 'atmosphere' gets bandied about in response to Stalker. Annoyingly so; no one seems to be sure what they mean by it. If anything, it conjures a sense of place unlike any other game. Which is impressive in itself, given that it does rely heavily on cliched pallettes of brown and grey... Stalker's greatest achivement is bringing to the fore the spaces and places of games. Nothing expect maybe Mirror's Edge has pushed on our interaction with game spaces. What makes Stalker special is that relationship is fundamentally antagonistic and shapes the game more than any easily understood antagonist embodied in an individual or organisation.

Hydorah
Nomination for best Freeware game of 2010
Incredibly lush pixel art. And a worthy resurrection of a very old style of gaming. Yes, deeply frustrating. But like VVVVV, that's kind of the point. The Struggle to ingrain games into muscle memory was part of what made games. For better it no longer is, but there is still place to revisit that form of gameplaying. An excellent shooter in all ways. Not revolutionary, but that's not the point. This is tight.
Whoever you vote for, the government wins.
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Postby Xocrates » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:03 pm

Oh wait, Bioshock 2 came out this year as well. I may need to rethink my nominations.
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Postby bert_the_turtle » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:19 pm

Xocrates wrote:May I suggest a Best Expansion pack/DLC category?
Sure, but I'll leave figuring out the problems about separating the quality of the DLC from the quality of the main game to you guys. I'll keep out of the way, see Worst Trend nomination.

About Minecraft: well, the test versions are already released and can be bought. Up to you if you want to count that as a release, and a strategic decision: if you nominate it now, it technically needs to be be judged by what it can offer now, not its future potential, and any awards it wins this year disqualify it from possible, bigger, future annual awards unless it gets ported.

Oh, and I forgot: for our purposes here, Mac == PC.
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Postby Xocrates » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:06 pm

Alright here are my first official nominations (changes pending on any new releases):

Best Game: Bioshock 2: Bioshock may have been pretty good, but there were a few niggles, mostly related to gameplay, that left a few people feeling cold. However, what issues Bioshock may have had, Bioshock 2 pretty much fixed them. Combat, research, and tonic customization (i.e. pretty much all the core game play) was made far more versatile and fun to use. The multiplayer, while redundant, was interesting and thematically fit enough to warrant a mention.
Of course, people loved the original for the story, and frankly I believe this is why Bioshock 2 deserves this nomination. While Bioshock 2 plot suffers from being simultaneously too similar and less memorable than the original, it succeeds in being more mature and meaningful. Other than continuing the original themes or the original game (or mirroring them), it approaches others, like the blur between good and evil and fatherhood, which leads to a interesting non-black and white choice system and presents relatable consequences for those same choices, which is a stark contrast to pretty much every other game where you feel more like a spectator and where moral choices are almost black and white.

Best PC Game: Starcraft 2: "But wait", I hear you say, "Didn't you play Bioshock 2 on the PC? How can your choice for best PC game be different?". Well, here's the thing, Bioshock 2 may be a better game, but it noticeably wasn't made for the PC, leaving it with a somewhat clunky interface. Starcraft 2 is nearly as good as Bioshock 2, but plays much better on the PC.
One of the main criticisms thrown at Starcraft 2 was that it was too old school, lacking many of the "innovations" of recent RTS. Of course, what said criticisms failed to notice is that if the game had done that, not only would the current gaming scene lack in good modern old-school RTS, but would mean it would be just another run of the mill RTS.
Gameplay-wise, Starcraft 2 is pretty much just an update on the original Starcraft: Three factions, each with a fairly unique play style must compete for resources and dominance. Frankly there really isn't any good way to sell this as these are most mechanical improvements that if you haven't played the original you probably won't even notice, but which after playing SC2 will be sorely missed in any other game that lack them. Let's just say that if you like the kind of gameplay on offer, SC2 provides one of the most polished experiences available.
However, outside personal taste, what elevates SC2 above other RTS is the single player campaign, which despite being more than a bit cheesy, is quite long but never repetitive with each mission being unique. The interludes between missions are very well presented and the non-linearity of it all and upgrade system allows for some good re-playability.

Best (PC) Game less than 20$: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light: Simply put, the game is a blast to play. Combat is intense and fluid, controls are responsive, puzzles/platforming can be fairly clever, and level design is good. Sadly I didn't have the chance to play Co-op.
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Postby Jordy... » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:58 pm

Frozen Synapse for all categories, for the categories FS doesn't apply.. R.U.S.E.
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Postby bert_the_turtle » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:24 pm

Jordy... wrote:for the categories FS doesn't apply.. R.U.S.E.
That would be the consoles. Did you play it on one, or with a console controller? I'm allowing exceptions to the 'you have to have played it' rule, (and exploited that by nominating SMB for the PC even though it isn't even out yet) but only where it's clear the experience doesn't change significantly or, if it changes, in a way you can extrapolate.
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Postby Jordy... » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:27 pm

Ehh... Yea.. ok.. no I did not play it on consoles, but I don't think FS will change much after release, it's great game!
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Postby bert_the_turtle » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:30 pm

No, sorry, I mean R.U.S.E. As a RTS, it's bound to be quite different on the consoles, ignoring the Move edition for now. Is FS even coming out on the consoles?
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Postby Jordy... » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:36 pm

No, yea, I meant RUSE, I didn't play it on a console, FS will probably not come out on console, not that I'm aware of anyway.

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