The Spike TV Video Game Awards show is not the Oscars of video games; they are the Teen Choice Awards. Now in it's tenth year, the Samuel L. Jackson variety hour, is as popular as ever. And just like any annual gala that that recognizes the cream of the crop, the best film and the best games usually lie outside the mega triple A titles and Hollywood blockbusters.
It seems that by winning the Game Of The Year for 2012, 'The Walking Dead' (Telltale Games) has caused 'outrage' among parts of the gaming community. After all, it did upset a host of heavy hitters such as “Assassin’s Creed 3,” “Mass Effect 3″ and “Dishonored.” so...such jeering is warranted, right?
Now, If your answer to this is ‘Well, at least it’s not Halo or COD’ then we’ve got another discussion to have. The question is, out of all the games released this year; do you feel that The Walking Dead actually deserved to take top place? Did you see and feel revolutionary greatness while playing it? Is it really a 'game' in the sense of having any real game play? That’s a debate worth having.
I haven't gone through all five chapters of TWD, but I have played it. What is truly fascinating is that, 15 years after adventure gaming’s ‘peak’, a point and click adventure game* took home game of the year. In a straight up popularity contest. *Yes, it is a GAME.
That means the VGA’s didn’t get together and decide who should have won. Gamers voted for it. This is what we think deserved the title. It seems that we’ve still got that little itch of curiosity and a need to be told stories in us, and I’m glad we haven’t lost it in this age of explosions, frames per second and machismo.
Some say that the publisher, the Bay Area’s independent Telltale Games*, were trying to pander to a mainstream crowd. If it were truly a cash grab, it would have been another iteration of Rick Grimes story, it wasn't. Yet, a downloadable story-based game, based on television show, that’s based on a creator owned comic book won. So yeah, I’m not sure you know what mainstream means. *They also were declared Studio Of The Year'
Few games have attempted to make choice and consequence an important part in their game, and fewer have succeeded.
The gamers that I know who have played it through all five chapters to the end said that TWD pulled it off with aplomb. Given that choice and consequence is arguably the best way a games story can stand out from a film’s or a novel, it’s pretty important for the medium to get a grasp of. They deserved to win given how well they executed it.
A different question to ask is, do we as gamers think that we desperately need to be catered to? It happens with every kind of game and every franchise. You cannot see a single discussion about a game without seeing someone hating on it because it is not what THEY expected. It is not what THEY wanted. It is not what THEY think is best for the game (or the industry as a whole).
Embrace the change and accept that even the games you don’t like, that you don’t even consider to be games, are loved and praised by other gamers. It’s not just about you.
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