Game of the Year

Here it is! It’s here! It has arrived! Yes, it’s finally time for the (far too) long awaited presentation of the ultimate award to be given out on this week of weeks! That’s right–in just a few lines, you yourself will be clicking on the image below and finding out which game will go home with the most prestigious award. Firstly, however, I’d like to take this opportunity to recap on what has been both a marvellous and somewhat bland year for video games.

2012 was the year of the throwback. Genres that haven’t had a look-in for years were finally experience a resurgence of popularity from the developers–most notably, there were at least three GOTY-contending stealth games released in 2012, Dishonored, Mark of the Ninja, and Stealth Bastard Deluxe. This year also marked the beginning of the next generation of game consoles. Some of you might hate even the idea of the Wii U, but I am thrilled with mine and can’t wait for the library to expand. Zombi U particularly was able to show just how neat a feature the Gamepad can be, and the fact that it was a fantastic game in its own right didn’t harm it.

Another important move for the gaming industry this year was the rise of indie games. Sure, they’ve always been around, mostly lurking in the shady corner of digital distribution that we call Desura, but this year–particularly with the introduction of Steam Greenlight–they’ve been able to come to the forefront of gaming. Admittedly, I have my own gripes with Greenlight, but that’s a story for a different time. In any case, it’s an inarguable fact that you’ll find very few outlets giving their overall Game of the Year award to a triple-A game.

Despite this praise, 2012 could easily be called a somewhat uneventful year for gaming, particularly with regards to big-studio games. In fact, there’s only really two–wait, three–triple-A games that I could say I fully enjoyed off the top of my head. No, two. XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Spec Ops: The Line. Dishonored misses out due to the rubbish swamp level.

Anyway, I’m not going to rant on forever. Now, without further ado, let me present to you the winner of Select Start Media’s Game of the Year for 2012 award, as unanimously chosen by our staff. And the winner is…

goty

(the following paragraphs are entirely in white to avoid spoilers. That said, you probably all guessed it before even clicking on the image.)

The Walking Dead! Did I really have any other option? The Walking Dead was a truly sublime video game. Everything about its creation was to the highest degree. Now, there’s always going to be naysayers, and this game definitely has its fair share. There are those who say that the level of “gameplay” in The Walking Dead isn’t high enough to warrant its inclusion in any end-of-year award lists. My reasoning?

Well, sure, there’s not much gameplay. TWD is best described as an “interactive drama”, rather than a video game. There’s only really one standard video game trope included in this game at all–the “press Q then E” quicktime event. Now, those of you who’ve completed the game will understand this next statement. You know those very last few QTEs that you can’t succeed? You keep pressing Q as hard as you want, but it’s not going to happen? Then you get another go, and the panic and the melancholia and the horror set in all at once, as you realise that it’s not going to work? I can’t help but feel that all the QTEs before that in TWD led up to that one scene. Telltale’s absolutely masterful control of that stock-standard element of video games is nothing short of perfect. That single scene really communicates to me just how brilliant a game TWD is.

That’s not to say it’s a perfect game–such a thing doesn’t exist. It’s damn near close, though. The constant downfalls of the characters, perfectly capturing the mood of a zompocalypse; the absolutely sublime voice acting. Fuck, Clementine has to be one of the best written children in fiction, full stop. I could talk about TWD for weeks on end, as could the rest of the staff here at Select Start Media. Do you disagree with this award? Please leave your feedback–I’d love to hear what you have to say. Other than that, here’s to 2013 being less shitty than 2012! (In other words, it better be a fantastic year!)

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