It's that traditional time again, for Newsvine to speak in a collective voice and give a proverbial pat on the back to the best of the best. And for Gamevine, that means picking the best Games of the Year for 2008.
If 2007 was an explosion of new ideas, 2008 was more of a slow burn. Games as a medium naturally feed from each other, and so this year we saw many of the innovations of the past years mixing in new and interesting ways. Genres are crossing, resulting in products that feel both familiar and entirely new.
Online functionality was a bigger part this year than ever before, from more thought put into co-op and competitive campaigns, more emphasis on finding the proper price and content for DLC, and even some experimental dips into the world of user-created content. While the year may not have the handful of standout "Game of the Year" contenders of 2007, it arguably has a higher glut of truly great games that show what the rest of this generation could hold.
Similar to our categories from the last few years, the awards this year will be separated by Genre along with several special categories. Below, all of the categories will be listed in the Comments. Any Newsviner can make as many nominations as they'd like, and from there votes will determine the winner of each category. Remember: nominate early, so your choice has a chance to get plenty of votes.
That said, there are a few ground rules:
- Any duplicate nominations will be deleted to avoid confusion and duplicate votes. Please check to make sure your nomination hasn't already been cast before you hit the Submit button.
- Make sure you cast your nomination under the correct category. This will also result in a deletion.
- Talk about the votes below the main nomination threads. We encourage discussion, and you can even make a good argument for your nomination, but don't do it inside the nomination threads. Those will be deleted.
- You can vote for as many in each category as you'd like! If you can't decide which game you want to win between two or three nominations, vote for all of them.
In two weeks, a results article will be posted, and in it each of the winners of the respective categories will be the nominees for Game of the Year. That poll will determine the winner of "Game of the Year" for Newsvine Decides 2008.
So with that said, the Genre categories are as follows: Action, Adventure, First-Person Shooter, Fighting, Platform, Puzzle, Racing, Rhythm/Music, Role-Playing, Sim, Sports, Strategy
As usual, we'll also hold several specialized categories:
Most Innovative - This is the game that you felt took "gaming" to the next level with its creativity.
Most Visually Stunning - This is the game that made your jaw drop with its gorgeous graphics. Verisimilitude isn't a requirement (there were some beautiful stylized games this year) but it helps.
Best Writing/Story - This is the game that made the most of its world and the characters in it through spectacular writing and storytelling.
Best Voice Acting - Voices in games were once a rarity, but now they're ubiquitous...and that's not always a good thing. Truly great voice acting can take a game to the next level.
Best Music/Sound Design - Music is a more subtle part of gaming, but it's certainly important. Distinct from Voice Acting, this is the category that adds ambiance. Avoid nominating "Music/Rhythm" games for this category, or else it will basically be the same award given out twice. Instead, we want to award the music or sound effects created specifically to add to a game's feel.
Best Cinematics - A well-produced cinema sequence can add layers to a game's story, and immerse the player in the experience even when they're not directly controlling the action on-screen. This category covers the game that made you feel like watching a great film.
Best Multiplayer - This category is the best to enjoy with your friends, be it a party game, an online mode, or a game purely built for multiplayer enjoyment.
Best Downloadable Content - This is the only category open to games that weren't necessarily released this year. What DLC kept you invested in a game after its release the most this year? Remember that this could be for a game released this year, or prior.
Best Game (Short Work) - Picture this category like the Oscars one of the same name. This is any game that is intentionally shorter than other games, meant to be a bite-sized piece of gameplay. It can be episodic or just a brief bit of game.
Best Game (Arcade/Network) - This category covers new ground for games, the small experiences. These are games designed specifically to be sold through online networks at a lower price than retail. Note that this category does not include ports of older titles such as the Wii Virtual Console, remastered Arcade titles on Xbox Live, or PS1 games sold through the PlayStation Network.
Best Game (Remake) - With older games gaining respect, they're more frequently being remastered and released on newer consoles. That's where this category comes in, for the best old title that's been given a facelift or new features. Note that this category also does not include pure ports of older titles. To be a remake, it must include significant additions to the original.
Best System - The sum of its parts and perhaps more, this category goes to show how you feel about the systems in general this year. Which one won your hearts and minds?
Best Developer - Developers sometimes crank out one or two huge titles in a year, but the impact can be startling. This requires you to look behind your favorite games to who made them and reward consistent quality among the creators.
Best New Character - Establishing new IP is hard, but we saw some launch this year that have the potential to last for years. Which new character do you think has the legs to star in several more games?
Biggest Surprise - This award can refer to any piece of news in the games world that shocked you this year; it doesn't have to be a game itself, but it can be.
Most Anticipated of 2009 - It's early yet, but which game of the upcoming year has you most excited?
So now that you're aware of the categories, what do you do? Nominate, vote, and watch out for the winner. I'll be making a thread below for each of the categories up for awards. If you have a game in mind that you want recognized, find the appropriate category and reply within that comment thread with your pick if it's not already there. Make sure you vote for your own nomination! Happy voting, and game on.