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Game of the Year 2006
by Doom, Rammspieler, Bruce Banner/The Hulk and Generalissimo Furioso
This was indeed originally supposed to come out in January-March 2007 instead of December 2007. I suppose you deserve an explanation as to why this fucking took so long to finish. I don't really have one, though. Rammspieler, Banner and Furioso finished their parts in March and I let this sit on my stolen flash drive for months. Suppose I lost track of it and found the other shit I was working to be more exciting than forcing myself to visit IGN for more than 90 seconds. Well, you know how it is. You write some shit, you postpone some other shit for nearly a year. It happens from time to time, especially if you're me and you have over 400 articles in the queue (me being a guy who refuses to give up on half-finished articles no matter their condition). Anyway, enjoy this article and try not to wince if you read some particularly dated references. I tried to update some of the jokes as best I could.
JOYSTIQ BY BRUCE BANNER/THE HULK
Compared to the 'Big 3' of video game 'journalism' on the Internet, Joystiq is very new and very inexperienced. Some scoff at the blog format as a way for news coverage to reach the average video game player...and they are completely correct and justified in their scoffing. Blogging is just like other web writing, only the standards are lower, which would partially explain the poor quality of Joystiq's End of Year Awards. Joystiq prides itself as having more of an independent voice compared to the corporate-minded Gamespy/Gamespot/IGN, despite Joystiq also belonging to a large corporation and also running a multitude of ads. I suppose the biggest difference is those aforementioned sites have an expectation on part of their readers to create actual lists based on reasoning (as much reasoning as can be found in an Internet video game journalism haven). Whereas those sites took a straightforward hacky approach, the denizens of Joystiq HQ decided upon a different tack: comedy.
This decision was disastrous. While I said comedy was the tack taken in the previous paragraph, that is somewhat disengenuous, as if I was being fully honest I would have called the approach 'very deficient attempt at comedy'. Joystiq's idea of comedy is to take a few paragraphs of praise about a certain game and then invert the praise into negativity. A five year old could do the same thing, and I am certain the hypothetical five year old would do it better and with an improved sense of timing. I will give you an example:
Gears of War (Xbox 360)
HULK GET IT! HULK GET JOKE! JOYSTIQ SAYING OPPOSITE OF WHAT JOYSTIQ REALLY MEAN! HULK GLAD TO SEE COMEDY WRITING NOW TAKING CUES FROM SUPERMAN VILLAIN BIZARRO! SEE WHAT HULK DID THERE? HULK SAID HULK GLAD WHEN HULK NOT REALLY GLAD AT ALL! NOW HULK IS BY STANDARDS OF JOYSTIQ.COM A COMEDY MAN! URGH! HULK HATE JOYSTIQ MORE THAN HULK HATE TONY STARK (HULK NOT USE SARCASM ANYMORE)! ANY LOSER CAN REPLACE WORD 'GOOD' WITH 'BAD' OR PUT 'NOT' IN FRONT OF WORD! HULK MAY NOT BE JOURNALIST, BUT HULK KNOW JOURNALIST JOB REQUIRE LOT MORE EFFORT THAN TAKING WORDS AND THEN REVERSING THEM! WORSE YET, JOYSTIQ IDIOTS TRY TO DEFLECT CRITICISM OF CHOICES BY SARCASTIC PORTRAYAL OF DETRACTORS AS IDIOTS! JOYSTIQ SUCKS!!
My Id, although somewhat vulgar in his pronouncements, does make a fair point. It requires little, if any, effort to pull off the alleged humor marking Joystiq's Game of the Year 'list' (one winner with four runners-up). It would be a waste of everyone's time, mine especially, to delve into the rest of the Game of the Year for Joystiq. If you are really curious, go here, read it, and then read Hulk's commentary after every game profiled by Joystiq.
GAMESPY BY RAMMSPIELER
Hey hey fans, it's me Rammspieler covering Gamespy.com for this year's GOTY review. I know that I don't contribute much in terms of gaming coverage for the site, but Doom insisted. I think I mentioned once in one of my articles that I don't make a habit out of visiting video gaming sites because by now they are all just subsidiaries to each other and one site's game of the year also happens to be the game of the year for another site. Either it's because of their aforementioned relationship or perhaps because video game "journalists" are hacks and are really nothing more than paid tools to shill products for the big developers and industry powerhouses. It's really a complex combination of both factors, but for the purposes of this review, we'll go after the "all video game review sites are interchangeable" theory.
So with that in mind, I popped by Gamespy to check out their Game of the Year awards, expecting it to be pretty much like IGN's offering. I'll be frank and just say it right here. I didn't even bother reading through it all due to time constraints and because I didn't want to be affected by the rampant fanboyism amongst Gamespy's staff. However, I think that Gamespy's awards this year was a quite surprising affair. At least when we get down to who made Game of the Year on their list. But let's go through the more outstanding finds on the list first.
So looking through the list I see that Tom Clancy has slapped his name on yet another Rainbow Six game. That shouldn't be surprising, considering there is always a Rainbow Six or Splinter Cell game waiting in the wings to snag a high score just for being an FPS or any derivation of the genre. What called my attention is this game apparently takes place in Las Vegas. Okay. So the Rainbow Six franchise has gone the GTA route and is now basing games on totally hip and 'urban' locales to cater to the wannabe thug crowd! What next? Ranbow Six: San Andreas?! Anyway, while the initial blurb about how it provides a decent single player experience is given without much ceremony, we come to the crux of all game reviews. I call it the 'No Xbox Live Support!' clause. Only one paragraph is dedicated to singleplayer while the rest goes on about the many issues that have kept this game from reaching an higher spot on the list. Namely, the fact that the voice-chat is buggy and therefore impedes one from questioning their fellow player's sexuality every 2 minutes.
Believe me. I was a surprised as you are when I saw who was number 4 on the list! While not exactly what Furioso would want (which is, chiefly, to find Cliffy B and mangle him), this does prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a God. Fuck, they even make an admission that "it's not entirely original"! Let us rejoice people, if only because somehow Microsoft forgot to buy off these gentleman properly this year. So if Gears of War only made it to #4 this year, then who made #1?
Microsoft may have forgotten to pay the Gamespy guys, hut I think Nintendo must have treated them all to blowjobs for Zelda: Twilight Princess to make it to #1. I mean, think about it. Despite the general acknowledgement that the Wii rocks and that Sony has become a mere shadow of its former self all within one financial quarter by their own hand, could any of you honestly believe Twilight Princess would have made it to the #1 spot on any site? What happened to all the "Wii is teh kiddiez!" rhetoric previously spewed by these same sites? Or maybe there is a God and he is a Cylon.
GAMESPOT BY GENERALISSIMO FURIOSO
It's the middle of March, people, and you know what that means. Yep, it's time for my lazy Puerto Rican ass to get back to work (I hibernate during these winter months). Doom had assigned me to review Gamespot's 2006 Game of the Year awards because of my history with the site (I've been banned over 47 times) and the fact that he's too lazy to do it himself. Either way, you know it's not going to be glowing, mostly because of a little game called Gears of War aka Microsoft Brainwashing Project 008L (Halo was number 006I), which as you know will come up eventually, since it was nominated for each and every fucking category. Please, don't make me finish this, please!
So, as part of their own smug sense of superiority, they start with their Dubious Honors category, which chronicles the evil side of video games (making sure to pick all the things that really have no impact other than useless nerd rage). First up is Worst Use of In-Game Advertisement, which ironically had an advert for Scion plastered all over the page. The winner of this prestigious category was none other than EA's shitfest of a boxing game, Fight Night Round 3 (if it's not Punch-Out or Wii Boxing, it sucks).
[SARCASM] HA HA, your commentary is FUCKING HILARIOUS [/SARCASM]
This of course could only be followed by the category for Worst Use of Celebrity Voices. All of them are, unless they're really well done, like James Woods in GTA: San Andreas. He played himself! Nonetheless, the award went to Spyro: A New Beginning because as we all fucking know, kids games are especially well known for having excellent dialogue. I think they just didn't want to make Michael Madsen feel bad for being in Reservoir Dogs.
ELIJAH WOOD HAS NO TALENT FOR VOICE ACTING!
This was followed by the category for Worst Trend in Gaming. They completely ignore incompetent storytelling or unnecessary violence, thus instead going for the nerd jugular:
I SHORE DO HATE THEM MICROPAYMENTS!
The winner was console shortages. Yes, console shortages was the winner. It seems the people at Gamespot don't understand economics. I'd let the Libertarian get his two cents in, but I don't want any guff about flat taxes or market equilibrium in here. Fucking Capitalism... Then they bitch about long winded game titles, the winner being Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army. Because, as we all know, you can't just call it Shin Megami 3! YOU HAVE TO SAY THE WHOLE NAME DESPITE THE FACT THAT YOU CAN SUMMARIZE ALL OTHER POPULAR GAME TITLES TO ONE WORD! FUCKERS!
Don't get me started on the category of Most Disappointing Game as, for them, Most Disappointing Game means an XBOX LIVE GAME VERSION OF STREET FIGHTER II. There are so many other games that let me down last year (Mortal Kombat Armageddon being one of the main offenders), yet they pick a shitty port of an arcade game most of us have already played to the point of suicidal tendencies. I'd take Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 before I get anywhere near a solo Street Fighter game again.
Now, for Flat-Out Worst Game, they go and pick something I can't argue with: Bomberman: Act Zero. A game so evil, so horrible, I knew it sucked the second I heard about it. It's one of the many sad endings for game franchises that choose to go the extreme route and get sponsored by Mountain Dew swilling, chainsaw bayonetting fuckwits who don't have half a brain cell left in their fucking skulls because they missed a Triple Ollie Fastplant over their local 7/11!
Worst Game Everybody Played. I could easily assign that to Gears of War, but they go and give it to a game I knew wasn't going to be good, and it wasn't Scarface. Jaws Unleashed, AKA GTA WITH SHARKS, somehow managed to stir up some ire in these otherwise money hungry skanks and whores, because they won't shut up and tell us exactly why it's bad. They're just mad it sold more copies than Psychonauts. Which does make me mad, but it's all thanks to fuckers like you who spew shitty reviews out your ass due to how much money Microsoft or Sony can blow into your colon! The second half of this award goes to GTR II, a decent racing sim on computers (I personally don't care too much for racing sims, as they aren't all that thrilling to someone like me who can't really tell the difference between a V-8 and a V-Rod).
Then it's the standard best games in their genre, yadda yadda yadda, generic bollocks no one can disagree with since it's all designed to be agreeable except to the people who think Gears of War is a platformer (it got some votes on the Reader Input section...ugh). Then Special Achievement awards, Best Story, Best New Character etc... The only tie between them was the fact that Gears was nominated for them all, even Best Graphics (Technical) and Best Graphics (Artistic). REAL IS NOT BROWN CLIFFY B, YOU FUCKING POLLOCK BASTARD!
Game of the Year, as expected, went to Gears of War.
They're Not Zionist Lies, so stop calling me an Anti-Semite
If I had my way (and soon I will), the entire staff would be boiled alive in Mountain Dew, then blended together with it, the resulting concoction pumped straight into Cliffy B's eyeballs until they exploded and the fluids that rushed forth flowed straight into his lungs and drowned him! But until then, all I can do is issue a challenge to everyone at Gamespot and the general gaming industry: give ME THE FUCKING TOOLS TO MAKE A GAME, GIVE ME FIVE PROGRAMMERS AND A MOCAP STUDIO AND I'LL MAKE AN AWARD WINNING GAME THAT BLOW YOUR ASSES UP AND OUT OF THE WATER.
I need a stiff drink and loose woman right now...
IGN BY DOOM
I hate IGN so much. I've hated them ever since I knew they existed. They're cowardly, untalented, complacent hacks with no journalism skills and no writing skills. Hence why I am reviewing their Game of the Year Awards. I hate them and wish for the deaths of their entire staff. Now, I have to say, I expected much less of IGN than what ultimately occurred. I came in expecting them to give a sweep to Gears of War, as that's the 2006 "Let's kill the aliens that aren't from here" game. Instead, they went a different way, almost giving a sweep to...
Okami? Yeah, I'm surprised too. The game won a number of awards, more than 5 by my count. I find this funny for several reasons. One, IGN of all hype organs gave the sweep to Okami, whereas the other branches of Internet Gaming Journalism either shut it out or left it the perpetual bridesmaid to the bride that is Gears of War or some Nintendo game. You'd never fucking expect WhoreGN to give artistic integrity a chance over lots of explosions, would you? Two, the picks of editorial differ from the Readers' Choice...greatly. IGN's readers, apparently, have the taste my mind ascribes to IGN editorial, insofar as Gears of War or Twilight Princess win pretty much every fucking reader award, no matter the category and the relevance of the game to that category. For example, Most Innovative Design went to Okami...but the readers chose Gears of War! Yes, they think fucking Gears of War's 'design' merits winning an award.
So what does this say about IGN? If you take a closer look at their picks, you still see they're hacks. Basically, all IGN did was give almost everything to the same 2-3 goddamn games. See, that's the only real difference between the various gaming websites. All of their GOTY bullshit features 2-3 games sweeping every single possible award they're qualified for, and editorial only differs on which games they choose for the sweeping. IGN goes the route of Okami and Twilight Princess. Gamespy did Twilight Princess and Gears of War. Joystiq, Gears of War and Twilight Princess. Gamespot, Gears of War and...who gives a fuck what Gamespot thinks. No variation! What's the point, then, of these awards? It's obvious the fucks don't ever engage in critical thought or examination (yes, I do believe some critical glimpsing of video gaming is possible). Their deliberation meeting must've consisted of one long argument about which game is least gay, Gears of War or Okami. And what do people gain from reading these if they know IGN/Gamespy/Gamespot/Joystiq blows (if they don't know, by that logic they also don't know how to read)? I suspect the blatant fanboyism accounts for it. Nintendo fans, Sony fans, Microsoft fans want to see if 'their' game got top billing. If the rival company's game won, then it's time to send hateful e-mails and speculate endlessly on forums about the possibility of M$ of $ony or Nint$$$$$endo buying off the site in question. If their game won, a quick session of masturbation and then it's off to gloat on GAMEFAQS. Video game fans are idiots and so are the grown up ones writing what passes for 'journalism'.
Mentioning the non-video games in depth would give me a massive heart attack, so I will be brief in my damning indictment of IGN's total fucking idiocy. TV awards shuts out The Shield except in one case, gives a lot of awards to The Wire...yet The Wire doesn't win Best Show. That's the problem with these Awards. You already know, pretty much, who's going to win before you read it due to the demographics the site's aimed at. What do idiots in their late teens and twenties enjoy? Lost, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica. So, of course, most of the awards go to those shows. The Wire's on HBO, and it's a nigger show to boot. Who wants to see some depressing crap about crime and poverty when they can watch FUNNY JAPANESE MAN save the world or Gilligan's X-Files or whatever stupid shit happens in Battlestar Galactica. It's quite transparent pandering.
The same goes for the movie awards.Casino Royale, The Departed, Borat, repeat until the awards are finished. I liked Borat and The Departed, yes, but I again think IGN could've chosen more than 3 candidates for nearly every goddamn prize. The only real surprise I found came when I saw Best Drama and Best Movie. Both went to United 93. United 93. I can use a lot of adjectives to describe it, but 'best' isn't one I would choose. Here's IGN's justification:
Now, I would like for you to read the write-up (or "Why It Rocked"...TOTALLY DUDE! 9/11 FUCKIN' RAWKS, DUUUUUDE!) and tell me what it means. I'm at a fucking loss for words. I read it several times and several things stand out as unexplainable. What 'undeniable truths'? When did we discover these 'undeniable truths'? What does it address 'important to preserving our way of life'? What 'way of life' is being referred to? WHAT BUTTON?!!?! Isn't United 93 by nature exploitative? And if this wasn't exploitative, wouldn't 100% of the film's box office go towards some charity, and wouldn't none of the crew would be paid anything (for if they received money, they'd be exploiting 9/11 to make some money)? These people are fucking idiots. (And no, Passenger #27 Who Dies didn't win Favorite Character. HE GOT FUCKING ROBBED, MAN)
IGN GOTY is, in summary...exactly what one's mind would conjure if someone said the words "IGN Game of the Year" to you. Barring one major oversight on my part (Okami), I pretty much predicted every single award from IGN before they loaded in my Firefox window (Iron Man winning 'Comics' Best Villain'...HOW ORIGINAL AND INSIGHTFUL AND EDGY). Frankly, IGN's picks come off as less actual opinion and more concentrated marketing campaign on part of their NEWSCORP paymasters. They know what idiots want to hear because they are idiots. Throw in some rah-rah pro-America choices at random and watch the money flow into the coffers.
SUMMARIZATION OF POINTS
Except for Gamespot and Joystiq, who lived up to their hacktastic reputations, the Game of the Years were a bit of a surprise compared to other years of maddening synchronicity. Gamespy and IGN, both essentially the same fucking website, went for actual games instead of Gears of War. Does this mean a change for the world of gaming? More integrity? More quality control? Unlikely. I suspect it's just a fluke, in the same way a broken clock is indeed correct twice a day. In spite of the random upsets, GOTY proved to be the same tasking idiocy it is every year. After reading the IGN...thing, I thought to myself, Yeah, I was justified in taking a year to finish this shit.