Loyal minions! Thought I’d contribute a bit more to this quality website than my weekly effort of our award winning podcast. Get off my rump and type another page-turner of an article for you to read and then tell all your friends about. Something Mr. Andy Rooney would be proud of. Articles usually take me about 10 minutes to write, this one has taken me over a week. Let’s begin!
People have been known to say that it’s the spice of life. Variety is a good thing in many aspects. It can make you grow, life and smile…which is fantastic in itself. People, and even the community you live in – loyal reader -, is made up entirely of variety. Different kinds of people, doing different kinds of things – all of whom are trying to live their lives the way they seem fit.
And then there’s the other end of the spectrum:
Repetition can make people’s lives possible and bearable. And that’s where the comparisons end, although in itself, it’s boring and drab. It’s a black and white photograph of the underside of a bridge, and placed on a wall in a dentist’s office. Repetition is having the same meal over and over again, because you’re too afraid to try anything else. It serves no point and has no drive, no ambition, and no fortitude. Repetition is actually Variety’s arch nemesis. The two are not even close. It’s not the same sport, it’s not even the same league. The team has picked up, relocated and moved away to another country. Get my drift?
Pertaining to video games though? Variety isn’t always the best policy. Variety is hardly recognized – except for when a development company receives the coveted, and highly sought after, game of the year award. The GOTY doesn’t always go to the most deserving development company, but the development company that shows it has the insight to be different. To be courageous enough to step across that blurred line of reality and gaming and say,” This is ours. This is out best effort. This is what we have created and would like to share with the world.”
Who would’ve thought a game about a renegade outlaw, gun-wielding, horse riding, cowboy – would’ve won the prestigious GOTY award? And it did. I, of course, am talking about “Red Dead Redemption”. The developer, Rockstar Games, is known for making a line in the sand and double-dog daring you, as a gamer, to blindly step over it. With recent releases like L.A. Noire and newly announced GTA5. Using far beyond tech like face motion capture and implementing a riveting music process that goes along with everything they touch. One would agree that every step Rockstar has taken has only furthered game technology. They won it last year in 2010.
How about a game that looks like a movie? A game that features a brash man with sweet tooth for treasures and rare artifacts? A man that runs towards gunfire and welcomes a fist fight with a gritty smile? Nathan Drake is the name and Uncharted is the game. Developer Naughty Dog is no stranger to the GOTY award, winning it for Uncharted 2 back in 2009. Naughty Dog, being a small Santa Monica based company, employs the gamers’ imagination not to take hold and grow roots when any gamer picks up and plays any of the Uncharted series. And they make the main character not only dear to any PS3 gamers heart – but relatable. A hero you can relate to? A game with a riveting story and even more impressive gameplay? An exclusive only to the PlayStation console? Naughty Dog sets their own rules and outshines in their latest effort, Uncharted 3 – which is one of the GOTY nominees.
Everybody loves a dark horse. Everybody loves the underdog. Everyone roots for the not so lucky guy to get the girl and get that happy ending and go riding off into the sunset. This year, there’s:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Now believe me when I tell you. My friends list always seems to be full, a minimum of at least 20 people online at any one time. And over half of those fine folks are playing Skyrim. And not for 20 minutes or an hour. We’re talking for a non stop session of 12-16 hours. Any game that can wrap you up and say “have a seat” should be worthy of contention, and, personally, Skyrim is my pick for the dark horse for the 2011 GOTY award ceremonies this year. I’ve seen gameplay, I’ve seen peoples’ lives consumed. I’ve seen their rabid love of this game develop into its own thing. Something unexplainable, something so fevered and yet so revered at same time. To even try and badmouth this game – makes my legs shake with fear. People are in love with this game and the game loves them back with fascinating gameplay and jaw dropping visuals. Bethesda, the development company behind this title, knew exactly what they were doing when they unleashed this game to the hordes. They, as well, are in contention for this years 2011 GOTY award.
The other three games on the 2011 GOTY nominee list, whereas, are not blockbuster material. They, indeed, have their own cult following and each of their own respected developer company’s sat up and refused to not go quietly into the night. They wanted to make a game for all to enjoy. For all to talk about, for all to try and come to their own conclusions. I want to take this moment to congratulate all the developers for their effort and their hard work for crossing that line in the sand and making this the new standard in video games. Thank you for all your sacrifice and hard work to give the entertainment that we know and had come to love. Thank you for not being cookie cutter and churning out another piece of garbage that’ll be in Gamestop’s bargain bin in a month and when we see it – it’ll instantly make us regret buying it new for $60. Thank you, most of all, for the one thing all video games need these days…variety.
Written by: Damon
- Contributing Editor