Game of the Year is the key phrase for the moment, as websites and other media establishments make their top lists, awards go out, and the community reacts to it all. We’re now at the very end of the year, and the big Game Awards show has come and gone. But that doesn’t mean no more awards or recognition gets to take place from other sources. You know, sources such as myself. I’m kicking off the very first and tragically unofficial Prima Game Awards for Videogame Excess and Excellence, the dopest list of videogame accolades you’ll find in this dusty corner of the Gamer Web.
Presenting the(my) First Annual (probably) 2020 Game Awards for Videogame Excess and Excellence
The Best Last Movie to See in a Theater Award - Sonic the Hedgehog
All around the United States, millions of people haven’t stepped foot into a movie theater since February, when they went to see Sonic the Hedgehog. We may never see movie theaters the way they were before ever again, but at least Sonic was actually pretty good!
The Baddest Boomer Award - Ralph Macchio
Tying the always-frustrating Best Fighting Game category at the Game Awards into a Cobra Kai promotion was a mistake. Then it became a blessing in disguise when Ralph Maccio said “Under Night In-Birth” out loud. It's a shame he didn't try to vocalize the "Exe:Late[cl-r]" part, but perfect worlds don't exist.
The Hope in Humanity Sustainment Award - The itch.io Community
It’s always nice when something happens to reaffirm that there is good in this world, even in a community full of people who send death threats over puddles. During the huge protests earlier this year, over a thousand artists and developers submitted their games into the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality.
The bundle included nearly two thousand games, tools, and other projects, and over $8 million was raised. In comparison, Riot Games made a $1 million commitment to various organizations. Not directly comparable, but still that’s a lot of money.
The Ballin’ on a Budget Award - Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Microsoft had continued to add and add to Xbox Game Pass, making the “best deal in gaming” moniker more accurate than ever. Nobody was expecting some of this year’s biggest additions, including cloud game streaming and a full-on EA Access subscription all included with the regular price.
The Fantastic Floof Award - Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
One thing I’m always going to be grateful for, in our poopstorm of an existence, is the Can You Pet the Dog Twitter account and its success. Without the power of Online, this thing never would have blown up, and game developers wouldn’t be reacting to it. Now, more and more games let you pet the otherwise nonparticipating animals. The best animals of the year are easily the cats in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. These big chonkers are the size of dogs, and have majestic Vikingr floof. And you can pick them up, which is a step beyond simple pets. Kudos to the Valhalla team.
The Weird Flex, but OK Award - Vin Diesel
It almost felt like a bout of mass hysteria when, during The Game Awards 2020, we all sat and watched a video of CGI Vin Diesel running around an ancient jungle with his ancient jungle family fighting evil monster people and running from dinosaurs. It went on for so long with no clue on what was happening that when the ARK II logo appeared at the end, the Prima Games meeting room was in hysterics. It was the world’s weirdest “we got Vin Diesel” flex.
The Holy H*ck This Actually Came Out Award - Phantasy Star Online 2
This year we saw the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake and Cyberpunk 2077, both games that spent years upon years in development hell. But the true videogame launch underdog was the launch of Phantasy Star Online 2 in English, on the Xbox platform. In Japan, that game launched in 2012, and that’s after roughly five years of development. By this time the PSO fandom community had actually given up on ever being able to play this Actually Solid MMO sequel without shenanigans, and even then there was no silver bullet. Now it’s here, free to play, and fully localized. Ridiculous. Amazing. Surreal.
The Galaxy Brain Award - Tetsuya Nomura, Yoshinori Kitase, Kazushige Nojima of Square Enix
These three are the leadership behind the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Kingdom Hearts is also spearheaded by Nomura. This award is really for everyone who touched Final Fantasy VII Remake or Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. These two games are so heavily founded on aspects of metafiction and the actual, real world surrounding them that, well, saying more would be spoilers. Let’s just say these two games go places.
The Crying in the Club Award - Hero Must Die. Again
Back in February, Degica Games published a small JRPG called Hero Must Die. Again. It’s a loop-oriented game that’s about a traditional JRPG hero who gives his life to beat the Big Bad. There are loose ends though, and the hero is granted another few days to say goodbye and help a little more.
The premise and some of the mechanics were striking to me, so I looked the game up and discovered it was originally created (this is like the third remake or something) after writer/designer Shoji Masuda watched his father slowly succumb to cirrhosis. No jokes here, that shit’s heavy.
The It’s a Miracle This Even Functions Award - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered
Already kind of a culty game when it was originally released on the GameCube, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered was met with a diverse mix of confusion, bemusement and hype. When it came out, it was met with similar responses from critics and players, with the added befuddlement over how the multiplayer works. But there’s a reason for that.
The original game required a set of Game Boy Advances and Link Cables to play multiplayer, along with a memory card. If you had more than one group to play with, you had to put your character on your own memory card to move it around. Getting that to function on Switch, PS4, and Mobile (with cross-play!) came with a lot of caveats. Unfortunately, those caveats don’t work as smoothly as the GameCube experience. But it’s way cheaper and easier to set up. Making that happen was clearly a nightmare, as implied by the delay and vague comments from the director. So shoutouts to that team for being stuck with such a gnarly task and making it happen.
That’s all for now! I have finally gotten all this self-indulgent energy out of my system for the year. Or have I? You’ll see what else we have in store for the remainder of 2020. Let us know what you thought of our holiday season content over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!