Like a forced birthday party for a senile nursing home resident but with less color and no cake, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Science broadcast its annual DICE (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) awards last night from Las Vegas.
And it was excruciating to watch.
Video gaming is an industry filled talented artists, writers, musicians, designers, voice actors, and more, and yet the best they could do to award this innovative industry is poorly copy the Hollywood awards show format. Why? Why would you try to copy Hollywood movie and TV awards when your industry is so much more than that? Why not feature some of that unique talent inherent to the games industry instead of forcing fish out of water to perform awkwardly written monologues?
The show was hosted by very attractive game–system licker Jessica Chobot and Kinda Funny’s significantly less attractive Greg Miller, who tried, but failed miserably to elicit laughs from the game developers in the audience. “If our jokes seem old tonight it’s because Gamestop told their employees they wouldn’t sell us new ones,” joked Miller to audible groans and chuckles. Jessica Chobot countered, “If your game wins an award, a lawyer from Konami will accept on your behalf” in perhaps the best joke of the night. From there it was downhill.
In total there were 24 awards handed out, though nominations seemingly went to the same few games. Uncharted 4 led the field with ten nominations and took home four awards, while Overwatch was the big winner of the night, taking home Game of the Year honors. You can see the full list of winners below.
Some of the awards were somewhat controversial. While several people in my Twitter audience took issue with Street Fighter V winning Fighting Game of the Year, I felt that Overwatch taking home Outstanding Achievement in Game Design was bizarre, considering its gameplay is just a repackaging of games that have been done several times before. Was Blizzard’s design of cart-pushing levels really so far above and beyond the other dozen games that have had the same design long before Overwatch?
The show plodded along with few interesting moments interspersed between the short “thank you” speeches from game developers who were not even introduced when they won their awards. The induction of Bethesda’s Todd Howard into the Hall of Fame was a show highlight, along with Superhot VR’s Polish developers, who, unlike many of the recipients, seemed genuinely happy to be there, stopping the show to take a selfie after their award.
“Welcome to the church of video games everybody!” said Jessica Chobot in the opening monologue. Little did I know how accurate that statement was going to be, as I felt as if I were forced to sit in an uncomfortable pew and listen to a monotonous sermon while struggling to stay awake. It is only after seeing a show like this, where everyone meanders through the motions, awarding the same few games with little regard for the industry’s remarkable diversity, that one comes to appreciate award shows like Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards. At least there you get to see personalities like Boogie2988.
List of winners
- Action Game of the Year – Overwatch
- Family Game of the Year – Ratchet & Clank
- Outstanding Achievement in Character – Trico from The Last Guardian
- Outstanding Achievement in Story – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
- Outstanding Achievement in Animation – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
- Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction – Inside
- Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay – Overwatch
- Outstanding Technical Achievement – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
- Handheld Game of the Year – Pokemon Sun and Moon
- Mobile Game of the Year – Pokemon Go
- Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition – DOOM
- Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design – Battlefield 1
- Strategy / Simulation Game of the Year – Civilization VI
- RPG / MMO of the Year – Dark Souls III
- Immersive Reality Technical Achievement – Eagle Flight
- Immersive Reality Game of the Year – Superhot VR
- Sports Game of the Year – Steep
- Racing Game of the Year – Forza Horizon 3
- Fighting Game of the Year – Street Fighter V
- Adventure Game of the Year – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
- DICE Sprite Award – Inside
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Design – Overwatch
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction – Inside
- Game of the Year – Overwatch