If there’s one thing that brings my piss to a boil, it’s the fucking Golden Joystick Awards. The whole thing is such a shameless advertising ploy used to shovel shit, exploit gamers and give already tired franchises more stickers to slap on the box of their latest instalment. Not this year. This year, I’m going to run through every aspect of this colossal turd so that maybe, somewhere in the vast corners of this Earth, someone might get as pissed off as me and be loud about it.
The front page
Right off the bat I’m told that if I enter right now, I can win a motherfucking iPad Air! Apart from advertising, it’s only making sure that people don’t take time and think about what they’re voting for. Why would they? Click randomly, vote for absolutely anything and you could win an iPad Air. Hell, if you do it through Green Man Gaming, you get a copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown (pretty damn good game, by the way) for free so who cares what you vote for, you’re getting free shit out of it! That’s all that matters really, right? All this tosh regarding this newly recognised art form which has inspired countless thousands and what people of the future may think of our past endeavours isn’t important. Why? Those people in the future won’t be in the running to win a sweet as fuck iPad Air which you absolute must have.
There’s also this joyous little segment:
Please note, this year’s nomination window includes games released between September 2013 and October 2014. Future games may be added to the shortlist based on critical reception.
Always so nice to know that my vote can count for nothing if IGN decides that something released in the near future deserves the award more.
Best Original Game
This award celebrates the original title – from indie to AAA – that has had the biggest impact on gamers over the past twelve months. In an industry often criticised for a lack of courage when it comes to launching new IPs, these champions have proven the sceptics dead wrong.
I take issue with the title of this category given its description. Surely it’s more suited to be called Best New Intellectual Property? OK, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily but when you have Shovel Knight, the impressionable child of the Old School platforming games of yore, and Titanfall as nominees, you’re going to run into arguments about what is considered original and what isn’t.
Titanfall is original only in the sense that it’s an FPS which allows you to drop giant robots on people. Everything else about it isn’t original.
Shovel Knight is exactly like the difficult platformers many of us grew up with. It’s not original.
The Wolf Among Us, whilst one of my favourite games I played this year, is only original in terms of its story which, sadly, is not a category. The art style and gameplay is what we’ve all come to expect from Telltale. Not original.
I just want to make it clear that I don’t have a problem with these games at all. What I have a problem with is the poorly titled and extremely broad category. The one game nominated for this category that I agree is original is The Stanley Parable.
Wow, they’ve bumped up the shameless hype and advertising round all the way to the second slot this year. Didn’t it used to be called Most Anticipated? I only ask because using the word ‘wanted’ could imply that the majority of voters are actually going to buy the game no matter what, giving a false impression of sales and quality. Wait, no, scratch the quality part because no one can tell you about the quality of these games because most of them haven’t been fucking released yet.
Not surprisingly, the winner of this category is always the next instalment of a well known IP which makes this category a complete waste of time.
Best Visual Design
This award bestows equal merit upon art design *and* horsepower, so expect to see cutting edge AAA visuals competing against retro pixel masterpieces. If you believe that striking design bests graphic card-busting 3D visuals, make your vote count.
Quite a packed category but what pisses me off is they’re lumping high-end graphics in with visual design. The two are very different beasts, guys. A good visual design in a game can bring the entire experience together. It can make a game feel like you’re reading a comic book or trapped in a dream world or flung far into the distant future. To put games of that ilk in the same running as games trying to look as realistic as possible is like showing someone Pan’s Labyrinth and Spirited Away before asking them which one looks better. Or showing them Mario Kart 8 and Don’t Starve and asking which looks better like they do in this category.
Separate the categories out into Best Visual Design and Best Graphics. Problem solved.
Celebrating the multiplayer components of games that are often arguably more well-known for their singleplayer campaigns, this is where the triple A big boys face off, safe in the knowledge they’re not trapped in the same category as planet-eating cultural phenomena like World of Warcraft.
“Hey John, you put together the multiplayer category, right?”
“Well… the description just doesn’t make any sense. You said it’s for singleplayer games with good multiplayer, right?”
“Yeah, what’s wrong with that?”
“You’ve put in games like Call of Duty, Mario Kart, Street Fighter…”
“What’s wrong with those? They all have singleplayer campaigns so that’s all valid.”
“Sure, they have singleplayer modes but those games are most well known for the multiplayer side of it. I mean, Mario Kart is famed for being great fun in multiplayer and you’re arguably not really playing Street Fighter if it’s just against bots.”
“Look Jeff, if they have a singleplayer mode then it counts as a singleplayer game, everyone knows that. You need to brush up on your gamer knowledge more.”
“If that’s the case, why the fuck is Titanfall in that category? It’s an multiplayer only game. Did you not get the memo, John? Have you even done cursory research or fact checking on any of these games or have you just been sat down with your thumb embedded so far up your arse that you’ve been unable to do the most basic of human fucking tasks?”
“Whoa, hey, Jeff you’re getting pretty hostile there, is everyth-”
“And fucking Trials Fusion, John? Really? Are you being fucking serious? You’re lucky that I’m just a creative tool to vent out a writer’s frustration, John, otherwise you’d be in shit so deep that future civilisations will stop and wonder what the fuck a homosapien skull is doing floating around in cambrian era sediment.”
Best Gaming Moment
Gobsmacked by a set piece, blown away by a boss fight or touched by a moving moment? This category celebrates the best bits of the best games and reflects the truly unforgettable moments that make this one of the greatest forms of entertainment.
Everything in this category could fit into any other category as an aspect of the game with the exception of “the Luigi death stare” from Mario Kart 8 which, evidently, people still give a shit about and find absolutely hilarious.
This category also completely excludes any game which has awesome moments which aren’t entirely scripted or built into the game itself. Oh, I’m sorry, did you just have a massive come back in DOTA 2 and lead your team to victory through impossible odds? Sorry, that can’t be a Best Gaming Moment because it’s not something which happens every single time you play the game and it’s not a scripted event. Instead, we’re going to go with “buying a courier”.
Videogames have rubbish plots? Not anymore! Blown away by a plot twist? Dazzled by amazing storytelling? Stunned by dead-on dialogue? Only the best yarn-spinning will scoop this award, so if you reckon one of the shortlisted titles makes The Catcher in the Rye look like Noddy goes Shopping, give it some voting love.
DIALOGUE IS NOT STORYTELLING.
Also, why the fuck do they mention being “dazzled by amazing storytelling” as one of three reasons to vote for a game with good storytelling? I think it’s pretty self-ex-fucking-planatory that if you think a game had good storytelling that you should vote for it in the storytelling category.
A gripe with Mobile and Handheld Categories
Everyone knows the distinction between “handheld” and “mobile”. If you play it on a Gameboy, PS Vita etc then it’s a handheld. If you play it on a phone or tablet, it’s mobile. They even make this distinction clear in the category descriptions so this is going to be easy, right?
OlliOlli is a nominee for Best Mobile Game despite not being on mobile platforms. It’s available on handheld systems, though. It’s OK, they fixed this fuck-up by entering OlliOlli into both Best Handheld and Best Mobile categories.
Did that not get brought up in the office at all? I could have missed something but I checked the vote page on the Golden Dipshit Awards, Wikipedia and the official site of OlliOlli and not a single one of them lists the game as being available on mobile platforms.
Platform of the Year
It’s just a list of current consoles, the mobile app stores and Steam.
Console gamers are going to vote for their favourite console, everyone else is going to vote for Steam.
Studio of the Year
Game makers often get it in the neck from gamers who, let’s face it, often demand the moon on a stick. This award attempts to put that right, so put your votes together for the developers who have well and truly impressed this year – give them the credit they deserve.
The only right answers here are Frontier, Telltale and Respawn. Again, the category description is either misleading or intentionally deceptive as Ubisoft is a candidate and deserves no credit from anyone.
Innovation of the Year
Twitch is a fucking nominee. I’m not kidding. Go to the website and see for yourself.
Twitch, boys and girls, has been around since 2011. It gained popularity in mid-2013 which would have fallen under the purview of last year’s Golden Limp-Dick Awards. I can only conclude that it’s part of this category this year as part of an advertising or publicity deal. There is no way that the creators of this entire awards fiasco is this incompetent.
Gaming Personality of the Year
Anita Sarkeesian is a nominee. She’s placed directly next to Charlie Brooker.
I find it incredibly insulting and offensive that an e-begging liar trying to push an agenda is not only in the same category as but placed directly to the left of someone who, in my opinion, would improve the gaming scene as a whole if he were to produce more games related content.
They also described Charlie Brooker as “possibly the angriest man in the world”so double fuck them for not allowing me to enter into that category.
Game of the Year
So finally, we’re here. The last category.
The category description talks about Triple A games mixing with Indie Games to duke it out in a fight where budget size doesn’t count. It all sounds very exciting until you realise that almost half of them are from well-known Triple A franchises to begin with and a majority of them had some serious coin behind them. And the whole thing is just yet another bloody popularity contest which will drive sales to the winner and provide people who can’t articulate an opinion with a justification on why a game must be good: It game of the year and all these other awards from Golden Joystick.
Don’t waste your time being used as an advertising pawn for the game industry in a farcical display that was put together by dolts who couldn’t tell their earhole from their arsehole.