Abstract Game of the Year Awards 2011

Now in its third year running, the basic premise of the annual Abstract Game of the Year Awards remain the same as always. In these times when video game awards doled out from video game outlets are taken a bit too seriously by the masses, this list exists to take that mentality to its natural conclusion: any game, no matter how big or small, good or bad, is capable of receiving recognition. It doesn't matter how much of a logical stretch that actual recognition is; if a game exists, it has the potential to get its (un)due attention. These awards aren't going to end up on the back of any video game's inevitable GOTY edition box (or at least they shouldn't), but that's the point. Anything can be put on a pedestal here and, as you'll see for yourself, plenty of things, in fact, will be.

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Posted by Praxis

Oh wow, there's truly a Persona 4 monthly? I can only imagine the quotes on the cover: "In this issue of P4 Magazine, we discuss (again) just how totally dope Persona 4 still is, three years after the fact!" Alternately, you could also call this category the "Activision Award for Excellence in Taking a Good Idea and Wringing Every Last Cent From It."

Posted by Pepsiman

@Praxis: I can approve of that alternate title. I now wish I had actually thought of it. But yeah, the magazine itself is basically a propaganda rag that exists as a gigantic $11 per issue advertisement for the fighting game and Vita port. Supposedly there's some lore-building content that expands on the characters and whatnot, but I have yet to sell my soul that badly and check out the magazine myself. The manga adaptations for Persona 3 and 4 are now serialized in there as well, I believe, but if you didn't read the cover super closely, you wouldn't know that at all. That's certainly not its main purpose, at least.

Edited by Praxis

@Pepsiman: I'm actually somewhat curious at to how long this mag might last after the releases of the spin-offs and other media (assuming that there aren't more in the works), because presumably the mangas, its only other semi-legitimate reason for existing, are being released on their own as well. It would be an awkward conversation in the P4 Magazine offices the day the well runs dry.

Posted by Pepsiman

@Praxis: Short of turning it into a monthly advertisement for something like Persona 5, I imagine it will indeed get quietly shut down next year after the games get released. The manga were, in fact, serialized under a different magazine by the same publisher, so, as you say, that's obviously not reason enough to keep them going after all that happens. The only other Atlus-related game that could hypothetically provide ongoing content like that would be the somehow still alive SMT MMO, but I'm pretty sure good people don't talk about that.

Posted by Mento

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Abstract Game of the Year Awards 2009


I would've figured the Spartacus award would be given to a game that was dead after only a few months, got replaced with something very similar and caused a minor furore with fans over the decision. Except I don't see how that would apply to MvC3.

Posted by Pepsiman

@Mento: Your logic makes sense and I agree with it. In my mind, though, the basic idea is that they're essentially close to being the same game at their core (as one would expect), but were treated as two separate, distinct releases by Capcom and that, much like the original Spartacus sequence, that near-identical characteristic could lead to some interesting confusion in GOTY debates if one wanted to be crazy enough to try and include both in, say, genre awards.

My main excuse, really, is that it's six in the morning here and I'm taking advantage of my tiredness to make this list even more logically colorful.

Posted by Mento

I think a better excuse for not using that interpretation of the Spartacus award would be because it's completely heartless.

Far as I've been able to tell after some time with Xenoblade is that it's quite great but maybe not worth the considerable trouble people are going through. I'm just as miffed about missing out on Chibi Robo 3, yet playing the newest adventures of the mightiest of tiny automatons is insufficient cause to go around capital-O Occupying things. Annexing Nintendo, sure, maybe even Appropriating Nintendo. But Occupying is a bit much.

Posted by Pepsiman

@Mento: Yeah, when I wrote about Xenoblade, it was about the politics that surround it and not the actual gameplay itself since I haven't had the chance to actually play it. I'm certainly curious to play it myself and will probably pick up a Japanese copy before I leave, but the publicity around it just weirds me out to no end. As you pointed out and I passive aggressively implied with the magic of strikethrough, there are significantly more obscure Nintendo-published games from this past generation that could have used that same sort of loving treatment if those types really, really cared about bringing those sorts of game abroad. Ultimately, it doesn't concern me since my linguistic skills are good enough such that if I really want to play an import game, I don't need to wait for any sort of translation, but it's still a weird spectacle to watch from afar.

Edited by mutha3

@Pepsiman: On the "The Capitol Hill Award for World-Class Politics" award: I think the more baffling example of this one was the support for Pandora's Tower and the Last Story.

Unlike Xenoblade, which is considered to be a great RPG going by the impressions many import/Japanese gamers have been giving out and had some great looking gameplay footage-- the other 2 look mediocre as fuck and have gotten extremely middling reception by Japanese gamers. No idea why people rallied around those 2 games and put them on a pedestal.

@Praxis: I seriously think they're doing the brand more harm than good with this shit. The sheer volume of merchandising they've thrown out is a bit offputting, but the real thing that seems worrying to me is how this is all happening in the span of a couple of months.

I guess Index Co. isn't familiar with the term "oversaturation". Its kinda scary if this is going to be their approach to game development in the future. You might use Catherine as a counter-argument, but keep in mind: Catherine was in development before Atlus was bought up.

Posted by Pepsiman

@mutha3: In retrospect, you're probably right. I just wanted to use the award to point out that there are probably other games out there that are equally (and in the case of Pandora's Tower and Last Story more) worthy of such grassroot support. My understanding for rallying behind the other games aside from Xenoblade was that they were made by Japanese teams and therefore worthy of the localization and marketing effort necessary simply for that reason. At the end of the day, the politics behind it all concerns me significantly less than most other people interested in those sorts of games since nothing is linguistically stopping me from just picking them up and playing them if I want, but I know that there are plenty of other games that are worth that support and, in many cases, still didn't receive it when they did get the release. Having an open dialog about games to bring overseas is always nice, but as you said, in this instance, it seemed like most of those people didn't know exactly what sort of cake they were actually going to eat if they got, just that they wanted it.

Posted by Praxis

@mutha3: As weird as the magazine and the theater show are, I find the practice of rereleasing a game that's not that old to begin with to be the dirtiest part of this equation. I don't really understand why people would want to play a Persona fighting game, but at least that's a new experience, whereas P4 Golden just seems like a cynical attempt to trick fans into paying for the same game twice. I don't remember Persona 4 feeling like an incomplete game, and the addition of a new character and a couple other tweaks isn't enough to make me want to buy the game again, much less buy a Vita.

Posted by mutha3

@Praxis: I guess I'm way too much of a raging Atlus fanboy, haha. I don't really like the idea of rereleasing a game 2 years later either, but if they manage to fill it with enough meaningful new content, I'll probably cough up the money for a copy of P4:Golden. So far it seems like they're doing good on that: some gameplay tweaks and new mechanics, new events, a new character etc.

Then again, remember what I said about "over-saturation"? With all this P4 crap they're throwing out recently, I might be burned out on P4 when it comes out and not buy it anyway.

And hey, at least they didn't make a remake of a remake like with P3P:p