What did everyone think of GOTY 2020?

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AzureGale

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I wonder if it's a case of absence making the heart grow fonder kind of thing but it seems like everyone was a lot more chill during the discussions. Bringing the categories back to the forefront is a great change, and two per day seems like the perfect amount that doesn't leave everyone feeling exhausted. I also appreciate that they did some prep work the week before, like laying the groundwork for the top 10 on the Beastcast. My one criticism is that I wish there was a written article summarizing the categories and top 10. Obviously, expecting it on Friday would be absurd, but I thought one would've shown up a few days after.

Overall, I enjoyed GOTY 2020. I'm glad the staff addressed the major complaints from the previous years and kept things collected while discussing who should win each category. I think this is a good direction for GOTYs going forward, and I hope they'll be able to maintain this if they go back to in-person discussions :)

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LapsarianGiraff

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Definitely one of the more chill discussions between the duders. On the opposite end of the chill spectrum, chat was a lot of fun to watch explode over every decision. "You're telling me ______ is better than ________ !!??"

I was happy to see the return of "Hottest Mess" or more obliquely "Check Yourself Before You Wriggity Wreck Yourself"/"PLEASE STOP" with "Most Distressing Game." There is a certain schadenfreude in acknowledging how distressing some releases were this year, ha.

I do think some of the energy was sapped out of it by it being a Zoom call rather than in-person deliberations, but there's nothing they could do about that, and they did really well considering the circumstances.

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bigsocrates

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I wish there was a write up. I don't listen to the discussions because I am spoiler sensitive and the GOTY stuff tends to be a total spoilerfest. Maybe the writeup is coming at some point, but I always enjoyed reading those.

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rorie

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#4 rorie  Staff

@bigsocrates: I'm not sure it was top of mind for anyone - just getting through the week is a task sometimes! I'll bring it up to the group to see if anyone wants to tackle it, though.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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@rorie: Thanks Rorie. The write-ups are great for those of us wanting to avoid spoilers.

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Humanity

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@rorie: I don’t know Rorie... I’ve heard some people on that GOTY panel didn’t like Doom Eternal. Can you REALLY trust a person after finding this out?!

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aiomon

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@bigsocrates: totally agree, always nice to have the write up.

That said, I really think this years GOTY was a huge win. The last few years of running thru all the games really felt lacking to me, and I feel that this year was a great mix of the old spirited debate and like giving all the good games some type of due. Really happy with it :)!

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SethMode

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#8  Edited By SethMode

I thought it was a lot of fun and it got me through my own terrible week. I was stuck in a very hot room watching the deliberations and dealing with my own stuff.

Having said all of that, I found these things:Vinny should have fought harder against Animal Crossing and for Last of Us 2. Also, the These Hang thing was very weird because it basically determined like what is 25+? Still loved it all and thanks again duders for going for it.

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bigsocrates

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@rorie: Thanks. I understand how hectic everything is and there was a lot of great written content in the personal top 10 lists, but if it ends up happening that'll be swell!

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dunbar256

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#10  Edited By dunbar256

@sethmode: It's a good point about the "These Hang" section. I liked it because it was a place for the team to talk about smaller games or games that had one part of their experience that was interesting or particularly successful.

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Stubburns

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i loved the goty streams this year. really liked all the categories and the chill vibes. Huge shout out to jan for his production wizardry, such great work all week long and still gettin' that 13 Sentinels lock! Can't wait for next year's category, Big Mud Presents: Best Music of 2021.

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Bane

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I hope they keep this new January timeframe for their GOTY stuff. It makes a lot more sense to have it then instead of December. It gives them a chance to catch up on their backlogs over Christmas break and to have a chance to play December's releases.

And it lets poor Alex enjoy his Christmas instead of editing a bunch of top ten lists.

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cikame

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I think the more chill tone might be more down to it being a less competitive year, not that the games talked about weren't great but in the final ten only two of them were super high budget AAA and one of them was an "expansion" of a PS4 game, the rest were various levels of indie game in very different genres and a remaster, the challenge instead is figuring out whether you'd put a Tony Hawk's remaster ahead of a heart rending tale of loss or a game about naked teenagers :P.

I was kinda distant when it came to the final 10 as i haven't played any of them, i was just glad TLOU2 wasn't on it.
If i was there i'd have just been trying to push Flight Simulator further, though i think it was represented very well... it's just not much of a year in games to have arguments about.

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FinalDasa

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#14 FinalDasa  Moderator

Considering how boxed in the production had to be, they nailed it. I enjoyed the less serious awards that were more about enjoyed parts of these games rather than harshly judging them. And it made those more contentious awards and moments feel more meaningful.

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Shindig

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I enjoyed it. Last year's 'give every game it's due' approach felt a little more laborious. This time they slimmed the categories and then let rip with the discussion.

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MF_GOON

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I really enjoyed all of the discussions! I do wish there were more whole-group videos a la Winter Games and Hitsmas, which have been my two favorite features in years past, but I understand that's not always possible to coordinate.

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VectortheAngel

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Considering how boxed in the production had to be, they nailed it. I enjoyed the less serious awards that were more about enjoyed parts of these games rather than harshly judging them. And it made those more contentious awards and moments feel more meaningful.

This is me as well. Well I really enjoyed the change in format a few years ago and I did find last year's lacking overall, I thought 2020 deliberations were a nice return to form. Was like wearing a nice warm blanket. I thought Ben did a particularly good job this year using his knowledge of past discussions. Jan and Jason spoke up more and the others were more respectful in letting them voice their thoughts. Was just a good solid set of podcasts.

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alistercat

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I really enjoyed it. Solid discussions. The debate flaws they've always had are still present but it was a big improvement over the past few years.

Turns out things are better when they aren't all in one big sweaty room!

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cubbielover

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Considering what 2020 was like, I think everyone did a great job(and the return to the categories was amazing), but I did miss Abby and Dan. The bigger the group, the better discussions IMO.

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hermes

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I enjoyed the format, specially because it felt less belligerent than other years, and between "these hang", the beastcast and the goty episodes, a lot of due was given. The realtime nature of it was also pretty interesting, specially on the community's side, even when I rarely got to engage in it due to not being always online.

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regmcfly

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I chose not to follow what chat was saying, much like the hosts, and it was nice hearing the discussions and knowing they were happening in real time - like over here in Scotland, knowing that at this minute Brad was bemoaning the death of Blizzard as we know it.

I really liked the format, and I think the staff seemed to as well - I believe Ben noted at the end that it was his favourite of all the ones he had done.

Mentioned earlier, but the only thing missing was a whole team event like Winter Games, but perfectly understandable why not - streaming for 4+ hours a day must be absolutely exhausting (I'm a teacher working from home and even after an hour with a class I'm done in a way I wouldn't be in person).

So, yep, I really loved it, and particularly enjoyed the Best Dad section and the Most Distressing game.

Well done to all.

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sombre

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A true return to form. The best it's been in a few years

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wtravis

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#23  Edited By wtravis

It was honestly worth the wait, and exactly what I was hoping for.

One thing I have to mention: Jan was undeniably the MVP. Producing a first-ever live GOTY stream with everybody working from home is daunting enough, but between that and also consistently being one of the best and most insightful voices in the discussion, he knocked it out of the park. Having the list on screen and highlighting which games were being discussed made following along a lot easier, too.

Overall, an excellent return to form.

I can't help but wonder if the panel being smaller this year helped, though - with no disrespect intended to Dan or Abby.

Edit: Only downside was Crusader Kings III not getting a single mention. :-(

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frytup

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#24  Edited By frytup

Very satisfying. Popping in live here and there and BSing with chat was a good time, and the discussions were productive.

"Efficient" probably isn't an especially complimentary way to describe GOTY deliberations, but I'll say it anyway. There was a distinct lack of drawn-out nonsense this year that made it much more enjoyable to listen to.

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mellotronrules

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i was impressed given the circumstances! i'm sure a ton of work went-in that isn't apparent. i also appreciate the return to a more traditional format.

in terms of the banter/discussion? i've enjoyed other years more- but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless!

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hansberg

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It was a great series of discussions this year. I do feel like the smaller group helped a lot, or maybe it was not having everyone crammed into a small room. To avoid armchair analyzing any further, I will leave it at this: the format of two categories per day, a set time in which to carry out those discussions, and the more relaxed atmosphere did the entire week a world of good.

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AaronMT

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I enjoyed it. The categories were good this year and it wasn't as exhausting to listen to as in years past. I think the 2 topics per day worked out good. I do like reading everyone's lists and having guest articles as well, please continue to have that as a tradition.

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Undeadpool

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The more concrete organization definitely helped things not bleed into one another, there seemed to be a lot less talk of "If _______ loses here, it HAS TO WIN __________, or we riot!" from everyone, which helped every category feel nice and discrete.

I do feel, personally, like a lot of people's dislike is subconsciously driven by the aging fanbase, as I can recall previous years long ago when I was personally a lot more invested, relistened to a lot of stuff, and generally thought of GOTY as a bit more fun and insane, but it was at a time in my life where I had the time to play damn near everything they were going to talk about, outside of racing games. These days, it's tough to even make a top 10, with the exception of this year (and even then, I haven't listened to everything because of spoilers), and it took me awhile to realize that was one reason I wasn't "getting into" GOTY like I had in the past. That and the site has evolved, we don't get Quick Looks or Playdates of hilariously bad new games anymore, so categories like "Worst Game" and "Most Disappointing Game" don't feel as strange and funny anymore.

I do miss the wildcard antics of Dan and Abby, but we've got their top 10 list and I'm happy with those.

@wtravis said:

It was honestly worth the wait, and exactly what I was hoping for.

One thing I have to mention: Jan was undeniably the MVP. Producing a first-ever live GOTY stream with everybody working from home is daunting enough, but between that and also consistently being one of the best and most insightful voices in the discussion, he knocked it out of the park. Having the list on screen and highlighting which games were being discussed made following along a lot easier, too.

Overall, an excellent return to form.

I can't help but wonder if the panel being smaller this year helped, though - with no disrespect intended to Dan or Abby.

Edit: Only downside was Crusader Kings III not getting a single mention. :-(

I think this was a huge part in it, and I think subtracting any two editors would have resulted in the same thing, so I'm with you 100% on both points.

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freedo

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I thought it was great. Especially considering how... you know the year was. I'm so glad they ditched the "going down the list of all the good games and having generic conversations we already had on a bunch of podcasts" thing. I get why they did that before, but the thing I like about categories is it gives everyone a chance to hone in on what makes the game good and have different conversations than the ones they've already had. So It was great that they brought that format back and added categories that were inherently just a little more positive like "Best Game Feel" and "This Does Hang Here", that last being my favorite of the bunch, to be honest.

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tdous

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#30  Edited By tdous

It was the best one I can remember in a while. Good natured, games argued for on their merits, not clinging for too long to things which obviously wouldn't see group support for a slot, and rewarding things which stood apart and touched even just one or two of the staff more profoundly than other things. I know some people like the more cut-throat battles, some hate it. I can take it somewhere in the middle, when it means passion is flowing without stress.

To me, 2020 GOTY felt closest to simply a celebration of the games they played that year than most I can recall.

And while you'll invariably get the "where's the content" threads (since you get them all year, seemingly no matter how much content is actually being produced) I didn't begrudge them a site-wide holiday break, and enjoyed revisiting the last year at the start of the next, rather than the mad dash to play everything before the year end. I'd happily see it again in January.

Edit: only change I'd make is "Most Distressing", a strange name which will always sound like "most upsetting" to me, as in the game's content is the most upsetting. Most Disappointing and/or Hottest Mess seems clearer and closer to the intention.

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sandm0rph22

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Overall a very good GOTY. They all make interesting and entertaining takes. And like some of you say, it's more chill than the others I remembered- that allowed for some funny moments to come through.

My picky critique is I feel like they do talk a lot about the same games across several categories. Not to say there's good categories that steer away from that, like "This Does Hang" and "Best Music."

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sicamore

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#32  Edited By sicamore

On the technical side, they still haven't totally fixed the distortion that sometimes happens when people talk at the same time which made me switch to the audio version to get a clearer discussion.

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Nuttism

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@lapsariangiraff: I don't understand why everyone seems to gravitate towards "most distressing" being hottest mess. It seems way more akin to most disappointing. Only games were eligible and expectations clearly mattered (as can be heard by the Doom 2 and Warcraft III: Reforged discussions). The only game there which probably wouldn't be discussed in a normal most disappointing was Dirt 5, mostly because no-one was following that game. I do think the category name is really confusing and vague (though the discussions luckily didn't end up being another best world).

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OMGFather

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Loved it. They totally nailed it. Jan's masterful play of getting 13 Sentinels creeping up the list was a joy to watch.

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BisonHero

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#35  Edited By BisonHero

@wtravis said:

It was honestly worth the wait, and exactly what I was hoping for.

One thing I have to mention: Jan was undeniably the MVP. Producing a first-ever live GOTY stream with everybody working from home is daunting enough, but between that and also consistently being one of the best and most insightful voices in the discussion, he knocked it out of the park. Having the list on screen and highlighting which games were being discussed made following along a lot easier, too.

Overall, an excellent return to form.

I can't help but wonder if the panel being smaller this year helped, though - with no disrespect intended to Dan or Abby.

Edit: Only downside was Crusader Kings III not getting a single mention. :-(

I'll endorse all of the points of your post.

The lack of Dan and Abby probably did shorten/ease up the final top 10 GotY debates. If anything, the overall staff size (not Dan or Abby in particular) in the past 3 or so years is maybe part of the reason that it seemed harder to reach a compromise that everyone was happy with for the final list.

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infantpipoc

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Podcast and personal lists are great. But where is the write up for all the winners?

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geirr

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It was a good time!

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Humanity

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One thing I can add to the general praise above is that maybe in the future they should curtail the habit of putting things on a list just to take them immediately off. Even Brad started getting antsy about it saying they need to start policing themselves on it because you end up using up a lot of time just to "say your piece" and then everyone nods and the game gets removed. After a while you end up chewing up a ton of discussion time talking about singular experiences that aren't even going to be part of the main discussion.

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SarcasticMudcrab

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#39  Edited By SarcasticMudcrab

Really enjoyed it this year, first time I just listened to the whole thing straight through for about 5 years!

I really liked how the crew genuinely respected the effect of the game on others (Sorry Jason that pso2 loss was rough, I feel ya man)

My favourite part was the instant almost hulk-out like moment of Vinny transforming into fight mode when the top ten list discussions started, he was ready.

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zaccheus

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It was nice this time, they didn't get as stuck as some years and my annoyance level remained reasonable. Usually there is at least one moment where it's really hard to listen. Also there wasn't really spoiler problems since I had played everything I was interested except Miles Morales which I just skipped. Felt like a perfect balance of days and categories too.

Obviously I miss the insane videos they used to make way back when.

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tdous

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@zaccheus said:

Obviously I miss the insane videos they used to make way back when.

Ah yeah, they were the best.

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AV_Gamer

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Excluding the game choices and whether one agrees or disagree, the GOTY overall was much better than last year. Instead of the staff taking the easy way out and just talking about games and then picking a safe game for GOTY, they went back to debating their personal choices until an agreement was reach, or until a stronger personality won them over. That is how it's supposed to be done. Trust me, if it was still the old format, we never would have heard the passion about 13 Sentinels from Jan, which has made a lot of people want to play a game most people didn't even know existed until then. I would like to see "Please Stop" and "Worst Game of the Year" back again. I know its unlikely, but I'll say it anyway. The categories overall weren't bad, however.

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nophilip

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I'll echo what others have said- this was easily the best GOTY has been in several years. I feel like 10 is a really solid number of categories. It gives space for your traditional categories like Music and Moment/Sequence while also allowing for the more goofy idea categories. Best Dad was my favorite "joke" category in a long time.

Definitely missed hearing from Abby and Dan, but I do think a smaller panel helped the discussions stay manageable.

Overall, as someone whose favorite GB content is GOTY, this was my favorite in at least a few years- and a massive, massive improvement over last year's format. Thanks for all the hard work from the whole staff!

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huntad

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I always love the discussions every year. I set time aside specifically for GB GotY stuff. I do wish there were articles about each day again, though. Hopefully, they will bring those back next year.

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JJBSterling

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Really good this year. I didn't necessarily hate the past few years but I thought this year was a return to form in a way.

Very happy with the return of "fun" categories. "Best Dad" was a lot of fun to listen to.

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Lothoryn

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One of the best in recent memory! I'm glad that they waited till January, and wouldn't mind if they kept it that way in the future. A year in review just makes more sense when the year is actually over, plus it gets rid of that crunch for the end of the year.

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Captain_Insano

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This was the best GOTY deliberations to listen to in more recent memory.

While I do appreciate that they were trying something new and different that worked for them in prior years with the listing of every game, that format was just no fun at all to listen to.

I think this year was a great balance of a happy medium.

The listing each top 10 to get the general GOTY preliminary list was good. The 'this hangs here' category to give 'lower' games their due was good, and then starting the top 10 from an already semi-curate list of 25 worked really well.

A good range of categories as well that generally covered most of the areas needed.

Only negative was Final Fantasy VII Remake being robbed in the best music category - I can't believe no-one went to bat harder for that game!!!! You savages!

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Sahalarious

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#48  Edited By Sahalarious

The fun videos they do with GOTY are the part I look forward to and we got literally nothing. Really really disappointed.

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Haz_Kaj

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The fun videos they do with GOTY are the part I look forward to and we got literally nothing. Really really disappointed.

Like last year? The individual ones they did I really didn't miss. they weren't' great. The Group ones were cool but obviously they can't do that this year

I think this year was way better than last year. The whole "lets run down the year talk about every game" was very bloated to me. Didn't need it.

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bacongames

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I really enjoyed the live format. Being live really got me invested and the communal aspect of that was really nice. In general the format where they did one podcast where they put their top 10s into a site list, then worked from that felt tight and easier to parse.

It's also good to hear that with the lack of travel and cat herding, it was less stress on them this time around.