Videogame BAFTAs announced – we collectively groan
The videogame BAFTAs. They’re alright aren’t they? AREN’T THEY?
Yes. Everyone’s talking about them. The videogame BAFTAs. You would think that having such a prestigious institution considering videogames as a worthwhile entertainment medium alongside film and television would be a good thing, and insofar that it gives the pastime more credibility for a mainstream audience you would be right. But that’s who these awards appear to be aimed at; a mainstream audience that’s only scratched the surface of the videogame world. Let’s face it, the recently released nominations are just, well, pretty poor.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops is up for six nominations, and we can accept this in the Action and Technical Innovation categories, but Story? Come on BAFTA, did you play that game? The story was a mess, unable to keep itself grounded and meandering off into the usual conspiracy/counter-conspiracy nonsense that also plagued Modern Warfare 2. Playing with the chronology of a narrative does not a great game just because we haven’t seen it in an FPS before.
The omission of Enslaved from the awards only further goes to show that whoever picks these choices hasn’t properly sampled the full palette of games released last year. The fact that Black Ops can be nominated for Best Story – with characters like Dragovich who have seemingly no motivation for their actions other than being a bit nasty – but a game like Enslaved with real, sympathetic characters that you actually feel for is ignored, is a criminal oversight.
And let’s not overlook the fact that Alan Wake has somehow made its way into the Best Story category, which is frankly absurd. Deadly Premonition’s was clearly far better. WHY IS IT NOT NOMINATED.
Outside of the story category it’s nice to see some of the lesser-known indie games get nominated, like the absolutely excellent Limbo that is yet to make its way over to PSN. But where’s the love for Super Meat Boy? Joe Danger? What about the much, MUCH loved PC title Minecraft? One of last year’s most wildly popular titles, it’s simply been ignored.
Basically, the whole list feels like an unimaginative selection created by someone who’s walked into Game, taken a look at the top ten best-sellers, and used them as the basis for the entire awards ceremony. Games like Limbo only just get in so the creators can look like they know what they’re talking about. They don’t. Black Ops appearing in Best Story is testament to that fact, as is the category of Best Gameplay, which feels outdated and archaic in today’s world of ever-diversifying genres and game styles. I don’t have any problem with the BAFTAs existing, and I like that they raise awarness of the achievements of the brilliant development teams behind games like Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, but I just wish the nominations overall felt a little less like showering praise on those with the most money.