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Everything Is Game Of The Year

Everything Is Game Of The Year

“Oh no, not another blog about Batman: Arkham City!” you may be thinking, rolling your imaginary eyes in your imaginary head because I can’t actually see what you’re doing so I can only guess what your imaginary reaction is.

“Will he ever stop writing blogs about Batman: Arkham City!” continues the imaginary conversation. Yes, I will. Because Battlefield 3 is almost out, which means all the dialogue will inevitably shift over to that game. After that, Modern Warfare 3 turns up, then we’ll have Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 fans slinging mud at each other for however long, with blog ringmasters cracking their whips at the first sign of the hatred subsiding.

Even so, there’s something about Batman: Arkham City’s reception that’s… well, annoying, for lack of of a better word, and set me off on this grumpy blog. It has already been called game of the year by various outlets who should really know better. Quick recap on 2011:

When L.A. Noire was released, it was game of the year.

When Portal 2 was released, it was game of the year.

When Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released, it was game of the year.

With Batman: Arkham City just now released, it’s current game of the year.

With Skyrim on the horizon, who’s to say that won’t be game of the year as well?

It’s predictable in that the games industry, like any other media industry, is fueled by hyperbole churned out by the marketing men. It’s easy to spot those who get caught up in the endless spin of press releases and marketing gobbledegook, accidentally regurgitating some of it when not paying careful attention to their writing.

Likewise, everyone is so keen to outdo each other in their drive to show how excited they are about games that some words have no meaning anymore – what does epic even mean when used in a videogame review nowadays, given it’s used to describe anything and everything from a shootout in a carpark to a Batsignal pointing out your objectives?

And if something genuinely is epic, how do we describe it? Do we need another word to replace epic when something actually is epic? Maybe it needs a qualifier, like truly. Truly epic. Or we could make a word out of it. Trulpic.

Declaring something to be game of the year before the year is done is just an extension of that. It’s a cheap way to grab attention, express over-the-top excitement and generate controversy for no effort at all. It’s the hat-trick of games journalism BS.

The inevitable counter-argument is that L.A. Noire was game of the year when it was released. Then Portal 2 was released, which was a better game, so that became game of the year. Then Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released and that was an even better game than those two – debatable, perhaps – which was followed by Batman: Arkham City, which was even better! It was epic! Etc.

There are 12 months in a year. Not three. Not five. Not 193. There are 12. So instead of getting caught in the trap of declaring something game of the year just because it’s been the best thing to be released to date in 2000-and-whatever, wait until everything has been released. Wait until the dust settles. Then pick your winner. There’s nothing wrong with the concept of declaring something to be game of the year but there is when you’re doing it in the middle of bloody October.

Otherwise, we hope everyone currently declaring Batman: Arkham City to be game of the year will hand Polar Panic on PSN or whatever the same crown in the first week of 2012 because it’s the only thing out.

We will be watching.

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  • The scary thing is you haven’t even mentioned console exclusives such as Uncharted 3, Zelda: Skyward Sword/Xenoblade Chronicles, Ocarina of Time 3D/ Mario 3D Land or something good on XBox (anyone on that count?? xD)

  • Ryan King

    Very, very true – I think there’s less noise about console exclusives just because, by definition, there are less people playing them.

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  • Janice

    How can you forget Uncharted 3 brah

  • Starknight

    meh, I want my Superman 64 GOTY edition… or else, grrrrr….