Highly Questionable – Alternative Awards 2013

Highly Questionable Banner

[WARNING – The following article contains a spoiler for Bioshock Infinite and also reveals the identity of the serial killer in Animal Crossing: New Leaf] 

Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen to the spiritual home of video games, the village hall in Crapstone, Devon, for the Highly Questionable Awards 2013. Next week, the hall will play host to the local amateur dramatics society’s stage adaptation of Lars von Trier’s film Antichrist. (I’m told tickets are still available for the family matinee performance). But tonight, we’ll be celebrating last year’s most impressive achievements in the world of gaming.

Tonight, we’ll be celebrating last year’s most impressive achievements in the world of gaming.

Before we take our seats, I must sadly report that, as the stars of interactive entertainment were making their way up the brown lino into auditorium, Ellie from The Last of Us was subjected to a vicious and unprovoked attack at the hands of Ellen Page. Or, it might have been the other way round. (Seriously, did no one tell Ellen it was black tie tonight, not Cosplay?) Onlookers watched aghast as Ellen was aided in her assault by what looked like a ghostly entity. However, this was later revealed to be just David Cage with a sheet over his head.

Alright, let’s hand out some awards. I’ve left Nick Griffin in charge of my game of Papers, Please and I really need to get back.

The Dick Turpin Award for Highway Robbery

And the nominees are:

Gran Turismo 6 (Polyphony Digital)

Forza 5 (Turn 10)

Real Racing 3 (Firemonkeys Studios)

And the winner is: Forza 5

All the nominees were front runners in the race to see which 2013 driving game could squeeze the most cash out of its players. Turn 10, however, takes the prize for the brazenness with which its full-priced offering engulfed itself in micro-transactions and premium content. With certain cars costing almost as much as another entire game, or requiring days of grinding to unlock, it really was a case of your money or your life.

Sorry, that's another ten quid just for looking at this image.
Sorry, that’s another ten quid just for looking at this image.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad news in 2013. One of the year’s most popular games was Bioshock Infinite, created by Ken Levine and his team at Irrational Games. Sadly, Ken can’t be here tonight, because I drowned him. Sorry Ken, but I couldn’t risk the possibility of an alternate universe in which you grow a beard and an army of brainwashed fanatics worship you like a god. Oh, wait…

Ken always did love a (Bio)shocking denouement. So, in his memory, here’s our next award:

The Ken Levine Award for Most Controversial Ending  

And the nominees are:

Adam Orth quits Microsoft

Phil Fish quits work on Fez 2

Don Mattrick quits Microsoft

And the winner is: Don Mattrick

The award goes to Don for the way he exited Microsoft before the Xbox One’s launch with all the grace and dignity of a panic-stricken man escaping out of a bathroom window on his wedding day after noticing his expense, new, mail order, trophy bride-to-be has an Adam’s apple bigger than his best man’s.

I'd like to solve the conundrum, Rachel. Is it Ox Boner?
I’d like to solve the conundrum, Rachel. Is it Ox Boner?

Environmental issues were high on the agenda once again in 2013, and the video games’ world was no exception. The industry’s big eco news was that, following years of criticism of its manufacturing processes, Nintendo finally made strides to reduce its carbon footprint with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. A new game made entirely from recycled materials. Are you happy now, Greenpeace?

The Hippy Hipster “It’s Not a Game, Man, It’s a Journey of Self-Discovery” Award for the Best Game that’s Actually Not a Game but a Journey of Self-Discovery

And the nominees are:

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Proteus (Ed Key)

Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)

And the winner is: Proteus

Pitch camp in a forest, light up a joss stick, unfurl your wind chime, roll a joint the size of Colorado and put the latest Peace Convoy LP on your solar powered turntable and you’ll be only part way to achieving the mellow high delivered by Proteus. It’s a double rainbow all the way.

Proteus: Titanfall for stoners.
Proteus: Titanfall for stoners.

Video gaming in 2013 wasn’t all about free love, though. Grand Theft Auto V became one of the most financially successful games of all time, although it did spark controversy with its scenes of excessive violence. I have to say, personally, that’s something I don’t care for. I mean, if I wanted to spend my free time torturing people, I’d still be doing my naked Dark Souls speed runs. They’re not on Twitch. I just do them round my neighbourhood. And speaking of things that shouldn’t have been allowed to go on:

The Kickstopper Award for the Game We All Should Have Paid to Prevent

SimCity (Maxis)

Ride To Hell: Retribution (Eutechnyx)

Aliens: Colonial Marines (Gearbox Software)

And the winner is: Ride to Hell: Retribution

I’ve never been in a biker gang (unless you count the cycling proficiency club I was in at school), but as far as I can gather from Ride to Hell, all biker gang members are comically terrible at three things: riding motorbikes, fighting and having sex (which apparently you do fully clothed). Biker gangs, please direct your comments to Eutechnyx.   

Ride to Hell even featured 2013's worst attempt at a 3 point turn.
Ride to Hell even featured 2013’s worst attempt at a 3 point turn.

Before we come on to our final award of the night, any video game review of 2013 would be incomplete without a mention for the most emotionally affecting story of the year. The tale of two survivors fighting to stay alive in the rubble of a once thriving society, now deserted and left to crumble and die was one that touched all our hearts. So, to those couple of people still playing SimCity, on behalf of everyone else, we wish you Godspeed to the possible cure that is the upcoming single player patch.

Now, let’s wrap this thing up.

The Towering Inferno Award for Thing Most On Fire

Xbox One (pre-launch) (Microsoft)

Ashes Cricket 2013 (Trickstar Games)

Battlefield 4 (EA DICE)

I don’t care what any of your say; this is definitely going to be the Xbox One. Microsoft’s attempts to go one better this time and red ring their new console before it was even realised were a special once-in-a-generation kind of stupid. Yep, definitely Xbox One. No…hold on a minute…I would now like to make the following statement:

“Since unveiling our plans to give this award to Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of this award and announce your new winner: Ashes Cricket 2013.”

Rarely has a product been more aptly named than Ashes Cricket. A game so on fire, it was removed from sale.
Rarely has a product been more aptly named than Ashes Cricket. A game so on fire, it was removed from sale.

Ok, that’s our show, folks. Thanks so much for sticking with us. We’re all off to the official awards after-party, sponsored by Wii U. Apparently, Nintendo were predicting that 9 million people were going to be turning up. Can’t wait to see how many actually do.



One response to “Highly Questionable – Alternative Awards 2013”

  1. Simon avatar

    Thanks James -> you’ve given me a chuckle on a dank Monday morning 🙂

Leave a Reply