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AIAS Award Nominees

January 17th, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has announced its nominees for this year’s Interactive Achievement Awards. Oddly not available on the organization’s own site, you’ll have to check Kotaku to get the whole deal for now.

First thought that occurred to me was surprise that Call of Duty 2 was the only PC game nominated for Game of the Year. Then I realized that they are talking about the console version – it’s not nominated for computer game of the year – so the biggest category has no PC games at all. Thanks guys.

There are three strategy type games in the computer game of the year category – Civ IV, The Movies and Age of Empires III – fighting it out with two shooters (FEAR and Battlefield 2). In the strategy genre category, Civ and AoE are nominated along with Empire Earth 2. Yeah, I know. They consider The Movies to be a simulation game, though its tycoon component makes it more of a strategy game to me.

The predictability of the nominees is disturbing. Were none of the jurors familiar with the dozen strategy games from this year better than Age of Empires? I can only guess that its name recognition earned it votes. Empire Earth 2 is one of the most shocking entries I’ve ever seen.

Then again, We Love Katamari is in the children’s category with Chicken Little and Madagascar.

Mostly, the AIAS does a better job than anyone else who passes out game awards at a show. Of course, that’s only SpikeTV. But the domination of the large studios and predictable nominees in every category (except for King Kong in Outstanding Game Design…) means that either the jurors aren’t doing their jobs in pushing for titles that are beyond the foreground or they just have no knowledge beyond the best sellers. No Act of War in the genre award, but they find a place for AoE III in Best Online Game Play. And it’s not like they don’t have room. Five action games get nominations in that genre. Five children’s games. But only three strategy games and only three simulation games.

Mind you, the major magazine and website awards mean more to me as a reader/gamer. When Gamespot or CGW calls something its “Game of the Year”, that means something to me. I’ve read their reviews so I can compare title to title and opinion to opinion. But I’ve heard the AIAS called gaming’s version of the Oscars.

Except the biggest budget always wins.


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