2016 SXSW Gaming Awards Winners Announced!
On Saturday night the winners of the third-annual SXSW Gaming Awards were announced in Austin, Texas. Hosted by esports icon Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico and YouTube personality Sean “JackSepticEye” William McLoughlin, the awards ceremony judges the best of the best PC, console, mobile and tabletop games. If you’re looking for a new favourite, search no further than the list below!
VIDEO GAME OF THE YEAR
The Video Game of the Year Award goes to the game that “exemplifies overall excellence and creates a distinct gaming experience across all platforms and genres.” The Witcher 3 definitely does that. Described as 20% larger than Skryim and 30 times larger than its predecessors (so pretty darn huge), The Witcher 3 is a high fantasy open-world RPG that follows the protagonist Geralt, a witcher (monster-hunter), as he travels the globe killing baddies and training his adoptive ward, Ciri. Developed by CD Projekt RED and available on Windows, PS4, and Xbox One, this game is filled to the brim with awesome quests and really cool gameplay. Your actions and morality affect the quests’ outcomes, the time of day affects the abilities of monsters, and even your beard grows as your character spends more time in the world. There’s so much to enjoy and watch out for, expect at least 100 hours devoted to this game to “finish” it!
Fun fact: The Witcher is actually based on a series of fantasy novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, so once you’re done with the hundreds of quests, side-quests and easter eggs, why not read the books too? Done with the books? Why not try out the real-life version of Gwent (a card game featured in The Witcher, ) with your friends? Games within games that have become real-life games!? I’m in heaven.
MOBILE GAME OF THE YEAR
Her Story is a mobile game unlike any other I’ve seen. The game grants players access to a police database of archived video footage that covers seven interviews of a British woman being asked about her missing husband. The player represents someone looking into the case, accessing the database and actively searching for key terms that might help them solve the mystery. It’s the non-linear narrative that makes this game so interesting—you feel as though you yourself are shaping the way the game goes, and with your own device acting as the computer you’re searching the database on, you aren’t just playing a game anymore, you are the game.
TABLE TOP GAME OF THE YEAR
I’m finding it hard to start talking about this boardgame because it is just SO GOOD. I’ve played a lot of interesting, complicated boardgames in my day but I can honestly say Pandemic Legacy is unlike ANY boardgame I’ve ever played and probably will ever play. Why? Many reasons. For starters, it’s non-replayable. What does that mean? Well, the game itself is a story that you only get to play out once. Each time you play is like an episode (the full game name is Pandemic Legacy, Season 1). After so many episodes you inevitably hit the “finale” and… that’s it! You’ve either saved the world from these insane diseases, or not. It totally makes the game more suspenseful and adds to the already palpable sense of urgency. Secondly, the game evolves. The diseases get harder, more deadly, and the game rules grow as you play! For instance, you will be asked to put irremovable stickers on the board that affect every other time you play the game from there on out. You write on your pieces and add new ones as you go. You also rip up player cards if they get hurt too often, killing that character forever (this is heartbreaking and really hard to do)! There are also mystery boxes that come with the game, with directions on them like “only open if you have lost the game 4 times in a row”. With a game that’s always changing, you never get bored. Do yourself a favor and try this game out. You won’t be disappointed.
EXCELLENCE IN MULTIPLAYER
Looking for a new multiplayer game to play with friends? Rocket League will have you replacing your Mario Kart or Goldeneye 64 nights with… car soccer? Yes that’s basically what this is. Sound ridiculous? Well it is. And it’s pretty darn fun too. Rocket League has up to eight players each assigned to a team and a rocket-boosted car. Use your momentum, jumping abilities, and ramming speed to defend your goal line and push the giant ball into the opponents’ net. It’s simple but wildly entertaining, and a great game to play with friends on a chill night in.
OTHER NOTABLE AWARDS:
- Excellence in Gameplay: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- Excellence in Art: Bloodborne
- Excellence in a Musical Score: Ori and the Blind Forest (could this be your new study music?)
- Most Enduring Character: Lara Croft, Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Most Entertaining Online Personality: Greg Miller, owner of Youtube channel Kinda Funny
Well, in the wide spectrum between rocket-boosted car soccer and monster-killing, we hope this post has at least given you some ideas of your next gaming purchase. Have fun, and apologies for the inevitable decline in your productivity levels.