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What Does The Game Of The Year Label Mean To You?

"Game of the Year" is the most prestigious award any source that covers the industry can hand out. But as is the case with reviews, there is no standardized approach to determining winners, and the criteria for choosing those winners. It ain't easy.

So what does that illustrious label mean to you? What would you look at when determining the year's best video game? Are you putting more of an emphasis on fun factor, which would translate to a more subjective analysis? Would you be willing to give your favorite title Game of the Year over a production that might be more qualified from a technical and artistic perspective? Or would you stress innovation and freshness? So many people have complained about a lack of originality this generation (which I don't necessarily agree with, by the way), so maybe that's important to you. There must be priorities.

Then again, maybe you just take the most straightforward approach- Pick the game that simply appears to be the most accomplished, whether it's your cup of tea or not. We should all be able to appreciate extreme levels of quality, regardless of opinion and personal preference. That can be difficult to do, though...after all, isn't it a little weird if we couldn't entertain ourselves with our own Game of the Year pick? By the way, although it really hasn't been tough from PSXE's point of view over the last few years, our 2012 choice for Game of the Year is requiring a lot more thought. No, it hasn't been decided yet, but you'll know soon enough.

Tags: game of the year, goty, gaming culture, best games, top games

12/23/2012 9:54:40 PM Ben Dutka

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Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 10:20:18 PM

Depends. If I was picking it for a publication I'd have to go with the best overall production from an objective standpoint.

For me though, it's the one that is the most satisfying experience. Doesn't have to be the best production or be glitch free or innovative or anything, just whatever resonated the most.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 11:43:51 PM

I was about to type basically this same exact thing, but then I saw you had copied me so I stopped...

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Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 10:48:15 PM

I always pick my game of the year through completely subjective analysis. In my own personal bubble there is no need for objective analysis, but that doesn't mean that I don't respect the gaming media when they objectively pick their own choices. Objective choice really is the only option when you're trying to choose the best based on a certain set of parameters, so that's what I expect and hope for!

However, my personal bubble shall not be penetrated and I dictate my own personal game of the year. Outside of that bubble I talk more objectively about certain matters though ;)

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Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 11:09:55 PM

I went with Journey. Other games there are also worthy, but here's my reasoning.

- It's original, and it possesses it's own identity. It's not a sequel, it's an original, and it doesn't try to be something it's not by appealing to as large an audience as possible, yet it has still managed to get positive recognition all over.

- Music score is easily the best of that whole list. None of the others are up for a grammy...

- It's a sound production. It doesn't glitch, it doesn't have imperfections. It's complete.

- It succeeded on it's own merits. No hype monsters, no crazy amounts of PR. Just a dev operating on their own credentials.

- It's beautiful. The creativity of being underwater without being underwater, the story telling without words, use of symbolism, and a knack for making the gamer feel absolutely free at times, while physically and emotionally encumbered at others. It made us feel, and it didn't have to explicitly tell us how to feel like so many others try to spell it out. When I flew, my soul flew. When I gracefully floated through what appeared to be an ocean, I was serene. When I explored the sands, I found my oasis. And when I scaled an un-scaleable mountain, I pressed on even when I could press on no further. And when I was reborn and lifted up... I found my eternal paradise and was reborn. The experience was wonderful.

- It's a masterpiece that, even if you prefer another game over it, stands out from the rest of the crowd as a beautiful work of art that is unlike anything done in the past and unlike anything done by the competition.

- Sequels and games that easily fit into a genre may be excellent, but none make this particular year stand out from other years. Sure, you might look at a game like ME3 and think, "This game is amazing", and it is. But Journey does the same thing while giving this year an opportunity to stand out from other years. Instead of seeing a list of "game of the year" titles in a year-by-year breakdown that are familiar to us whether we played it or not is not as potent as seeing Journey. Journey has the power for us 13 years from now in 2025 to see "2012 GOTY - Journey", and we will all reminisce that exact specific experience unlike looking back at a sequal or another zombie game. My point is: it's unique, yet still deserving of high praise.

I respect some other games on that list. But Journey is something different. It did something none of the others did. And that's worth giving it the golden "made in 2012" sticker that is a GOTY mention. This type of creativity needs to be encouraged and recognized. No sane person can ignore it's brilliance.

*lovelovelove*JOURNEY ;p

Last edited by Underdog15 on 12/23/2012 11:14:29 PM

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Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 11:34:12 PM

I picked Journey too for my own personal game of the year. Instead of saying why I particularly liked taking my "Journey", I can just do this...

^^^^^^^^^^ What he said.

Then again, I love Okami, and it's one of my favourite games of all time, but the HD version is simply an upgrade to an already created game and therefore I don't count it as a nomination for GOTY.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 11:51:46 PM

I seriously NEED to get around to buying and playing Journey. The only reason I haven't is my giant backlog of games of which I already own (and the plethora of PSPlus freebees just keep adding to that backlog, garshdarnit). I think I may just say "screw it!" and get it after Xmas...

Last edited by PoopsMcGee on 12/23/2012 11:52:53 PM

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 9:02:34 PM

I couldn't have said it any better, Underdog15! Those are exactly the same reasons why I'm choosing Journey as my personal GOTY this year. It's just a breath of fresh air and is an entirely incredible experience. It's a game that succeeds on what it tries to do and never had to rely on gimmicry to get noticed. Definitely a masterterpiece!

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 11:33:39 PM

My personal Game of 2012 is XCOM: Enemy Unknown, though I've said it before. It just completely absorbed me for the month or so that I played it and is something that I still think about regularly. It had flaws and certainly wasn't as tactically open or strategically demanding as I might have liked, but it was a game that truly made you think about what you were doing and care for your soldiers even though they were, for the most part, faceless grunts. It probably has something to do with the fact that it reminded me of Valkyria...

I dunno. If I had to pick an objective game of the year, it'd be Journey. It was just so unique and evocative. I always hold story, narrative and emotional resonance as the highest points of any media and there is little argument that Journey managed to deliver all of these without words. It's an unprecedented accomplishment in gaming and deserves just reward.

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 9:06:32 PM

Hey Lawless, were you able to play Journey online? You did tell me that you have rather crappy internet connection where you live but I was hoping that that has changed, at least just for this game. Journey is an excellent single player game, but it's a completely different experience when you play it with another player. It's one of the few games that I think got cooperative online play perfectly. I hope you got to experience that too!

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 12:23:17 AM

It means pretty much nothing to me anymore as I usually have my own Game of the Year winner. Besides, seems like a lot of games nowadays keep getting Game of the Year editions, even though they didn't win that award in the first place.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 10:18:49 AM

Yeah, I'm not quite sure how that works.

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 2:05:13 AM

ive always looked for the game thats improved the most over its predecessor, thats what always impresses me.
mass effect 2 for instance, the gameplay and battles were not exactly a snore fest but bioware somehow managed to make ME3s even more epic!
progress is what impresses me most, it shows at least the developers are trying to push themselves and push the industry forward.
its not about who made the best game, its about who made the most improvement, the most progress.

irony though because my GOTY would also have to be my disappointment of the year.
i absolutely f*cking LOVED ME2, its THE best game released this gen!
it had decent combat, perfect characters, a perfect story, it was almost perfect!
ME3 came out and perfected what ME2 lacked, the combat, the RPG feel, the space battles, the scale and production values i mean come on some of those battles feel like there straight out of freaking star wars!
but sadly in improving the gameplay, they forgot the story and characters.
they made a big mistake introducing so many new characters in ME2, than forcing you to go back to your old crew in 3.
especially for those people like me who did not play the original, i felt like i had got to know these people and there my employees and friends.
than you go into 3 with these strangers.
and i bet id feel the same way if i played the original than went to 2, because they basically did the same thing there.
i really cant understand why bioware did that, they should of created 1 cast of characters and kept them for the entirety of the series!
it just felt so wrong, especially after ME2 you and miranda are so close love or hate, i had both one playthrough we were enemies, and the other i banged her, it just felt so wrong that in ME3 you barely ever see her.
they went to all that effort to create a amazing universe and really care about the characters, to then just throw them out the window.
that really hurt!

its funny ive always been saying AC3 would be disappointment of the century, simply because the rest of the series was SOOOOOOOO good!
3 betrayed EVERYTHING the series is famous , and beloved for!
one thing i HATE about ubisoft is they suffer from severe insomniacites.
ie they add something to a game, everyone falls head over heels in love with it, so they remove it for the next game!
AC3, FC, rainbow six, ghost recon, EVERY ubi franchise does it!

but the more i think about it, and the more i spend playing ME3 i realize its the other way around.
i guess its because i never cared about the characters in AC, your always switching and that breaks me away from them.
i really connected with ME2s cast and thats what really eclipsed my enjoyment of it that much more, i suddenly did not care about the bugs, or repetitive simple gameplay.
i was entranced by the characters.
and 3 threw all that out the window!

come to think of it, just goes to show how much a engrossing character set can help a game.
screw the story, it can be as convoluted and cliche as it wants!
screw the gameplay, it can be as infuriating and boring as it wants!
screw the graphics and technical side of things.
if the characters really are fleshed out, and it makes you really care for them, suddenly your willing to overlook anything and everything!
thats taught me allot, and so has zombiu.
its amazing how you can absolutely LOATHE a game, yet for whatever reason it keeps dragging you back.
i HATE zombiu, its so unbalanced, poorly designed, frustrating, cheap, stupid, and game breakingly buggy!
but i keep going back to it because its SUCH a THRILL!
its just so creepy every time you walk into a new area you clench your butt cheeks and start grinding your teeth, it really reminds me of the old horror days!
its amazing how 1 thing done so well is enough to suddenly make everything so irrelevant.
have a cast of characters the player connects with and cares about and he will overlook the boring repetitive gameplay, and oh so many game breaking bugs.
i had my save file corrupted SO many times, but i couldent help myself going back!
just get that 1 thing right, and you can kick a guy in the balls and he will forgive you and come running back!

Last edited by ___________ on 12/24/2012 2:14:06 AM

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 2:11:23 AM

I would have to pick a game that gives me the most replay value. Has an interesting story that doesn't make me sigh at the sheer amount of repeated things i've seen in other games hundreds of times. A small example is the light and dark world transition. They did it right in metroid prime: echoes. Twilight princess was good too.

Another thing is the music. The music has to be good enough for me to listen to. I usually turn off the music on some games because of how annoying or bad it is. I love fallout 3, but the soundtrack just annoys the crap out of me. In Hitman: Absolution the music changes varying on how you play. In the ***** i decided to go all beast mode and an angel choir started playing.

Next is likeable characters. Most characters nowadays are just some simplified person seeking something or someone, regardless of the details. A character i remember having depth and mystery was Auron. Sure his secrets were out in the open towards the end but the entire time he was just so mysterious and awesome. I'd go into detail about Yuna but i don't want to add 6 paragraphs.

The last thing for me is the hidden meaning. In Heavy Rain i remember playing it the first time with 'if i was Ethan what would I do?' and it completely created a whole other gaming experience for me. By hidden meaning i guess it could mean several things but what i'm trying to say is hidden meaning needs to be something that you will remember for a long time. Not that adrenaline rush you get from some games but a real like after seeing Shawn die in your arms in heavy rain.

I used heavy rain a lot just now but its one of the greatest games this gen in my opinion because it was well, it was an amazing game. Once again, do not get angry because my own values differ from yours, i don't mean in anyway, to offend you.

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 2:14:51 AM

GOTY to me means that enough gamers enjoyed it very much for me to get my attention. I ended up purchasing The Walking Dead physicaly.

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 4:35:57 AM

I don't care whether a game is a AAA title made by 1000 code slaves, or an indie project created by 5 people as a labor of love... a 200 hour mega-marathon game, or a 5 hour emotional rollercoaster, if the game moves me and holds my absolute attention like no other game that year, then that is my personal GOTY.

This year, it is The Walking Dead by TellTale Games.

Last edited by JROD0823 on 12/24/2012 4:40:10 AM

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 5:06:23 AM

Game of the Year only means one thing to me now, an excuse to con all the people who bought the game on release. Now with most games they will release a Game of the Year edition with all the DLC4-5 months down the line. It's why I am not buying games like Resident Evil 6 or Assassins Creed instantly. Rage is the only game which seems to have done DLC right this gen, releasing it nearly a year after the original release. To me that feels really genuine, unlike most developers who have the content ready but just hold it back, some of them even going to the lenght of shamelessly releasing the DLC before the game is even out!

But you see so many GotY titles that the word on the box loses all meaning, surely there should be only 1 game of the year, not 10. I for instance believe The Last Story to be my game of the year, as it is the title I have enjoyed most this year. I do not start giving awards to each genre claiming them to be GotY. What seems to be happening is one big games reviwer source will state it is game of the year, while another will choose another game and then we have so many GotY titles it loses value. We need a formal gaming event like the Oscars to solve this mess.

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 6:18:06 AM

I'd say "all of the above". Fun factor, production value, innovation, story, acting, artistic values, freshness, all that.

But in addition to that I would also like to add that "big game" element. I know many disagree with me and I may also do that a few years from now, but today I think an overall GOTY has to be a big game. Many hours of gameplay, a game that can't be played on a portable or in a browser, it has to be hours and hours of full production gaming that makes the fans on my hardware scream.
You know... The *real* deal.

But when it comes to awards, I think it is far more interesting to see the winners within each category than it is to see what title won the overall price.

Last edited by Beamboom on 12/24/2012 6:21:25 AM

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 8:55:50 AM

nothing at all really. everyone has different tastes.

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 9:35:57 AM

I basically go with what made me feel something different. That is why I picked Journey for this years game of the year. I actually really like Binary Domain too it is up there for goty for me as well because of the shear awesomeness of that game.

I was watching a pach attack episode and patcher said that game of the year should go to the game that sells the most units because it is synonymous with that I say what a load of crap.

That would mean call of duty for goty every year lol.

But basically the label means to me something that did something different and succeeded, that tried to go outside the box, or was just so ridiculously polished and fun that it didn't need to do anything new it just expanded on a certain genre.

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 10:11:12 AM

As much as I love PS, I have to give my GOTY to Halo 4. I'm just a big fan or epic stories and haven't gotten ACIII yet. It just left me gripped till the very end and made me want more. BTW all, Merry Christmans!!! If you don't celebrate Christmas, then happy Batman Day! Hey, it should be a holiday, right? Oh yeah, The Hobbit is awesome! Go see it NOW!!!

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 10:44:04 AM

There are a lot of games that I like certain parts of, while other parts of it feel like a chore. If I like the whole game from beginning to end, then it would be what I would consider GOTY material.

Journey would get my vote as game of the year.

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 12:12:08 PM

The goty label is something arrived at by a bunch of egotistical snobbish babies who think their opinion matters above all others. Where in reality only they themselves appreciate their self selected product as much as they do =p
alright, i'm being a little silly so no one take that seriously.

....but I do love this skit ;)

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Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 12:15:31 PM

Doesn't it mean "Add the DLC and sell it at full price again"?

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012 @ 3:56:37 AM

GotY has two meanings. One is the best (whole) version of the game, selling it at retail with all DLC included for a low price. All games with DLC should release a GotY edition.

The other meaning for GotY is the game which I liked the most or had the most fun with. I honestly couldn't narrow it down to one game, with greats like Borderlands 2, Walking Dead and Sleeping Dogs (to name just a few) giving me so much fun I just wouldn't be able to say one is better than the other; they are all different experiences but all are good.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012 @ 8:00:20 PM

To me, it's the game that brought the most "new" to the table. When Uncharted 2 won GOTY it was a roaring cinematic blockbuster that took you to the furthest reaches of the Earth in search of a long-lost civilization, while exploring the inner demons of Nathan Drake. It was something games had been trying very hard to accomplish, and Naughty Dog hit a home run and set a new standard.

This year, my GOTY is Far Cry 3. Compared to the rest of the cookie-cutter military shooters that came out recently, FC3 put you in the shoes of a young man with everything to lose, and sent you on a psychological journey that would test the strength of his own sanity. Not only did it have a gripping narrative that actually kept me interested and made me want to save my friends, FC3 delivered a ferocious open-world jungle playground where every living thing possible is out to kill you. It's survival at it's most beautiful.

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