Welcome to the I’m Just Playin’ Game Awards 2016. Hosted by Sid, Joseph and Brian in our very first summary of the year. It’s been a very interesting year for video games with some outstanding releases and some, not so much.
We believe that awards should have meaning, and without reasoning, nominations become arbitrary. Our aim has always been to add some colour to the conversation around video games. As a diverse group of people, we’ve worked to create a podcast that offers multiple viewpoints and be an entertaining and thoughtful outlet.
The regular awards are a testament to the standard in the games industry. What games did well with what they were meant to do with their release. Was a game designed for multiplayer great as a multiplayer game? Was a game’s single player campaign as engaging and immersive as it could possible be? We’ve put together our nominees for the best in class.
Best Single-player Game
Single-player games have lost their way a little since the dawn on the internet. We’re not hating against multiplayer only games, but sometimes, we have to just sit back, tune out the world and enjoy an immersive experience from start to finish. These are the nominees for Best Single-Player Game.
Winner: Stardew Valley
Entrants like Titanfall 2 and DOOM may have been easy contenders for this list, but they didn’t bring anything new to the table. Titanfall 2 was excellent at introducing new mechanics and puzzle platforming to the future shooter genre and plays just like Half-Life 2 or Call of Duty 4 on steroids. DOOM innovated with it’s old-school go get ’em attitude with one of the strongest single player campaigns in recent memory.
However Stardew Valley not only revived a genre of game that Nintendo had left behind, but revitalised it. Creating a game which is not only relaxing, but engaging, ongoing and added more and more depth with each day that goes by.
Best Multiplayer Game
Playing with others has been as important to gaming as the controller. It’s become so important that major releases nowadays completely forego single player campaigns in favour of catering to a long term audience of people who want to play online with their friends and/or strangers.
Even though it’s severe lack of content since it’s release, Overwatch was destined for greatness. The latest release from Blizzard there was very little in the way of stopping from this game becoming the behemoth that it grew to be. Capturing a whole new audience and expanding on the tried and tested Hero Shooter, Overwatch came, saw and conquered the scene.
Best Cooperative Game in 2016
As multiplayer games go, it usually comes in a competitive flavour. Then there’s the games that take a different approach and let players work together. This category celebrates the games that focus on player co-operation and working together for a cause.
Winner: The Division
The guys at I’m Just Playin’ have played co-op games the most in 2016 ranging in all shapes and sizes. The Division was the most accessible, easiest to understand and created a world unto itself with this co-op loot and shooter. It’s tight mechanics, ongoing support from it’s developer and endless fun make this our choice for Best Cooperative Game.
Best Episodic Game of 2016
Games have always been unfairly compared to films over the years. With a ridiculous emphasis on “cinematic experiences” and set pieces, we look at the games that have followed a more appropriate path for games. The Episodic game has grown to be a popular and engrossing experience and as developers improve their schedules and deliver consistent quality, we look forward to what the future holds. Here are this years’ nominees for Best Episodic Game.
Hitman did what no other episodic game has done before. In a category that is predominantly built on Point and Click adventures and Walking Simulators, Hitman released a fully immersive, re-playable and interactive game in an episodic format. The risk involved was met with harsh critique, however over the course of 2016, it has proven to be a solid endeavour and with the imminent release of Season 2, Hitman has finally done what it originally set out to do; make you feel like a real assassin.
Best Walking Simulator
Walking Simulators get a bad rap because of their lack of gameplay, focusing more on narratives and minimal interactions. We’re not haters of the genre and we want art in all forms to grow, including the Walking Simualtor.
Winner: The Witness
The Witness is a puzzle game inside a Walking Simulator. Incredibly deep with a subtle storyline that exists only when you’re really looking for it. It wins our award for Best Walking Simulator because it was the first to include some form of gameplay.
Most Forgotten Game of 2016
This year saw the most ever games released and with that many coming out, some were going to be lost. These games were good, maybe even great, but because the marketing machine that is modern day journalism, they were lost and forgotten in time, barely to be remembered.
Unravel is one of the most beautiful games to be released and from a developer who blew us away with their love and dedication for their creation. Unfortunately, they released at the beginning of the year and the game didn’t have enough of an impact to be remembered.
Best Innovation of 2016
Innovation is hard to come by and each of our nominations brought something new to the table. Systems and mechanics that in the coming years will be featured in future games, but right now, they were the first and their achievements are here to be rewarded.
- Overwatch – Play of the Game
- Superhot – Time Mechanics
- Darkest Dungeon – Affliction System
- Hitman – Elusive targets
- Oxenfree – Fluid Conversation
Superhot took out all the bombastic fluff from the action genre and turned it on it’s head. Where time moves only when you move, instead of twitch shooter mechanics, it turned a 20 second fight into a tactically aware and strategic battle that made you feel like a true action hero. Rewarding you with a real time replay of your play-though upon completion.
Best Art Direction in a Game
The game that had the best aesthetic tie to the game’s visuals and mechanics.
Best Soundtrack in a Game
The best soundtrack in a game. Pretty obvious.
The game trailer that excited us the most.
- Battlefield 1 – Single Player Trailer
- Death Stranding – The Game Awards Trailer
- Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild – E3 Trailer
- Overwatch – Dragons
- No Man’s Sky – Launch Trailer
Winner: Death Stranding
Best Piece of Content That You Pay More Money For
Downloadable Content, Expansion packs, you know the drill. The best piece of extra content for a game that you’ve already bought and paid for.
- The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine
- Age of Empires II: Rise of the Rajas
- Fallout 4: Far Harbor
- Star Wars Battlefront: Death Star
- World of Warcraft: Legion
Winner: The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine
The Industry Awards
Best Independent Game That No-One At I’m Just Playin’ has played
The best game released in 2016 that was developed and published by an Indie developer and not played by anyone in the I’m Just Playin’ Podcast team.
Best Consumer-Friendly Move Made by a AAA Publisher
The best PR move made by a AAA publisher in 2016 that had the best repercussions on the consumer.
- Ubisoft – The Ubi30 Celebrations. Giving away a game a month for 6 months including The Crew, Prince of Persia and Far Cry Blood Dragon.
- Electronic Arts – Battlefield 1. Breaking from the trend of modern military shooters and future shooters, by taking two steps back in time, to deliver a fresh shooter experience.
- 2K – Mafia III. Releasing a game where you play a black man and shoot KKK members in the face in the year that racism became fashionable.
- GOG – GOG Connect allowing games to be added to your GOG Library from Steam for free.
Best Game to Actually Be Released From Early Access
The best game that, instead of siphoning money from users, actually delivered a final and finished product in 2016.
- Darkest Dungeon
- Plague Inc: Evolved
- Offworld Trading Company
- Master of Orion
The Gift That Kept Giving
The game that keep giving you more and more, even after you were done with it.
- Stardew Valley
- Rainbow Six Siege
- The Witcher 3
- Fallout 4
Winner: Rainbow Six Seige
The Journalism Awards
The Most Overrated Game Award
The game who’s metacritic score is averaged higher than the game’s actual quality.
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Scoring 83 on Metacritic
- Umbrella Corps – Scoring 36 on Metacritic
- Rollercoaster Tycoon World – Scoring 43 on Metacritic
- Owlboy – Scoring 89 on Metacritic
- Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture – Scoring 76 on Metacritic
Winner: Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture
The Most Underrated Game Award
The game who’s metacritic score averaged lower than the game’s actual quality.
- The Banner Saga 2 – Scoring 82 on Metacritic
- Pony Island – Scoring 86 on Metacritic
- Titanfall 2 – Scoring 85 on Metacritic
- Darkest Dungeon – Scoring 84 on Metacritic
- Hitman – Scoring 83 on Metacritic
The Rated Game Award
The game who’s metacritic score is actually on par with the game’s actual quality.
- DOOM – Scoring 85 on Metacritic
- Oxenfree – Scoring 80 on Metacritic
- XCOM 2 – Scoring 88 on Metacritic
- Dishonored 2 – Scoring 86 on Metacritic
- Battleborn – Scoring 69 on Metacritic
Winner: Dishonored 2
Worst of Journalism 2016
The worst article and/or moment in Games Journalism.
- Polygon confused by Playstation 4 On button
- Metro thinks Niantic is making Harry Potter GO
- The Week thinks murder should be illegal in Virtual Reality
- The Independent thinks Pewdiepie is deleting his channel because he is white
The Shit-Eating-Grin Awards
The No Man’s Sky Worst Launch Award
In memory of No Man’s Sky, this award goes to the game that also had one of the worst launches in 2016.
- Dishonored 2
- Mighty No. 9
- Street Fighter V
- Quantum Break
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on Windows 10 Store
Winner: Street Fighter V
Game With the Least Support From Its Developer
The game that received terrible support from its developers and offered the least amount of communication towards its player-base.
- Pokemon Go – Niantic
- No Man’s Sky – Hello Games
- DayZ – Bohemia Interactive
Winner: No Man’s Sky – Hello Games
Scandal of the Year
The scandal that proved to us that you just can’t trust these shady people doing shady things.
- Trevor Martin and the CSGO Lotto
- Polygon can’t play DOOM
- Tracer is a lesbian
- Apple banning the Binding of Isaac
- PSN Banning a man using his real name (his name was Jihad)
- Watch_Dogs 2 Pussy Party
- Aug Lives Matter
- Game reviewers don’t get to play Bethesda games before regular people
Winner: My Waifu Tracer is Dead
The I’m Just Playin’ Game Awards Game Of The Year
Winner: Stardew Valley