The place where we champion eccentricity and nonsense. Congratulations to all involved. Mostly.
Winner: Portal 2
While far from brilliant, the boss fights in Portal 2 did at least warrant being included from a narrative standpoint. They riffed on the game’s core mechanics and it helped greatly that the big bad boss guys were blessed with that wonderfully droll Valve touch. There were no quicktime events, no instant death scenarios and they didn’t plod on for an agonising length of time. At the end of the day, that’s about as much as you can hope for.
Winner’s a touch strong but Portal 2 certainly comes the closest to emerging from the quagmire of bastardry that the majority of videogame bosses call home. I’d go about as far as to say it got its eyes, both nostrils and maybe even a hint of upper lip out. Which is more than you can say for the rest of this motley, prehistoric rabble…
Winner: All of them!
Another year lumber on by during which the collective games industry refuses to outlaw boss fights once and for all. Yes, there are exceptions. Platinum, Nintendo, Sega and Capcom have all proven that bosses don’t mandatorily have to be contemptible, player-hating exercises in lazy game design.But for every Bayonetta or Legend of Zelda there’s a F.3.A.R or a Gears of War 3, a Deus Ex, Duke Nukem, Rage or an Uncharted 3 waiting to tar their respective games. Boasting excruciatingly protracted, repetitive, tedious and usually completely unbalanced slogs against giant angry blue men or big grey beasties with colossal Irn-Bru coloured testicles, these blundering nonces always manage to ruin gaming for everyone. Hooray!
Perhaps the worst of a harrowing bunch, due to how gratuitous they were, were those in Deus Ex Human Revolution. These fights forced the player to engage in violent conflict but Deus Ex was a game in which you were required to kill precisely nobody and as a result most players found themselves woefully ill-prepared for a boxing match with a giant bullet sponge. The boss fights were so terrible, in fact, that developer Eidos Montreal actually apologised for including them.
Best Use of Taxpayer Money
Winner: Saints Row The Third
Last year the saturnine police of Seacrest County swept up the Best Use of Taxpayer’s Money award for putting to use the fastest and most exorbitant vehicles in mankind’s garage in a bid to prevent illegal street racing. Thirty seconds wouldn’t pass without a bill of several millions being handed back to the citizens of Seacrest County and the po-po’s blatant disregard for their own wellbeing only helped that figures rise at a disturbing rate.
But that’s nothing compared to the ludicrous lengths the law enforcement of Steelport will go to to uphold the city’s credos. In fact, it takes only a puerile primary-school gesture to get the men in blue red hot with rage. Watch as one crude taunt kickstarts a chain of events that sees hundreds throw away their lives, billions of dollars of military equipment destroyed and a frankly sickening level of collateral damage enflicted onto Steelport. The 17 minute catastrophe only reaches a head because I get tired and decide it’s high time I punched a tank in the mush.
Men and women of Steelport, you have my utter sympathy. This is one hell of a bill you’re picking up.
Winner Portal 2
You’re on a conveyer belt laden with flotsam the first time you spot that ominous red laser piercing up through the mouldy Aperture air. In a previous life that would have been all the stimuli needed to dart for the nearest piece of solid concrete but here, just as the straight sliver of red flickers into life, a faint cry floats up from the wreckage. It’s the turret speaking, and the words it utters?
With two words Valve dissolve a relationship predicated on a mutual hatred, fill you with absolute sympathy for a scrap of metal and fashion one of the most likeable characters of the year. Wizardry.
Honorable Mention: House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut
For everything. Alliteration is king I tell you.
Winner: Duke Nukem Forever
Bulletstorm did ribald, Saints Row did crude and Shadows of the Damned ran rampant with the dick jokes. Duke Nukem did the lot, then threw a poo at a wall, punched a woman in the tits and had the gall to deride Master Chief. This last part at least was ironic, considering Gearbox had aped Bungie’s grandios first person shooter at every turn and done a fucking diabolical job of creating an even remotely enjoyable game. Brush aside all the passe humour and awkward misogyny and you still had a decrepit, shambling husk of a game that failed to either hark back to its roots or be relevant in today’s saturated shooter market.
Shit the Bed
Winner: Dead Space 2
Not because it was scary, because let’s be honest, by the time you were running amok with a limb-eviscerating shotgun-thing that could have emancipated a blue whale in one shot, there wasn’t much left to be afraid of. But because of that scene toward the end where Isaac Clarke clambers into a tube and you’re tasked with jamming a 6 inch needle through his eyeball and into the back of his brain. Like Operation designed by that Jigsaw nonce. “Well,” I thought, “This will be easy enough. Line it all up and push down as hard as possible. Get it over and done with as quickly as OH MY FUCK HIS EYE. WHERE’S HIS EYE? OH GOD THE SCREAMING. THE BLOOD. MAKE IT STOP. I’M SORRY. I’M SO SORRY.
Winner: Battlefield 3
Battlefield 3 earns this for just about everything with regard to its brilliant multiplayer. Except the party system. That’s fucking horrendous.
Best Quote From a Real Life Person
It was as although every developer, publisher, gamer and PR person had something stupid or just plain weird bubbling away inside and 2011 was the year that they’d collectively spew it out out across the internet. And there are no losers when it comes to being a numpty, so here everyone’s a winner! Congratulations one and all! Here are some of the dumbest, funniest and strangest things said all year.
Winner: Bastal, the Dragon Age 2 iconoclast/ homophobe, for
“It makes things very awkward when your male companions keep making passes at you. The fact that a “No Homosexuality” option, which could have been easily implemented, is omitted just proves my point.”
“Its ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans.”
“When I say BioWare neglected The Straight Male Gamer, I don’t mean that they ignored male gamers. The romance options, Isabella and Merrill, were clearly designed for the straight male gamers in mind. Unfortunately, those choices are what one would call “exotic” choices. They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while its true you can’t make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren’t even going for an option most males will like.”
Winner: The Redner PR company for
[Following a slew of scathing Duke Nukem Forever reviews] “Too many went too far with their reviews. We are reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom. Bad scores are fine. Venom filled reviews that’s completely different.”
Winner: Gearbox kingpin Randy Pitchford for
“The last time I had a really solid experience like this [Duke Nukem Forever] was Half-Life 2.”
Winner: Voice of Duke Nukem, John St John for
”I have no comments regarding bad reviews by clueless critics [pause...] They seem to want to compare Duke Nukem Forever to Call Of Duty and other FPS’s and they are missing the point. My thoughts about Duke Nukem Forever: It freakin ROCKS! Lots of action, lots of fun, sexy, funny, irreverent… It’s everything I hoped it would be.”
Winner: EA for
“You’ve got every reason to be nervous. Last year Activision had a 90 share in the shooter category. This year, Battlefield 3 is going to take you down to 60 or 70. At that rate, you’ll be out of the category in two to three years.
Winner: Yosuke Hayashi, developer on Ninja Gaiden 3, for
“[we're] trying to take the violent concepts even deeper and make people realize how it feels to actually kill someone and what it is to actually gut someone.”
Winner: Telltale Games for
[Reviewing its own game on Metacritic] “There is much to love about Jurassic Park: The Game. The writing is top notch [...]. Did I mention that the deaths in the game are amazing?? Yeah, there are hundreds of unique ways to see your characters die-by-dino; truly a sight to behold.”
Winner: Jack Tretton, Sony man, for
“Our view of the ‘Game Boy experience’ is that it’s a great babysitting tool, something young kids do on airplanes, but no self-respecting 20-something is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of those. He’s too old for that.”
Winner: Anonymous for
“Now you will experience the wrath of Anonymous. You saw a hornets [sic] nest, and stuck your penises in it. You must face the consequences of your actions. Anonymous style. Knowledge is free. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not Forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”
Winner: Ocean Marketing for
“Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up. Grow up you look like a complete child bro. I Don’t have my controller so im gonna cry to the world …”
“Your sites amateur at best my son could put together a better site than yours and you run PAX ?? Wow , Ill put my marketing team on a smear campaign of you and your site and your emails , I have about 125 dedicated people to run PR , Blogs , Articles , Videos you have no clue who I am .”
and then, having been ousted by Penny Arcade and transformed into an internet meme,
“If you can please accept my apology and anything you can do to help if not me my son and wife please do. I have apologized to Dave and apologized to you what else can I do please tell me so I can make things good. I obviously care or I would not be emailing you.”
Winner: Michel Ancel, developer of Beyond Good & Evil, for
“The thing I hate the most is when you see people doing bad things and the player can say, ‘okay I have the right to kill them in horrible ways because they are horrible’. If you kill Nazis with the same methods as the Nazis themselves then you are Nazis too, no?”