E3 Game Critics Awards

I hope you Pandemic people lose…

…because our game is up against you in one of those categories. :D

Seriously, though…I didn’t get a chance to see FSW at E3, but everyone I talked to who had seen it had nothing but good things to say about it. Congratulations!

You’re missing the whole point of the awards, which is simply to note, as you indicated, that “all of us who saw it were wowed with it” – there’s so much information available at the E3, and in the coverage of the event, that culling down the game coverage to a bunch of games that people were “most impressed with” is interesting to a lot of gamers, including myself.

I want the opportunity to know what people were most impressed with - the games that people were talking about to their friends after the show. Does that mean that some games won’t live up to their potential when ultimately released? Sure, because design plans will be scaled down, production delays will ensue, etc., but the purpose is not to prematurely state whether or not the ultimate release will be good (that would be inappropriately reviewing a pre-release game) – it’s to summarize, at this point in time, which games people were most excited about.

So it’s a popularity contest?

The awards are dumb. They’re awards which imply a value judgement, but then you backtrack all over the place in multiple ways about what they really are, now finally calling them a popularity contest.

It strikes me that it’s a way for all those writers on the panel to feel important and for companies to get exposure for games that may or may not be good and may or may not be released before the next popularity contest comes along next year. Why not just call the awards pre-release advertising and get it over with?

–Dave

Is there a list of who is on the panel, btw?

Part of the problem with this whole thing is that some games are far better suited to the whole “15 minute demonstration” than others. RTS games in particular tend to look all the same in 15-minute E3 demo form. Single-player shooters with big set pieces tend to demo extremely well, because it’s easy to entertain the viewer. A game like Baldur’s Gate wins Game of the Year awards, but it’s a terrible game to demo because it’s just not all that entertaining to watch for a few minutes, and the enjoyment of playing it comes from tactical D&D battles and a story arc that stretches for hours.

I’m ambivalent about E3 awards. On one hand, they are specifically naming a “best of SHOW”, meaning that this was the game that was the best to SEE at this particular SHOW. Unfortunately, the marketing then takes that award and twists it to mean “judges said our game is better than all other games being shown.” Which isn’t really the case. Nobody would make a value judgement about the best game months, sometimes years before its release, based on a 5-30 minute demo by PR or the developer.

It doesn’t help that “best of show” has a totally different connotation in other fields. Dog shows, talent shows, or car shows, for example, are places for actually evaluating what we would call “finished product” or judging a performance. E3 is not a “show” in the same sense as these (car shows come close, with concept cars and preview models).

I would be in favor of renaming these awards to something with a less ambiguous meaning. Such as “Best non-interactive presentation” for all the movies (MGS 3 and Doom 3 this year), “Most promising,” even “Most innovative” might have a place. But “best” isn’t a great way to describe E3 games, because it’s unclear to the average non-game-nerd whether that means it’s the best game, or just made the best impression in a demo.

Any way you slice it, the winner this year is still Half-Life 2. ;)

Which game are you working on? :-)

I think it’s pretty clear that gamers believe awards like these denote “best games” because they’ll yammer endlessly about how great the games are on messageboards and among friends in person, despite no one actually playing some of the winning games at E3.

Heck, the games people actually played on the show floor barely register anymore. All anyone cares about are the ones shown in movie theatres. There’s something inherently wrong with that.

–Dave

http://www.e3awards.com/judges.html

Yes.[/quote]

And isn’t that what E3 is all about? It’s not about in-depth reviewing. So, take it at face value.

Yes.[/quote]

And isn’t that what E3 is all about? It’s not about in-depth reviewing. So, take it at face value.[/quote]

I do Dave, there was no judgement implied. The way I’ve always personally judged E3 was by what people were talking about at the parties (because most game people can’t stop talking about games, even at parties). There’s usually just a couple games that get the “You’ve GOT TO GO SEE ___ TOMORROW DUDE!” treatment.

When is PainKiller being released? I can’t wait to try it

Regarding #1: What would you clean up, or what rough edges did you see? That’s not to imply we don’t have any (we have a long list of things we’re refining before release), just that I’m curious about what others think needs fixing versus what we think needs fixing.

Regarding #2: I felt sorry for the Pandemic folks doing demos back in that room. I was assigned to arena duty, but every time I went back there I felt starved for fresh air within the first 30 seconds.[/quote]

Heh, I don’t spend enough time reading these boards. Sorry for the delayed response.

#1: I wasn’t terribly impressed with the game’s in-game command menu interface, even though it seemed as if the developers handling the game had it down comfortably. It struck me as slightly confusing (the four alpha-directions on the bottom left) and it was difficult to follow what commands the developer was executing. I’m sure there’s a fair number of commands in the system, but I was left thinking “how’d he do that?” as the demo progressed. Since the game isn’t a straightforward FPS but rather a real-time tactical game, the game’s menu efficiency will be fairly important. Since I wasn’t able to play the game myself, though, this might be less of an issue than I thought it was.

Also, I would really like to see (or hear) about what other missions are being developed. The urban fighting in the Arab city looked good, but what else is going to be done with the game? Can it do environments besides urban ones? Etc.

I’d like to look into Painkiller, too – but the website takes me to a generic listing of action/adventure games. The Iron Storm dude is on the left and the Siberia chick is on the right. I went to the “Action” side and saw a listing for Painkiller, clicked the link, and it took me back to the generic page. Damn.

That’s not a term I’ve ever used, and I haven’t backtracked in my description of the awards in the 7 years I’ve participated in them.

Why not just call the awards pre-release advertising and get it over with?

Why not call previews pre-release advertising? Why not call strategy guides post-release advertising? Why not call favourable reviews “release advertising”? Why not call interviews interim-pre-release-advertising? Um, because that’s not what they are, and it’s not their purpose, regardless of any incidental effect.

For the zillionth time - there’s a lot of gamers, including me, interested in a list of the games that a non-partisan group of gamers representing most of the major publications view to be the most promising. Are you actually arguing that’s not the case?

Nobody from CGW or CGM, now I’m curious as to why. The list seems to lean pretty heavily toward console games as a result.

Nobody from CGW or CGM, now I’m curious as to why. The list seems to lean pretty heavily toward console games as a result. [/quote]

CGW was represented. CGM didn’t participate this year (or last year), but did in the past. The different publications have their own views on the merits/problems with the awards - I spoke a bunch with both Steve B. and Jason C. on them at the E3 this year, and they’ve capably articulated some of their concerns in this thread (and in the other annual editions of this thread), as well as a desire to just to their own thing as well.

Very true.

Another factor is who’s doing the demoing. I’m betting Molyneux could win the Best of Show just by showing Solitaire ;)

My apologies. I didn’t see Mr. Gladstone in there.

Jason (and anyone else interested in a First Look), drop me a PM with your mailing addy and I’ll be happy to send you a CD.

We’re hoping to ship for November, but we’ll know for sure come mid-July when the multiplayer milestone is due.

Jack, check out the site again. We just put up a new set of pages.

You’re missing the whole point of the awards, which is simply to note, as you indicated, that “all of us who saw it were wowed with it” – there’s so much information available at the E3, and in the coverage of the event, that culling down the game coverage to a bunch of games that people were “most impressed with” is interesting to a lot of gamers, including myself.

I want the opportunity to know what people were most impressed with - the games that people were talking about to their friends after the show. Does that mean that some games won’t live up to their potential when ultimately released? Sure, because design plans will be scaled down, production delays will ensue, etc., but the purpose is not to prematurely state whether or not the ultimate release will be good (that would be inappropriately reviewing a pre-release game) – it’s to summarize, at this point in time, which games people were most excited about.[/quote]

I’d just like to limit the damage. When games like Black & White get nominated for awards in multiple years and then come out and are disappointing, it makes game journalists look like idiots. I know this isn’t one of the points of the E3 Critics awards, but it’s a result. A lot of this could be avoided if games were only eligible once and only games shown on the floor were eligible.

It’s not as if we don’t hear about the games shown by appointment only. The word still gets out. Why sanctify these tech demos with nominations and awards, often over multiple years?

And why, for heaven’s sake, are the awards dramatized by releasing the nominations first and then the winners later? Why not release everything at once, winners and nominees? Why attempt to build anticipation? What does that serve?