Game awards are subjective to each and every one of our personal tastes. Even so, it is always an enjoyable time to share with fellow gamers and rejoice to what the industry has become. True, just as in the rest of the entertainment industry, like the music or film industry, sometimes some decisions might feel, for some, biased or influenced not by the quality of the game, but for how strong the marketing team hits the media.
Conspiracy theories and personal tastes left on the side, this type of celebration is an example of how far the gaming industry has matured. Gaming awards of any type used to be events that had little to no importance for the public in general and mainstream media, but that has slowly changed over time. Truths in the open, gaming award are far from the Oscar’s or Grammy’s, but media is surely more welcoming to the gaming scene overall.
With ESPN hosting Esports and sites like CNET, Variety and Yahoo reporting on Bonnie Ross being included in the Hall of Fame of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences at the D.I.C.E Awards, we can say gaming has come a long way from where it was a decade ago. Speaking of D.I.C.E Awards, let’s dig a little into the subject!
Some D.I.C.E. History
The 2019 D.I.C.E. Awards took place in Las Vegas this February 13th for the 22nd time. These awards are organized by the Academy of Arts and Sciences in an annual fashion. For those not familiar with the event, these awards have a myriad of categories that are expected from events of this nature, such as Action Game of the Year, Family Game of the Year and the classical Game of the Year.
2018: A Year to Remember!
As gamers, we can agree that 2018 had an over abundance of great games, in both the triple A department and the indie scene. We had a plethora of games that deserved the spotlight and most certainly, industry recognition.
Rockstar made us wait for the equivalent of the age of a 3rd grader to get the sequel to one of the best games of the last generation of consoles, but most of us can agree that waiting 8 years for Red Dead Redemption 2 worth every second. Insomniac Games delivered if not the best, one of the best Spider-Man renditions for the gaming world. Santa Monica Studios showed some guts and rebooted their most known franchise, to the delight of gamers, delivering a visual and story-telling masterpiece with God of War.
We could take pages in listing and describing the fantastic line-up that 2018 had. It was a blast to enjoy games in the leagues and caliber of GRIS, Moss, Florence, Return of the Obra Dinn, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Battlefield V, Tetris Effect, Celeste, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Smash Bros. Ultimate and many, many more titles. Let’s talk some highlights here!
God of War Hits the Ball Out of The Park!
We can start by addressing the obvious winner of the evening: Sony and Santa Monica Studio’s God of War. The much hyped and waited for reboot of God of War took home 9 awards, including Game of the Year. This game was a much-needed change in the God of War saga, and it delivered in every way expected. Cory Barlog in his role as director and his team fabricated a stunning visual spectacle that left us amazed of the richness and detail of the world they had brought to life.
Not only that, but besides being a treat for the eyes, this game was a narrative and performance achievement in gaming in general. Christopher Judge’s (Kratos) and Sunny Suljic’s (Atreus) performances were stellar, leading to an emotional invested ride that kept on adding and adding layers of incredible dialogue and superb narrative, ultimately leading to a rewarding conclusion. God of War was an artistical triumph and certainly one of the best games of this generation.
Florence took the Portable Game of The Year, Celeste was crowned with Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game, Beat Saber got Immersive Reality Game of The Year and Into the Breach landed a Strategy/Simulation Game of The Year accolade. All these titles come from passionate teams that cemented their talent by creating these marvelous titles and showed us gamers and the industry how much potential there is in these smaller yet powerful gaming experiences.
Bonnie Ross and Why Representation and Inclusion Matters
Every year, an industry figure is included in the Hall of Fame of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. This year this spot was earned by Bonnie Ross. Besides the entertainment factor, there’s much more that gaming can achieve, and Bonnie is an example of this. She is famous for being the steward of the Halo Franchise and a founding pillar of 343 Industries. Her career in gaming started in 1994 with Microsoft, since that time, she has been a fundamental element in what now has become the Xbox and Halo Universe.
Bonnie is also a promoter of STEM education for women, children and underrepresented minorities. This was the base of her speech and one of the highest points of the evening. Her award was not only a recognition to her, but a clear message of the importance of representation and inclusion in the gaming industry and in our society.
A Celebration to Gaming Culture and Industry
It was refreshing to see how much the industry has grown in talent and in scope, all with the familiar faces of Jessica Chobot and Greg Miller as hosts. Developers, Directors, Artists, Performers, Animators, Press, Gamers, all the talent represented and present at the event acknowledge the importance of remembering we are all part of the success of the gaming industry. The bar of creativity and ambition for games escalates with every year.
We are now delighted with games that not only entertain but create perdurable emotional bonds with the players. We live in an era of games like God of War that can convey the complexity of the relationship between a mourning father and his son after the loss of a mother figure or games like Celeste that with subtility endeavors in the discovery of our personal insecurities.
Gaming is about entertainment, art, inclusion, impact, diversity, enjoyment, story-telling, growth, sports, embracing culture, overcoming challenges, dreaming, reaching beyond our limits, innovation, braking boundaries. Gaming is about this and much more, but one thing joins us all in the enjoyment of this marvelous craft: Passion, and this was a good show and a celebration to that universal truth for gamers.