Last week, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts bestowed some its bronze-faced trophies to the gaming industry and the people behind some of the best selling games of the past year. Namely Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Last of Us.
But in my purely observational opinion, whilst they won the trophies, they weren’t the only winners or at least the best winners. I’m talking about the people who were nominated and, more importantly I suppose from the selfish point of view, the gamers… Us.
This year was the tenth BAFTA Video Game Awards and you could say that the winners and nominees have been pretty focused towards the AAA producers of the gaming industries. The franchise players like Halo, God of War, EA, Microsoft, Activision, et al. But this year I think is the first year where I’ve felt that games were not just stuck in the best sellers wins category but also that there was those more independent and smaller game producers that we’ve all been glued to for the past eighteen months.
This is why I think the gamers are the real winners here. Over the past couple of years the market for creating your own video game and being as creative and enjoyable as any other games that you have ever played in your life has boomed.
Journey won some well-deserved awards for the 2012 ceremony, before that Notch of Minecraft fame won an award. This year, Papers, Please took away an award and was nominated for many more. Gone Home also took away an award and was nominated for more. The Stanley Parable was placed in the same categories as The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto 5.
Now I’m not saying that they all should have won more. Let’s face it, the competition this year were shoe-ins for awards as the pinnacles of the video game as an art form, which they truly are. But the fact that these games have co-existed with them goes to show how much our beloved video game has come along.
If you’ve not played any of the three recent indie titles I’ve mentioned then you should. Put down that controller, step on to your laptop (it can play them all pretty well) and just enjoy what you have at your fingertips.
When you’re a small independent producer, you’ve probably done this as a labour of love and when things are so well received as they have been, it’s because your creativity and imagination with what you have to hand is beyond the measure of expectations. If Papers, Please, Gone Home and The Stanley Parable aren’t amazing examples of that, I don’t know what is.
I’m sure we’ll see Titanfall up for the Multiplayer award next year and Watch Dogs, Dying Light and Destiny duke it out for top dog. But as the industry slowly moves to its new generation of consoles, the amount of independent gaming being released is increasing vastly.
I’m excited to play the games that will win awards for sure in the 11th British Academy Video Games Awards. But I’m more excited to play the imaginative, out-of-the-box creations that will give them a run for their money. So really… I’ve won, right? Just send that Bronze-faced bad boy to my PO Box and I’ll see you in smug-land.