2010 Video Game BAFTAs

Yesterday evening, the news did a short feature on the Video Game BAFTAs; it was clear the media was still trying to wrap its head around the industry and the fact that it’s bigger than both the film and music industry, nevertheless they’re trying. Therefore I decided to stream the award ceremony online to see what it was all about – American gaming media seem to have given it little to no coverage, and it’s clearly not the top honours ceremony, but I’d argue it holds a lot more meaning for developers than certain events, like the Spike VGAs. And so last night, up and coming developers, games industry legends and a few useless, and embarrassingly out –of-place celebrities gathered together for the 6th British Academy Video Game Awards. The comedian Dara Ó Briain, self confessed geek and gamer, hosted the ceremony and gave a nice and witty introduction, delighting in being able to reference his famous games on TV for once – it’s hard to not be charmed by him, but a large proportion of the celebrity quota, presumably put in place by the BBC, in short, embarrassed themselves.

One particular moment stood out when the actor and semi-professional footballer Ralf Little, about to present an award for the sports category, used his time before reading from the pre-determined script to do something utterly moronic. He asked where the Assassin’s Creed 2 team were – they cheered, and I assumed he was going to show his respect to them (I felt they lost out a little on the gameplay award) however, he took the time to bash them about the feather collecting aspect of the game, as though it was all the game encompassed. If it was meant to be funny…well, put it this way, there was no one laughing. Stick to the autocue please.

On the other hand, despite a few awkward moments, the awards were, in the end, a worthwhile endeavour. As expected Uncharted 2: Among Thieves won big, scooping up 4 awards, but not, this time, Best Game. That accolade went to the UK’s very own Rocksteady Studios title Batman: Arkham Asylum. Thatgamecompany’s Flower was also recognised for Artistic Achievement, which was fitting and Left 4 Dead 2 got a look in on the Multiplayer Award. There were no huge surprises but a satisfying mix of not entirely expected winners and obviously deserving recipients. David Braben, creator of the 1984 classic Elite, presented the Ones To Watch – Dare To Be Digital Award for young game developers, won by Shrunk! And despite the slightly cheesy name, it’s great to see new talent, clearly vital for the industry, gain recognition for their efforts  – a lot of mum-thanking then proceeded! The full award list is as follows:

  • Action – Uncharted 2
  • Artistic Achievement – Flower
  • Family & Social – Wii Sports Resort
  • Gameplay – Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Handheld – LittleBigPlanet
  • Multiplayer – Left 4 Dead 2
  • Original Score – Uncharted 2
  • Sports – FIFA 10
  • Story – Uncharted 2
  • Stategy – Empire: Total War
  • Use of Audio – Uncharted 2
  • Use of Online – FIFA 10
  • Ones To Watch – Shrunk!
  • Best Game – Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • GAME 2009 Award – Modern Warfare 2

Perhaps the most notable moment of the evening was Shigeru Miyamoto’s Fellowship acceptance. Beforehand, they spoke about some of this man’s amazing achievements, and it’s staggering when you look at the facts. Between Zelda, Mario and Donkey Kong, 350 million copies have been sold, it was hypothesized Miyamoto is directly responsible for the most amount of human consumption of time spent on any one entertainment, Mario is the most recognisable fictional character in the world, whom only Mickey rivals. The list goes on and on and whether you’re a huge fan of Nintendo or not (and I’m not), it cannot be denied the man has contributed more to games than anyone else – he put the first real human character in a game (Mario) instead a of a space ship, he pioneered storytelling within the medium through Zelda and when Sony began producing more and more realistic games, instead of jumping on the bandwagon, he pushed in a different direction and innovated his own way, creating almost unbelievably successful franchises, and ways to keep games fresh. Miyamoto then gave a touching speech, and selflessly noted he is accepting the fellowship for not just himself, but with everyone who’s worked with him as well.

I sincerely hope the BAFTAs continues to build on it’s successful aspects and gains more prestige and respectability each year, in terms of the industry, for our developers are as important to the international gaming community as they are to the UK’s economy. It’s also important, simply for the added exposure to British media if nothing else even if this means peppering the ceremony with B-list celebrities. Thanks for bearing through my little rant – a weekly news roundup will be up Monday evening and my Heavy Rain review should make it up on Tuesday or Wednesday!

March 20th, 2010
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