Game Awards
Video game creation is often overlooked as art, but The Game Awards are giving them the recognition they deserve. (Image via Pixabay)
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Game Awards

The Oscars of gaming is giving this medium the recognition that it deserves.

When we think of art, we all have this abstract idea of what’s visually appealing or beautiful. Paintings, sculpture, music and even movies or books will generally come to mind, but people are often sleeping on what’s hidden in plain sight. Looking back at the past decade or so, one art form has transformed drastically from its humble retro days: video games.

Artistry stems from creative and technical expression, and video games have arguably measured up. The most memorable and criticized video games have stood the test of time and have convinced many that outstanding narratives and artistic direction can be illustrated in its unique format.

The 2019 Game Awards is about recognizing the excellence of games that have revolutionized and reinvented the medium. Founded in 2014 by Geoff Keighley, the event has a history of bringing together a diverse, worldwide fandoms. Game developers, players and influential gaming celebrities join to reminiscence  about the industry’s continuous progression and longevity, remembering the milestones of this year and planning for the next.

In the past, video games might not have been so highly regarded as art, but there’s something here to interest everyone, and fellow gamers in any genre may be pleased to see some of their favorites. Where you have the Oscars for films and the Tonys for theatre, The Game Awards recognizes fan favorites and nominees for everything and anything that sparks artistry and meaning.

After receiving its stellar list of nominees for the year, it’s only a matter of time before gamers see how their vote play out. Here’s the list of categories — as well as some nominees — as we close out this year’s greatest hits:

Game of the Year: The game that delivers the overall best impression in all creative and technical merits. (“Control,” “Death Standing,” “Resident Evil 2,” “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice,” “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” “The Outer Worlds”)

Action Game: For the best game in the action genre, which is mainly focused on combat. (“Astral Chain”)

Action Adventure: For games that combine action with world traversal and puzzle solving. (“Borderlands 3”)

Art Direction: For remarkable and novel achievement in design and animation. (“Sayonara Wild Hearts”)

Audio Design: The best in game sounds and polished audio. (“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare”)

Community Support: A game that supports its fans and puts the community and responsiveness first. (“Destiny 2”)

Content Creator of the Year: An individual streamer/content maker who made a tremendous impact in 2019. (Michael Grzesiek “Shroud”)

Family Game: The best game appropriate in family play and platform regardless of its console. (“Super Mario Maker 2”)

Fighting Game: The best fighting game that accomplishes a well-designed combat and enjoyment. (“Jump Force”)

Fresh Indie Game: Recognizing a completely new, independent gaming studio in 2019. (“House House”)

Game Direction: For innovation, creativity, design, and an overall impressionable vision. (“Outer Wilds”)

Games for Impact: Awarded for making a pro-social statement in a thought-provoking manner. (“Life Is Strange 2”)

Independent Game: For outstanding creative and technical achievement outside of typical publishers. (“Untitled Goose Game”)

Mobile Game: The best game dedicated to a mobile device. (“Call of Duty Mobile”)

Multiplayer Game: Masterful co-op, gameplay, design, and experience regardless of its console. (“Apex Legends”)

Narrative: For outstanding narrative and plot development in a game. (“A Plague Tale: Innocence”)

Ongoing Game: Awarded to a game that continues to evolve and shows development progress for the player experience. (“Fortnite”)

Performance: Specifically awarded to an individual who made the game possible through voice-acting, motion, or performance capture. (Laura Bailey)

Role Playing Game: For rich character customization and experience, game longevity, and massively multiplayer experience (“Kingdom Hearts 3”)

Score and Music: Going above and beyond on the score, features an original song or soundtrack. (“Devil May Cry 5”)

Sports and Racing: For the best traditional/non-traditional sports and racing games. (“FIFA 20”)

Strategy: The best game that implemented real-time or turn-based strategy, regardless of its console. (“Fire Emblem: Three Houses”)

VR/AR: Featuring the best possible experience in virtual or augmented reality. (“No Man’s Sky”)

In addition to awarding some of these potential nominees, The Game Awards of 2019 also functions as an informative event for upcoming games. The gaming universe is ever expanding and keeping fans on their toes for what’s to come is part of the fun. Closing out with this year and looking toward the new, big companies like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony showcase a bit of what’s to be expected to kick off the new year.

Tuning in with The Game Awards also gives you a greater perspective of how far gaming has come. Since the turn of the century, games have seriously leveled up. In the past 20 or so years alone, we’ve shifted over from the nostalgic “Super Mario” on the NES to masterful visuals in a title like “The Witcher 3.” It’s grown more than any other medium in that timespan and contains everything necessary to be considered a modern art.

Sleeping on games means missing out on some of the best entertainment experiences in our time. The array of emotions you experience when watching a film or reading a good book is comparable to an excellent game. These experiences are meaningful, and they’re not all repetitive first-person shooters as some will stereotype. They can be experimental and revolutionary; they’re overwhelmingly aesthetic experiences, often captured in soundtrack or fantastic graphic visuals. They’re impactful, breathtaking narratives that drive something home if you give them the chance. And, they’re fun, enjoyable pastimes that you can enjoy by yourself or with friends.

Even if you aren’t a gamer, it’s not at all a bad idea to tune in on Dec. 12 and celebrate what makes it a worthwhile experience. In the same way people see the Oscars, you might just catch a name here and there and get excited too.

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