Does a handheld game ever have a chance to win ‘Game of the year’?
To piggyback of the recently written “Does a sports title ever have a chance to win ‘Game of the Year’?” (again). I again dive into the notion of another non-traditional concept — a handheld game winning ‘Game of the Year’. And a handheld game possibly being soooo good that it beats out a console title or any other title on any other platform for that matter.
I was inspired to write this and the other article because there collective presence is glaringly missing when you talk about the “best game”winners. And even though Sports game titles are a genre and handhelds are a platform the disregard seems almost uncanny. We’ve seen this year The Walking Dead: The Game become to gaming what Obama is to presidency — a rare occurrence. A indie, non Triple A, point and click adventure is not the norm when it comes to winners for GOTY but it happened and now just like Obama it may allow rare occurrences to become way more considered, if not the norm — if the “shoe fits” of course.
In that article I likened a sports game to being the Comedy Genre of the gaming world with Spike VGA’s being the Oscars/Academy Awards equivalent. So if a Sports game is Comedy what is a handheld? A “hood classic”? You know…those movies that were so amazing but was so low budget and so…(some may say) ignorant it could never be up for real consideration. Well actually that sounds more like the aforementioned The Walking Dead: The Game or more specifically; a indie title with non traditional gameplay but nonetheless you may see where I’m going with this. If a handheld game ever had a chance to win I think of heralded titles such as God of War: Chains of Olympus or MGS: Peace Walker being able to push that boundary and squeeze into the finalists for “top dog” game. A good litmus test?: If only these titles (or a title of that quality) were released this year, coupled with a ‘down’ year in gaming — meaning a year not overflowing in quantity and quality, then that could essentially open the door for the aforementioned titles to get a consideration for GOTY. So we may need that combo to truly expose whether the decision makers behind the scenes believe that’s an option.
Two of the most heralded handheld game titles: (L) GOW: Chains of Olympus (R) MGS: Peace Walker
For the technical people out there, let me make clear when I say handheld game I mean exclusive to handheld. SSX 3,Tony Hawk’s Underground and Madden 2004 (seems like a trend,all sports titles) received nominations at the first VGA; (With Madden 2004 actually winning the thing) available on Game Boy Advance — a handheld as well as platforms like GameCube, PS2 and the original Xbox doesn’t count. In those cases if it was just a handheld stand-alone title I don’t know if it still would’ve garnered that type of recognition. Also phone devices don’t count — even though I don’t completely discount them.
Consoles in general hold a lot of advantages over handhelds such as technology and exposure but the feat may not be impossible especially if Console gaming had a ‘down’ year (similar to this year) in any particular year. I just wonder if no matter how amazing or how dazzling a handheld title can become, will it be able to stand as a ‘Game of Year’ Candidate let alone a winner — regardless of genre and regardless of platform.
It may be viewed as a disrespect to include a handheld in ‘Game of the Year’ talk but it may also be a disrespect not to, especially if the quality is above the rest. So gamers what do you think? Does a handheld game ever have a chance to win GOTY? CCU wants to hear from you.