GDC 09: The Game Developers Choice Awards

FOR YEARS, YOU COULD SAY I was a bit obsessed with videogame awards. Historically at GameSpy, we’d give awards out around right before Christmas, and then I’d get annoyed at the procession of awards that would follow: the Spike TV VGA’s, the AIAS awards given out at D.I.C.E., and other random events like G-Phoria.  Most of my angst was derived from silly categories with mixed genres (hey, let’s have an “adventure” category with Myst and Grand Theft Auto!) and a general ignorance of smaller tiles, often because it required $$ to get considered for an award.

The one award show I generally liked the most were the Game Developers Choice awards, which I felt often came closest to the ones we gave out. All games were fair game, voted on by the developers, there weren’t a ridiculous amount of categories, and the show was often well produced, usually with a few funny pieces and not dragging on for hours.

That stayed consistent tonight at tonight’s GDC awards ceremony, hosted ably by Tim Schafer, who managed to keep things funny and sneaking in a few plugs for his upcoming Brutal Legend game as well as some baby pictures. Little Big Planet was one of the night’s big winners, taking awards in several categories, but it was Fallout 3 who took top Game of the Year honors over other titles like Grand Theft Auto IV and Left 4 Dead.

For special awards, a Pioneer award went to Harmonix co-founders Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy, and an Ambassador award was given to Video Games Live’s Tommy Tallarico for his continual work spreading the gospel of games and music. It’s not a show that your casual gamer would really get into if it were shown on cable, but, with all sorts of inside jokes and several funny Mega64 vignettes (including a sequel to last year’s Hideo Kojima cameo that’s an instant classic), it’s perfect for the GDC crowd and still probably the best award “show” going today.