Game of the year time is an interesting part of the year. Every site, writer, reviewer, critic, YouTuber, commenter, and player compiles a list of the games that they think are the “best” of the year. We did it here, of course. The Last of Us got the big crown from us, along with a lot of little crowns too.
Here’s a little secret – I disagree.
I don’t think that The Last of Us was the best game of the year. Sure, it was one of the best, but it’s not my personal best. Mine is Gone Home. I loved everything about Gone Home, from the story to the setting to the characters to the voice acting to the writing to the music. I think it should have been Game of the Year, and Story of the Year, and Setting of the Year, and Voice Acting of the Year, and Character of the Year.
The story was unique, heartfelt, touching, and told through interaction with and occupation of an imaginative space – a thing only games can do. I think that Psycho House was the richest place for exploration and story development. I think that Samantha Greenbriar was the best voice acted, and the most touching, nuanced, believable, and real character this year, despite never once being physically present.
And I still believe that, in opposition to our official award ceremony.
But I had my say. I had a vote. I had a suggestion and an opinion and a part to play in the nomination and voting process. And I agree with our official game of the year results.
You know why? Because we decided by committee. Our entire team of talented writers had their say, and their opinion is just as valid as mine in this process. I couldn’t be happier with the way our list turned out, and I’m really proud of all the hard work our writers put into it. I completely support the formal decision and the final results, even though I don’t personally agree with the final choice.
What I’m trying to say is this – there is no objective “best” of anything. Ever.
If you come across a game of the year list that you disagree with, that’s cool. It’s not your list. The only person whose game of the year list you need to agree with is your own.
Game of the year awards are based on opinions stacked on feelings wrapped in biases. There is no “best” game of 2013 – a year filled with fantastic games. No outlet, no site, no critic, no reviewer is “right”.
And that’s the thin end of the wedge – there is no objective “right”.
Games criticism and reviewing is never objective. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth in this business. The way people interact and engage with games is a deeply personal experience, and to deny that would be intellectually dishonest and a massive shame.
This brings us ultimately back to the idea of taste and trust. You, as a reader, as a gamer, as a person, need to find someone whose opinions you trust. Someone whose tastes align with yours. Identify those outlets and writers/content producers and stick with them. And remember that you will not always agree with their opinions.
Instead of vehemently arguing with people on the internet that you are right and everyone else is wrong and that’s the objective truth, take a step back. Consider that perhaps someone else might have a different opinion to yours. Realise that not everyone sees things your way. Disagree if you want to – that’s perfectly okay! In fact, that’s pretty great! Life is most interesting when it consists of varying opinions. But telling someone that they are wrong for not thinking like you do – and the inevitable personal attacks and insults – is a bit much. Opinions are worth having and sticking up for – that goes for everyone’s.
I’m so glad that our community here at OnlySP is so respectful and accepting. That’s the type of community I want to be involved with. A place where we can all get together and discuss a thing that we love and share in the excitement of.
I hope there’s something in our Game of the Year list that resonates with you. All the winners and nominees deserve accolade through their contribution to the medium. You won’t love all of the games there, but you might find something you do like. And that is – objectively – A Good Thing.
Oh, and don’t forget that you can have your own say with our Reader’s Choice GotY Awards – all comers welcome. It’s a great way to tell us what you liked best this year. Vote and comment and get your opinion known.