The Escapist Reader's Choice GotY 2013 Recap and Winners!

The Escapist Reader's Choice GotY 2013 Recap and Winners!

The Publisher's Club inclusion, Papers, Please, stopped being the underdog somewhere around the time it beat Bioshock Infinite.

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So the community and the staff are in agreement. That's always nice to see.

It was my choice from the start, although it did have some tough competition. I expected it to face Bioshock Infinite in the final, as did many others I suspect. So Papers, Please did pretty well to get to the finals in my opinion, especially as indie titles don't often get recognised when put against Triple A titles.

And the winner is... Bioware's Mass Effect 3?! AWH, come the heck on! Not again!

Seriously though, I have to try this game out when the Game of the Year release comes out. I am very glad to own a PS3 at this point.

I'll tell you one thing- it sure was intense.

Seriously felt that The Last of Us was going to collapse the first day under the weight of Papers, Please. However, by some miracle- it not only slowly caught up, but also managed to beat it (barely). Talk about coloring me surprised. Still, was a grand competition overall and even if the game I rooted for didn't win- it was nice to see a tense match up regardless.

Looking forward to next year's March Mayhem (or Christmas Mayhem) with more cheer and less flaming.

I try not to feel too bad about this whole thing, it's ultimately not that important, but I do feel it's a bit of a loss for PC gaming/gamers when a one-console exclusive wins it all. I wish I could have played and voted for the game, it might have been quite good, it's just a shame that I'll never know thanks to a cynical business decision by the publisher and Sony to lock it out to many gamers. I wanted Bioshock Infinite to win from the start, but at least Papers, Please was a cheap, accessible, very good and insightful game that everyone reading this is able to play.

hentropy:
I try not to feel too bad about this whole thing, it's ultimately not that important, but I do feel it's a bit of a loss for PC gaming/gamers when a one-console exclusive wins it all. I wish I could have played and voted for the game, it might have been quite good, it's just a shame that I'll never know thanks to a cynical business decision by the publisher and Sony to lock it out to many gamers. I wanted Bioshock Infinite to win from the start, but at least Papers, Please was a cheap, accessible, very good and insightful game that everyone reading this is able to play.

Maybe I hadn't been paying attention, but I've never seen this accusation thrown around at other games before TLoU. Even before the game's release I was seeing threads saying 'The Last of Us should not be allowed to be exclussive'.

So why does just this game, and not any of Nintendo's first party titles attract this much scorn for being exclussive?

Wow, I was expecting to see pages of anger at TLoU winning and the usual suspects shouting about how overrated it is by this point. Personally I'm glad it was so close, very appropriate given how close the games were quality wise. It's pretty amazing to see such a good game based around something as seemingly dull as buerocracy and paperwork and the downward trend in quality in AAA games recently (at least in my opinion) makes TLoU stand out hugely but TLoU just clinched it for me because of the sheer weight it manages to add to the "videogames are art" argument.

Casual Shinji:

hentropy:
I try not to feel too bad about this whole thing, it's ultimately not that important, but I do feel it's a bit of a loss for PC gaming/gamers when a one-console exclusive wins it all. I wish I could have played and voted for the game, it might have been quite good, it's just a shame that I'll never know thanks to a cynical business decision by the publisher and Sony to lock it out to many gamers. I wanted Bioshock Infinite to win from the start, but at least Papers, Please was a cheap, accessible, very good and insightful game that everyone reading this is able to play.

Maybe I hadn't been paying attention, but I've never seen this accusation thrown around at other games before TLoU. Even before the game's release I was seeing threads saying 'The Last of Us should not be allowed to be exclussive'.

So why does just this game, and not any of Nintendo's first party titles attract this much scorn for being exclussive?

Personally, I hold Nintendo to the same standard. Had Super Mario 3D World or Pokemon X/Y would have been finalists, I would have felt the same way, but I think that was a long shot from the beginning. They tend to get a pass because that's the way they've always done business, and Nintendo actually owns many of these exclusive properties, compared to Microsoft/Sony. It wasn't the norm to have most games be cross-console at one time, and it was considerably harder to make them cross-console, and Nintendo is still stuck in that old way of doing things, but it doesn't excuse it. The 3DS/2DS also costs considerably less than the PS3 even today when taking Pokemon into account, but the fact that you can only play these games on those Nintendo consoles might very well be the reason they DON'T stand a chance. So the real question is: why does The Last of Us get all this acclaim and attention where the general feeling behind the Nintendo games is "might be good but I can't play it"?

It's no surprise that gaming publications don't really care about these aspects, as they get handed all the consoles and games for free, not something I have any fundamental problem with, especially when the "community" (random people from around the Internet bombing the polls) supports your decision. It's just a little sour grapes for me to know that aspects like "how many people can actually play this game?" doesn't factor into the decision making. In some ways I'm more upset that it was chosen by the staff than the people.

hentropy:
It's just a little sour grapes for me to know that aspects like "how many people can actually play this game?" doesn't factor into the decision making.

For me, it factored in a very simple way: I couldn't play it - I didn't vote for it. How could I tell it was the best this year, if I couldn't even check that personally?

As for the whole "exclusive" debacle - I just don't understand what this fuss is all about. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are all competitors on the same market, if they want to sell their product over their rivals', they must get an edge. It's a simple business practice, and I have no problem with that. Back in 2009, when I finally got the job and could afford a console, InFamous being a PS3 exclusive was a deciding factor in my decision, because I really wanted to play it. Now, in hindsight after 4 years, I'm glad that happened, since besides Alan Wake (and even that got a PC release back in 2012) X360 exclusives were completely uninteresting to me. It's business. Business needs to sell, and exclusives are a handy tool in the fight.

Now, what I DO have a problem with is availability of those consoles. At the moment of writing this post, in my country (Poland), there's still no Xbox One or WiiU to buy, except from import. In fact, Nintendo abandoned our market long time ago, and even though you can purchase Wii/DS/3DS in here, Nintendo doesn't have a games distributor in here, so potential library for me is abysmally low. At one point, I wondered if I should buy a DS to play Ace Attorney series, Professor Layton, 999, Ghost Trick, and a couple of other interesting titles... Only to learn that even with a DS, getting those games would nigh impossible (most likely - import again), so I decided to screw it, and just installed an emulator (and in this particular case I don't feel any bit of shame about it).

To conclude - exclusives are fine, but at least make those available to purchase. I know my country is not a huge market, but for pete's sake, we bought over 100000 copies of The Witcher 2 in one month alone, so don't tell me, there's no potential to make money in here.

Really? I'll grant that it's an above average game but I think I'll have to be one of 'those people' that mention that it's overrated, but only from where I'm sitting. I enjoyed my time with it, but after one play-through the game never really stayed with me when I was done. I'm not really compelled to play it again either.

I say this with absolutely no offense to anyone that did love it or does feel that it's GOTY-worthy, I'm just trying to say that I'm kind of shocked to read this given how let down I was after the reviews sold me so hard on the game and then I just couldn't get into it as much as everyone else.

Perhaps this should have been declared a dead heat and/or put out for voting again because a statistically insignificant difference - although a difference - isn't enough to call it a decisive victory.

Then again, when it does come to accessibility? Papers, Please does have the ability to pretty much run on anything but it's core mechanic of doing a tedious job means it can (and will for a portion of its players) be a tedious experience. I never played The Last Of Us due to being an elitist PC gamer (ahem) and was probably the more thrilling experience of the two but, of all the games listed, I kept voting for Papers, Please as a protest vote and despite being beaten by a nose at the finishing post, it is the deserving winner based on having made all for much of the running as the rank outsider.

The real test, however, will be how many people will still be touting either one as a superior gaming experience as the months and years go by.

Yossarian1507:

hentropy:
It's just a little sour grapes for me to know that aspects like "how many people can actually play this game?" doesn't factor into the decision making.

For me, it factored in a very simple way: I couldn't play it - I didn't vote for it. How could I tell it was the best this year, if I couldn't even check that personally?

As for the whole "exclusive" debacle - I just don't understand what this fuss is all about. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are all competitors on the same market, if they want to sell their product over their rivals', they must get an edge. It's a simple business practice, and I have no problem with that.

Of course it's a business decision. It's the same kind of cynical, detached business decision that has made excessive DLC, season passes, and DRM norms throughout the industry. A console manufacturer paying a lot of money to a publisher to keep it out of the hands of certain gamers is just as, if not worse, than a lot of those same business practices that gamers complain about all the time, it's just considered something that is okay because of the history of industry. These same cynical businessmen will want you to just accept that all the other anti-consumer things that they do are okay because that's just the way it's done because "business."

If you really think your company's console is the better one, then prove it in a real open market. It just makes me a little nauseous that a lot of the recent console launch debates is based around which console has better exclusives, rather than based on the merits of the systems themselves. That an anti-consumer system like the Xbox One still sells as much as its competitors because it was willing to pay a huge lump sum to a publisher to purposefully keep games out of the hands of certain customers, rather than expanding its player base and turning a profit through more sales.

A game developer or publisher shouldn't be rewarded with GOTY when it employs these cynical, anti-consumer practices.

hentropy:
Of course it's a business decision. It's the same kind of cynical, detached business decision that has made excessive DLC, season passes, and DRM norms throughout the industry. A console manufacturer paying a lot of money to a publisher to keep it out of the hands of certain gamers is just as, if not worse, than a lot of those same business practices that gamers complain about all the time, it's just considered something that is okay because of the history of industry. These same cynical businessmen will want you to just accept that all the other anti-consumer things that they do are okay because that's just the way it's done because "business."

If you really think your company's console is the better one, then prove it in a real open market. It just makes me a little nauseous that a lot of the recent console launch debates is based around which console has better exclusives, rather than based on the merits of the systems themselves. That an anti-consumer system like the Xbox One still sells as much as its competitors because it was willing to pay a huge lump sum to a publisher to purposefully keep games out of the hands of certain customers, rather than expanding its player base and turning a profit through more sales.

A game developer or publisher shouldn't be rewarded with GOTY when it employs these cynical, anti-consumer practices.

Ok, so let's try this way - without Sony, there would be no TLOU. Or Uncharted Series. Or God of War, Heavy Rain, InFamous and a couple of other titles. Naughty Dog, Quantic Dream, Sucker Punch, Sony Santa Monica (duh!) etc. runs on money Sony gives them. Without it, they wouldn't have a budget to create those games in the first place. Why would you want to put so much money, to risk it giving more to your direct competitors rather than you, if for example the Xbox version would've significantly outsold PS3? That's a reasonable sacrifice to me. It's better for them to exist (if only on one console), rather than not exist at all. Similar case with Nintendo - they actually MAKE those games, so why would they want their rivals to take their share of sales (although in this case, there's a difference in hardware and system features that also factors into that)?

And what is the alternative for those kind of studios? Either close, or go under the wings of EA, Activison, and then deal with all those enforced business practices you mentioned, that doesn't give a consumer any benefit at all. Do you know why CD Projekt Red is still in the business and makes more games, without folding to some big publisher, just so they can keep their principle of "consumer first" strategy? Witcher 1 was practically funded with money earned by the other branch of the company responsible for distributing games and movies in Poland (often called CDP Blue due to logo color). Witcher 2 got the additional help, because GOG.com (another branch of the company) started kicking some serious butts and started making money. The same case with The Witcher 3, and until the sales from it guarantee some more dough, this will be the same case with Cyberpunk. At the end of the day, those thing costs a lot of cash to produce, and you have to get the money somewhere. At least console exclusivity gives you a clear focus on what you can or cannot do (only one system to work with, you know it's abilities and limitations), and not as much restrictive bullshit that major publishing companies enforce.

Holy smokies was it fun to watch. I was having flashbacks of Valve V Zynga there for a while when the "Pure game" fought against the "Invading Loser".

Oh God...blood everywhere.....users squished via ban hammer....so.....much.......PORN.....

*Shakes to clear head. Sorry, my PTSD flairs up a bit every so often.

I sure hope people didn't flip the hell out of a Game of the Year contest next year with how people acted. The Escapist already took away our March Madness because voting seems to break people's brain so I hope our "for fun" (yes people, for FUN) GotY fight to the death doesn't go away too.

EDIT:
I realize I've made this joke a few times now but damn it, I think it's funny :D

EDIT 2.0: I should probably talk about Last of Us

Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

...sorry, my excitement broke my speech for a second. I freaking loved The Last of Us and have been championing it's cause since it came out. I'm ever so glad that it won. If you have a PS3, you really really really should get it. If you don't have a PS3, this is a reason to get one.

hentropy:
It's no surprise that gaming publications don't really care about these aspects, as they get handed all the consoles and games for free...

I don't think that's true. Being a game journalist doesn't give you a free copy of every game, and a free game system to play it on. Sometimes the companies give free stuff to some journalists, but it's not guaranteed, and certainly doesn't apply to all of the staff.

Casual Shinji:

hentropy:
I try not to feel too bad about this whole thing, it's ultimately not that important, but I do feel it's a bit of a loss for PC gaming/gamers when a one-console exclusive wins it all. I wish I could have played and voted for the game, it might have been quite good, it's just a shame that I'll never know thanks to a cynical business decision by the publisher and Sony to lock it out to many gamers. I wanted Bioshock Infinite to win from the start, but at least Papers, Please was a cheap, accessible, very good and insightful game that everyone reading this is able to play.

Maybe I hadn't been paying attention, but I've never seen this accusation thrown around at other games before TLoU. Even before the game's release I was seeing threads saying 'The Last of Us should not be allowed to be exclussive'.

So why does just this game, and not any of Nintendo's first party titles attract this much scorn for being exclussive?

I'm sure I heard this accusation thrown around at Bayonetta 2 (and possibly Rayman Legends, but don't quote me on that one).

On the other hand, it really highlights the issue with platform exclusivity. It's been regarded not only as GOTY, but as one of the best example of gaming as art. And a lot of people won't get to play it because they don't own a PS3, it's a bit of a bummer, really.

a game i will never play but well because im a pc gamer only. have to wait once papers, please is on sales again to see what the fuss is all about. lol.

I find the exclusive argument to be somewhat hypocritical when Microsoft does the same thing or worse in trying to keep developers using Windows exclusive DirectX over open standard OpenGL, thus preventing a lot of PC games from being easily ported to Linux or Mac(without emulation). I'm hearing a lot of "I want!" without consideration for the fact that a lot of the games you do get aren't getting to other people in turn.

Anyway, TLoU was a great game, even if it wasn't my personal game of the year, and it does deserve recognition. Not that it's lacking any of that by this point... And in any case, an indie game getting second prize is pretty amazing in and of itself. So I say congrats to both.

Well, when you consider that:

People who don't own a PS3 wouldn't have voted for it;
The anti-console exclusivity radicals who are so loud on these forums actively voted against it;
Papers, Please brought in a posse of new members specifically to fight its cause;
Nintendo fans were protest voting against it because it knocked out two Ninty exclusives;
There are plenty of people on the Escapist who love to trumpet how overrated it is,

All in all I'm amazed that it won. i voted for it because it's fucking awesome but I had mentally given the gold to Arstotzka with a few days left. And that would have been fine. This is better, though XD

Yay.

My enthusiasm is diminished by the suspicion that TLoU won by the same methods that it almost lost to.

You all know what I mean.

Has anyone else noticed that the winner of the bracket contest, adios, only signed up in late November and has yet to make a single post?

Papers Please is an overrated novelty and a very boring video game, I really don't get all the praise that's being thrown at it. I've played free online flash games that were more engaging. Are we drowning in so many "Call of Poopy: Shadowfall 4" games that we're ready to praise the first little shitty indie title to break the mold as the second coming of christ?

Repetitive, boring gameplay. 0 replayability value as the endings vary marginally and the citizens that come to your booth come in a decided sequence and are not even randomly generated. The plot is 'okay', the premise and the way the story is delivered is the only real novelty of the game. So yeah, to hell with that indie garbage.

On topic, I've heard so much about The Last Of Us but just don't feel compelled to get a PS3 just for that. Which is a shame as it looks really good. I'm sure I'll play it at some point though, the only tough part is avoiding spoilers.

And where is the large influx of new forum users we were promised? You know, the whole point in having the event in the first place?

Oh right, they all left as soon as they voted, just like I said they would.

IceForce:
And where is the large influx of new forum users we were promised? You know, the whole point in having the event in the first place?

Oh right, they all left as soon as they voted, just like I said they would.

Don't worry, they'll be back next year.

IceForce:
And where is the large influx of new forum users we were promised? You know, the whole point in having the event in the first place?

Oh right, they all left as soon as they voted, just like I said they would.

Note: I'm using a join date of December 2013 as my guessing point since I don't have a way to confirm if they joined because of GotY or if it's just a coincidence:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/profiles/view/Mainline421
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/profiles/view/Tzzimy
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/profiles/view/Dangoesforth
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/profiles/view/motiff
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/profiles/view/Mik%20Sunrider

And this is only from the last few pages of the "Last of Us V. Papers Please" thread (page 15-18). This is also just new people who have posted so it doesn't include lurkers. I could do this all day I suppose but I think you get my point.

Yes, there are people who voted and ran. However, you can't ignore the people it brings in just because it conflicts with what you hate about the contest.

IceForce:
And where is the large influx of new forum users we were promised? You know, the whole point in having the event in the first place?

Oh right, they all left as soon as they voted, just like I said they would.

There's always a few that stick around, even if they vanish for a bit at first. You'll be reading some post or other in a couple years from someone who has thousands of posts, and you'll realize "Hey, they joined in December of 2013..."

At any rate, the Escapist got thousands and thousands of ad views from that competition, so that's all well and good.

ryukage_sama:
Has anyone else noticed that the winner of the bracket contest, adios, only signed up in late November and has yet to make a single post?

My God...

...WE'RE BEING INFILTRATED BY A HORDE OF PSYCHICS! D:

The Escapist has always had a huge number of lurkers. It was probably a long-time reader thinking "Hey, free stuff, and I think I know what'll happen..."

No interest in posting, but you better believe (s)he was checking back every damn day during the contest.

I somewhat hope that we won't go through this again.
I mean so much ... evil came out from this.

The threads for the GotY spawned in zerglings which rushed the polls and died in the same amount of time they joined in. Sure some were there and stubborn to defend their game like hydralisks they were. I'm just worried that the base will spawn in even more next/this year. Heck the threads even turned some of our better users into ultralisks who would demolish anything which would get in the way of their Game of the Year.

The game I thought deserved GotY wasn't there ... but that didn't matter, it is still GotY to me, so you know I guess personal opinion is the thing that matters here.

As for The Last of Us, I thought it was a overrated game (Just like Bioshock Infinite). Don't wish to get too much into it.
Still I did clap to Naughty Dog about their win ... then I immediately thought "So ... when are you going to do another Jak game?"

Still congratulations to them.
May we never have to go through all that evil again. Otherwise the basement is going to flood with bodies.

IceForce:
And where is the large influx of new forum users we were promised? You know, the whole point in having the event in the first place?

Oh right, they all left as soon as they voted, just like I said they would.

You mean like the large influx of TLoU voters on the last day of the poll? Or the large influx of Papers, Please voters before that?

In any case, as always, some stay, some leave. It's not that big of a deal.

You know what with the whole exclusive platform thing? I'm a PC gamer and I'm sure a lot of other PC gamers still voted TLoU, I think people are surprised because they expected console racism when really most gamers just love good games.

Actually I forget who I voted for but I remember struggling to pick out of the two. That it was such a close margin makes me thing that it was justified confusion.

But anyway I'd never hold console exclusivity against a game. If I really want to play something exclusive like TLoU I'd just borrow a friends console, as I did, to play it.

Anyway awesome result, two games I loved basically tieing. Well Played.

My game of the year for 2013 is certainly Saints Row 4.

Having played Papers, I can understand what the whole fuzz was about, since the game truly feels like something unique (although it gave me some flashbacks to the Carmen Sandiego games). Still, TLOU remains the best thing I ever played in my life, so I'm glad it won at the very end.

 

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