Best Games of 2011 Nominated by British Writer's Guild

Best Games of 2011 Nominated by British Writer's Guild

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Or at least, the best games written by residents of Great Britain.

Update: A former winner of the award for his work on Prince of Persia in 2009 - Andy Walsh - contacted The Escapist to let us know that the nominations are not restricted to Guild members as I was led to believe. "The award is open to all British games writers and to writers working in Britain," Walsh said. I've corrected the lead in to this story and the parrgraph below to reflect this information.

For the last few years, the Hollywood-based Writer's Guild of America has been awarding videogame writing excellence, but early on the nominations were a bit laughable as the award was restricted to members of the Guild. (Dead Head Fred?) The awards have been receiving more applications of late and nominating more well-known games, with Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood picked as the 2011 winner. America's videogame-penning brethren have a different restriction for the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards in that those nominated must be residents of the United Kingdom. The restriction is great for encouraging and rewarding cultural development within Great Britain, but the downside is that even three nominations must include a few head-scratchers.

The nominees for 2011 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards for Best Videogame are:

  • Brink by Ed Stern
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West by Alex Garland and Tameem Antoniades
  • Curfew by Kieron Gillen

Everything that I saw and read about Enslaved - including Susan Arendt's review - indicates that the natural dialogue between Monkey and Trip alone qualifies it for an award. But when I spoke to Ed Stern about the story of Brink, he specifically mentioned how the game-writing took a back burner to the gameplay. I don't want to disparage Stern's writing - I did quite like the story that he crafted - but I think it's a bit odd to reward a game so clearly focused on other parts of the story.

As for Kieron Gillen's The Curfew, well it totally deserves the accolade. Sure, it's a flash game you can play in any browser, but after only a few moments the narrative transports you into a Britain ruled by a right-wing fascist government a la 1984 or V for Vendetta. The Curfew might be a dark horse because it's "only a browser game" but I would totally be on board if Gillen's game wins. If you haven't played it, then clearly you are a member of Shephard's party and you must be eliminated.

The winner will be announced on November 16th at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

Source: Writers' Guild

Permalink

Brink had a story and writing?

Brink?

You've got to be shitting me.

There wasn't a story to speak of.

Why Brink? I wouldnt file it under "Story" more of... Police v Resistance ala Red v Blue ala TF2

Enslaved? I heard hit and miss about it...mostly gameplay

Curfew? Never heard of it. Perhaps a PC game? or Europe only?

Whoever nominated Brink had to be as high as a kite.

Kevlar Eater:
Whoever nominated Brink had to be as high as a kite.

You know how much awesome writing it takes to get those sounds guys make when they get shot just right.

You know, things like "Unnnngh!" and "Arrgh!" Just...quality writing.

While brink's story was light to say the least it was fairly interesting, furthermore there are loads of audio diaries in the game. Don't assume these things, investigate them.
Ensalved had a fairly good story, and very good writing, which was really well executed.
The Curfew I haven't played but its an online flash game from what I know for 4OD I think.

How can Enslaved's story be up for a modern writing award? Isnt it based on a hundreds of years old Chinese epic?

wooty:
How can Enslaved's story be up for a modern writing award? Isnt it based on a hundreds of years old Chinese epic?

Would you believe me if I told you that good adaptations manage to stand on their own merits?

Seriously, this "Simpsons did it!" mentality is just ludicrous. Just because something was adapted from an earlier work doesn't mean it has to be a) worse than the original or b) unoriginal. For Christ's sake, there are dozens of books on the issue.

-EDIT-
Forgot to post on topic: I haven't tried The Curfew, but I'll give it a look. I can certainly see Enslaved winning that award; the writing (and delivery by the actors, of course) was fantastic.

wooty:
How can Enslaved's story be up for a modern writing award? Isnt it based on a hundreds of years old Chinese epic?

It's also set in post-apocalyptic New York and the main characters are a burly wild man and a young tech expert. I very much doubt that the ancient Chinese epic had anything like that.

Sonicron:

wooty:
How can Enslaved's story be up for a modern writing award? Isnt it based on a hundreds of years old Chinese epic?

Would you believe me if I told you that good adaptations manage to stand on their own merits?

Seriously, this "Simpsons did it!" mentality is just ludicrous. Just because something was adapted from an earlier work doesn't mean it has to be a) worse than the original or b) unoriginal. For Christ's sake, there are dozens of books on the issue.

WOAH! I merely asked a question here, didnt rant and rave about it.

Also, allow me to throw another out there, whats all this "simpsons did it" quote? Was it in an episode or something

wooty:

Sonicron:

wooty:
How can Enslaved's story be up for a modern writing award? Isnt it based on a hundreds of years old Chinese epic?

Would you believe me if I told you that good adaptations manage to stand on their own merits?

Seriously, this "Simpsons did it!" mentality is just ludicrous. Just because something was adapted from an earlier work doesn't mean it has to be a) worse than the original or b) unoriginal. For Christ's sake, there are dozens of books on the issue.

WOAH! I merely asked a question here, didnt rant and rave about it.

Also, allow me to throw another out there, whats all this "simpsons did it" quote? Was it in an episode or something

I reread my post, and it certainly came out more hostile than I intended. I apologize. I suppose I get a bit thin-skinned on the subject of people denigrating the value of adaptations (I wrote my BA thesis on that topic just a few months back), and I misinterpreted your innocent question.

Also, "Simpsons did it!" is indeed from an episode of South Park; its main theme was basically that doing, saying, writing etc. something original nowadays, no matter how far out there it appears, is impossible because The Simpsons (in its ridiculously long run of 20+ seasons) has covered it already at some point (which, iirc, drives Butters insane at the end of the episode).

Enslaved - Adequate at best. It reads like something Garland did a really, REALLY off day. If ya want a better adaptation of Journey to the West, go heck out Monkey by Damon Albarn.

Brink - ...Okay, now they're not even TRYING.

Not seen that one, not a regular South Park viewer you see.

But theres no need to apologize for that, its your view on the subject clashing with mine, thats all. Its just my opinion that awards should be given out for fresh ideas and not neccesarily for a "re-hash".

This just comes off the back of a debate I had with a friend this morning that in the movie and gaming world, re-imagining an idea or producing another adaptation is a sign of lack of creativity or laziness, yet not in literature or art. Lets just say that the discusion got a little bit heated and this is the after effect.

sorry but this award is a joke. brink really? i mean REALLY?

Sonicron:

wooty:

Sonicron:

Would you believe me if I told you that good adaptations manage to stand on their own merits?

Seriously, this "Simpsons did it!" mentality is just ludicrous. Just because something was adapted from an earlier work doesn't mean it has to be a) worse than the original or b) unoriginal. For Christ's sake, there are dozens of books on the issue.

WOAH! I merely asked a question here, didnt rant and rave about it.

Also, allow me to throw another out there, whats all this "simpsons did it" quote? Was it in an episode or something

I reread my post, and it certainly came out more hostile than I intended. I apologize. I suppose I get a bit thin-skinned on the subject of people denigrating the value of adaptations (I wrote my BA thesis on that topic just a few months back), and I misinterpreted your innocent question.

Also, "Simpsons did it!" is indeed from an episode of South Park; its main theme was basically that doing, saying, writing etc. something original nowadays, no matter how far out there it appears, is impossible because The Simpsons (in its ridiculously long run of 20+ seasons) has covered it already at some point (which, iirc, drives Butters insane at the end of the episode).

Completely off topic.

I enjoy a site where people don't just start ridiculous arguments and refuse to back down and never apologize when something was off. I wish more people online behaved as such and acted like they were interacting with real people, instead of becoming trolls.

brink has a story if anyone bothered to read the journals you unlock and listen to why you are fighting in the first place.

but i guess people are entitled to their opinions

People are seriously underestimating Brink. It's writing was unfortunately hurt by the fact that they had to cram it into a multiplayer formula.
First of all, the general idea behind Brink was very solid and original. They even had a timeline set up following the events leading up to the game which you could tell had a lot of work put into it.
Even more importantly, the story is evident better than anywhere else in the environment, which is exactly how a game's story should work. It was a concise narrative about social caste, reform, and a new post-apocalyptic society being formed, built on the dreams of a perfect, efficient new world.
The whole thing is dripping in symbolism, and literally nothing like it, setting-wise, had been done before.

The downside is that it got bastardized by the multiplayer FPS formula, and no one wants to have to wade through a chapter of heavy narrative each time they play a game of team death match or whatever, so the story was shoved into collectible tape recordings that were hidden away and remote, tiny cutscenes punctuating the levels.

Still, Brink does have a good story, and to be honest, yes, at first glance it appears like it has absolutely none - But that just fills me with respect for the process, that they recognize story not just when it's laiden in plain sight, but incorporated into gameplay. Something not even a lot of gamers noticed. If you don't like Brink's story, fine - But claiming it's nonexistent just means you haven't really looked.

I'm amazed Portal 2 isn't on here...played it months back and I still remember all of it...

wooty:
How can Enslaved's story be up for a modern writing award? Isnt it based on a hundreds of years old Chinese epic?

Just because you lift plot elements or the general template doesn't mean you don't write anything; specifically, dialogue.

OT: Didn't play Curfew, Enslaved was doing well for me until the last third (hey, let's take this character-piece and completely shift the focus and have a stupid ambiguous ending because everyone else is trying those), and Brink... really?

I guess it depends on how they're considering it - the actual writing itself was nothing special.

crimsongamer:
brink has a story if anyone bothered to read the journals you unlock and listen to why you are fighting in the first place.

but i guess people are entitled to their opinions

Yes... i've done all of that...
But let's be honest.
Brink does not deserve an award for writing.
In fact, the whole conflict seemed totally redundant when you play through both campaigns, because either the Rebels are right and help from the outside will be a good thing in which case 'Why the fuck are the security forces stopping them!?' or the security way which could be resolved by TELLING EVERYONE WHAT HAPPENED.

I was happy to see Britain and videogames put together, but now my face has dropped slightly...

Daystar Clarion:
Brink?

You've got to be shitting me.

There wasn't a story to speak of.

Did you play the game? Im pretty sure it had some very strong writing and a very impressive and interesting backstory

frederichvon:

Daystar Clarion:
Brink?

You've got to be shitting me.

There wasn't a story to speak of.

Did you play the game? Im pretty sure it had some very strong writing and a very impressive and interesting backstory

Yup.

Still terrible. It was terribly implemented.

All those people hating on Brink, did you listen to all the audio logs? That game has a lot of story. More so than many other games. Unfortunately it's the only game of the three that I have played so I'd rather not judge who I think should win.

Josue Rodriguez:
I'm amazed Portal 2 isn't on here...played it months back and I still remember all of it...

Slight spoilers in this post so I tagged it.

Daystar Clarion:

frederichvon:

Daystar Clarion:
Brink?

You've got to be shitting me.

There wasn't a story to speak of.

Did you play the game? Im pretty sure it had some very strong writing and a very impressive and interesting backstory

Yup.

Still terrible. It was terribly implemented.

Kinda like how the distributor for David Lynch's Dune handed out pamphlets to explain a lot of the plot and terminology.

Isn't it a bit too early for this kinda stuff? I mean, the year is far from over and there are still tons of hot AAA-titles waiting to be released.

Also, the only thing I can say about Brink being nominated; *snicker* *snicker*

Best games of 2011:

Brink.
Enslaved.

.......

Aiddon:

Daystar Clarion:

frederichvon:

Did you play the game? Im pretty sure it had some very strong writing and a very impressive and interesting backstory

Yup.

Still terrible. It was terribly implemented.

Kinda like how the distributor for David Lynch's Dune handed out pamphlets to explain a lot of the plot and terminology.

Not really,you don't need to read a pamphlet to enjoy BRINK's narrative or gameplay. BRINK's plot is very much like bioshock, as in it has a basic storyline you can quickly get the jist of( i.e. your plane has crashlanded, you take refuge in an underwater city that is suffering internally by a civil war, escape). In BRINK's case it is summed up in a nutshell: water levels have risen, refugees flee to a self sustainable city and then a civil war breaks out between resistance and security. Both Bioshock and BRINK have very simple set ups, yet the devils in the details- Audio diaries, the brief cutscenes that play out, exploring the levels and taking in all the clues that the bueatiful enviroments leave. The expression 'a picture paints a thousand words' is no less true in BRINK.
Just because the story is handled in a non-linear way that rewards those people that WANT story, yet dosent leave those who just want to shoot stuff out in the cold is not neccesarilly bad. I loved exploring the stunning maps, I loved listening to all the fascinating morally conflicted characters viewpoints on the choas erupting around them. I loved piecing together the story that is presented in all the cutscenes. I especially loved the morally ambigious world they had created, neither side is good or evil. Mokeona (head of security) is a noble, well intentional man dealing with an impending crisis with limited resources and the pressure put upon him by the council is especially fascinating to listen to. Brother Chen for example, at first comes off as an opportunist, yet the more you listen the more it becomes less clear cut. Whilst you may not agree with the way the narrative is presented, saying that the writing was bad or non-existent is just false.

I loved Enslaved's writing and the ending, whilst a rather strange disconnect from what came before (check out 28 Days Later and Sunshine, Alex Garland isn't very good at wrapping up his stories), was still extremely thought provoking and kept me thinking about it long after I'd finished it.

So, yeah, Enslaved please!

Also, only three nominees? Hardly seems worth it, to be honest.

Loading up The Curfew now, seems just up my alley. *Snark*

MrDeckard:
Best games of 2011:

Brink.
Enslaved.

.......

Yeah, I'm no exactly gonna champion gaming being full of Hugo Award winners, but there are a TON of games with far better writing and plots than the three games they picked. Especially Enslaved which is chock-full of NT's self-loathing pretentiousness

Whilst it's great to see you giving the WGGB awards publicity, you're also doing them a disservice by not checking your facts properly.

In order to be nominated and shortlisted for the WGGB's Best Videogame Script award you DON'T have to be a member of the UK Guild (and never have) you just have to be British or working in the UK. That goes for all the other WGGB awards. This is why titles like Portal 2 aren't nominated. It's also only a shortlist of three because it's been whittled down from a much longer list. Again, this is the same for every other shortlist in the WGGB awards.

With the Writers' Guild of America awards you don't have to be American or pay full Guild fees to enter, but you do need to join the New Media Caucus (at a cost of around $100.) This included a free subscription to Written By magazine, which more than makes up for it.

The WGA & WGGB awards have been around for 4 or 5 years now and the fact that games writing is getting proper recognition deserves a little more celebration and a little less snark.

EDIT: I see this has now been corrected. Thanks Greg!

 

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