Since GDC has just passed, with loads of new information regarding some game of the year contenders, and E3 still a ways away, I wrote this little editorial. It details the criteria, in my opinion, needed for a game to win GOTY, or even to be in contention.

What does a person think when he or she hears the words, “Game of The Year”? Do they think of the most popular game? Or rather, the game that has advanced the quality of video games across the industry? Hopefully, I’m going to try to rectify the issue that plagues the industry. What does a game need to possess for it to win, or even be in contention for GOTY? Before I go into details, lets look at GOTY past. Last year heralded the awe-inspiring masterpiece, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. With it’s unique blend of story telling, intense graphics and an almost cinematic feel to it, it was an obvious pick for 2008’s Game of the Year. For 2007, Call of Duty 4 brought home the gold. Call of Duty 4 is a game that is still popular among the masses, and still is the benchmark for all upcoming FPS. The 2006’s GOTY was Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a Western RPG that was praised for the huge arena for the player, and the freedom to do whatever you want.

What do all the aforementioned games have in common? They all change the benchmarks we gamers hold for future games. Breath taking graphics, mind blowing AI, compelling storyline, or an intense boss battle. I believe it is wrong for gamers to choose the most popular game as GOTY. Because in most cases, the most popular hasn’t done anything amazing.

I know that we, the average/hardcore gamers have no say in choosing the GOTY, as many gaming sites/blogs/magazines all have their own, separate, GOTY presentation. But most of the selections are based off of the general consensus of the gaming population. So in closing, when the year draws to a close, take time in choosing a GOTY. Because we as an industry want to progress, not regress.