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Gameverse | December 10, 2019

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The Game Awards 2019: The 10 Biggest Snubs

Matthew Byrd

The Game Awards 2019 nominees have been revealed and, to be honest, they’re not bad. Granted, it’s been a bit of a slow year, but it feels like most of the major games of 2019 are represented in some form.

However, there are always a few award show snubs, and this year is no different. Here are the 10 biggest snubs from this video game award season that we managed to find.

Outer Wilds – Game of the Year

Outer Wilds is like a cross between Groundhog Day and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a game of seemingly infinite possibilities and joyful discovery that somehow manages to never overwhelm the player despite tossing quite a bit at them.

So where is its game of the year nomination? Well, most indie games tend to get snubbed at The Game Awards when it comes to the top spot. In this instance, though, the problem may be amplified by Outer Wilds‘ almost undefinable nature and how it doesn’t necessarily offer a universal experience.

Telling Lies – Narrative

Telling Lies is, essentially, the spiritual successor to Her Story. Both games utilize the controversial technique of FMV storytelling and the even more controversial technique of limited interaction.

Despite those controversies, Telling Lies delivers a sprawling, complicated, and simply wonderful story filled with conspiracy, emotions, and surprises. It frankly deserves a nomination in a category that isn’t exactly overwhelmed by worthy candidates.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 – Action/Adventure Game

This one is a bit tough. After all, Luigi’s Manion 3 got a “best family game” nomination, and there’s some debate regarding whether it’s an Action/Adventure game in the pure sense of the phrase.

Yet, by The Game Awards’ own definition, few games this year better combined “combat with traversal and puzzle solving” than Luigi’s Mansion 3. It’s a joyful and creative experienced that is being somewhat overlooked.

Ape Out – Art Direction

The fact that Ape Out only utilizes a few colors at a time would seemingly disqualify it from this category. However, that’s not really the point.

The point is that few other games released this year utilize art direction in a way that is fundamental to the core experience. Ape Out‘s minimalistic design is vital to its compelling and addictive gameplay.

My Friend Pedro – Action Game

Not since the days of Max Payne and Stranglehold have we seen a pure action experience quite like My Friend Pedro.

That’s kind of the point here. Games like Metro Exodus are more ambitious and maybe even technically superior, but if you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to video game action, My Friend Pedro has to be at the top of most lists.

Path of Exile – Ongoing Game/Community Support

Many Action-RPG fans know that Path of Exile has been one of the best experiences of the last decade. Sadly, not many other people seem to know the game even exists.

The fact remains, though, that Path of Exile regularly receives massive expansion, incredible updates based on fan feedback, and a ton of other content that is 100% free. It’s a modern miracle of “games as a service” design.

Risk of Rain 2 – Indie Game

Risk of Rain 2 may be one of the most purely enjoyable experiences of 2019. It combines incredible action, brilliant co-op gameplay, and deep mechanics. So where are all of its nominations?

Our best guess here is that Risk of Rain 2 didn’t really benefit from any notable awards season PR push. The shame of that is that it’s really one of the best games of the year.

World of Warcraft: Classic – Multiplayer Game

This is sure to be controversial given that WoW Classic is just a re-release of a 15-year-old game. However, there’s no denying that this has been one of the year’s most fascinating multiplayer experiences.

WoW has long been a glorious social experiment, and Classic continues that legacy by proving how few multiplayer games have really pushed the limits of online community engagement quite like this one.

Team Sonic Racing – Best Sports/Racing Game

Here’s a strange one.

Is Team Sonic Racing the best racing game of the year? No, but in a category that is typically thin, it stands out as one of the most enjoyable experiences of its kind. It’s a fun, well-made, family-friendly racing game that often excels at offering a good time.

SteamWorld Quest – Role-Playing Game

SteamWorld Quest is a deck-building game disguised as an RPG, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best role-playing experiences of the year. In fact, we’d say that no other RPG released this year is simply more fun to play than SteamWorld Quest.

So where’s the love? Well, the problem seems to be that SteamWorld Quest came out at a strange time of the year and has since been “replaced” in conversations by other titles. It’s also a bit of a hybrid game, which might hurt its genre chances.