Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


The New, New, New (NEW!) Origins Awards

It's that time of the year again. Every spring around this time, after the initial deadline for the Origins Awards has passed and been extended and passed again, someone in the game industry wakes up and says, "Hey, the rules are different! What's going on?!" sparking the annual round of "We fixed it!"/"You broke it!"/"Who cares?" bickering as people take sides (or don't) and eventually some sort of awards based on some criteria are handed out to greater or lesser fanfare.

This year, once again, the people who have not yet had their months of futile and unappreciated work burned to the ground take up the same cries of, "Just give it a chance, just wait and see, this time we've really got it!" This year, for at least the sixth time in the last ten years, the Origins Awards have been restructured, re-defined, re-positioned and (they hope) re-branded.

This year GAMA is making no bones about it, the Origins Awards are to promote Origins. This philosophy has been bouncing around out there for a while but it has finally won out as the dominant vision for the awards. This means the pretense that the Origins Awards are somehow selecting the "best" games or even "favorite" games has been largely thrown aside in favor of a system that the organization hopes will generate publicity. Of course, if some good games are rewarded in the process, all the better but the inability to reach even a working consensus about what constitutes an exceptional game deserving of recognition by peers and players alike has unquestionably brought the awards to the point of being an unabashed marketing tool first and foremost.

The GAMA and Origins and AAGAD websites remain unintuitive and incomplete (for example, there's apparently an "Origins New Release Award" but the page about it is blank and the page on submissions merely says "Origins Awards policies are presently under review. They will be published shortly."), but ICv2 has a summary of the new, new, NEW Origins Awards process here.

I've had things to say about the Origins Awards in the past. I don't really have that much to say anymore, except to observe the passing of another year, another round of changes, another series of hoops to jump through (meaning forms to fill out, samples to pack and mail, CDs with logos and cover shots to provide and whatever else). Some people will bother, some people find the awards so tainted that it's not worth the effort. Awards of some sort will be handed out. People will hold them up and say yay, or not.

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Blogger James Says:

I am in San Francisco right now and thus unable to use my regular email address (my ISP appears to think that usability is a dangerous rumour) or I would be all over this debate on various mailing lists. Mostly I would be pouring scorn. Particularly I would be pouring it on various goons who have used the phrase "If you don't like it, start your own awards" or something similar.

Back in 2000 I did start my own award. It remains one of the funnest and most rewarding things I did in the games industry, and I recommend it heartily to everyone.

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

The people who are saying it's about promoting Origins are a bit confused. It's about promoting Origins *and* the GAMA Trade Show (hence having some of the voting being done at GTS, instead of just an announcement).

Okay, that's just a quibble, but pointing out that sort of thing is the maximum level of involvement I ever intend to have with the Origins Awards in future.

Spike Y Jones


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