Discolor Online

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


Origins Awards Comments

I started writing a long response to mxyzplk's post about the Origins Awards here, but then thought to myself "Hey, this could be a blog post of my own!" so I'm posting it to my own much neglected blog as such instead.

Thanks for the kudos on Freeport! We are, of course, quite proud of the product around GR HQ but recognized we were up against some stiff competition. IMHO, Paradigm Concepts is one of the most overlooked companies to come out of the d20 boom. We realized early on that our companies were made up of kindred spirits (a bit of trivia for you: GR's Chris Pramas and Paradigm's Henry Lopez share the same birthday... though a few years apart). Back in the days when many companies were trying to come out with material that covered much of the same d20 ground, Green Ronin and Paradigm announced virtually identical product plans on the same day. Instead of getting all adversarial, we decided to try to harness some of that mutual enthusiasm and we tried a line of co-operative companion books with the OGL Interlink logo (foreshadowing our more successful M&M Superlink and True20 licenses).

I'm not surprised at all that Paradigm was able to walk away with some well-deserved kudos at Origins. Early in the d20 cycle when we found ourselves at a crossroads, Green Ronin decided to put our efforts into getting more of our ideas out into products for the market, while Paradigm devoted a tremendous amount of time to their organized play program and building Arcanis (more trivia, Arcanis is one of the earliest third-party homes to Freeport).

Anyway, Origins has always been a good show for Paradigm and their Arcanis supporters. Since the Origins Awards are now voted on by the Origins attendees, it makes sense that Paradigm is finally getting a little love back. They've been shamefully overlooked in the larger marketplace over the years as they poured more of their resources into organized play and creating a community of Arcanis supporters. Congratulations to them on their Origins Award this time around!

Regarding Faery's Tale Deluxe vs. Grimm in this year's awards, I laugh because Grimm (the d20 version of this designed by Green Ronin favorite Rob "Dr. Evil" Schwalb) is a fairy-tails-gone-wrong kind of setting, while Farey's Tale Deluxe (by Firefly Games' owner Patrick Sweeney) is a sweet and lovely faeries-bring-out-the-best game aimed at youngsters (and those willing to play straight-facedly sweet and "good" faery characters). Made for quite the diverse range when it came to voting, I'm sure (and guessing that the 6- to 9-year-old set weren't getting out the vote at Origins). Heh.

Anyway, certainly an interesting year at the Origins Awards. We were happy to net a win for Hobby Games: the 100 Best.

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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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