Game of the Year
A1. Dead Cells
An incredibly satisfying experience. I'm not a skilled games player, I don't like roguealike games, I don't like games that force you to repeat sections over and over, and the Souls games never completely clicked with me. I don't even like platform games. And yet I love this. It's so tight, and so beautiful. The basic rhythm of slashing, dodging, jumping, shooting just feels wonderful. The game gives you, through it's various enemies, opportunities to do cool things, like dodge-rolling under an incoming arrow, or leaping away from a cluster of explosions. A stunning game.
Another game built around a hugely satisfying mechanic. There are quite a few games that revolve around balls and the bouncing thereof, but Holedown is the best. It just is. There's no paywall bollocks, there's an endless mode, you can have 99 balls. Who doesn't want to have 99 balls? It also has a weird ghost worm thing grinning at you from the bottom of the screen who, when tapped on, says encouraging things or communist slogans.
A3. Warhammer 40000 Mechanicus
I suspect I'm the only person who voted for this. Possibly the only person who has played it. Possibly the only one who has ever heard of it. It's a Games Workshop game, so you're braced for shitness going in, but it's actually a neat X-Com style tactical thing with a great RPG advancement side and tricky decisions to make on the way to missions. There's obviously a heavy Warhammer flavour injected into the whole thing, but this is used as an advantage rather than a box the genre is shoehorned into. The idiocyncrasy of the Adeptus Mechanicus faction (basically priests who worship technology without having any idea how it works, who modify their bodies to become nightmarish squid-like cyborgs, and who combine talking in binary and machine code with religious fanaticism) is exploited to give the story and characters an alluring weirdness. This oddness is also cleverly visually represented in the RPG side, with each skill enhancement creating a new mechanical tentacle on your characters. So the stronger they get, the weirder they look. The gameplay is decent X-Com-lite. Interestingly, the tactics often come down to not "how do I get my team out of this alive" but "how do I best sacrifice my minions to achieve my goals and keep the important characters alive?"
A neat little mobile story game. Not perfect by any means - the story is pretty bare-bones, the ending trite, and the character of Krish is so underdeveloped he may as well have not turned up for the game. But the way it represents moments is wonderful. Dialogue is represented as a jigsaw puzzle which gets easier as the conversation becomes easier. There's one moment involving piecing together a photograph which is spectacularly well done. The specifics are deliberately glossed-over, but the way it represents the feelings of love and relationships is nicely communicated by the in-game actions.
A5. Donut County
A silly but clever take on Katamari. Instead of a ball, you have a hole, but the devestation you wreak is the same. The difference is that this time everyone is annoyed at you for destroying their town, which is a funny take on the genre. The physics of making things fall down your hole leads to some great slapstick comedy, as you deliberately teeter a guy on a sunbed half over the hole, causing him to wave his arms and legs, before inevitably tumbling into oblivion. Mua-hahaha!
Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)
Z1. Half Life 3
I just thought that when it came out, it probably wasn't worth the wait or the hype. A shame.
Sound Design of the Year
S1. Donut County
Great tunes, silly sounds. Tricky category.
There's some lovely music in there.
S3. Dead Cells
Visual Design of the Year
V1. Dead Cells
Vibrant and colourful, wonderful to look at. Also the animation is smooth and satisfyingly cool.
Looks like an indie graphic novel for grown-ups. I love indie graphic novels for grown ups.
V3. Donut County
Fun characters, funny design, a duck on a moped. Looks like a really good, funny kids book.
Writing of the Year
W1. Donut County
The idea that everyone is pissed off at you for dropping them in your hole is hilarious, and BK's justifications and attempts at deflection are nicely written.
Despite my reservations, a lovely little story, of a type that is so rarely seen in games.
W3. Warhammer 40000 Mechanicus
I know, but hear me out. If you don't know Warhammer lore it'll probably be infuriating and boring, but I enjoyed it. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour! Inbetween missions there's basically an ongoing argument between a guy who says things like "Aquisition of knowledge > lives of individuals" and a guy who's big idea for fighting an alien invasion is to install loudspeakers everywhere broadcasting prayers.
Gaming Format (System) of the Year
Why is the Switch likely to win this? Sheer fanaticism is the only answer when you consider that the only original release of note is fucking Smash Brothers, which has always been rubbish and will always be rubbish, a throwaway five minute wonder at best, and yet they sell it for £60, I don't know what the world is coming to. What else was there in 2018? About a million ports of old indie games. The PC is better. It has about a million NEW indie games.
Publisher or Developer of the Year
P1. Motion Twin
Made the best game.
Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year
B1. Pokemon Go
Urgh. But they keep adding stuff so I can't stop playing it.
Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)
X1. Yakuza 0
An amazing game. One of the funniest games ever made. The game's occasionally iffy gender politics somehow becomes a plus as it's all done with a huge slice of naivety and it's heart is obviously in the right place. The side missions are the best bit. I've watched soft porn in a booth with another man, taught a band of fake punks how to act tough, and accidentally aquired an eight-year-old girlfriend through the medium of scalextric.
Best game character of the year
C1. BK (Donut County)
He's doomed a town to a like at the bottom of his hole, but he claims he's the victim because his drone got broken.
C2. The worm/ghost thing from Holedown (Holedown)
Seize the means of production!
C3. Florence (Florence)
She seems nice.
Obviously, I didn't play many of this year's games. The only one I played that I haven't given any awards to is Onrush. Unlucky, Onrush. I actually quite liked it, in a mindless, drive around trying to crash with oddly unsatisfying crash mechanics kind of way.
Many edits - I have tried to adhere to your thread rules, @Benny. Is this now okay? I'll be honest, I cannot bring myself to put my comments in quotation marks. It is just so utterly, completely wrong. It looks like you're quoting someone else and it has thrown me every single time I have read a comment in this entire thread. It's such awful, appalling grammer. It makes me feel sick to look at it. Sorry.