Wednesday, 30 November 2016

My Steam Awards nominations

Valve organized something new this year: the so called Steam Awards. I would probably have totally missed it if a friend wouldn't have asked me for advice on who to nominate for the Villain That Needs a Hug category (I'm a terrible advisor by the way, I had no clue!) and I would probably have skipped it if it wasn't such a nice thought experiment to fill in those categories.

Only when I read Jeromai's and Izlain's nominations, it occurred to me that this was a perfect topic for a blog post. Not only do you get to compare choices, you also get to find out about people's interests beyond MMOs and may even discover some new titles you want to play. So, without further ado, here are my Steam Awards nominations.

Test of Time: The Lord of the Rings Online - The first category was an absolute no brainer. Lord of the Rings Online came out in 2007. It's now 2016 and I still actively play: that's almost ten years! The game has changed a lot over time and most of it not for the better, but, no matter what, in the end I always find myself back logging into virtual Middle-earth.

Featured in:
My return to LOTRO (2016)
Or any other of my 114 LOTRO posts on Ravalation (2012-2016)

I'm Not Crying, There's Something In My Eye: Valiant Hearts: The Great War - The first game that came to my mind for this category was Life is Strange; however, I ended up using it for another category. Valiant Hearts: The Great War is perhaps even a better choice. I am so impressed by this game and cannot recommend it enough. Gameplay wise it's a charming 2D puzzle game in a second world war setting. The art is cute and beautiful, and, together with the playful game design, is responsible for the topic not being too heavy to handle. The ability to find hidden everyday life objects with unexpected stories behind them is a brilliant plus that strongly appeals to the inner archaeologist in me. However, I still haven't finished the last chapters because I am so afraid (more) sad things will happen.

Featured in:
The games I love to play (2015)

Just 5 more minutes: ARK: Survival - ARK: Survival is a 3D survival game with dinosaurs. For dino lovers, this game is just heaven. Tread with caution, though: ARK eats away your time, especially when playing with friends. I don't want to think about the amount of times I just logged in to do A, but then this really cool dino B turns up and we drop everything to chase and tame it - only to return hours later empty handed with all our resources lost and our flying mount C slowly dying in the air somewhere in the arctic zone. The unpredictability is what makes this game so addictive, but also so much fun.

Featured in:
How to survive your first day in ARK: Survival, Pointers for newbies (2016)
The misadventures of Conrav on the beaches of horror, or: the steep learning curve of ARK: Survival (2016)

Whoooaaaaaaa Dude: Botanicula - Botanicula is an Indie game that, indeed, blew my mind. Not because of its plot, but because its approach to gameplay is so different from any other game I've played. There is no voiced component in Botanicula. There is no written content either. You get dropped in a world without knowing who "you" and where you are. It's one big trip revolving around exploring the visuals and sounds to progress and figure out what is going on. Bewildering. Refreshing. Stunning. I cannot recommend this game enough.

Featured in:
Back from the mud, living in a tree (2012)

Villain Most in Need Of A Hug: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - This was definitely a hard category to come up with a title. Every huggable villain I thought of was in a non Steam game, so that didn't help. Eventually I decided to go with Visas Marr from KOTOR 2. She is the sole survivor of an attack that purged all life from the Miraluka homeworld. Darth Nihilus, responsible for that attack, then forces her into submission. She becomes his apprentice and is sent to ambush you. In my play through, I forgave her and turned her to the light side of the force.

I never wrote anything about Visas in particular on Ravalation, but I have written about my adventures in KOTOR 2.

Featured in:
Fashion in the Old Republic (2013)
Strange new friends (2013)
I'm a saint (2013)

Game Within A Game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - This one was really hard for me as well. I eventually decided to go with the original KOTOR game (what can I say? Need more Star Wars to compensate for not being able to include SWTOR), because I always enjoyed the swoop races and - of course - pazaak.

I haven't written any posts about the original KOTOR on Ravalation, because I played it before I started blogging.

I Thought This Game Was Cool Before It Won An Award: Life Is Strange - This was the absolute hardest category of all to fill in. If you know me, you know it's far more likely for me to start playing a game waaaay after everyone has hyped about it and already left (*cough* Guild Wars 2 *cough*) than the other way around. I just don't play that many different titles and I'm immune to bandwagons.

My brother introduced me to Life Is Strange at the end of 2015, when I returned from Sweden prematurely due to family matters. I hadn't heard of the game at all, but it conquered my heart right at the first episode. The game is witty, beautiful and, most of all, portrays the essence of what it is like to be a teenager exceptionally well. It also helped me through a tough period of my life and will therefore always be special to me.

Best Use Of A Farm Animal: Fable - The first game that came to my mind was Goat Simulator: even though I've never played it myself, I find it hilarious that it's a thing. I'm pretty sure it's going to win this category regardless, so I decided to nominate a more original one: Fable. The original Fable is among the first games I played, on my brother's Xbox (we're talking ancient history here). In it you can eat "crunchy chicks" (tooltip: high in protein, low in morality): alive baby chickens that give you evil points when consumed. There's a demon door that asks you to commit an act of great evil in order to pass through - eating 11 crunchy chicks in front of it does the job.

Back in the day I thought this was hilarious. I felt really bad when I once accidentally ate a crunchy chick, though, and never went through the demon door, just because I couldn't bear to eat all those chicks.

Most Original Use of Blood & Gore: Viscera Cleanup Detail - The last category was one you could title yourself. I came up with the "Most Original Use of Blood & Gore" award because of a game I discussed with some friends: Viscera Cleanup Detail. In this game, you get to clean up the mess left behind after your average gamer has 'cleared a room'. (Spoiler: it ain't pretty.) I cannot help but to be intrigued with games with such an original (and controversial) approach. My friend: "I bought it because I thought it was going to be funny, but it wasn't!" The predominantly positive Steam reviews disagree with her. It all boils down to what you enjoy doing in your spare time, I suppose.

What did you think of my choices? And what games would you nominate for these categories? I'd love to read your picks in the comments.

Note: the pictures of KOTOR, Fable and Viscera Cleanup Detail are official promotional images of their respective game companies. All other images are taken by me in-game. I only counted the latter for IntPiPoMo.

IntPiPoMo count: 52/50


  1. Interesting choices!

    Unfortunately Steam doesn't have the Steam Awards page around anymore so I can't see which choices I picked. From what I remember what I picked for "I'm Not Crying, There's Something In My Eye" was Gone Home. I realized after I picked it that Life is Strange would probably be a better choice but then I thought Gone Home deserved some votes too as probably everyone else would pick the latter for this category.

    For "Just 5 more minutes" I went with Civilization V. It would have been VI but I haven't played it yet as I am waiting for further news if there will be a Linux port of it or not. :p

    For "I Thought This Game Was Cool Before It Won An Award" I think it was Morrowind. It was for either that category or "Villain Most in Need of a Hug". Either way, that was the game that made me see the potential of modding and what a good, well-built, sandboxy world could do. It has a pretty good villain too, with a motivation and a plan.

    For "Best Use Of A Farm Animal" I went with Crusader Kings II since if you have a ruler with the insane trait you can put your personal horse as one of your councillors.

    I really wish I could remember what I came up with for the last category as it was something that amused me (and probably no one else) but alas, I completely forgot it.

    1. I was already looking forward to your picks, because you tend to come up with these cool games that I haven't heard of. Gone Home must be one of those. Do you recommend it? I wasn't particularly sold on the graphics, but if the story is that good...

      I'd be very surprised if Civ doesn't win the "Just 5 more minutes" award. I would have voted for that, too, if I wouldn't have played ARK.

      The personal councillor horse made me laugh out loudly at my desk! That's just brilliant.

      Bit of a bummer that we can't look back at our nominations. Guess I'm lucky I made screenies before the nomination period was over.

    2. I do recommend Gone Home. It is a pretty short game and I like the story. Steam should have its winter sale soon so if it is on sale then you might want to buy it.

      Yeah, I won't be surprised if Civ wins on that category. I thought about trying to vote for something else but since Civ is pretty much the epitome of that syndrome it just didn't feel right for me to vote for something else.

      Yeah, it took me quite by surprise when that happened too. Even more so because councillors do add to the gameplay (and can be quite a pain to deal with too depending on what DLCs you have) so putting a horse as councillor does have its consequences. :)

      Other funny thing insane rulers can do are: enact a law banning pants (or other equally silly choices), thinking they are a werewolf and other stuff I forgot now. They can make for some very funny rulers even if not very popular among their subjects. :)

      I didn't even think about it making a good blog post so I didn't take any screenshots. Oh, well, if they do this next year I will be sure to take a screenshot of my choices.

    3. I put Gone Home on my Steam wishlist. I still have a lot of games to play before I get to it, but this way I will at least remember!

  2. "However, I still haven't finished the last chapters because I am so afraid (more) sad things will happen."

    I believe that you just described me. I've gotten too down over the tendency in SF&F novels these days to go in the direction of "grimdark" and "edgy" plotlines/worldbuilding, which typically means "kill off people and make the world more realistic". The thing is, if I wanted that much realism, I'd go watch the news.

    (I'm looking at you, G.R.R.M....)

    "If you know me, you know it's far more likely for me to start playing a game waaaay after everyone has hyped about it and already left (*cough* Guild Wars 2 *cough*) than the other way around."

    Maybe that's why we get along so well; I'm the same way. The more something gets hyped, the more resistant I am to jumping on board.

    1. What's G.R.R.M.? I totally agree with the sentiment, though. It's also why I don't like to watch horror movies and the likes, or movies that seem to revolve about super much violence. They just make me feel miserable. There are already enough *real* horrible things happening in the world, right? I know people like it, but personally I don't think I'll ever see the point.

      Haha, and yes, it's nice to know a like minded soul when it comes to hype resistance! It shows in your blog design as well, no nonsense. And you're one of the few people I know that play SWTOR and LOTRO both. *high five*

    2. George R.R. Martin. The author of Game of Thrones. And the guy who never met a character he didn't kill off (or try to).

      I can only imagine what a G.R.R.M. Romance novel would look like...

  3. HAHA! The crunchy chicks, oh man. The original Fable was such a trip when it came out. I used to max out the evil meter by beating my wife, the Grey Lady. Now I'm sitting here at work laughing at the idea of eating live chicks. How horrible.

    But, this was a good list! I haven't played most of these games, so my answers would've all been Dragon age, Dragon age, and Dragon age. I'm boring.

    1. Wooot, you know about the crunchy chicks! Thinking about that gave me this huge nostalgia vibe. Now I want to play Fable again. Which I probably shouldn't, because it's never as good as in your memory.

      I really wanted to include Dragon Age as well, but as you had to select gamesin the Steam store to nominate them (and DA is on Origin, not Steam) I couldn't. Only downside of the awards, for the rest I really liked that you could pick *anything*, not just preset games per category.


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