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Rage Quit - Game of the Year Editions

Who the hell called Dead Island Game of the Year?!

Here at PixlBit we try to report news and provide articles with as little bias as possible, but sometimes we just have to let loose and just let our true feelings be known on a particular subject.  It is in this spirit that we introduce “Rage Quit,” a new series that will see one of the PixlBit staffers go off without having to worry about the little things like common decency.

In this inaugural edition of The Rant, Jesse flips out on Game of the Year editions.  See how he really feels about these rereleases and then let your own thoughts be heard in the comments section below!

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The concept behind releasing multiple editions of a game doesn’t bother me.  In an age when DLC is practically expected, it’s nice to know you’ll be able to get it all on disc sometime down the line – and perhaps even at a cheaper price.  No, it’s not the concept that bothers me – it’s the grandstanding nature of a particular sect of rerelease.  It’s vile and narcissistic and it needs to stop.  I’m, of course, talking about the ubiquitous Game of the Year edition.

As I said, rereleases actually do make sense.  It’s a great way to pique the interests of fans who missed out on the initial release or don’t have the disposable income to first drop $60 on a game and then an additional $20 on additional content.  Publishers and developers do virtually nothing and reap the benefits from a surge in sales, while new players get extra content at a discounted rate.  It’s a win-win scenario in my book.

But when they call them “Game of the Year” editions my head begins to hurt – and that’s downright bullshit.

I’ve been railing against GOTY editions for quite some time, but the topic hit a boiling point with me when I heard that Dead Island was getting the GOTY treatment

Guess how I felt when I heard the news

My reaction?  I stared blankly at a wall for at least five minutes while I tried to wrap my fragile mind around the idea that a game that I, as well as other reputable gaming publications, had eviscerated in reviews.  It sold well enough and there are plenty of people out there that genuinely enjoyed the game – I don’t begrudge that – but I could only find a single site that had actually proclaimed it their Game of the Year. 

Is a single award enough for a company to release a Game of the Year edition, even when countless other sites and publications gave it to games like Skyrim or Portal 2?

Apparently.

So how does a game with a 71/100 average on Metacritic get to call itself Game of the Year?  It comes down to a simple lack of standards. 

Unlike the film industry, videogames do not have a definitive awards ceremony.  Hollywood has the Oscars and to a lesser degree the Golden Globes.  We have the Spike TV VGAs and a host of gaming blog sites and publications that all hold their own awards.  When a movie makes it to Blu-ray it can proclaim “Academy Award Winner – Best Picture” and we’ll know what that means.  We see Game of the Year Edition and we have to wonder, “according to whom?”

When a game that was labeled as one of the most disappointing games of the year by Wired Magazine, you have to feel a little incredulous when it starts to call itself Game of the Year.  There is literally nothing that keeps the publisher of any game from releasing a Game of the Year edition.  All they need is for someone, literally anyone to proclaim it the best game of the year and they can go ahead and slam it on the box. 

The decision to go this route is steeped in marketing.  That kind that is designed to take advantage of the uninitiated.  Those unfamiliar with the game or industry will take that proclamation as a badge of quality – even when it most certainly is not.  I’m not here to debate whether the game was any good or not, I’m here to decry the use of false advertising.

So many games have taken advantage of the GOTY moniker like this, that we have ceased to be impressed by it.  We all know that Skyrim will recieve a GOTY edition - I know people that skipped out on the initial release because they knew it was coming.  We knew Uncharted 3 and Batman: Arkham City would as well.  That’s three games of the year for 2011 in addition to Dead Island!

And what bugs me even more is that I would have no problem if they released the new version under a different name.  Mortal Kombat, of course, has its “Komplete” edition while Fallout New Vegas has its “Ultimate” edition.  These are two ways of getting across the same point – you are getting the definitive version of the game – without making a fundamentally false claim.

Until the industry comes up with some kind of standards to rule which games can be called Game of the Year, or we finally get our definitive annual awards show this will continue to be a problem and I will continue to be disgruntled and generally upset over it. 

Or at least until something else comes along.


 

Comments

Michael117

05/25/2012 at 02:45 PM

Preach it J-Bone! The Rant is a pretty cool new editorial, I like it. I turned my head to the side when I saw this news a few days ago or whenever it showed up.

At first I was A) Confused because the majority of reviews, like yours, railed the game. I was also confused because I didn't even know that Dead Island had DLC and enough content to make for a GOTY.

After that confusion passed I was actually B) Pissed, because I'm one of those people still waiting for a Skyrim Complete edition (and Skyrim is actually going to need one to bring all the patches and the two planned expansion packs together). So while I'm trying to stay zen and wait patiently for Bethesda to finish all their on-going patching, release their expansion packs this year, and get an Ultimate/Complete edition going, I end up seeing a crap game like Dead Island get the treatment first lol. Dead Island was a crap game, and it only came out like 2 months before Skyrim.

Games like Skyrim technically can use the GOTY title because they earned it from many outlets, but I still don't like that title. I didn't have a problem when earlier ES games did it (I own both the Morrowind and Oblivion GOTY editions), but I hate that title anymore. Even if the games deserve it I think they should just use different phrases. I finally realized I don't like the GOTY concept anymore once I saw Fallout New Vegas come out with the Ultimate Edition. Ultimate or Complete edition is so much more accurate and honest.

These days anybody can slap a GOTY title on there and toot their own horn and play their game up, and it's so annoying. It's like an elitist co-worker walking around calling himself Employee of the Year for no reason, even if there is no official Employee of the Year competition set up.

I don't want the Skyrim "GOTY" because it's "GOTY". I want that version of the game because it's "complete" (most accurate term) or "ultimate" (also accurate, but more dramatic). I want the full game, all the patches, all the expansion packs, in a cool newly designed case, and possibly at a lower price. It's the greatest deal ever, but the titles and names need to change. It's just annoying now.

Mike Wall Staff Alumnus

05/25/2012 at 02:49 PM

J-Bone lol, that's how your getting introduced in the next podcast Jessie.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

05/25/2012 at 02:57 PM

I was always keen on "Jammers" because it plays off my initials of JAM.

Michael117

05/25/2012 at 03:04 PM

I will continue bestowing J-Bone upon you, but Jammers is pretty good too, maybe even Doc-J. Makes me think more of a basketball superstar though, like if you played for the Harlem Globetrotters or American Gladiators I think Jammers or Doc-J would be a no brainer. Did they ever make an American Gladiators video game? That seems like a no brainer too.

(update) I mean seriously, imagine an American Gladiator game or even a Ninja Warrior game with some Mirror's Edge parkour or Condemned 2 hand to hand combat. No brainer.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/25/2012 at 03:37 PM

They've made an American Gladiators game for the NES, SNES, Genesis... Amiga, PC... and Blackberry?! lolz

Michael117

05/25/2012 at 03:43 PM

Ah, so the no brainer has obliviously been noticed by devs before lol.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/25/2012 at 03:57 PM

True, but not with your ideas.

Anonymous

07/12/2012 at 12:38 AM

honestly? stop you're fucking whining... who cares what they call it, as long as they get rereleased with the dlc??  i could care less what its called, i could care less who says what is game of the year and what isnt.. there's SOOOO MANY damn critics, websites, magazines, etc out there.. who really cares! 

i get my 2 main games each year.. Madden and Call of Duty.. everything else, i wait a year after the release and get the FULL game (with all dlc) for normally a cheaper price. Dead Island was one game i would NEVER pay $60 for, Skyrim was one that i WANTED to, but i KNEW it would be a GOTY, so i'll patiently wait the year.. New Vegas, another game I waited a year to play. Batman Arkham City, have yet to buy it because i'm simply waiting for the GOTY. Uncharted 3, i actually got with my new ps3 and dont give a shit about its dlc anyways, never played multiplayer with Uncharted, only played for the campaign.

So again.. stop your bitching, it really does NOT matter what they call the rereleases, again, AS LONG AS THEY RERELEASE THEM.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

07/12/2012 at 01:05 AM

You're bitching about the bitching...

Michael117

07/12/2012 at 01:38 PM

Sounds like you need some time in a corner to calm down, anonymous lurking sir, or lady (beauty of being anonymous, who knows?). If you're so opposed to honesty then you'll be fine with the way things are now anyways, so why complain? If all you care about is getting your GOTY editions with that very specific title, then you'll be happy to know that that's exactly how things operate and nobody is rocking the boat for you. I'm certainly not rocking the boat, the people sitting at the computer typing in the GOTY title during the box design aren't going to listen to me :)

The universe is as you hoped it would be! I believe it would be a simple and honest fix to change the titles of the versions from GOTY to Ultimate or Complete just like Fallout New Vegas did, but I don't know anything so why listen to me? It's not a huge deal or a blight afflicting gaming per se, but it's a simple thing that annoys some people.

XOXO anonymous sir, or lady

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

07/12/2012 at 02:21 PM

I wish to God I could favorite this.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

05/25/2012 at 04:25 PM

I blame this on Bethesda. Or is that Microsoft? Whoever decided to release Morrowind GOTY. That's when this thing happened, but I think that was at least tied into Official Xbox magazine. And I agree-I'm all for these releases with proper naming conventions. I own two versions of Dragon Age Origins because I wanted the DLC on disc.

Anonymous

05/25/2012 at 05:08 PM

what a pile of crap, they called it that because that's the best way they've found to make people aware that the new edition has additional material because that's what GOTY editions do, and in this case in particular there's already an special edition of this game so they need to separate it from that one

os this so hard to understand?

Nick DiMola Director

05/25/2012 at 05:31 PM

Perhaps you should RTFA.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

05/25/2012 at 05:57 PM

I don't want to answer for Jesse, but the sticking point is the nomenclature. I think all of us here enjoy the idea of games getting price drops with all the add-on content for late adopters. But calling something the "game of the year" when there's so many outlets can be misleading to consumers, especially for a game that was all over the place critically. Calling it the complete edition or something along those lines is much better in my opinion.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

05/25/2012 at 08:05 PM

I share Jesse's opinion. When I first heard of this, I was confused that they really put this game in the same category as games like Batman:AC and Uncharted 3. Not that I think Dead Island is bad, but they could have easily called it something else, perhaps Dead Island: Complete Edition or something like that. 

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