Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vidfest 08: PopVox Award Winners Rocketmen Axis of Evil, N+
Nick Waanders Slick Entertainment.

Homegrown gaming gets recognized

At last week's PopVox awards, two local videogame studios were recognized for their efforts in game development in the categories of Best Game for Console/PC, and Best Casual Game. Slick Entertainment, and Metanet Software took away the award for Best Game Console/PC for their title N+, which is available on the XBLA platform, while the Best Casual Game award went to Acronym Games for their Rocketmen: Axis of Evil, which was also released on the XBLA online distribution service.

When you think about the other games in the Best Game Console/PC category which included Queasy Games Everyday Shooter, and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed, you have to wonder exactly how these smaller lesser known games (N+, Rocketmen) managed to beat out the more established titles that have been around much longer and have garnered more praise from gamers, and critics than all the PopVox award winners combined. PopVox (from vox populi – L. voice of the people) claims to give the power to the people by giving them the chance to determine the winners by casting their votes, but something tells me there's a bit of a hidden agenda behind the scenes. (That, or the entire voting system is screwed up). This is after all, the Vancouver International Digital Festival, presented by none other than New Media BC. So when you have a local event with local submissions, it would be in their best interest to highlight the local industry and it's talent. Right?

I'm not saying the winners aren't deserving of the award, N+, and Rocketmen are good games, but they definitely aren't creme de la creme when stacked up against such blockbuster titles like Assassin's Creed. Now that I think it of, perhaps PopVox should rethink it's categories. Typically downloadable titles on the XBLA or Playstation Network, would be considered 'Casual Games', so a category for 'Best Downloadable Game' would make sense. N+ and Rocketmen would fall under that. Yet there are Casual games that aren't necessarily downloadable, so keeping the "Best Casual Game" category would work too. That way you could avoid mixing big console games, with smaller downloadable titles. N+ beating out Assassin's Creed still makes me laugh.

As I sat in the audience during the award show, I wasn't at all surprised that the awards soon became predictable. "Wow! Another winner from Vancouver!"

To see the other award winners check out popvoxawards

Related: PopVox - CellMap, PopVox - Local Gaming Gets Recognized, Vidfest 08 Summary

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