The 2011 Grimmys: BFG Award

The Grimmys

Where the hell did you come from? Seriously, you didn’t have to go that far, but we’re glad you did. Thanks for blowing our minds a bit.

The Nominees

Shadows of the Damned – People who have played Shadows of the Damned won’t shut up about it, which has got to be irritating as, well…hell, to EA, who abandoned it to languish in completely-unpromoted-game-land. It’s what other sophomoric games strive to be: violent, dark, brutal and full of dick jokes that are actually funny. (Your gun is named “Johnson,” and he’s British.) Sure, there’s a generic plot-line, but the light/dark battles that slowly drain your health, Johnson’s ability to morph between weapon types and the ever-changing enemy types combined with a pervasive sense of dread mixed with humor made Shadows of the Damned stand out in a way that just made EA’s PR abandonment of Goichi “Suda 51” Suda and Shinji Mikami’s game all that more galling.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Take a well-loved and critically acclaimed game and let it sit on the shelf for a decade, watch someone try and continue the franchise and fall firmly on their face, wait patiently for another 6 or 7 years and pick it up and turn out a game that avoids comparison to the mediocre sequel and invites serious praise on the level of the series’ progenitor. If you legitimately think you could pull that off, you probably already work for IonStorm or Eidos-Montreal and weren’t phased by following up the awesomeness known as Deus Ex. Where sequels to groundbreaking games have so often failed miserably, Deus Ex: Human Revolution excelled.

Grimmy WinnerSkylanders: Spyro’s Adventure – Spyro and his pals had a tough sell to jaded gamers. Looking in from the outside on what would seem to be Activision’s wet dream come to life should have been enough to turn a few sneers. Instead, we found ourselves fascinated by our own childhood fantasies of bringing our favorite action figures to video game life. Skylanders is a dramatic sales success that is taking kids and collectors by storm. Buy as many toys as you can find and level them up in the video game on your platform of choice. And hey, guess what! The video game isn’t bad either.

Saints Row: The Third – It is hard to trust over-the-top marketing campaigns these days, especially the ones that know they are trying too hard to be over-the-top. The Saints Row series has a solid enough genre platform to build off of that would have attracted enough sandbox gamers to get by. but the Saints weren’t happy with just being another game, they lured gamers in with promises of one of the most ridiculous game experiences ever. That doesn’t leave much room for surprises when you set the bar that high, but the Saints maniacally meet that bar and then tell the gamer that the game is only half over.

Rayman Origins – A full priced 2D platformer is not only a tough sell to consumers in 2011, but it is almost a miracle it was sold to a publisher outside of Nintendo. Rayman Origins doesn’t care what year it is as it is easily the most carefree experience around. Then, Rayman decided to go ahead and be one of the best looking games of the year, have amazing co-op, memorable music, and have the ability to be played and enjoyed by any gamer while challenging all of them by the final level.

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