Editorial: Why TGA 2021 Was “eh…”

The Pandemic Strikes Again

The Game Awards for 2021 have come and gone and the postmortem has begun. I came across a poll that was provided by IGN asking their audience what they thought of the proceedings this year. The concensus there was that the awards were pretty middle of the road.

We already know that the last year of pandemic anarchy has taken its toll on the gaming industry. Development of games has been hobbled or halted for months. Games that might have been set to release this year or get their first announcements have been delayed. Developers scrambled to find ways to work from home and make due when colleages became sick or became caregivers to those that were. Terrible times for everyone to be sure.

But somehow some games came through anyway. Many were not blockbuster “Tripple-A” games, but many were poished small experiences that focused on the human condition, or gave us a few hours of escapism. They weren’t console sellers or fodder for the PC master race, but they shined in their own unique way. Simply looking at this years game of the year is evidence of this.

“It Takes Two” won game of the year because of its innovative mandatory multiplayer gameplay and insight into a struggling marriage. It won’t blow you away with its graphical fidelity, but it has a diarama design that is detailed and vibrant. The mandatory muliplayer aspect of the game mirrors the cooperation that the in-game couple must navigate in order to progress and become closer to eachother. It’s a bite-sized game that makes it’s point.

Runner-ups were mostly your run-of-the-mill games with the exception of fan darlings like Nintendo’s Metroid: Dread and Xbox’s Psychonaughts 2. It’s not that the winner was extremely exceptional, more that it out-innovated its competition. And I think that is why gamers are so ho-hum about TGA this year.

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