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Obvious Game BAFTA Noms Announced

We don’t have Oscars in the UK. Instead, all the major film directors gather on a hillside in Gloucestershire, and roll enormous wheels of cheese towards the fields below. The director who concusses the most cows (or sheep, but they’re only worth half a point) with his cheese wins a BAFTA. Who can forget the scandal in 2006, when Martin Scorsese knocked out an unprecedented 13 bullocks, but was later disqualified when judges discovered he’d rubbed a particularly drowsy brand of cough medicine into the rind of his Red Leicester? The relatively new game-centric BAFTA competition, however, uses a far less conventional form of judging known as ‘voting.’ How curious. The nominations are in, and they’re a surprising, thrilling roster of snnndszzzzzn. Grummfwhut? Oh, sorry, I fell asleep there.

The list is below. Very little in the way of PC games there and, quite frankly, very little that isn’t A Heavily-Hyped Console Game That Sold Really Well Around Christmas either. In fact, it goes to great lengths to ensure every Heavily-Hyped Console Game That Sold Really Well Around Christmas gets at least one nomination, but indie and B-list doesn’t get a look in. Which is a shame. Big awards ceremonies are by nature rich-get-richer affairs, but you can’t help but hope one of ’em will be interested in thoughtful outliers once in a while, purely for diversity’s sake.

I mean, ‘Artistic Achievement – Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2’? Come on, be sensible! Give it best action game, give it best game if you absolutely must (and inevitably will), but just because it’s a successful, respected action game that all the judges have played doesn’t mean it has to be nominated for every single sodding category going. Is there no way Artistic Achievement could have been filled with pretty, strange, different things instead of the same clutch of high-budget action games? The token inclusion of Flower doesn’t help. I’m amazed that seeing the same four names crop up again and again doesn’t make someone think “hang on – are we really covering the length and breadth of videogaming in 2009 adequately here?” The inevitable perils of relative democracy, I suppose. It has ever been thus, and I’m a damned fool to naively hope for more variety from such things.

I suspect MW2 will be the trophy-snagger across the board (bar story, which, by a miracle of reason, it doesn’t seem to have been nomimated for), but there’s a chance Arkham Asylum could do well – and it’s the repeat-nomination I’d be most comfortable with being put on this particular pedestal too. It found some enormously clever ways to lift a stagnant sub-genre into new glory – a rare instance of putting the mechanics ahead of the gloss, and the end result was probably the best superhero action game you could name. Left 4 Dead is a worthy enough winner in several of its fields too, much as it didn’t hold my attention for long.

PC gamers – ooh, that’s you! – should probably be most rooting for Dragon Age in the Story category and Plants vs Zombies in the amusingly confused gaggle that is Strategy. Other than that, hmm.

Action

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
inFAMOUS
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Artistic Achievement

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Flower
Streetfighter IV
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Best Game

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
FIFA 10
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Family & Social

The Beatles: Rock Band
Buzz! Quiz World
EyePet
Guitar Hero 5
New Super Mario Bros Wii
Wii Sports Resort

Gameplay

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
New Super Mario Bros Wii
PixelJunk Shooter
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Multiplayer

Battlefield 1943
The Beatles: Rock Band
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Halo 3 ODST
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Original Score

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
PixelJunk Shooter
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Sports

Colin McRae: DiRT 2
FIFA 10
Football Manager 2010
Forza 3
Wii Fit Plus
Wii Sports Resort

Story

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Broken Sword – Shadow of the Templars: The Director’s Cut
Brutal Legend
Dragon Age: Origins
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Strategy

Command and Conquer 3: Uprising
Empire: Total War
FIFA Manager 10
Football Manager 2010
Halo Wars
Plants vs Zombies

Use of Audio

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
DJ Hero
Flower
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Use of Online

Battlefield 1943
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
FIFA 10
LIttleBigPlanet (PSP)
Singstar TakeThat
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

BAFTA Ones To Watch Award in association with Dare to Be Digital

Colour Coded
Murray Sinclair, Faye Wright, Liam Wong, Sean Donnelly, Nnanna Kama
(PixelPirates)
Quick as Thieves
William Wright, Michael Doig, Andrew Knight, Jamie MacKinnon, Lee Cresswell
(Gentleman of Fortune)
Shrunk!
Vykintas Kazdailis, Andrew Macdonald, Michael Cummings, Jacek Wernikowski, Stuart Kemp
(The Butterflyers)

GAME Award of 2009
(The only award to be voted for by the public)

Assassin’s Creed II
Batman Arkham Asylum
The Beatles: Rockband
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
FIFA 10
GTA China Town Wars
Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks
Street Fighter IV
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Wii Sports Resort

Dave Tosser says:[urrrk . Huurk.] What? Noooo… Let me die, dieeee…. [gnnf.] It is only right that financially successful games are rewarded for being financially successful. How else would we ever know [gurrrgle] that they’d been financially successful? To nominate less financially successful games would only deprive financially successful games of more financial success, which would be immoral. [hurrrk]. Don’t wake me. Let me sleeeeep. And tell my wife I said ‘hello.’

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