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The RPS Alternative Game Awards Awards

We had this idea a month ago and I can prove it

I wasn't on call last night, so I didn't get to experience The Geoffies in their full, live glory, as God intended. But that doesn't matter, because we've done our own awards, and who needs a live show with a smiley man in clean, clean trainers when you've got a list of the games and things in games that we liked for reasons too specific to get a category on stage? Also, none of them are Elden Ring.

Remember, if anyone asks, I've got emails of us talking about this internally going back weeks. Why, I've been working on that title art alone for several days, at least!


CUTEST VERMIN:
The Cycle: Frontier

A Leafman creature on the ground in The Cycle: Frontier.

Ollie: Life on Fortuna III - the setting of excellent extraction shooter The Cycle: Frontier - is a very harsh time. Almost everything that runs, crawls, and skitters across its vibrant landscapes wants to kill you. Even those that don't are worth avoiding; flocks of birds will scatter at your approach, alerting your whereabouts to nearby enemies. All this faunal menace only elevates my appreciation of the Leafman - a harmless, dignified little critter that crops up all over the landscape and occasionally showers you with love hearts when you approach them.

This innocuous orange leaf-like creature is, in the lore of The Cycle: Frontier, treated as vermin. Which is a great shame, because they're just about the only pleasant form of life on the planet. They won't run from you or attack you, and you can't harm them in any way either. They look a bit like if you took just the cranial crest of a parasaurolophus - one of my favourite dinos - and gave it a bunch of beady little eyes and two spindly legs to hop around on. That may sound nightmarish, but somehow they end up being really rather adorable. Finding a Leafman is a balm in an otherwise stress-filled match, and finding one that poofs out love hearts at your approach makes me feel that warm and cuddly "I've been chosen!" feeling of when a cat chooses you to jump up onto and snuggle down with.


BEST FOREARM DEFINITION:
Gotham Knights

Red Hood fires off a shot as an explosion goes off behind him.

Ed: I didn't like Gotham Knights very much. But one thing that blew me away was Red Hood's forearm definition. Seriously, the size of them. There's a scene where the man's cutting carrots and the sheer force with which he cuts them is staggering.


STUPIDEST CAUSE OF DEATH:
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander

A custom spaceship in Cosmoteer, firing a giant massive laser

Ollie: Cosmoteer is a game where an awful lot of things can happen very unexpectedly. Your custom-built spacecraft can seem invincible until it meets a ship that's one step higher on the invincibility ladder. Your asteroid mining expedition might seem perfectly straightforward until you're set upon by pirates. Your shipboard fire extinguisher might seem flame-retardant until... You get the idea.

By far the most unexpected incident that's befallen my crew so far was epically Darwinian in nature. I was as safe as safe could be, parked next to a massive allied space station doing a bit of shopping. I'd just finished expanding my ship's crew capacity, so thinking nothing of the matter I hired 12 new crew members, and then engaged thrusters and set off towards my next destination - completely forgetting that my new crew members didn't magically teleport aboard my ship the moment I'd bought them, as I'd been taught to expect by games. Instead they were still on the space station. I could see them moving about in real-time, speeding towards the nearest airlock hatch to reach their new site of employment. But my ship - appropriately named "Foresight" - was already hurtling away from them at the speed of apathy.

The crew members kept up a relentless pursuit in their rocket-powered spacesuits for several hundred kilometers, but to no avail. Not one of them thought to turn back and arrive safely at the space station - orders are orders, after all - and so one by one, my new crew ran out of oxygen and died. All before I realised what had happened. Absolutely the stupidest cause of death I've experienced in a game this year.


GAME THAT REVEALED SOMETHING SHAMEFUL ABOUT MYSELF:
Two Point Campus

An aerial shot of a sporting university in Two Point Campus.

Liam: I really liked Two Point Campus, the latest management sim from Bullfrog alumni Two Point Studios. Like its hospital-based predecessor, the game is all about noodling around with rooms to keep your virtual peeps happy and fulfilled. And yet, despite the game’s relaxing vibe, Two Point Campus made me realise something that shook me to my very core, leading to a period of self reflection so personal I’m ashamed to even admit it. But I will. Because. Content, innit?

An important element of Two Point Campus is making sure your students have somewhere to sleep. At first, you’ll make dorm rooms reflect real life university accommodation because you’re a normal person and you assume a bunch of 18 year olds would appreciate their own space. But as funds begin to dry up, you quickly become aware that Campus doesn’t have any systems in place to discern between beautifully designed living spaces and warehouses full of beds, all positioned neatly into rows. In fact, Campus prefers you to structure your dorms like this, as individual rooms are given ratings based on the number of objects placed within them. By level two, I was choosing to build the most unhinged living spaces imaginable, forcing 40 young adults to sleep within the same room together. They all shared one wardrobe. Toilets were located on the other side of the campus. The worst part? 80 students attended my Uni, but the game was more than happy for two people to share a bed. I chose cost and efficiency over personal comfort, a move so devoid of empathy I can only assume I’m now qualified to run an actual British University.


BEST GAME LIAM AND I PLAYED WHILE WAITING IN THE OVERWATCH 2 LOGIN QUEUE:
Battleship

A photo of a desk with two PC monitors: one on the left queuing for Overwatch 2, the other playing a game of Battleship

Ed: Whenever any online game launches with matchmaking, you can expect it to shit the bed almost immediately. Overwatch 2 did precisely that when Liam and I tried to login and then quickly realised we were stuck in a queue with several thousand other people. So, in a vain effort to stem the agony, Liam sent me a link to a website which lets you play board games with people online. Honestly, the speed at which he did this felt to me like a reflexive action, sort of like delivering tired CPR to a gamer who'd collapsed at their keyboard. Had he done this before? Quite possibly.

There we were, just two lads waiting in a queue to play a game we didn't really want to play... so we tried playing chess instead. But a bit heavy for us, was chess, so we forged onwards to Battleship! A game I'd somehow never played before! And there we were, having a proper giggle. Just like, clicking on random squares and going, "damn", when the ship wasn't positioned in that particular square but in another one altogether (a thrill).

In the end I got into Overwatch 2 and I think Liam did too, but then after a while he disconnected. Battleships was good, though.


BEST USE OF A BUNCH OF BEES:
I Commissioned Some Bees

A giant, landscape-sized squid with a head covered in trees and hills in hidden item indie game I Commissioned Some Bees

Alice Bee: Bee by name, bee by nature. And similarly, this game does exactly what it says on the tin. Alice0 gave a shout out to the I Commissioned Some Bees series back when the second game came out, and at time of writing it ran to ten different standard ICSB games, plus a special themed advent version. You can buy them all invididually for very cheap, or the whole lot for still pretty cheap. Then you just sit back, and find some bees. Each level (and there are ten in each game) is the creation of a different artistL a surreal moonscape, a fantasy town, a bunch of different animals all squished together, a messy heap of robots. And amongst them are bees. Tiny little bees. Find all the bees. Buzz buzz.


BEST USE OF MY V-BUCKS IN FORNITE'S CURSED IN-GAME STORE:
The Crab Dance

Ed: Yes, I've spent actual real money in Fortnite's in-game store. I like to think that I've been peer-pressured into doing so, because my friends keep joining my lobby and showing off their latest wares. One is currently playing as "Princess Fishstick", an anthropomorphic goldfish that looks more like a aquatic satsuma with legs. Another is famous YouTube Ali-A, whose has perfected the art of the thumbnail; scroll through his channel and bear witness. Even England's star striker Harry Kane has joined my squad.

As I was feeling a little left out, I bought myself the "Crab Dance", Fortnite's unashamed rip of Crab Rave. This means that as Agent Peely (an anthropomorphic banana dressed as James Bond but with skinny fit trousers on) I can bust some moves like the internet's favourite EDM colony. I am one of The Boys now and it rules.


BEST GAME WHERE IT'S POSSIBLE TO HAVE EVERY CHARACTER ON SCREEN BE BRUCE CAMPBELL:
Evil Dead: The Game

The player selection screen from Evil Dead: The Game, with Ash Williams (Army of Darkness) selected by a Survivor player.

Rebecca: The makers of Evil Dead: The Game were able to get the majority of the original actors from the movies and TV series to reprise their roles, and you have to admire how much they took full advantage of that achievement. But to really flag to the player that Bruce Campbell's Ash will always be the iconic linchpin of the series, they needed to go one step further. The solution was right there: make it so that you can play a whole match without ever having to set eyes upon a character who isn't portrayed by Bruce Campbell.

It takes a little coordination with your mates to make this happen — or else just a happy accident in matchmaking — but a version of Ash is playable in every character class. So it's entirely possible to have cynical middle-aged Ash from Ash Vs Evil Dead leading a party with time-traveller Ash from Army Of Darkness as the tanky warrior, quick-thinking Evil Dead 2-era Ash as the ranged hunter, and baby-faced Ash from the original movie in the support role. Face them off against Evil Ash, the player-controlled boss of the Necromancer demon faction, and you've got yourself an Ash-fest of unparalleled proportions. Groovy.


For more of the latest news and trailers, check out our Game Awards 2022 hub. We also live-blogged the show as it happened right here.

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Hivemind

The all-seeing eye of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the voice of many-as-one.

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