Tim: Welcome to the PC Invasion Alternative PC Game Awards 2015, where we dish out a dizzying array of truly bizarre awards.
We don’t go in for “Game of the Year” stuff here, because inevitably, there’s quite a lot of subjectivity involved – and I’m not sure what criteria you’d use to determine how, say, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt stacks up against Rocket League. We all have our individual own picks for games we thoroughly enjoyed (which you can read about here for Peter, here for Paul, and here for me), but we do like to lampoon the usual “Best RPG” and “Best Action-Adventure” stuff with our own categories, too.
The games, events, and companies listed here might be present for a variety of reasons. There might be something great that we want to champion. There might be something awful that we want to poke with a stick. There might be something so mind-bogglingly bizarre or hilarious we want to point it out. Most games you’ll see in these awards are present because we see some value in them, but the main point of these awards, I suppose, are to look back at the year with a smile and a cheeky wink.
There are a few more serious ones in here, but if you ever wanted to know what game from 2015 is the “Game Most Likely To Induce Melissophobia”, or which game has the “Best Excuse For Fighting Rats At A Low Level”, these are the awards for you.
With that introduction out of the way, let’s kick it off with an award that will probably sum up this particular awards ceremony in six little words:
Most Unexpected Hardcore Gay Sex Scene: Lucius 2
Tim: So you’re the son of the devil, and you’re in a hospital, and you’re going around unleashing demonic powers and dropping people down elevator shafts and firing nailguns at people and putting acid into sprinkler systems and generally being a tiny murderchild doing tiny murderchild things. Then you wander into a toilet, and there are, uh, two guys in there. Going at it. And they seem very unperturbed by the small child wandering in to watch. I mean, they didn’t seem to mind at all, or even pause mid-thrust.
I have literally no idea why this is present, and yet – in an incredibly wonky game full of unlikely physics and very silly murders, which nonetheless purports to be, essentially, a The Omen simulator – it’s the one thing that sticks in my mind. Well, that, and that there are characters with names like “Willie Stroker.” I can’t help but feel that this sort of utter absurdity is what our Alternative Awards were made to applaud and/or laugh at.
Best Game Awards Show: Everything that’s not The Game Awards
Tim: Seriously. Putting DLC for a 2014 game in the Best Multiplayer Category? Putting one game that’s in technical alpha and one that’s being permanently shut down in the Best Fighting Game category? Are you joking?
Paul: You said it, Tim. Unfortunately, we have to endure this every year just in case there are game reveals. Speaking of …
Most Misleadingly Named Marketing Exercise: The Game Awards
Tim: If you give more screen time to trailers and discussions about how great Star Wars: Battlefront is than you do to actually giving awards to games – with several dished out off camera, or during advertising breaks – then you probably want to rethink calling your show “The Game Awards”, because you clearly don’t give half a shit about actually giving awards to games. Just call it what it is: “Stuff That Companies Want To Announce Before Next Year’s E3.” Or possibly “Ooh, Look At My Trailer”, although that sounds a bit like a Carry On film based around a movie set.
Thinking about it, though, I’m maybe being a little unfair. Awards weren’t dished out during advertising breaks. The awards were basically the breaks in between the advertising.
Peter: Coming up after the break on Oscars Night 2016, 18 seconds of footage and the world premiere of a logo from the next Martin Scorsese film! You absolutely won’t want to miss that. Oh, and Inside Out won Best Animation or whatever.
Best Game Tim Was Wrong About: Fallout 4
Tim: I’m totally wrong about Fallout 4, and it’s a terrible game and it’s horrible on PC and it’s clearly a 1/10 and it’s rubbish. Boo for me.
Paul: Yes, you got it completely wrong, Tim. It’s bloody terrible. That’s why I keep playing it.
Best Game Tim Was Right About: Fallout 4
Tim: Fortunately, I’m also right about Fallout 4, because it’s an entertaining game that’s perfectly playable on PC and plenty of people seem to be having a pretty good time with it. Hooray for me.
Paul: Just make your damn mind up!
Tim: I did! There’s a review, and everything.
Best Pay-To-Win DLC: Frozen Cortex’s Pay-To-Lose DLC
Tim: Pay-to-win DLC is one of the most depressing practices that’s popped up in recent years, because demanding extra money for an edge in a game is a concept that sounds so absurdly greedy – and is so against the fundamental ideals of good game design – it frankly boggles the mind that it exists. Until you realise that the industry is largely about cash, anyway, and then you just get depressed/angry/resigned to it.
Step right up, then, Frozen Cortex, for releasing Pay-To-Lose DLC. This little £0.79 beauty unlocks an armour set which lowers the stats of your robotic team in Mode 7’s turn-based tactical take on future sports. There is literally no incentive to buy it unless you want to support Mode 7 with a bit of extra cash, handicap yourself against newer players, or humiliate someone by trouncing them while wearing it – all of which are things that I’m not desperately unhappy about. Well done, Mode 7, for this pointed and amusing take on one of the most farcical practices of recent years.
Most Risible Failure to Appease the PC Community: Batman: Arkham Knight
Tim: Yeeeah, this couldn’t really have been anything else. Warner released Batman: Arkham Knight in such a sad state that they were forced to pull it (although part of me wonders if it was damage control, because several of their other recent launches had also had crappy ports). Months later, they re-released it… and it was still broken. But that’s okay, because you get the rest of the Arkham games for free as a consolation! All of which – except for Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – you probably already have, because they’ve been discounted to about £3 multiple times in the past few years. If you’re buying Arkham Knight, you’re probably a fan of the Arkham franchise, no?
Paul: The damage had been done after it was quickly pulled for its dreadful PC performance. Not everyone was happy and perhaps they should have acted quicker with their “bonuses”. The longer it was broken the more laughable the whole situation became. Most gamers who bought Arkham Knight probably already had the other games so if that was the case it was a bit of a fail.
Most Honourable Attempt to Appease the PC Community: Batman: Arkham Knight
Tim: With the above said, I have to give Warner some serious props for allowing refunds right up until the end of 2015, no questions asked. You can have bought the game, experienced no bugs or slowdown, finished it, and then asked for your money back – and you’d have got it. Broken or not, I can’t think of many other companies that would actually have allowed this, and I can’t help but respect them for that decision.
Paul: Let’s face it, Rocksteady and Warner didn’t have anywhere else to go with this broken game. Still, a good attempt to keep purchasers of a broken game reasonably happy.
Best Football Game: Rocket League
Peter: Well it wasn’t going to be the PC version of PES 2016, that’s for sure. Rocket League is not just a great football game – forcing players to accept and adopt the team-work fundamentals of the sport (um, except with cars) – but also the year’s most cunning. A lot of people playing it probably weren’t even aware they were enjoying a football game. But you were! All of you! You love football now! Go and buy a scarf and start talking about inverted wing-backs!
Tim: An inverted wing-back sounds like some sort of horrible affliction suffered by birds. Is this a Hatoful Boyfriend thing?
Paul: I’m just over the moon (Brian) that we don’t have to give this award to another FIFA game.
Tim has been playing PC games for longer than he’s willing to admit. He’s written for a number of publications, but has been with PC Invasion – in all its various incarnations – for over a decade. When not writing things about games, Tim can occasionally be found speedrunning some really terrible ones, making people angry in Dota 2, or playing something obscure and random. He’s also weirdly proud of his status as (probably) the Isle of Man’s only professional games journalist.