The year 2013 has been huge for gaming. We got sequels, originals, remakes, revamps, and everything in between. In fact, this year has been one of the most debated since the beginning of Front Towards Gamer – so much came out, and so much deserves recognition.
To manage the sheer amount of awards we have to give this year, the 2013 Golden Claymore Awards are being spread out over the course of seven days. It’s day two, and here are today’s awards.
Best Demo – The Stanley Parable
Demos are hard. There’s so much weighing on that piece of game to impress the curious users, that it’s almost not worth it. Should we piece off this section or another? For how long? Should we shut off cut scenes? Should we just make something new?
Galactic Cafe took the hard road. They didn’t have to make a half hour’s worth of new (free!) content, but they did and were rewarded handsomely for it. However, The Stanley Parable demo wins not just for sake of segregated content: it’s a distilled version of the main game. You’re playing behind the scenes of the Stanley Parable set, yet the accompanying themes of the unreliable narrator, branching pathways, and meta narrative persist. Truly, the preamble to The Stanley Parable elevates what developers can (yet certainly avoided because of “wasted” resources) do with demos.
– Robert Beach, News Editor
Most Evil Villain – Zachary Comstock (Bioshock: Infinite)
Zachary Comstock in Bioshock: Infinite is an ultimately confusing villain – one never properly gets to meet him until the very end. Before this, he’s just this terrifyingly evil monolith always in the distance, speaking words of such convention and force that – however hateful they may be – give the impression that a real human being has actually considered these words and decided to take this viewpoint. He is “evil” not because a story writer says that he is, but because a soldier with PTSD embraced religion to such an extent as to gradually become self-important through his supposed connection with God. The fact that he steals (or kills, in some instances) babies doesn’t help his persona, either.
– Sam Eskenazi, Associate Editor
Scariest Horror Game – Outlast
You come across the longest corridor imaginable, armed only with your night vision camera. The problem is that you are low on batteries for said camera, and a hulk of a guy wielding a machete is pacing back and forth trying to find you. Easily the scariest game of 2013, Outlast takes you into an area of unspeakable horrors and surprises around every corner, even with some “What the heck did I just see?” moments. The game is scary beyond all scary games released this year, and to no surprise. This is a game you must play with the lights turned off and the sound cranked up.
– Brandon Parker, Associate Editor
Best Ending – Bioshock: Infinite
I heard on a podcast someone describe the ending of Bioshock: Infinite in a better way than I ever could: “Bioshock: Infinite’s ending is where the discussion begins.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. The ending of Bioshock: Infinite might as well been the ending of a really good Twilight Zone episode, making you rethink everything you experienced, from the initial rowing into the lighthouse to the various jumps between dimensions you experience throughout the entirety of the game. Going back and replaying it was almost a requirement once you finished the game. Much like the Twilight Zone pilot “Where is Everybody,” you start looking for little clue in the background of everything that you’re seeing. Go back and replay Bioshock: Infinite if you haven’t already – I’m sure you’ll notice something weird about the two fishermen rowing you into port.
– Quinn Sullivan, Contributing Editor
Best Musical Moment(s) – Saints Row IV
Epic orchestras and swaying synths can only go so far. What really makes a soundtrack is how it impacted the game, contributed to the experience, added gravitas and grandeur when needed, and complimented the tone. Factor in licensed tracks, as they need to have purpose, a place to add to the game rather just be there for cool’s sake. No other game placed a higher importance on this than Saints Row IV. Reuniting and recounting the events of Saints Row: The Third with Johnny Gat inside one of Professor Genki’s courses while Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” plays hits the nail right on the head. Your bud returns to the living for some quality time, and you’re damn right to cop a smile at the bro-mance. Then you remember that it’s just a side mission.
– Robert Beach, News Editor