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The end of the year is always an exciting time for video game discussions. It’s when we look back on all that we’ve played and try to determine which games were our favorites. And now that the nominees for the 2020 Game Awards have been officially announced, debates over the coveted “Game of the Year” are in full swing.

Just yesterday, Geoff Keighley, producer and host of The Game Awards, revealed all the nominees for this year’s upcoming show. There are 24 game categories up for awards in total, all of which can be found on the official Game Awards website.

For the most part, I’d say that the nominees chosen are pretty deserving, and when compared to last year, the competition this time around is a lot more fierce. 2020 was chock-full of major video game releases, a majority of which are represented here in some fashion. The two most interesting categories to discuss however have got to be, of course, Game of the Year, but also Best Multiplayer.

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The Game of the Year Nominees:
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Doom Eternal
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hades
  • The Last of Us Part II
Are These Nominees Worthy Game of the Year Candidates?

In what seems like the first time in recent memory, I think all six games nominated have a decently equal shot of winning. A few of the nominees come as no surprise, such as Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last of Us Part II, and Ghost of Tsushima. The former two are games that have been anticipated for so long that they were always gonna be contenders for Game of the Year. Both just have such a large following that there was no universe in which they weren’t nominated. As for Ghost of Tsushima, the game was so universally well-reviewed that it seemed like a very obvious and safe pick as well.

Truthfully, the only game on the list that I didn’t think would be nominated was Doom Eternal. I felt the first-person shooter kind of just came and went, but in retrospect its inclusion makes sense. Doom as a franchise certainly has a legacy to it and that alone sort of warrants some recognition.

Coming in as the underdog of the nominees, Hades was certainly a much-appreciated addition. It’s always great to see indie titles get their time in the spotlight, and I can name very few games this year more worthy than Supergiant’s Hades. Even if it doesn’t end up on top, the fact that it’s right alongside the likes of The Last of Us Part II is an accomplishment in its own right.

Finally, our last nominee is the near 30 million copies seller itself: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Say what you will about the game, but it’s undeniable that New Horizons was a smashing success. Its impact and reach went way beyond anyone could have predicted. People that haven’t touched a video game console in decades bought a Nintendo Switch to play this game. It ushered in an entirely new wave of Animal Crossing fans, and its community is still going strong 8 months in. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the largest gaming phenomenons in years, and it wouldn’t be a Game of the Year debate without it.

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Best Multiplayer Game Nominees
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Among Us
  • Call of Duty: Warzone
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • VALORANT
The Battle of 2020’s Hit Multiplayer Crazes

If you’re someone who regularly follows gaming trends, you’ll probably know that this year was full of hit multiplayer titles. There was of course the aforementioned Animal Crossing, which does offer an alright multiplayer experience all things considered. However, I think most people can agree that the real competition here is between Among Us and Fall Guys. Fall Guys was an instant hit upon its release in August, and Among Us rose in popularity shortly after. Both have dominated Twitch and YouTube, and are many people’s go-to games to play with friends. The two still have their own dedicated player base, so it’ll be interesting to see which one comes out victorious.

Honorable Mentions & Final Takeaway 

Despite all that went down this year, 2020 was a pretty exceptional time for video games.  I only really focused on just two categories, but there are so many other great games that got nominated for different awards as well. Some of which include: Persona 5 Royal, Genshin Impact, If Found… and so much more.

While The Game Awards’ nominations do spark interesting conversations, I think it’s also important to remember that winning isn’t everything. Video games for the most part are subjective. What games you think were the best of the year is due in large part to your own personal preferences. If you don’t like first-person shooters, you probably won’t agree with Doom Eternal winning Game of the Year.

The Game Awards isn’t a definitive metric of which games are good and which ones aren’t. The Game Awards is meant to be a celebration of the video game industry as a whole, regardless of who the “winners” are. So if your favorite game doesn’t get any rewards, don’t put too much thought into it.

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