2010 Spike Video Game Awards Nominations & Predictions

Tomorrow night is Spike TV’s annual Video Game Awards show. Since 2003, Spike has given the public the ability to vote for top their video games of the year. While it is often the target of criticism as it’s a glorified popularity contest, it is the starting point of the video game awards season. So let’s take a look at this year’s VGA nominees and take a stab at who should win the awards and who will win the awards.

Game of the Year
Call of Duty: Black Ops
God of War III
Halo: Reach
Mass Effect 2
Red Dead Redemption

Who We Want To Win: Mass Effect 2
Who Will Win: Red Dead Redemption

Four of the five nominees could be accurately described as shooters, though it wouldn’t be the most accurate description. If the quality of a game was measured by how many things you shoot, then CoD or Halo would win. However, story should play a part in this award as well so I think those two fall from contention quickly. GoW is a good game but it was released so long ago that I think it’ll be forgotten. Then again, ME2 was the first one of these released but the upcoming PS3 release got it some late-summer buzz. While ME2 is probably the strongest game of this bunch in terms of story, acting and being more than your bog standard video game, when Rockstar releases a game, people notice. Hell, their table tennis game got tonnes of buzz. I think RDR, while a very good game, gets a studio reputation win.

Studio of the Year
Bioware
Blizzard Entertainment
Bungie Studios
Rockstar San Diego

Who We Want To Win: Bioware
Who Will Win: Rockstar San Diego

I think it’s would be safe for me to copy and paste my analysis from above into this spot. The only difference is that Sony Computer Entertainment Santa Monica (GoW3) and Treyarch (CoD) are dropped from the list with Blizzard (Starcraft II) making the cut. Like the above, I think that Bioware’s amazing work on the story and voice direction of Mass Effect 2 should get it the win. However, I can’t see the game of the year and studio of the year studio being different. Maybe it’ll be a consolation prize for the runner-up of the GotY award but for now, I’ll say it’ll be another RDR trophy.

Best Xbox 360 Game
Alan Wake
Fable III
Halo: Reach
Mass Effect 2

Who We Want To Win: Alan Wake
Who Will Win: Halo: Reach

Anything that’s like a David Lynch movie gets my notice. If Alan Wake was available on the PC, I’m sure that I would have bought it, played it non-stop and loved it. However, since it’s not and I have no intention of buying a 360 for one game, I’ve missed out on it. But I think the win here goes to Halo. I’ve played the first Halo on PC and never really understood the appeal of it. The shooter element is good but it doesn’t seem any better than anything else I’ve ever played. But since there wouldn’t be a 360 without Halo as a signature game, it gets the win here.

Best PS3 Game
God of War III
Heavy Rain
Modnation Racers
Red Dead Redemption

Who We Want To Win: Modnation Racers
Who Will Win: God of War III

Like the best 360 game, this one goes to a signature game for the console rather than the fresh blood. I loved Modnation Racers. It was the best addition to the genre since Crash Team Racing and if you dig enough through this game, you can find high-def reimaginings of CTR tracks, carts and characters. MNR was all about the creativity it allowed the players and the actual racing wasn’t half-bad either. The win will probably go to GoW3 because it’s a console exclusive and one of the big first-party games for the PS3. Not that it’s not a good game, sometimes politics and circumstances beyond how good a game is plays a role. Look at Avatar’s Golden Globe.

Best Wii Game
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Metroid: Other M
Super Mario Galaxy 2

Who We Want To Win: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Who Will Win: Super Mario Galaxy 2

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Super Mario Galaxy 2 was the best reviewed game of the year. The gaming press thought more of this game than any other game this year including the five game of the year nominees above. Given that information, I’m almost shocked that SMG2 wasn’t nominated for game of the year. It probably wouldn’t have won but it would have been an acknowledgement that the Wii can produce quality games too. And now that I think about it, where’s Goldeneye?

Best PC Game
Fallout: New Vegas
Mass Effect 2
Sid Meier’s Civilization V
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Who We Want To Win: Mass Effect 2
Who Will Win: Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Why will SC2 beat ME2 here? SC is a one platform game while ME is on two (soon to be three) platforms. As good as ME2 is, SC should get added consideration because it’s an unadulterated PC game. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind if SC2 won here. The original SC is the game of legend. People still played that game until the release of SC2 and now hundreds of thousands of hours are poured into online play. This game may not be the best of the bunch but its reach is large enough that it’s earned the award.

Best Handheld Game
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Super Scribblenauts

Who We Want To Win: Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Who Will Win: God of War: Ghost of Sparta

I’ve never heard of Professor Layton but how can you deny any game that sounds like a vintage episode of Doctor Who? I’m not entirely sure that a Nintendo DS game can take down two PSP games which just happen to be from two of Sony’s biggest franchises. MGS and GoW where both rated better than Super Scribblenauts and Professor Layton by the gaming press. While Metal Gear Solid was the higher rated of the PSP pair, God of War has to be the favourite here. With a GoW game on PS3, I’ve just got a feeling that this is a GoW sort of category.

Best Shooter
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Bioshock 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Halo: Reach

Who We Want To Win: Not Really Picky
Who Will Win: Call of Duty: Black Ops

I’m not a big shooter guy. I’ve played Bioshock but the story was far better for me than the gameplay. The hype of CoD should be more than enough to push it over the top here. However, Halo: Reach can give it a run for its money. And, again, where’s Goldeneye?

Best Action Adventure Game
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
God of War III
Red Dead Redemption
Super Mario Galaxy 2

Who We Want To Win: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Who Will Win: Red Dead Redemption

Mario had the best reviewed game of the year. Everybody loved it and the universal praise went to near unprecedented levels. But it wouldn’t be cool for a Super Mario game on the Wii to take the prize. That’s why Rockstar and RDR pick up another award. I’m not complaining because RDR is by all accounts a great game, I just think it would be fun for Mario to get some well deserved accolades on such a large platform.

Best RPG
Fable III
Fallout: New Vegas
Final Fantasy XIII
Mass Effect 2

Who We Want To Win: Mass Effect 2
Who Will Win: Mass Effect 2

There’s no question about this one. FF13 is a very pretty game but can’t hold a candle to the rest. Frankly, the whole series could afford a look at numbers 7 through 10 again for some ideas. Fallout: New Vegas  is probably the only game that can challenge Mass Effect 2 for the crown. It’s possible that the move away from the more traditional RPG elements featured in the first game may hurt the game’s chances but it’s gotta be ME2 here.

Best Multiplayer
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Halo: Reach
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Who We Want To Win: Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Who Will Win: Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Up until the release of SC2, people were still playing SC for the multiplayer. So who do you think is going to win this year’s Best Multiplayer game. Anyone other than SC2 will be a complete and utter travesty. That being said, CoD was pushing multiplayer in the commercial featuring Kobe Bryant & Jimmy Kimmel. I figure that’s a sign it shouldn’t be counted out in this race. And since I’ve been asking where Goldeneye is this whole time, where’s Goldeneye here? And where’s Modnation Racers? Hell, the game thrusts you online from the go.

Best Individual Sports Game
EA Sports MMA
Shaun White Skateboarding
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
UFC Undisputed 2010

Who We Want To Win: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
Who Will Win: UFC Undisputed 2010

I think it’d be fun for Tiger Woods to win something in 2010. He’s has a tough go since his wife (allegedly) beat him up with a nine iron and he crashed his SUV into a tree. So why not give him and EA Sports something for their troubles. It even was ready for Playstation Move before any other game was thinking Move compatibility. The winner will probably end up being UFC 2010. I thought EA Sports MMA would have a good chance but Spike is the UFC’s cable TV home. That’s why Undisputed will take home the hardware.

Best Team Sports Game
FIFA Soccer 11
Madden NFL 11
NBA 2K11
MLB 10: The Show

Who We Want To Win: NBA 2K11
Who Will Win: NBA 2K11

I’m not a basketball fan but the idea of playing as Michael Jordan through his career and in the modern NBA is enough to make me want this game. Add to that the fact that there is an almost RPG-style career mode for you to guide your created player through and you have a great game that transcends the basketball game genre.

Best Driving Game
Blur
Modnation Racers
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Split/Second

Who We Want To Win: Modnation Racers
Who Will Win: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Fast, exotic sports cars will beat cartoon carts just about everyday in the frat house… Unless it’s Mario Kart. MNR was good cart racer and a great creative exercise. The combination of the two set it apart from the rest of the gaming fare as far as I’m concerned. NFS will likely get the nod because it’s a well done reboot/remake of a well-thought of old NFS game. The real question is will Gran Turismo 5 be allowed on this list next year. It was released between the nomination announcement and the awards show. It will kick everything’s ass for the next 12 months, that’s for sure.

Best Music Game
Dance Central
DJ Hero 2
Def Jam Rapstar
Rock Band 3

Who We Want To Win: Rock Band 3
Who Will Win: Rock Band 3

Keyboard and pro mode make this a no brainer. Sure, the Spike TV crowd might like the rap and hip hop cultures of DJ Hero 2 and Def Jam Rapstar more but the best game of the bunch is easily Rock Band 3. Let me put it to you this way: Which one of these games has Bohemian Rhapsody? That’s the one that should win the award. You know, I’ve always wanted to learn how to play that on the piano.

Best Soundtrack
Def Jam Rapstar
DJ Hero 2
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
Rock Band 3

Who We Want To Win: Rock Band 3
Who Will Win: Rock Band 3

Like I said above, Rock Band 3 had Bohemian Rhapsody. The rest of the soundtrack is pretty damn good too. The only thing that can stop RB3 is Spike pandering to the hip hop loving frat boys and giving the gong to DJ Hero 2 or Def Jam Rapstar. But can you really nominate DJR when the one promo video has Hulk Hogan pretending to flash the camera?

Best Song in a Game
Basket Case – Green Day
Black Rain – Soundgarden
Far Away – Jose Gonzalez
Goldeneye – Nicole Scherzinger
Won’t Back Down – Eminem
Replay / Rude Boy Mashup – Iyaz and Rihanna

Who We Want To Win: Goldeneye – Nicole Scherzinger
Who Will Win: Won’t Back Down – Eminem

I’ve already said that I don’t think that Scherzinger’s Goldeneye is anywhere close to Tina Turner’s original. That being said, it’s the only award that Goldeneye has been nominated for. That’s just head-scratchingly confusing. I thought Spike had the rights to air old Bond movies so I thought they’d be all over the new Goldeneye in these awards. Far Away from Jose Gonzalez was supposed to be a good song used very well in whatever game it was in. But we’re talking about a Viacom awards show on Spike. That means the winner will be a rap/hip-hop song. The mashup of Iyaz and Rihanna will probably get some consideration but I think Eminem wins this one. Even I like Eminem and I’m fond of the phrase “rap is crap.”

Best Original Score
God of War III
Halo: Reach
Mass Effect 2
Red Dead Redemption

Who We Want To Win: God of War III
Who Will Win: Red Dead Redemption

Wait, I don’t want ME2 to win? I actually think that the ME series has a pretty unique electronic sounding score that’s very retro-sci fi. However, it’s probably not the best one you’ll hear. Now, the GoW series has always had epic orchestral and choral scores that make the game feel bigger than it already is. Music is used effectively to make things seem grander than your bog standard score. However, I think this’ll probably be an RDR win on general principles. Well, GP and the fact that it does have a good soundtrack. I’ve never been impressed by any Halo soundtracks and would rank it bottom of this four.

Best Graphics
God of War III
Heavy Rain
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Red Dead Redemption

Who We Want To Win: Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Who Will Win: God of War III

I remember playing the original Kirby on the NES  and that looked pretty cool. Actually, that makes me feel sort of old. Making me even older is the fact that I even rented it from Blockbuster video. Remember those guys? Anyway, as cool as it would be for a Wii game to win best graphics, I think that this one goes to GoW3. It has the advantage of being on the technologically superior PS3 for starters and the art direction is so different from damn well near everything else out there that it should pick up the win.

Best Adapted Video Game
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1 – 4
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Transformers: War for Cybertron

Who We Want To Win: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game
Who Will Win: Transformers: War for Cybertron

Around this place, I’m likely to be killed if I don’t pick Scott Pilgrim in this category. Well, I don’t think that Jackie would mind if I pick Transformers. And Scott wouldn’t mind if I took Star Wars. But I’m taking Scott Pilgrim to keep all the troops happy. That and it was based on an Edgar Wright film. However, Transformers was the best game of this bunch. Given that video games adapted from movies are often awful, Transformers did just enough to earn this honour.

Best Performance by a Human Male
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Blood Stone 007
Gary Oldman as Sgt Reznov in Call of Duty: Black Ops
John Cleese as Jasper in Fable III
Martin Sheen as Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2
Nathan Fillion as Sergeant Edward Buck in Halo: Reach
Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man
Rob Wiethoff as John Marston in Red Dead Redemption
Sam Worthington as Alex Mason in Call of Duty: Black Ops

Who We Want To Win: Martin Sheen as Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2
Who Will Win: Rob Wiethoff as John Marston in Red Dead Redemption

Let’s face it. Martin Sheen does a great turn as the two-faced leader of Cerberus in ME2. You like and trust the guy at times and want to slug him from across the galaxy at other times. That and Martin Sheen seemed like it was going to be a ridiculous failure of stunt casting by Bioware but I don’t think anyone could have pulled it off as well. But I think the award will go to Wiethoff’s turn in RDR. This just seems like a Rockstar/EA sort of year. I guess that could include ME2 because it’s published by EA put I’d consider it a Bioware game first. Oldman and Cleese could sneak in there just because of who they are.

Best Performance by a Human Female
Dame Judi Dench as M in Blood Stone 007
Danica Patrick as herself in Blur
Emmanuelle Chriqui as the Numbers Lady in Call of Duty: Black Ops
Felicia Day as Veronica in Fallout: New Vegas
Jennifer Hale as Commander Sheppard in Mass Effect 2
Kristen Bell as Lucy Stillman in Assassin’s Creed Botherhood
Tricia Helfer as Sarah Kerrigan in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Yvonne Strahovski as Miranda Lawson in Mass Effect 2

Who We Want To Win: Jennifer Hale as Commander Sheppard in Mass Effect 2
Who Will Win: Jennifer Hale as Commander Sheppard in Mass Effect 2

I think Bioware’s epic work on Mass Effect 2 pays off with a win here. I think that Yvonne Strahovski can sneak off with the award just because of how many polygons Bioware put into the Lawson character. But I think you have to give the win to the Commander here. The voice acting is too damn good to pass her up for this one. As an aside, Helfer should have been considered for a nomination for her work as EDI, the Normandy’s AI, in ME2.

Best Downloadable Game
Costume Quest
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Monday Night Combat
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game

Who We Want To Win: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game
Who Will Win: Monday Night Combat

Can you tell that we’re Scott Pilgrim fans around here? Sure it’s not the best game of this bunch but that’s why I ran with the “Who We Want To Win” rather than “Who Should Win.” It’s more fun this way. Anyhow, the win here should go to Monday Night Combat. I can’t remember a downloadable game that got as much attention from the gaming press as this one. Hell, I saw fewer posts on some of the year’s big console releases than for this.

Best DLC
Bioshock 2: Minerva’s Den
Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx
Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker
Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare

Who We Want To Win: Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker
Who Will Win: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare

Shadow Broker should take top honours in this one. I’ve played worse games with worse everything than this DLC. It’s two to three hours long of extra content, all of which is amazing. Seriously, it was on par with the game’s most important plot-central missions and it was essentially a side quest. It’s a complete game changer for DLC. And the lucky bastards buying it on PS3 get in included with their disc. However, zombies always win. That’s why RDR will pick up this one.

Best Independent Game
Joe Danger
Limbo
Super Meat Boy
Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom

Who We Want To Win: Super Meat Boy
Who Will Win: Limbo

This one will actually be a close call. Super Meat Boy and Limbo are both good games that have attracted cult followings. Hell, one of the demonstration videos of LittleBigPlanet 2’s level creator featured a sort of recreation of Limbo. I figured acknowledgement from one of 2011’s big releases like that is a sign that Limbo is a big deal. Not to say that Super Meat Boy doesn’t deserve the gong. It’s called Super Meat Boy after all. It should win for the cool title. Whichever of the pair wins, they definitely deserve it.

Most Anticipated Game
Batman: Arkham City
Bioshock: Infinite
Gears of War 3
Portal 2

Who We Want To Win: Mass Effect 3
Who Will Win: Gears of War 3

This is an actual award? Which game has the most hype? I would ask what sort of crap that Spike is force feeding us but it is a Viacom company award show. It’s the same crap as the MTV Video Music Awards and the MTV Movie Awards only with more Samuel L. “Motherfucking” Jackson. Other than that, these awards are completely useless. Call me when IGN hands scads of awards to Bioware and Mass Effect 2. However, it’s worth noting that Bioware has some new footage of something top secret for the VGAs. Everyone figures it’s Mass Effect 3 or a Mass Effect-related game not involving Commander Shephard and the Normandy… Well, knowing that bunch at Bioware, your decisions in ME1 and ME2 will affect parts of this game. Only reason I’m watching. And Dead Space 2 is also an acceptable answer. As is LittleBigPlanet 2.

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