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XyzzySqrl's Gameblogging Awards Nominees 2017! - The Forbidden Codex of The Pink Beyond - A Sqrl's Journal

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December 6th, 2017


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01:29 pm - XyzzySqrl's Gameblogging Awards Nominees 2017!
As of... right now, this post, I'm calling a cutoff, so all the games I play for the rest of the month count for 2018.

That means I completed 102 games in 2017 and count 13 as Incomplete.

Let's compare that against the last few years.

2012 - 38 Complete, ?? Abandoned
2013 - 21 Complete, ?? Abandoned
2014 (did not post, bad year for me) - 29 Complete / 4 Abandoned
2015 - 67 Complete, 6 Abandoned
2016 - 44 Complete, 5 Abandoned

What a run, y'guys. I thought I'd have more to say in the year-end wrap-up, but let me say it here instead: I'm slightly embarrassed by those numbers! Then I look around and think about other stuff going on and... yeah, they make sense. Ah well.

Right now, though -- Something special and EXCEEDINGLY longwinded!

A SQRLMOG SPECIAL PRESENTATION

If you hang out in the comments section of my journal, you're clearly making excellent life choices. Also you've probably seen Celine, who keeps claiming she stole the idea of gameblogging from me. Nevermind that I didn't originate it, that's her story.

So I decided to steal her awards show.

A bit ago she posted the nominees for her awards show, which she's posting at the end of the year. Y'know what, I'm hijacking her categories. I snuck in the unlocked window around the side of her blog and I've swiped her trophies and added a couple of my own.

At the end of the year I'll put on an awards show that eclipses hers, on a different channel, and soak up all the end of year blog hits for myself. People can only click one, after all!

Ahahahaahaha! THIS is what TRUE thievery looks like!

Uh, I kind of have a really low visual effects budget here, so just kind of imagine a big swooshy CGI bunch of malarkey happening as we drop beneath the cut. Let's meet the categories and candidates for...

crap I don't have a name for this

SUPER SQRLMOG AWARD MEGABLOG 2017: THE HIGHLIGHTENING!



Welcome back, loved ones. Let's meet some nominations. It's long, pack a lunch.

Individual game entries MAY contain spoilers, click with care. Please, feel free to guess, speculate, or cheer for your favorites in the comments.

Rita Repulsa award for Achievements in Backlog Liberation
Some games are long, some are hard, some have just been in the backlog forever. Whatever the reason, this award honors the games whose eventual completion made me say, "Finally! After ten thousand years, I'm free! It's time to conquer Earth!"

The Nominees Are:
Zeno Clash
Quest for Glory 1 - So You Want To Be A Hero?
King's Quest VII - The Princeless Bride
Code Realize - Guardian of Rebirth
Quake

Honorable Mention:
Wonder Boy - The Dragon's Trap
Digimon Story - Cyber Sleuth
Infamous

Our first stolen category is actually pretty hard for me to nominate for. Lengthy games? Sure, I play a fair number of those. Finishing Code Realize took me from sometime late last year, through a move to a new apartment, to late this year because I got really distracted. This category kind of dips into the question of "What IS a backlog, really?"

Is it the physical games I own right now? Infamous has been there since I bought my PS3, just kinda waiting for me to get to it. Wonder Boy 3 languishes as a Sega Master System game, and let's be honest: I may never hook up the Master System again. Digimon Story was sure long, but does simple game length qualify it for an award?

Is it all the games I've ever owned? King's Quest VII was one of those games that frustrated Young Marketable Child Sqrl to no end, since I wasn't convinced I was getting it to run at playable speeds. (Turns out the game's just like that.) Likewise, Quake I owned as soon as it came out but never finished the singleplayer mode. Has that been on the backlog all this time?

Zeno Clash has sat in my Steam account since 2009. At what point did I mentally move it from "Weird thing we got in a bundle" to "Actively on the backlog?"

Maybe a backlog is a state of mind. I never owned Quest for Glory 1, but I've been pressingly aware of it as one of the only major Sierra series I never really dabbled in. Does simple awareness of a game define its place in the backlog?

... Man, those are sure some questions, aren't they?
Maybe we'll have an answer when this thing gets awarded.

Until then... next!

Crying Bulbasaur award for Achievements in Emotional Devastation
Whether it makes me cry, warms my heart, makes me think about my life, or otherwise makes me feel things, this award is to honor the games that took me on a journey through the strongest emotions.

The Nominees Are:
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon - Explorers of Sky
Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition
2064 - Read Only Memories
Nier Automata
Tales of Xillia 2

Honorable Mention:
80 Days
Life is Strange
Star Billions (Season 3)

Look, let's be honest: You can make me cry real easy. I am like a garden hose stuck with a fork. I just start crying over little things all the time. So making me emotional... that's not hard.

What IS hard is believing that this is a "most emotional game" list where Star Billions is in the runner ups BUT THAT'S WHAT THIS YEAR DID TO ME.

Nier Automata systematically destroyed me and I still can't listen to the ending song without dissolving into a mess of sobs, 2064 made me feel intense things about artifical life and genuine hope for a more accepting future, while Pokemon Mystery Dungeon sent me spiraling into tears no less than seven times.

Xillia 2 gave me hard sad feelings about dimensions that were specifically listed as "not real" even inside the game's fictional framework. 80 Days had that One Route that went straight down and wound around my heart. And Ori? ...well. Ori was like an entire animated movie made up of the Bumbi's Mom sequence.

After all that, Life is Strange merely giving me feelings over lesbian teenagers was a dang relief. I know how to process those.


Hint Coin award for Most Puzzling Puzzler
This award celebrates the headaches, confusion, and eventual triumph and/or shame in using a walkthrough that come with the best puzzle games and puzzles in games.

The Nominees Are:
Nancy Drew - Danger on Deception Island
Machinarium
The Room 2
Julia - Among the Stars
Aporia - Beyond the Valley

Honorable Mention:
The Journeyman Project - Pegasus Prime
The Room
King's Quest II - Romancing the Stones

It is with this category that I really realize I need to start writing more than just short little "I did a thing" blurbs again, because it's hard to remember some of the details. Nancy, of course, had to be here. Machinarium had a board game puzzle that near killed me. Julia, I remember the language translation puzzle in particular and a few others that had me up and down the walls.

Aporia however was one long near-interconnected puzzlebox start to finish and did I mention it was good? Yes I did. Did I mention details? Nope! Do I remember details? Boy howdy do I, but where would I start...? The Room 2 likewise had that dang ship puzzle that had me looking high and low, but I would love to remember in sharper focus.

The runners up... I remember being stuck a while in each but not why. I would need to go back and play them again, ahaha. So this set of runner-ups are less "They weren't enough" and more "I can't remember why they weren't enough". An internal failing.

Wing of Wyvern award for Most Retro Nostalgia Trip
Whether it is an actual classic game or a modern pixel-fest reminiscent of one, this award honors the games that really take you back to Tantagel Castle.

The Nominees Are:
Khimera - Destroy All Monster Girls
Mega Man X2
Cave Story
Momodora - Reviere Under the Moonlight
Wonder Boy - The Dragon's Trap

Honorable Mention:
Warrior Dragon
Kirby's Adventure
Monster World IV

Riddle me THIS, my long-suffering readers: Is it truly a retro gaming experience if you've just been too busy to play it for twenty years? Is it retro if it's brand new to you? Before this year I had never played a Kirby game. I certainly hadn't played Warrior Dragon, a freeware game from the Windows 95 days. I dug deep into Monster World IV and Dragon's Trap alike and loved both. One's a remake skin over a retro experience, one's authentic retro. Does Dragon's Trap get special consideration just because I loved it as a kid while MWIV was new to me?

(Yes it does because I'm writing this award text. Shh.)

Mega Man X2 is another entry in my ongoing battle against Capcom's attempts to murder me with sea life. Momodora and Khimera are wonderful, monsterful experiences that evoke the best of PC-style retro platforming and monster fighting. Cave Story, meanwhile... do I need to talk about Cave Story? Cave Story has been lavished with praise since it was released. Does it really need my help?

Again, my opinions can be swayed in the comments if you can't stand the idea of Cave Story being EVEN MORE WINNINGER -- or was it ever a contender at all?


Little Cup award for Achievements in Fluff
Not every game needs to be a long and serious epic. This award honors the light and/or little palate cleansers, because games are fun.

The Nominees Are:
Refunct
Kirby's Adventure
You Have To Win The Game
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald - A Whirlwind Heist
Submerged

Honorable Mention:
Small Radios, Big Televisions
Kirby's Dream Land
Yosumin

Hey, who knows fluff like I know fluff? I am the fluffiest.

You want little and fluffy? Kirby's Dream Land was remade as a single game mode later on because it was so easily beatable and light. Yosumin's a game about matching the cutest little faces to each other and was so dang light I didn't even give it a proper entry. Small Radios, Big Televisions was slightly heavier but still easily beatable in just a few hours.

Kirby might as well be on the trophy for this one, come to think of it. Adventure was longer but no less adorable and quick to slip by. Dr. Langeskov was the ultimate goofy fluff game, getting in and making its point and getting back out in under an hour. (More if you realize there's a tape recorder you can pick up and listen to tapes with.) Submerged took longer but was at heart a game about climbing vistas and admiring the view.

You Have To Win The Game MIGHT have been out of scope for this, but a two hour victory? Yeah that's not too bad, and it's such a NICE little thing. A bit sadistic, but still fluffy. Still wants you to win. Thus the name. Finally, Refunct was a jumping puzzle that lived up to the term and sits at 33 minutes played to completion. The last achievement I have in Refunct asks, "What makes you smile?"

This category does. So does the next one...

Piece of Heart award for Warmest Fuzzy
Whether it's a short indie romp or a long epic, and whether heartwarming moments are in the plot directly or just as a project that feels like it was made with love, this award honors games that make players feel good inside.

The Nominees Are:
Helen's Mysterious Castle
2064 - Read Only Memories
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon - Explorers of Sky
Abzu

Honorable Mention:
Kirby Super Star
Khimera - Destroy All Monster Girls
Wonder Boy - The Dragon's Trap

Yes, that DOES mean all three Kirby games I played this year got a mention. And look, it's Khimera where everyone's a friend, likewise Helen's Mysterious Castle is far sweeter than it looks at first glance. Wonder Boy gave ME warm fuzzies because of the art and music... that may not be universal, but they're my awards.

Well, Celine's awards, but they're mine now. Mwahahaha.

I mentioned 2064 giving me the fuzzles right in the writeup. That's a future I'd like to see, even if it's a little dark and things aren't perfect yet. Maybe in 2070 they will be. Chocobo's Dungeon squeaked/warked in by being the first game I played after last year's cutoff point. That game is warm and sweet, about helping people. Abzu likewise is about helping the ocean while enjoying the beauty and mystery of it.

As to Pokemon Mystery Dungeon... The Wigglytuff Guild will always have a place in my heart.

Furry Little Body award for Achievements in Anthropomorphic Appeal
Because sometimes you just need a silly little award to acknowledge that one character you want to bang.

The Nominees Are:
The Player Character's Dragon Form, Wonder Boy - The Dragon's Trap
Warrior Dragon, Warrior Dragon
Uberjackal, Invizimals - The Lost Kingdom
MachGaogamon, Digimon Story - Cyber Sleuth
The Entire Cast, Sly 3 - Band of Thieves

Honorable Mention:
Moonbunny, Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt
Chocobo, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon
Zenobia, Stories - The Path of Destinies

*tap cards on desk, smile fixedly into camera for eight solid minutes*

Somehow Celine booby-trapped her awards show. Now everyone knows I have a thing for dragons and furries. (and/or furry dragons.)
Well played, rodent. Well played indeed.


Golden Pheasant award for Artistic Achievement
Regardless of what the game actually does with them and whether it works overall, this award celebrates the truly outstanding and impressive feats in a game's assets, be the graphics, music, voice acting, game engine, or anything else.

The Nominees Are:
Gravity Rush Remastered
Technobabylon
Ara Fell
Abzu
Aporia - Beyond the Valley

Honorable Mention:
Submerged
Mandagon
Machinarium

Achievements? Believe me, we got all kindsa achievements here. Ara Fell implements a quest log and a crafting system in RPG Maker and if you think that's not special go try doing it and get back to me. It's also lovely and visually busy as heck. Abzu is a soaring success in underwater loveliness, plus it encourages you to sit and meditate on/in the ocean. Aporia is the most beautiful game I've seen in years, full stop.

As to Gravity Rush, it manages to evoke the feeling of being a French indie comic book through music and visuals and tone. Technobabylon meanwhile may be the peak of Lucasarts-style pixely adventure game art and science.

Also Mandagon is here purely on looks alone. Machinarium gets a nod for trying to tell a story entirely via whimsical robot thought bubbles, and Submerged... look, for a game entirely about cruising around in a boat and climbing buildings, it sure did make me want to take a jillion screenshots.

Restore, Restart, or Quit? award for Incomplete Game Most Likely to Get A Second Chance Someday
One of my own awards, not lifted from Celine this time. Every now and then I have to look back at a failure and go "Y'know, this might deserve a second shot." While the real winners take their victory lap, this award honors the best of the rest of what's left.

The Nominees Are:
The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief
Neopets - The Darkest Faerie
Tri - Of Friendship and Madness
Prey 2017
Kingdoms of Amalur - Reckoning

Honorable Mention:
Robotrek
Cornerstone - The Song of Tyrim
Treasure Adventure Game

*glance left, glance right, waggle fingers at camera for a close-in zoom*
The truth is, ALL of these might get a second shot. All except the Honorable Mentions, and even then ... maybe. All of these games DESERVE another shot, though.

Yeah, even the one I ragequit. Even the one that made me physically queasy. And the one that bored me deeply, now that I know what to expect from it and can adjust expectations. The one where I fudged up my build? That was recoverable. And the glitch was my fault.

The question is... which one first, huh? Hmm? Huh?

Okay. ...zoom out now, please, my nose is steaming up the camera lens.

Trap Devised By Satan award for the Completed Game Most Likely To End Up Replayed
Another of my own awards, named for the forced replay loop in Ghosts & Goblins. I don't go back and replay many games because time is finite in our universe. This award honors a game I had enough fun with to push reset and start again, or a game with deep potential for other routes or other playstyles. If I haven't seen it all or want to see it again, it takes a trophy in this category.

The Nominees Are:
Cave Story
Starcrawlers
Nier Automata
Icewind Dale
80 Days

Honorable Mention:
Glittermitten Grove
The Blackwell Quintology
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

Starcrawlers and Icewind Dale both have AMAZING party build potential I didn't even touch on, 80 Days is literally made to be played over and over, Cave Story has a secret ending I didn't get to and Nier Automata just... feels good to replay, for Reasons. This is a rich mine of games I could plunge into and just spend all day long replaying, if not weeks.

Like, when the only reason the Honorables aren't the Nominees is because they MERELY have excellent storylines I want to see again... that's a strong lineup!

Stan S. Stanman award for If You Only Buy One Game from This List...
Whether it's an overlooked indie gem or a well known game that deserves its reputation, this award honors the one game each year that everyone reading this really owes it to themselves to check out.

The Nominees Are:
Starcrawlers
Abzu
Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition
Technobabylon
Aporia - Beyond the Valley

Honorable Mention:
Cave Story
Nier Automata
Gravity Rush Remastered

Here's where it gets tricky, because I'm trying to make a call that's directly about...

*leans way out of monitor, points*

...YOU, viewing this at home. Are you up for a long dungeon crawler, or would you prefer a short point and click adventure game with high production values? Can you handle a gorgeous but system-taxing 3D puzzle-em-up? Are you able to meet the demands of a lovely but extremely taxing 2D platformer? Or will it be the gorgeous exploration game that unfortunately lacks a bit in 'things to do' but makes up for it elsewhere?

This is going to be a tricky one to call. As to the Honorables... I don't expect y'all have a PS4, and I sure don't expect you'd be up to the demands of Cave Story. And inflicting Nier on the unsuspecting is just plain cruel.

Celine's Choice award for Best Game Overall
The grand prize as well as the most personal one. After all the other categories, after honoring every game for whatever it does best and whatever other demographics that might appeal to, this is the one that I, Celine Kalante, found to be my personal favorite.

The Nominees Are ... Uhhh...

Pokemon Omega Ruby?
Warrior Dragon?
Pony Island?
Kirby Super Star?
King's Quest VII - The Princeless Bride?

Honorable Mentions Are Probably Something Like...

Cave Story?
Last Dream?
The Journeyman Project - Pegasus Prime?

*tug collar, grin nervously*

Oh, oops. I guess that's what I get for stealing this awards show and not grinding the names off the trophies, huh? Have to remember that for next year.

Uh, I mean... what a meta-award! Celine is responsible for me playing a lot of games. She's very inspiring and makes a lot of suggestions and has a lot of ideas, along with being a great sounding board, so it's only, uh, right that she has her own... spot in the... awards list. I'll poke her on Telegram about a winner for this later.

Let's, uh, try this again!

Celine's SQRL'S Choice award for Best Game Overall
Ahahaha oops I guess I dug too deep and/or stole too much! Here's MY pick for favorite game of the year.

The Nominees Are:

Technobabylon
Nier Automata
Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition
Aporia - Beyond the Valley
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon - Explorers of Sky

Honorable Mention:
Cave Story
Glittermitten Grove
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

You've seen all these candidates before. No tricks, no traps, no sarcasm. Just my honest-hearted choice for the best thing I played all year...

*shove desk clean, perch atop*

And you guys? This was a MAGICAL year. Looking back at these entries reminds me what a GREAT TIME I had all year long, sharing these games with you and talking about them. I hope you've enjoyed it too. I hope you enjoyed being here as much as I did, and I hope you too look forward to what's to come next year.

*clamber down from desk, stroll along*

Anyway, that's all for now.
Come back at the end of the month to see what wins, what doesn't, and what deserved to. I hope to make it fun for all of us.



Hope to see you for the award reveals!

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