Bafta video game awards 2013 - live coverage
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge)
Kingsley Amis said that awards are just fine if you happen to win one. If that's the case then, by the end of this unseasonably warm London evening, 18 movers and shakers in the video game industry will be warmly drunk on the BAFTA judging panel's anonymous validation, while a great many more losers will be necking warm champagne and cursing the absurdity of it all. For those of us without an Epona in the race, it's an opportunity to relax and observe the clash of artistry, ego and criticism that this sort of award event entails – the vigorous handshakes of the victors, the rictus smiles of the trounced, the woozy inebriation of just about everybody else. Held almost a month to the day after its elder and more well-to-do brother, the film BAFTAs, it's also an opportunity for the video game industry to feel as if it's earned its place as the fourth pillar of modern entertainment alongside literature, music and cinema. Sure, a 'V' is yet to swipe its way into the academy's acronym (BAFTVA BAVTFA ) and tonight's event is held at the London Hilton hotel, while last month's jamboree occupied the rather more opulent Royal Opera House, but every attempt has been made to ensure the video game industry doesn't feel as though it sits at the children's table of awards ceremonies. Irish comedian and hobbyist game player Dara O'Briain will host the awards for the fifth year running while the walking-wounded retailer GAME has provided "support" (canapés Offcuts of red carpet ) in the capacity of Official Supporter. The nominations for this year's Awards include no fewer than 53 games, from Blockbuster behemoths (or should that be dinosaurs ) such as Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed III through to independent creations such as Thomas Was Alone and Sony's The Unfinished Swan. 2013 also marks the introduction of a new award category: Best British Game in a bid to convince ourselves that the UK is definitely still a viable place to make video games - despite the existence of Canada and its endless tax breaks for game makers (and the syrup perks). In some ways this Best British Game award exemplifies the current tussle at the creative and commercial heart of the industry. Three of the six titles nominated for this inaugural award are independent creations, self-funded by their creators (Dear Esther, The Room and Super Hexagon) while the others are hefty, multiplatform blockbusters (Forza Horizon, LEGO: The Lord of the Rings, Need for Speed Most Wanted). It's an impossible award to judge, of course. How to set Dear Esther's bleak Scottish vistas against Forza Horizon's high contrast take on Colorado's deserts What better exemplifies British-ness: LEGO: Lord of the Ring's curious mash-up of Danish plastic and Oxbridge fantasy fiction, or the twitch cruelty of Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon One thing is certain: the essence of what makes a game British is not easily defined. Potentially the biggest winner of the night will be California-based Thatgamecompany, whose PlayStation 3 title Journey – a gentle parable on religion and death - is nominated in eight categories, including that of Best Game, where it must fend off the likes of Mass Effect 3, FIFA 13, Far Cry 3 and Dishonored using only a cloak and scarf. In truth awards ceremonies – regardless of whether you win or lose - are neither 'fine' nor nonsense. The reality sits somewhere in between: here is a night to celebrate an industry that is steadily diversifying, maturing and finding new voice and range. The 53 nominees represent different points and corners of a creative space that widens each year. Taken as a whole, tonight's BAFTAs offer a splendid celebration of the achievements of a great many creative minds. Bravo. But now our attention must turn to the bickering and spittle of specifics – the playground squabbling over whose game could beat the other' guys game up in a fight. The BAFTAs are also great for that. So ready the popcorn and adjust your sights for sniping. Let the games commence.
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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