SXSW Gaming Expo Introduces Awards
SXSW has announced 2014 will be the inaugural year for Gaming Awards. The best interactive art will be feted at the Long Center's Dell Hall, Saturday, March 8, in case you’re planning your SXSW already. Like the Gaming Expo next door at the Palmer Events Center, the awards will be free and open to the public, but priority seating goes to fancy folks with badges.
The nominees are chosen by the SXSW Gaming Advisory board with winners voted on by the public.
Award categories include:
Game of the Year
Excellence in Gameplay
Excellence in Art
Excellence in Animation
Excellence in Technical Achievement
Excellence in Narrative
Excellence in Design and Direction
Excellence in Gaming Marketing
Excellence in Sound Effects
Excellence in Musical Score
Best Multiplayer Game
Those are all pretty self-explanatory. Here are a few that aren’t so obvious:
Cultural Innovation in Gaming: Awarded to a game that challenges what it means to be a video game. Johann Sebastian Joust springs to mind.
Texas Arts Achievement Award: Like Game of the Year, but only for Texas studios and games.
Convergence Award: Going to have to quote the press release for this one. “Awarded to the indie or mainstream game that exemplifies excellence and pure crossover appeal through multiple mediums.” So, that.
Gamer’s Voice Award: This award is given to an indie or aspiring developer. "Indie" is defined by not having made more than $2 million in funding from any combination of sources. The staff will choose 10 finalists who will get space at the Gaming Expo to showcase their creation. Attendees can play the games and vote for their favorite, hence, "Gamer's Voice." See all the rules and regulations for entering this category on the awards site.
Judging solely on the fact that the event will be held at the palatial Dell Hall we imagine next year’s Gaming Awards will be significantly more legit than previous years' attempts. The organization apparently wants to forget the earlier tries claiming this to be the “inaugural” SXSW Gaming Awards. It’s true, this is the first event under that moniker, but SXSW has a spotted history with gaming awards ceremonies which were abandoned when they moved to the Palmer Events Center two years ago. Before then the awards were awkwardly cross-branded, poorly planned, and largely forgotten. Lessons have clearly been learned because it’s seven months before show time, and they’re already getting prepped.
Smartly, SXSW has not separated awards into indie and mainstream categories. It’s a free for all where little iPhone games programmed at home can go head-to-head with the big boys. Because a game is a game is a game, and we're all winners just for playing. That's what our mom keeps telling us anyway.