Today a press release came in for Wispering Willows being Greenlit that mentioned it was already award winning. A game I had only vaguely heard of and isn’t released is award-winning? After a bit of thought I realized this happens all the time in gaming. But why should it? We’re going to explore that today.
The Process of Awarding Games in Alpha
The problem with getting an award is all you really have to do is win a popularity contest. If you can appeal to the top, bottom or middle of those who cover gaming then you will get an award.
Hawken as an Example of Awarding Games in Alpha Gone Wrong
Hawken is perhaps the best example of this. While I personally still enjoy the game they won multiple awards including:
- Destructoid Best of E3
- Indie Cade 2012
- STFU PAX 2012
So what is the problem with this? The game changed radically from when they got the awards but they still have them. They proudly display them on the page. The other problem is the awards were won on a game that A. was not so pay-to-win and B. had more impressive graphics.
What does this say to developers? Put out an amazing early product that will make your later one look lazy. We’ll let you keep your awards. It sets a terrible precedent.
Whispering Willows as Different Example of Awarding Games in Alpha
What is interesting there is that they kept working on it and the current version actually looks a bit better than the one it was awarded for. What does this tell us? Developers who want the game to be good will work on it regardless of awards. They serve little purpose at this point.
Journalists who are Awarding Games in Alpha are Not Trustworthy
A big reason people consider writers like myself a joke is that we are. Awarding games that don’t deserve it is just one thing that adds to the pile of misuses by lackluster writers at the top. It needs to be stopped.
The Regularity of Awarding Games in Alpha Lowers the Value
As with any other law of supply and demand it’s becoming less valuable to win an award for your game. When 50 people have the same one for their early game it might as well not mean anything.
The developers who would have worked hard on it with an award still do so with one. We reward devs for nothing then are surprised when many of them do less than they have to. Ridiculous. We hope that the industry stops this ridiculous trend somewhere down the road.