2017 was an amazing year for video games. Gamers were treated to the launch of an amazing brand new Nintendo console and PUBG became a Battle Royale juggernaut before our very eyes. We also saw the rise of some great indie games like Hollow Knight and Hellblade. There were simply too many great games released this year. As a result, this will be the first year of The Shacknews Awards. We will celebrate the Year of the Games: 2017 over the next few days as we give out a vast array of awards. We have broken our staff's favorite video games, accessories and hardware into 42 categories and will be filling out this article with all the winners as the announcements hit the front page. In the meantime, enjoy this list of The Shacknews Awards.
Shacknews Game of the Year 2017: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
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Modojo @ Shacknews Mobile Game of the Year 2017: The Elder Scrolls: Legends
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Modojo @ Shacknews Nintendo 3DS Game of the Year 2017: Metroid: Samus Returns
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Do It For Shacknews Award of 2017: Panic Button
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Person of the Year 2017: PlayerUnknown (Brendan Greene)
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Best Developer and Publisher of 2017: Nintendo
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Best PC Game of 2017: Divinity: Original Sin 2
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Best Indie Game of 2017: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
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Best Nintendo Switch Exclusive: Super Mario Odyssey
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Best PS4 Game of 2017: Persona 5
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Best Xbox One Game of 2017: Cuphead
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Best Early Access Game of 2017: Fortnite
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Best Sports Game of 2017: Mutant Football League
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Best Story (Non-Narrative) Game of 2017: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
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Biggest Surprise of 2017: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
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Most Improved Game of 2017: Warframe
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Best Narrative of 2017: Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
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Best Hardware of 2017: Nintendo Switch
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Best Gaming Accessory of 2017
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Best Brickbreaker Game of 2017: Ballz
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Best Art Style of 2017: Cuphead
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Best Comeback of 2017: No Man's Sky
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Best Fighting Game of 2017: Injustice 2
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Best Graphics of 2017: Assassin's Creed: Origins
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Best FPS Game of 2017: Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
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Best RPG of 2017: Divinity: Original Sin 2
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Best Open World Game of 2017: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
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Best Loot Crate of 2017: Fortnite Llamas
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Best Co-Op Game of 2017: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands
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Best Trendsetter of 2017: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
PUBG's developers caught lightning in a bottle this year and the game's impact continues to be felt across the industry. From countless mobile knockoffs to serious competition from the likes of Fortnite, the Battle Royale gameplay mechanic popularized by PUBG is already influencing the future of the games industry. The game sold over 25 million copies in 2017 and remains one of the most popular games streamed on Twitch. PUBG has undeniably set a trend that will influence game development for years to come. -Asif Khan
Best Sound Design of 2017: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
As noted in the Shacknews review of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, the sound design by Ninja Theory took a minimalistic action experience into the upper echelons of immersion. Expressing psychosis in a video game is no easy task, but creative design with binaural audio resulted in an informative and relatable experience. -Charles Singletary
Best Horror Game of 2017: Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil is as well-known for reinventing itself as it is for cheesy voice acting and firing a rocket to send Tyrants to that big Umbrella lab in the sky. Resident Evil 7 is arguably the franchise's most radical reinvention yet. While 2005's RE4 held on to familiar faces and tropes, RE7 held on to green herbs but banished everything else back to the cutting-room floor. Gone are Leon, Jill, Wesker, and the rest of the most famous characters in survival horror-dom. In their place are new characters, new villains, and new settings, all experienced in terrifying first-person punctuated by violent sequences so hard-hitting that many players reflexively raised a hand to shield their faces when members of the Baker family close in. With or without a PSVR headset (but especially with), RE7 is one of the scariest, most memorable horror games in years, and a well-realized, bold direction for a franchise in need of one. -David Craddock
Best Old School Throwback of 2017: Sonic Mania
It feels like Sega has been trying to reinvent the wheel with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise for a long, long time. (Remember when they made a hedgehog werewolf?) Meanwhile, fans have been asking for the series to return to its roots, its Genesis, if you will. This year, fans finally got their wish thanks to, well, other fans who actually understood what made the franchise so much fun to begin with, and had the ability to express that passion through game development. Sonic Mania takes what made the series such an enjoyable, classic platformer and adds a few modern twists to make it stand on its own. Kudos to Sega for taking a chance on and believing in a team of fan-devs instead of sending out cease and desist letters. -Blake Morse
Best Platformer of 2017: Super Mario Odyssey
Whether it's 2D or 3D, Mario has the platformer genre nailed down. And while Super Mario Odyssey is being largely praised for its more open world approach, Nintendo hasn't forgotten what makes this series great. It's pure platforming greatness and Odyssey contains some of the most proficient and challenging platforming sequences I've seen come along this year.
The main quest is more than enough, but the true test comes after beating Bowser. Every world introduces new Power Moons, many of which are found in self-contained platforming sequences. This is where players are given a chance to show just how good they are, with areas that test timing, precision, and quickness. There are even 2D areas sprinkled in, just to make sure everyone's got their 2D Mario gameplay nailed down.
Even after 30 years, few franchises capture the essence of platforming like Mario and Super Mario Odyssey may very well capture it above any of its predecessors. -Ozzie Mejia
Best Voice Actor of 2017: Melina Juergens (Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice)
If you followed the development of Hellblade, you'd likely know that the game was created on a limited budget with the intention to provide a "triple-A indie" type of experience. Part of that is using the limited tools given and Ninja Theory ended up discovering they had a gem in their midst. Melina Juergens was a motion capture actor for the team and, without having voice acting experience previously, put together one of the most impactful performances of the year. Cheers to that. -Charles Singletary
Best Standalone DLC of 2017: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows received a mixed reaction. The idea of an expansion that let players control one of the base game's bosses through familiar levels seemed good on paper, but the final product had awkward controls and ended up feeling too familiar to the original. In Specter of Torment, Yacht Club Games addressed those concerns and more in another full-length expansion that remixed Shovel Knight's controls and stages in clever ways. Specter Knight's movement was inspired by 3D Prince of Persia games such as Sands of Time and Warrior Within, and that movement provides a platforming experience that successfully juggles challenging platforming segments with responsive, easy-to-learn controls and beautifully fluid movement. Positioning Specter of Torment as a prequel gave Shovel Knight's artists ample opportunity to incorporate revamped stage designs and black-and-white flashbacks reminiscent of Nintendo's Game Boy. The end result is a game that is not only Shovel Knight's best expansion to date, but perhaps even better than the core game. -David Craddock
Best Headshot of 2017: Sniper Elite 4
If you've ever seen a balloon explode in slow motion, spraying water and bits of rubber every which way, you can appreciate why Sniper Elite 4's headshot is a thing of beauty. Rebellion Developments didn't stop at showing Nazi heads pop and fly apart. Successful headshots trigger a Hollywood blockbuster-esque sequence: the bullet explodes from your gun, cutting through the air and closing the distance to your target. When the projectile connects, you're treated to an X-RAY view straight out of Mortal Kombat, showing the bullet tear through flesh and bone and brain matter. The sequence is visually satisfying, making the high degree of patience, precision, timing, and preparation worthwhile. -David Craddock
Best Expansion of 2017: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is a meaty expansion pack that released for the 2016 revival of XCOM 2, but it could just as well have been called another standalone game. A host of new enemies, hero characters, additional behaviors and modifiers made War of the Chosen a must-have for fans of XCOM 2 and an excellent choice for strategy junkies as well.
The new alien nemeses known as the Chosen included the Assassin, the Hunter, and the Warlock, all formidable opponents that offer satisfying new dimensions to the game with combinations of psionic powers, long-range weaponry, and deadly stealth. Beyond these new threats, the zombie-esque Lost enemies attack both human and Chosen enemies, ensuring no one is safe. The new "Bond" system also encourages special relationships between units and their partners, making an already beautifully complex system even more so.
The breadth of War of the Chosen in addition to the boundaries it pushed in terms of the base XCOM 2 make it the best new injection of content of 2017, and it also sets a new bar for what we're expecting next out of Firaxis Games. -Brittany Vincent
Quietest Lobby of 2017: LawBreakers
In lieu of not having a category of one of the most heartbreaking happenings in gaming this year, Quietest Lobby is how I personally have to mourn Lawbreakers. Too often I'd attempt to find a match on PS4 and end up disappointed as the minutes continued to pass right on by. One could imagine that game's waning popularity is due to poor quality, but one would be very wrong. Lawbreakers is a wonderful arena shooter that simply drowned under the weight of other, more-popular games this year. There were certainly missed opportunities in marketing and, hopefully, Boss Key will find a way to get some people chatting excitedly and playing again in 2018. -Charles Singletary
Best Cameo of 2017: Dan Marino in Madden NFL 18: Longshot
Electronic Arts took a big gamble with the Madden NFL franchise in 2017 with their first stab at a story-based campaign mode. Longshot follows the path of a Texas highschool Quarterback who struggles with the pressure of making it to the NFL. Dan Marino makes an epic cameo in this extremely cinematic game mode. Playing a game of football against Dan Marino in Afghanistan was a memorable moment for all Madden players and set the bar extremely high for future iterations of Madden NFL. -Asif Khan
Game That Should Be on Switch of the Year 2017: All of the Games
The hybrid nature of the Nintendo Switch console has gamers everywhere saying various games should be on Switch. The Shack staff was unable to narrow this award to one game, but let's just put a bunch of devs on notice. Some games that should be on NIntendo Switch include Overwatch, Hearthstone, PUBG, Lawbreakers, Madden NFL, and countless others. -Asif Khan
But wait, there's more! We will be announcing many more awards over the next few days. Here is a list of the remaining awards that are still to come:
Best VR Game of 2017
Most Overlooked Game of 2017
Check back at Shacknews over the next few days as we announce more winners. Special thanks to Shacknews Chatty user marmite for the Year of the Games image used in this article.
Asif Khan posted a new article, Year of the Games: 2017
The way I understand binaural, I don't think 5.1 offers any actual benefit over stereo speakers. It's a recording method, not a mixing or surround effect. Think of it like performance capture for audio recording. We only hear with two ears, and it's re-creating that experience. In order to hear the audio the way the way it was recorded, headphones are really the best.
Actually Destin explains this way better than I can. Binaural recording recreates the sound effects described in this video by recording audio within ears, or something modeled the same.