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Xbox head Phil Spencer honored with 2023 Andrew Yoon Legend Award

Phil Spencer joins such luminaries as Hideo Kojima, Tim Schafer, and the Romeros as Andrew Yoon Legend Award winners.

New York Videogame Critics Circle
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The 12th annual New York Game Awards were held on Tuesday evening. The yearly award show is held by the New York Videogame Critics Circle and honors the best games, actors, esports competitors, and journalists in the gaming field. Top honors went to Elden Ring, while Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer was honored with the 2023 Andrew Yoon Legend Award.

"I've been working in the gaming industry for a long time and, well before that, I was a player and a fan of games," Spencer said in his acceptance speech. "Back in those days, as a kid, we would save up every penny from our allowance to buy a new game that we probably chose based on the picture on the front of the box. We knew that this was going to be the one game we got to play for the next six months, maybe even a year. We hoped we picked the right one, because we were all about to get to know that game extremely well. With that one precious game, you were all invited into a new world -- a new world that was created with groundbreaking engineering work and innovative artistic vision from the game designers and developers behind the cartridge.

"Holding that cartridge for the first time was a rush of excitement and anticipation. And playing it? Pure and utter joy. Not just because we owned a cool thing, but because of the experiences we would have with that game and the community. We didn't just play with family and friends, we talked about it, obsessed over it, we laughed about it, and sometimes cried over it, reliving our best and worst moments together. Gaming was about this very echo effect of joy. Today, there are so many games, more than ever before, available to more players than ever before. But also, it can feel like there is more despair in the world, a steady stream of bad news. With the ongoing leapfrogging from crisis to crisis, it feels to me that that joy I experienced as a child has become much more elusive for us, for all to find, more of a guilty pleasure. It feels like today, seeking joy is an act of defiance. Yet today, as creators, as leaders, as world-builders, our greatest responsibility is to inspire and invite joy. Each one of the hundreds of titles that players have at their fingertips today and tomorrow is a calling card for joy."

2022 Andrew Yoon award recipient Phil Spencer

Source: New York Videogame Critics Circle

The Andrew Yoon Legend Award was established in 2016, named after the former Shacknews Editor-In-Chief and founding New York Videogame Critics Circle member, who tragically passed away in 2015. In accepting the award, Spencer also honored previous recipients Hideo Kojima, Jerry Lawson, Brenda & John Romero, and Tim Schafer.

Here are the full 2023 New York Game Awards Winners:

  • Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year
    Elden Ring
  • Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game
    Vampire Survivors
  • Herman Melville Award for Best Writing in a Game
    God of War Ragnarök
  • Statue of Liberty Award for Best World
    Elden Ring
  • Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game
    Metal: Hellsinger
  • Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game
    Manon Gage as Marissa Marcel in Immortality
  • Coney Island Dreamland Award for Best AR/VR Game
    Moss: Book II
  • Central Park Children’s Zoo Award for Best Kids Game
    Kirby and the Forgotten Land
  • A-Train Award for Best Mobile Game
    Marvel Snap
  • Freedom Tower Award for Best Remake
    The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe
  • Joltin’ Joe Award for Best Esports Player of the Year
    Masaya "aMSa" Chikamoto (VGBootCamp/Red Bull Esports)
  • Chumley’s Speakeasy Award for Best Hidden Gem
    SIGNALIS
  • NYC GWB Award for Best DLC
    Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
  • Knickerbocker Award for Best Games Journalism
    Justin Heckert, Vanity Fair
  • Elizabeth Jennings Graham Award for Best Educator
    Ryan O'Callaghan
  • Andrew Yoon Legend Award Recipient
    Phil Spencer

Award season continues, as the more year-end honors will continue to be handed out in the months ahead, including at the upcoming DICE Summit in February. For more on the New York Game Awards, visit the New York Videogame Critics Circle website.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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