Shacknews 'Best of 2011' Awards

The Shacknews 'Game of the Year' awards have begun. This year, we've done things a little differently. Here's how we've decided the Best of 2011.


We put 2011 in the history books, and with that the time comes to recognize the best from the impressive collection of videogames released over the year. Before even getting to the nominees, though, we took a good look at the awards themselves. When we brought them back for 2010, we took a pretty standard approach, recognizing best of's for genres and platforms, special awards for unique attributes, and, ultimately, a game of the year. The result created confusion and dissatisfaction over what games qualified for which awards and, despite having so many of them, only calling out a few titles which then won multiple times.

For 2011 we're taking a different tack. Rather than dilute things across a wide range, we put everything in contention for the grand prize of Game of the Year. Each member of the team cast a ballot of their top five games of the year, which we used on a weighted scale to determine our top ten games of the year.

Starting this week, we'll be working through that list, beginning with five honorable mentions, one each day. We chose not to rank this second half of our top ten because the difference between their scores was rather insignificant. Each of these games found its way onto more than one list, but they didn't receive the same consensus as our top five award recipients.

The following week we'll dive into the top five. We'll be awarding fourth, third, second, and first runners-up each day. Finally, the series culminates in the Shacknews Game of the Year, to be named Friday, January 20.

While the order might be a source of debate, we're excited about how the awards turned out this year. 2011 offered a variety of excellent games and we feel like these represent the very best of them. There's sure to be a lot to talk about with each selection and the awards as whole when all is said and done. We look forward to being a part of those conversations with you.

And with that, let the 2011 Shacknews Game of the Year Awards begin! Hope you enjoy them.

From The Chatty
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    January 9, 2012 1:00 PM

    Garnett Lee posted a new article, Shacknews 'Best of 2011' Awards.

    The Shacknews 'Game of the Year' awards have begun. This year, we've done things a little differently. Here's how we've decided the Best of 2011.

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      January 9, 2012 1:09 PM

      Skyrim or GTFO.

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      January 9, 2012 1:13 PM

      Starts off with a bang, eh?

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      January 9, 2012 1:14 PM

      Haha fuck. The next while is going to be a hilarious read in the comments as people bitch & moan over the selections for this list.

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        January 9, 2012 1:16 PM

        maybe it'll end in a massive daisy chain of buttsex

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        January 9, 2012 2:45 PM

        Unlike last year, there were no list of games to nominate from. Everyone was free to list their top games of the year and based on the scoring system we agreed on, the list was formed.

        You'll see some surprises, that's for sure!

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      January 9, 2012 1:15 PM

      DNF obvious GOTY

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        January 9, 2012 1:48 PM

        This man knows how to generate traffic on a gaming website.

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        January 9, 2012 7:41 PM

        The guys from GiantBomb couldn't finish that game it was so bad...

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      January 9, 2012 2:10 PM

      Shacknews, what is best in 2011?

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        January 9, 2012 2:55 PM

        To post the news, see it driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of the comments.

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      January 9, 2012 2:48 PM

      Should be interesting

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      January 9, 2012 3:10 PM

      can we NOT be idiots and just accept that people have their own standards for what constitutes "best game".

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      January 9, 2012 3:27 PM

      I hope to see Bulletstorm somewhere on the list. Honorable mention, maybe?

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      January 9, 2012 3:28 PM

      Going to be Skryim. Bleh.

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        January 9, 2012 3:31 PM

        Minecraft if Xav fixed the votes.

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        January 9, 2012 3:51 PM

        No shit. It only wont be GOTY if some website is being super counter dependent. The game practically perfected what it means to be an open world RPG, and if that isnt GOTY material then IDK what is.

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          January 9, 2012 4:44 PM

          It's great, but far far from perfection.

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          January 9, 2012 6:20 PM

          It's horribly boring. In my experience you have to be really into wizards and shit to love skyrim, which it turns out a lot of people are. But if you aren't, it's just boring. For me, I'm into futuristic worlds which is why I'm willing to cut Mass Effect and Deus Ex so much slack. But skyrim, skyrim does nothing for me.

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            January 9, 2012 7:54 PM

            I don't think I've ever felt so immersed in a game world as I have in skyrim. It's expansive and beautiful.

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      January 9, 2012 6:17 PM

      If you give it to Skyrim shacknews, I will beat you with a stick.

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        January 9, 2012 6:18 PM

        Also: if SR3 is nowhere on the list, that means no one at shacknews played it

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      January 9, 2012 6:26 PM

      Glad you guys learned from last years debacle, but did you really need to drag this out over 2 weeks? Are you hurting for hits that badly?

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        January 9, 2012 8:08 PM

        That is what happens when the new website is utter shit and they refuse to fix its massive flaws.
        GTFO Shacknews.

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        January 10, 2012 9:20 AM

        With the move to this format we wanted to give each game its hard-earned moment in the spotlight and encourage discussion more around the games than setting up a this one should have been ranked higher than this other one scenario. Everyone has their favorites. This way we give everyone a place to talk about theirs.

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      January 9, 2012 8:34 PM

      SO MANY BETTER GAMES than Skyrim. Don't get me wrong. Skyrim is a GREAT game. ....but what the fuck, Dark Souls is a billion times more rewarding... and What the FUCKING FUCK Battlefield 3 hasn't made any countdowns.

      Battlefield 3 is top 3 GOTY for me. Dark Souls is probably #1.

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        January 10, 2012 10:59 AM

        I don't get why people like Dark Souls. Its poorly designed. It has some solid core game play but its mired in horrible menu and character screens and a bunch of systems that are left unexplained and totally dependant on some kind of arcane sourcing to discover. Do not want.

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        January 20, 2012 4:33 AM

        Dark souls was sloppy and unpolished. The controls wouldn't work sometimes. The graphics really under delivered. It wasn't difficult. It was easy to exploit. The menus were designed by a walrus and it was unnecessarily complicated (there were stats in the menus that weren't explained in the manual).

        I enjoyed the difficulty at first but it became extremely easy after you get the hang of it.

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      January 10, 2012 7:36 AM

      Portal 2 should be GOTY. It's frustrating that GOTY often goes to the most epic RPG, much like the Oscar for Best Picture tends to go to epic historical dramas like Titanic and Dances with Wolves.

      I'm sure Skyrim is good, but isn't it just incrementally better than the previous Elder Scrolls game? Will there be any reason to revisit it after the next iteration is released a couple of years from now? Portal 2 was more than that - it's a huge step forward,; truly an original with innovative gameplay and great story. People will be playing Portal 2 even in the next decade.

      You've already acknowledged in your podcast that Portal 2 and Minecraft will have the lasting impact, so I hope you pick one of those. But beyond that, i wish you would consider smaller, downloadable titles for GOTY. The list shouldn't be a competition for most epic; it's Game of the Year not Biggest Game of the Year or Most Addictive Game of the Year.

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        January 10, 2012 11:19 AM

        I assume since your asking about it that you haven't played the game? I'm not sure what we could tell you that would convince you. I would encourage you to play it.

        As far as it being "incremental" step up from Oblivion.....No. I played Oblivion. Skyrim seems like its a next generation version of Oblivion. There are so many lessons learned in the combat, menu systems, conversation system that Oblivion started but never felt polished. Oblivion seems like it should be an original xbox title in comparison. Its crazy town that they exist on the same platform.

        Certainly none of those improvements are perfect, and Oblivion set a huge bar in terms of story that I didn't think that Skyrim reached, but I had way more fun playing Skyrim. Also I finished it which I never did on Oblivion.

        Of course I played it on PS3 so the game is total shit and I want Bethesda and everything they love to burn in the fires of damnation, but that's just me.

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      January 10, 2012 11:04 AM

      You know what people say about assumptions, right?

      Let's wait for the list before we yell at each other!

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      January 10, 2012 4:35 PM

      BF3 GOTY

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      January 16, 2012 11:22 AM

      This list went up a week ago and you JUST finished honorable mentions. I understand the need to pad it out for pageviews, but COME ON.

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        January 16, 2012 11:40 AM

        As explained above, this is about giving each game a day to shine alone from other announcements. This isn't a page view thing. Though I know none of you believe me when I say that... but it's the truth.

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          January 16, 2012 12:16 PM

          We should also point out that if we posted all ten in one day, that's still ten pages. It's the same amount of page views.

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      January 17, 2012 6:47 PM

      If my Heart was black and white, the White side would choose Portal2 and the black.....Dark souls- a game unlike anything I've ever played, so full of suspense and real heart pounding moments. The level design is brilliant and the enemies are brutal but fair. I died 27 times in a span of 1 hour to take down one demon!!!....and I loved every second....If Skyrim had the Dark Souls combat mechanics, I would pass out in pure joy

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      January 18, 2012 6:41 PM

      So, looking like the top two will go to Portal 2 and BF3.

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        January 18, 2012 7:02 PM

        BF3 dosent belong in the Top 10

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      January 19, 2012 12:54 AM

      Honourable mentions for saints row and the quite boring (to play) LBP but not Witcher or dark souls?? You are just wrong, no debate, just wrong!

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      January 19, 2012 8:58 AM

      Mortal Kombat > All Other Games.