Another year of gaming has passed, we are already revving up for the 2015 era of sweaty controllers. 2014 was a unique year for the industry. It has been quite some time since gamers engaged in a transitional phase of consoles. It was certainly a year of seeing dual releases and HD remakes between current generation platforms and that of the recent past. It was the first real year that all three consoles—PS4, XboxOne, and the Wii U—could focus on game publishing rather than hardware releases. How did it all pan out? Well, that is why we are here!
The Gunslingers, the largest and most active gaming group exclusively for older gamers, hit the virtual voting booths to cast their votes on more than a dozen categories. In the first week of January 2015, all Gunslingers were encouraged to post their nominations for each category. The second and third week of January were dedicated to voting on the nominations. The final week of January showcased the polls for Game of the Year and Best Gunslinger Front of 2014. All the votes have been tallied, and here are the results. Enjoy!
NOTE: Listen to the Gunslinger Podcast version of the awards here:
2014 Game of the Year: MARIO KART 8
Last Year’s Winner: Grand Theft Auto V
Notes: This year’s voting for Game of the Year was a showdown like no other. Destiny and Mario Kart 8 traded the lead until the bitter end, and Mario Kart 8 came out on top by a single vote. The game features 60 frames per second, 1080 HD graphics, Youtube exporting, an extensive amount of DLC, and a pantheon of iconic video game characters. The Wii U has a small install base compared to that of their competition, but said install base almost unanimously chose Mario Kart 8 over any other Nintendo nominations, and that universal support most likely played a big part in it triumphing over Destiny.
Best Microsoft Exclusive of 2014: SUNSET OVERDRIVE
Last Year’s Winner: Forza 5
Notes: Sunset Overdrive’s developers, Insomniac Games, left Sony after years of making famous mascots such as Ratchet and Clank to create a Microsoft exclusive, and Xbox gamers showed their appreciation. The game taps into Gunslingers’ sweet tooth that also made Borderlands 2 so popular among us. Sunset Overdrive, a self mocking response to the online shooters genre, created a fun, unique experience using a palette of vibrate colors, inside genre jokes, and addicting gameplay. It is the double rainbow of shooters, and that is somehow a compliment.
Best Sony Exclusive of 2014: THE LAST OF US: REMASTERED
Last Year’s Winner: Killzone: Shadow Fall
Notes: Naughty Dog created a horrific and emotional masterpiece with The Last of Us, and it is no surprise that PS4 owners demanded to play the game on their latest purchase. The game is inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Now, another generation of Sony gamers can debate over what the ending of the game means. Just remember: if you hear a Clicker, don’t run!
Best Nintendo Exclusive of 2014: MARIO KART 8
Last Year’s Winner: Super Mario 3D World
Notes: It doesn’t matter what Bowser likes to claim or who he kidnaps. Mario is the king of Nintendo. His combat racing game, which very much defines the template of how to make a successful entry in the genre, returned with thunderous approval from the Shellslingers. Unlike the great yet never fixed Mario Kart Wii, MK8 is a refined racing experience thanks to patching, DLC characters and tracks, and Amiibo support. While it doesn’t stray from its core formula, it now includes unique twists in content such as the Excitebike themed course and the inclusion of Legend of Zelda. Psst…Blue shell is [STILL] coming!
Best PC Exclusive of 2014: CIVILIZATION: BEYOND EARTH & FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S 2
Last Year’s Winner: DOTA 2
Notes: We have a tie! The PC Gunslingers remained deadlocked when choosing between their love for simulation gaming and indie frights. The games couldn’t be more different. Civilization represents the corporate, AAA production to PC gaming, while Five Nights at Freddy’s champions the utter influence of the indie market. Which to choose? Be greedy like us. Choose both!
Best Action/Adventure Game of 2014: GRAND THEFT AUTO V (PS4/XBOXONE VERSION)
Last Year’s Winner: The Last of Us
Notes: Although GTA V couldn’t muster quite enough votes to take this category last year, it came back with a vengeance thanks to an above average effort by Rock Star to make the current generation versions of the game worth (re)buying. The most noticeable perk of the enhanced version of GTA V is a player’s ability to toggle between third person and first person perspectives. That is no small difference. Just ask any Gunslinger in the middle of a shoot out or a heist. Now, please excuse me. I need to ram a helicopter into a strip joint.
Best Role-Playing Game of 2014: DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION
Last Year’s Winner: Diablo III
Notes: BioWare got a lot of Dragon Age fans worried with its mixed-reviewed sequel, but earned back the faith thanks to Dragon Age: Inquisition’s robust amount of content and replay value. Stuffed to the seams with mythology, sub quests, and fully realized Western RPG conventions, Inquisition has been nominated for awards throughout the entire industry. Keep hackin’-and-slashin’, Gunslingers!
Best MMO Game of 2014: DESTINY
Last Year’s Winner: Diablo III
Notes: There was a bit of grumbling by RPG Gunslingers after last year’s Awards due to MMOs and RPGs being combined into the same voting category. Based on this year’s difference in winners, it appears they were right! Destiny, which is Bungie’s first game after departing from the Halo franchise, does a fantastic job of combining what we love in Star Wars with what made Borderlands style of gameplay addicting. The game allows Gunslingers to play along side of their friends in MMO conquests or on the battlefield in some player-vs-player gun fights. It also helps that Destiny pulled in more Gunslinger members than any other title in 2014. Lock ‘n’ Load. We got some loot to…um…loot!
Best Shooter of 2014: DESTINY
Last Year’s Winner: Battlefield 4
Notes: No, that isn’t a typo. Destiny won Best MMO and Best Shooter. The tradition of Call of Duty style military shooters dominating this category has been disrupted. Destiny, which is rich with true science fiction weaponary and worlds, shatters the ceiling. There is a lot of talk among shooter fans on whether or not military shooters have grown stale, and Destiny suggests there is merit in that argument. Or maybe it is just a damn good game. It doesn’t matter whichever side of that debate you land on. What matters is team work among your fellow Gunslingers, and Destiny rewards plenty for it.
Best Fighting Game of 2014: SUPER SMASH BROS
Last Year’s Winner: Injustice: Gods Among Us
Notes: Nintendo brought out their heavy ammunition in 2014 with the release of Mario Kart 8 AND Super Smash Bros. SSB also gained more prop with a dual release on the 3DS and Wii U in which each version presented their own unique features that the other doesn’t have. Extremely few fighting franchises have endured as well as Smash Bros, and Nintendo released it in top form by giving it remarkable control options, 60fps/1080 HD graphics, and a seriously large amount of in-game content along with game modes. Where else are you going to see Little Mac from Punch-Out land a well timed uppercut against Pac-Man? I mean, Pac-Man doesn’t even have a neck!
Best Sports Game of 2014: FIFA 2015 & MADDEN 15
Last Year’s Winner: NHL 14
Notes: This category is always tightly contested among the Gunslingers, and that hooligan FIFA is always involved in the head-butting. This year, however, is the first time the fight ended in a tie! FIFA and Madden share the honors. Regardless of which curve of the globe you game from, “football” wins in 2014.
Best Platformer of 2014: CHILD OF LIGHT & DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS: TROPICAL FREEZE & GUACAMELEE
Last Year’s Winner: Rayman Legends
Notes: History has happened! The results of the Best Platformer marks the first time a three-way tie has occurred in the GS Games Awards. The Child of Light’s role-playing charm is a download-only contender. Guacamelee represents the indie scene in all its spastic Mexican homage. Donkey Kong Returns: Tropical Freeze reminds players why Nintendo is legendary in the high-budget, slick platforming genre. None of the three could edge out the other, however. Perhaps this tie speaks to just how diverse and competitive the genre has become. As long as I can double-jump, no worries here.
Best Racing Game of 2014: MARIO KART 8
Last Year’s Winner: Gran Turismo 6
Notes: As much as simulation racing with quasi-realistic physics may get the adrenaline glands surging, the sheer sugar high of crazy combat racing got Gunslingers to the voting booths. It also helps Nintendo threw its best people on MK8. The company needed the game to energize its core base, and Mario Kart 8 delivers! Only Mario Kart 8 can make someone whip the controller against the wall while screaming, “Unfair freakin’ fair!” because a last minute lightning strike ruined their first-place lead (I’m looking at you, Balki) and still have you revving your kart engine for the next race.
Best Horror/Survival Game of 2014: THE EVIL WITHIN
Last Year’s Winner: The Last of Us
Notes: Shinji Mikami, the creator of Resident Evil, shows the horror fans that he still can make a person jump with the 2014 release of The Evil Within. Its creepy locations and grotesque creatures have earned it a comic book series published by Dark Horse and an independent film adaption already. Now, if we could convince Mr. Mikami to bring some of that macabre magic back to the Resident Evil franchise, Raccoon City would be worth visiting again.
Best DLC/Add-On Content of 2014: DIABLO 3: REAPER OF SOULS
Last Year’s Winner: N/A
Notes: This is the first time this voting category has appeared in our Awards. Yes, DLC has earned some negative attention due to shady antics by publishers and developers alike, but DLC has become a staple of the industry that also vastly extends or improves the gaming experience of a game we are already loving. Reaper of Souls is a fine example. In addition to adding more quests and a fifth act, the DLC gives players a new character class (Crusader) and new level caps. The DLC worked. Diablo III is now one of our longest running Gunslinger clan fronts. A collective cry of “Sustenance!” has been exclaimed.
Best Remastered/HD Remake Game 2014: GRAND THEFT AUTO V
Last Year’s Winner: N/A
Notes: Like the Best DLC category, Best Remastered is debuting during this year’s edition of the Awards. And not without some grumbling. We have all bought our fancy new consoles and want some bang for our buck. HD remakes of games we have either already played or passed up during the last generation of gaming sometimes feels more like playing with a sparkler on 4th of July than real fire power. That said, Remastered games are earmarks of a first-year development cycle for a new generation of gaming, and there were some noteworthy examples. Grand Theft Auto V is clearly one of them. Commence with the car-jacking…
Favorite GS Clan Front of 2014: DESTINY
Last Year’s Winner: Grand Theft Auto V
Notes: Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. Destiny pulled in more new member sign-ups (thank you for joining!) than any other game in 2014. We have a quite active Fire Teams subforum section to help members in getting in game with other players. And the game makes team work fun and always enjoyable. Destiny is a fantastic game, and it has done wonders in bringing Gunslinger members together across multiple platforms.
Most Anticipated Game of 2015: DIVISION
Last Year’s Winner: Destiny
Notes: What is in store for the Gunslingers in 2015? The Most Anticipated Game category is certainly a clue. Division, the third-person role-playing game of the Tom Clancy franchise, perked the ears of gamers across the world with a seven minute demo during Ubisoft’s 2013 E3 press conference. There hasn’t been too much information about the project since, however, which has created some doubts that we will even see the game in 2015. Whenever it is released, there is one thing for sure. The Gunslingers will be there. With guns a-blazing.
Thank you for reading the results of the Gunslingers Games Awards for 2014. Each of the original polls and topics for each category are being placed into the appropriate sections through the Gunslinger Gaming forums. Feel free to share your thoughts on the results and the associated game in those areas. Cheers and long live the Gunslingers!