2010 Aggie Awards

Honourary Aggies

 

Not all achievements fit neatly into a “Best of” category, nor can they all be fought on a level playing field. Some games stand out for doing one thing particularly well in a narrow field of competitors, or for doing everything well but no one thing in particular, possibly falling under the radar in the process. This year we’ve decided to recognize a few extra games that fell short of regular award status but still deserve attention for their noteworthy accomplishments. We first considered such possibilities as Best Puzzle and Most Memorable Moment, but getting adventure gamers to agree on anything is a challenge, let alone something that subjective. Then someone suggested “Best Use of Innovation” and we laughed ourselves silly. But finally we came up the list you’ll see below, as we celebrate their positive contributions to the genre in 2010.

 

Lost Horizon

 

 

Ever wonder how the person who finishes fourth in the Olympics must feel? Oh so close… yet oh so far. That’s probably how Animation Arts feels right now. Modeled after the popular movie serials of the ‘30s and ‘40s, Lost Horizon was one of the more enjoyable games of the year, offering an epic plot full of high adventure and derring-do in a variety of exotic locations, seamlessly weaving together subtle humour, physical danger, and even romantic tension between its two bickering leads. There were car chases, fist fights, plane battles, and dastardly Nazi villains to overcome. Indiana Jones would have been proud. Not only that, but the game looked good, sounded great, and delivered plenty of good old-fashioned fun. And yet, it didn’t win anything. (Spoiler alert! Oh, sorry.) This year, there were always a few other games a little bit ahead in one category after another, leaving Lost Horizon perpetually juuuust off the podium. But it’s too good to fade into fourth-place obscurity, so we’re pleased to award it our “Best of the Rest” honourary Aggie distinction.

Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World

 

 

If you’d like a delightful blend of old school comic adventure sensibilities and modern day accessibility, look no further than Petar Ivancek’s Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World. Its beautiful 2D cartoon graphics should trigger fond memories of the days of Curse of Monkey Island, and its challenging inventory puzzles (even to the point of straining logic at times) will remind everyone of the pre-walkthrough days of yore. Yet there’s no need for hint hotlines here, as this game is extremely user-friendly, with two difficulty settings, intuitive point-and-click interface, and a built-in hint system. So why aren’t more people talking about it? Maybe because the characters themselves don’t talk. Oh, there’s plenty of witty dialogue exchanged between amusingly-exaggerated characters, but there’s no voice acting at all, which is a big hindrance for some. Add in the fact that it’s available only as a download, and perhaps that’s enough to drive many people away. But it shouldn’t. There’s a charming, often entertaining adventure to be found in our “Best Game No One Has Played”, so do yourself a favour and change that.

Drawn: Dark Flight

 

 

Many games have tried to bridge the gap between full-fledged adventures and casual design, but few truly succeed. Most simply end up being an uneasy compromise between two styles of gameplay, alternating between elements in a forced and unnatural way. Drawn: The Painted Tower was one of the first to genuinely feel like a cohesive “casual adventure”, and its sequel was arguably even better. Far from a standard hidden object game, Big Fish’s Dark Flight was a fascinating journey through a whimsically gothic world filled with imaginative obstacles and creative puzzles that put most adventures to shame, all wonderfully supported with beautiful 2D fantasy imagery and an impressive orchestral soundtrack. Its fairly streamlined nature and light plot focus are the only things that separate this from any award-winning adventure, and as our honourary “Best Casual Game“ winner, it remains the gold standard that every gamer owes it to themselves to try.

Jolly Rover

 

 

Who the heck is Brawsome? A year ago, no one knew. Well, Andrew Goulding knew, as the indie Australian developer was hard at work on his debut adventure. And what an impressive first foray into the genre that became, offering up a lighthearted swashbuckling romp unlike any other. Perhaps somewhat overlooked in the deluge of recent pirate games, Jolly Rover managed to distinguish itself nevertheless with its pleasing 2D graphics, humourous dialogue, user-friendly interface, and abundance of things to see and do and collect, many of them purely optional. Well, that and the fact that everyone’s an anthropomorphic dog. While most first-time developers make plenty of rookie mistakes, Goulding clearly did his homework along the way, as this game hits just about all the right notes. For giving new meaning to the term “fetch quest” (in an entirely good way), this scurvy sea dog’s tale earned our award for “Most Promising Debut” in 2010, and here’s hoping that this is only the start of good things to come from Brawsome.

DARKSTAR: The Interactive Movie

 

 

Everything about Parallax Studio’s DARKSTAR: The Interactive Movie simply oozes nostalgia. Of course, maybe that’s because this futuristic space opera is so darn OLD. This massive indie production was ten years in the making, so it’s really no surprise that it clings tightly to old school design principles that weren’t nearly so dated a decade ago. Not all of them hold up well in today’s adventure landscape, like instant deaths and even the occasional dead end, but the most important one does. This “interactive movie” is true to its name, delivering more than thirteen hours(!!) of live-action FMV video, which it proudly boasts as being “more cinematic footage than any video game ever released”. As Captain John O’Neil, players awaken from cryo sleep aboard the damaged Westwick spaceship in the year 2499, but in many ways you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the mid-‘90s, when FMV was all the rage. For being every bit as much a blast from the past as an epic space odyssey through the future, this game claims the honour of “Most Nostalgic Adventure” of the past year.


Next up: Best Independent Adventure... the envelope, please!

Continued on the next page...



AD Heavy Rain can be purchased at:
Amazon  

Related Games

Heavy Rain

Platform(s): PlayStation 3

Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse

Platform(s): Mac, PC, PlayStation 3

Puzzle Agent

Platform(s): PC, Wii

The Whispered World

Platform(s): PC

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Platform(s): DS

Also known as Professor Layton and the Lost Future

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Platform(s): Mac, PC



About the Author

Comments

Fantasysci5 Fantasysci5
Feb 16, 2011

I see “Black Mirror 2” got runner-up in pretty much every category, AG staff AND readers!

SamuelGordon SamuelGordon
Feb 16, 2011

Heavy Rain, champion of the people! It was a great game , the Origami Killer is amazing. My favorite characters were Gaius James Rover, Sadwick and the Origami Killer of course. I haven’t played one game the staff picked besides Heavy Rain..hmmm time to get busy!

Arial Type Arial Type
Feb 16, 2011

I found Norman Jayden to be the most lovable character. Mixing virtual reality and drug addiction was a really nice idea)

Roper Klacks
Feb 18, 2011

So glad Amnesia took a handfull of prizes. Frictional Games deserve it so much.

smulan smulan
Feb 18, 2011

Yes it was a surprising choice for best adventure of 2010! But a fair one. And good for AG and good for Cing, despite them not being anymore.

ADan ADan
Feb 18, 2011

Wow! The Whispered World! And I didn’t even vote!

Most surprising: Sadwick. (After all the complaints about his voice).

My personal choice from the same game would have been ‘The Rock Bros.’.
I totally love how they sound exactly like I had imagined them when I translated their parts.

Big thanks to the AG community and of course the team.

Cheers, Dan.

Panthera Panthera
Feb 18, 2011

Now I really must play Last Window. I actually found it at my local electronics store, didn’t even know there was a newer release from Cing than Again, but picked it up for 25£ and put it in my DS shelf, where it has been since (together with Again that’s also unplayed)..

Also need to finish the Whispered World, Sam and Max season 3, Heavy Rain and force my bf into playing Amnesia while I watch, as there is no way I’m playing that one alone..

At least I should have a lot to look forward to!

DrFrankenstein DrFrankenstein
Feb 18, 2011

Now, this is a twist at the very end! This is the first time I hear about the Cing game and the fate of the developer. Must be for a good cause that the AG staff decided to put the spotlight on them! Unfortunately, the PC world may never find out the merits of this game. So sad…

As for the readers’ choice award… Interesting! The Whispered World is a very good game indeed, but does have some major flaws too. In my eyes S&M and Lost Horizon deliver a better overall package than it. My take - hype campaigns still work wonders for getting ahead. Alas!

An interesting Awards season with no easy picks amongst the contenders. Many thanks to the AG staff for making it all happen once again. Salute!

orient orient
Feb 19, 2011

It’s great to see Cing getting the recognition they so rightly deserve. I bought The Last Window at launch but I still haven’t played it in fear of it being the last Cing game I’ll ever experience :-( Maybe now’s the time to get over it and play this wonderful game.

jasonlblair
Feb 22, 2011

A great list of deserving titles, and a nice send-off to Cing. I anticipated every release and was heartbroken to hear they were being shuttered.

And a big thank you to the staff and readers of AdventureGamers.com for doing my favorite genre proud. I love visiting this site.

pfranzen
Feb 22, 2011

So happy to see all the love for The Whispered World; it’s easily one of the best adventure games I’ve played since the LucasArts era.

diego diego
Feb 23, 2011

I won’t judge AG choice for best game because i haven’t played Last Window, but i’m really happy to see that community loved The Whispered World. It may not the a perfect adventure, but it really tried and at most cases succeded to catch the spirit of those “golden days” being original along the way as well. Black Mirror 2 and The Lost Horizon deserved to win some of the category i think, but - every award needs to have it’s “Scorcese” Smile

And a big thank to AG editors who put this all together, now when you look at it, 2010. wasn’t that bad at all. I also hope that in the future we’ll get to see German releases much sooner in English localizations. I also hope to see more companies doing games and more adventure game publishers.

bakana
Feb 28, 2011

I have to say I’m VERY surprised that Sadwick was voted “best character.”  Even once you gave in and turned off his atrocious, unlistenable voice, he was still a mopey, insufferable whiner in a stupid hat…

Tad Tad
Jan 2, 2013

Surprised to see Heavy Rain win this. The story starts strong but falls to bits the closer you get to the end.

Cowboy Bibop
Feb 25, 2014

Great Year for gaming and great pick by the staff and Readers.

But there was this one category… this one award that completly dazzles me. How can Heavy Rain NOT win Best Graphic Design?

Everyone in Adventure Gamers staff should go back and be amazed by that amazing visuals again, because still to this day they are at the op of the industry.



Post a comment

You need to be logged in to post comments. Not a member? Register now!

Also check out...

SOMA preview

PS4 PC