Lightning-cognition: Good GOTY!

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Hello, internet!

LightningEllen here and still filling in for the almighty Goddess of Wisdom while she takes a well-deserved break from writing brilliant articles here on AmbiGaming. Warning: I’m certainly not a great Athena substitute, but I’ll be babbling at my best during this blog-sitting gig, eh!

Anyway, Lightning-cognition is my version of Athena’s epic Metacognition series of posts where she explores deep thoughts (and occasionally not so deep thoughts) on gaming. This week I’ll be talking about this whole Game of the Year craze. Or “GOTY” as it’s commonly referred to by all the cool people.

In my young gamer days, I was all about the GOTY, man. This was an exciting time of year for the big time gaming site I was an avid user of, I’ve abandoned that site long ago due to some, um, misogynist fallout that I won’t go off in a rant about (in this article, anyway). But I do remember gamer_girl15 (my old username was so creative, eh?) being stoked to vote in GameSpot’s yearly Game of the Year feature and all that jazz.

Nowadays, I’m filled with cold indifference about GOTY (or any official gaming awards, really). Dudes… I’ve changed, and I don’t like it, but that’s how it goes. I quite honestly just don’t care what some popular website or organization declares to be the “best” game of the year. I mean, I totally get and support the fun aspect of it all. Rooting for your favourite game and seeing it win is pretty cool. Not to mention all the interesting discussions that can occur during the whole process.

The problem is that those discussions can quickly devolve into toxic system wars drama that often plagues the big gaming communities. I’m talking about the “LOLz!! That game sux and u suck hahaha… ha” crowd. It’s seriously not a huge deal if a game you loved doesn’t get the professional recognition you think it deserves. If you enjoyed the game, that’s all that matters. I know there’s a ton of amazing Indie games out there that deserve a heck of a lot more attention.

System Wars

And on the other hand, if other people loved a game you hated, just seriously be happy for them. There’s no need to be an ass and try to destroy their joy by telling them how much their favourite game of the year “sux”. I’ve witnessed these sad scenes so many times on the internet. My overall faith in humanity level is pretty low these days, which doesn’t help at all with my cold indifference problem.

Oh and I can’t forget a “professional” reviewer’s opinion that “you aren’t a gamer” if you don’t play Rockstar’s latest masterpiece Grand Theft Horse game. As amazing as you think Red Dead Redemption 2 is, there are a ton of people who will hate it simply because it’s not their jam, and that’s perfectly okay. If you loved it, that’s great! And please, don’t get all defensive and upset with people if it doesn’t win that prized GOTY award on every single website this year. Jeez. Calm down, my friends.

Not a day one purchase for me, personally. But RDR2 does look cool and I’ll likely grab it when it’s nice and cheap.

I think I’m getting to the root of what irks me with this whole thing – popular opinions presented as facts in game reviews. What classifies a good game is entirely subjective. Video games are art. In my opinion (which I’m not presenting as a fact), you just can’t assign a logical unbiased unit of measurement to art and then professionally compare its worth against other forms of art. It just doesn’t work like that.

Sure, if a game is an unplayable mess of bugs and glitches, it’s easy to call that a bad game. But for the most part all games have mechanics and aesthetics that will click differently with each individual player who plays it. I’ve loved games the majority hates, and I’ve hated games the majority loves. People just like different things and it seems next to impossible to not be biased to some degree in a game review.

Don’t get me wrong! Reviews are certainly a great thing. If you are on the same train of thought as your favourite game reviewer, chances are you’re gonna like and hate the same games they do. I just wish they’d stop being treated as cold hard facts. Like I said, people like all kinds of different games. You are a gamer if you like playing games, any games, you truly enjoy. And it’s not the end of the world if other people don’t love your favourite game as much as you think they should.

Seriously though, enjoy all the great GOTY chats and events out there, if that’s your thing. I do get it. I can also imagine GOTY talk does satisfy the competitive side that a lot of gamers have. I’m old, cranky, and just tired all of the gamer drama I see online. I honestly didn’t have time to play most of the critically acclaimed games that came into existence this year. Alas! I’m just asking people to have a tiny bit more mutual respect and empathy for each other. The on and offline worlds will be better off for it!

May your favourite games forever bring you joy, even if they don’t win GOTY.

What about you, internet? Am I just a cranky old gamer who’s off her rocker these days? Do you enjoy the all the GOTY festivities online? What was your favourite game that you played this year? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments section thingy down below!
Thanks for reading!
~ LightningEllen

You can totally help the Goddess of Wisdom’s Video Game Relevancy Crusade by supporting AmbiGaming on Patreon. You know, only if you wanted to, of course!


  1. I haven’t played Red Dead Redemption II and I don’t particularly have any desire to do so. Does that make me ‘not a gamer’? I don’t think so.

    Loved this post – you’ve completely hit the nail on the head. Is it really possible to choose a single GOTY for everyone when you consider how many are released (I think there were around 9,000 on Steam alone in 2018), and that it all comes down to personal taste? And does a GOTY matter anyway?

    If you’re a cranky old gamer who’s off her rocker, then you’ve got some company. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and sharing this on Twitter 😀

      I’m also glad I’m not alone! Think I’m gonna go make some tea and dream about the good ol’ gaming days, haha.


  2. Do you think it’s a symptom of being 30+? Are we just crotchety now? The fact is, some people just thrive on argument and conflict, and will either defend their position to the point of aggression or not truly care that much but do it for the sake of the lulz. The people like us who really just want to enjoy games and also use the Internet, then, are left to experience the blowback. But that’s why I enjoy yours and Athena’s blogs as safe spaces and bastions of positivity 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I support this hypothesis! Especially since I recently joined the level 30 club, haha. Well said!

      And aw, thank you for the kind words! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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