December 9, 2017
Hello, hello, and welcome to the 1st annual TGPZ Awards! My name is Sean Michael-Patrick Thompson, and I will serve as your host… or author or however you want to think about it. With the year wrapping up and various other (less awesome) publications sending out Game of the Year awards, the team here at TGPZ decided to hop aboard the bandwagon and get some views! Er eh… bring quality original content to the fan base! Yeah….
With our pure motives in check, I suppose you are wondering what criteria we used to determine the best in every category. Well we used literally no criteria other than requiring it be Nintendo related since we are a Zelda fan site, then just voted for whatever we wanted with no nomination process or anything. We here at TGPZ take pride in our “Whatever, as long as everyone had fun” way of doing things, and this award show is no different. Now that I have blundered my way through as much introduction as I felt necessary, let’s move on to the primary topic, the awards. Be sure to read through to see our winners at the head of every category as well as a runner up, since many of these votes were very close! Also, please excuse the delay, as a Game Award show with a higher budget announced that I could download the Champions’ Ballad DLC for Breath of the Wild so I spent less time on this than I probably should have.
Best Action Game
Perhaps this first category is an example of why defining criteria could be useful, as literally every staff member who voted chose a different title. The TGPZ Award for Best Action Game is a six way tie!
This one was my pick. With the release of Switch this year, I played a lot more games than I have compared to other years. While there was a lot of fast-paced action in many of these, they usually had a break from the action to focus on other gameplay elements. In Doom, the action never stopped once. From start to finish, not a moment went by that you didn’t have to watch your back. There was the occasional break to stock up on ammo, but as soon as you left the safe zone, you got smacked in the face by a zillion demons all over again. This focus did not detract from the exploration in the game, however. There were tons of secrets to find in every level that will keep me returning to this game for a long time.
This incredible shooter features a very non-traditional approach while still retaining everything I love about the genre. As Hick puts it, “Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey had a lot of down time while you were exploring, but Splatoon 2 was almost constant action.” Truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
We are a site dedicated to this series, so you knew it would come up at least once. Anybody who hasn’t felt the rush of timing a flurry rush (hereafter known as the “Flurry Rush Rush”) with one heart remaining to finalize the demise of a Golden Lynel is really missing out. “What else needs to be said about this game?” states Red. “Amazing open world, fun combat, lots of secrets, crazy ways to accomplish anything you want to. It’s just about the perfect sandbox.”
Rockstar Games surprised many of us last month by bringing their gritty detective story to our new favorite console with exclusive HD rumble and touch screen controls! “Rockstar’s cult classic comes to the Switch in remastered glory.” chimed in aJNation71. He went on to say it was great to “track a series of murders in post war LA in this 50s throwback.”
Metroid: Samus Returns
Matt Abbott nominated this title, and had quite a lot to say. “It’s a lovingly crafted homage to an already excellent game (Metroid 2 on the Game Boy) and rather than a complete remake, is a skillfully done refresh with updated graphics, abilities and equipment. What I love about this is that they’ve somehow managed to maintain the exploratory nature of Metroid with a game that’s easy to drop in and out of, making it ideal for Nintendo’s handheld.” Metroid 2 was the first game in the series that I ever played, and I’ve been a lifelong fan ever since, so this title meant a lot to me as well.
Super Mario Odyssey
Zach Winn sounds like he was pleased with this title. He stated for the record, “The story, the music, the perfect controls, the capturing mechanic, I honestly don’t know where to even begin with the praise for this masterpiece. Just the massive amounts of challenges this game has to offer is mind boggling enough, and don’t even get me started on how awesome Cappy is. Odyssey is my dream come true!” Honestly I haven’t had as much time as I would like with this game and it is still my favorite Mario game of all time. Straight up epic.
Now that all that is out of the way, the rest of our categories did actually have a legitimate winner, so that should make things easier. The battle for best RPG on Switch was won by a narrow margin when at the last moment, Hick decided to change his vote via Twitter. You can totally go look up the conversation, I think it’s hilarious. And the award goes to:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
“Okay, wait a minute! Hear me out!” cries Zach, as he knows what many are thinking. “I know, this is a port of a game that’s six years old, but this is still one of my all time favorites. Okay I’m a bit biased, but it’s just a classic! Switch is a wonderful home for this experience too. I’ll gladly trade mod support for portability. Now I have one of my favorite RPGs ever on one of the best systems ever.”
With over 200 Game of the Year Awards under its belt, this might not seem like all that much, but it sounds like most of us are in agreement here on the site that it is one of the best RPGs of all time, even if I have to always be that hipster in the back telling you that Morrowind is better. Still, Skyrim is not only an instant classic, but it was the first confirmed game to be brought over from a new third-party. With as terrible third-party support as the Wii U had, it was incredibly important that Switch somehow find a way to get more on board if long-term success was the goal, and they certainly managed to snag a great company.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
aJNation71 described this game as “A follow up to the Wii exclusive, climb the backs of beasts and solve the mysterious of the mystical blades.” He’s not far off. This new JRPG from Monolithsoft is engaging from the moment you insert the cartridge with a cast of wacky yet relatable characters, a story with plenty of endearing charm, a graphic style that feels like you’re controlling a new anime, and a combat system that can’t be beat. Our hat is off to you.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
I can’t tell you how important 4 player split screen is on the go. Bringing my Switch and a six-pack over to my buddy’s place makes for an instant night of fun and adventure, and local multiplayer is always more fun. While the online is not necessarily better than any other game on the platform, no game really capitalizes on the portability of the Switch like Mario Kart. This is, in my opinion, tied for the best party game series of all time only with Super Smash Bros. Now you can bring the best party game anywhere and have a party there. You can have a party at the pub. You can have a party at school. You can have a party in the break room. Sitting in line waiting to get into the theaters to see Star Wars next week, I’m going to be having a party. You wanna come?
Hick praises this game by saying, “I had gotten away from online play after Halo 3, but this game brought me back in.” While I agree that this is currently the definitive game for the online scene on Nintendo Switch, it just couldn’t get past Mario Kart’s local-play perfection.
Most Original Game
Zach gave a lengthy spiel about this title (even though he actually nominated it for a different category) and I won’t hold back any of his words because I think he is quite on-point with them. “When it comes to motion controls, I’m not particularly a fan. Hence the reason that I gave up on the Wii. Nintendo found a way to take that “gimmick” however and flip it on its head. There’s nothing funnier than watching your friends and family flail their arms in order to virtually beat each other. And the controls actually work really well! It’s a welcome new IP from Nintendo that many fans didn’t think they wanted. With outstanding games like Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and Splatoon 2, ARMS manages to provide fun multiplayer experiences while leaving the party in hysterics.”
Even though I personally prefer to play with the Pro Controller, I really love how they managed to take the Fighting genre and upend everything you knew about it while still delivering an experience that even has hardcore fighting game lovers satisfied. It is a lot more to it than it appears on the surface and I can’t get enough of it. I thought the game looked absurd at its reveal and didn’t think I’d like it, but I kept up with the hype and decided to give it a go during the free Test Punch, and was pleasantly surprised by the depth of gameplay. Min-Min for the Win-Win!
I played the demo of this, and it seemed pretty interesting, but it did not quite hook me. I’ll shoot it over to Zach once more who had a lot to say. “Not only was the premise original, the unique way in which it forced players to interact created a one of a kind experience. I haven’t seen a multiplayer focused puzzle game that emphasizes cooperation in such a vocal way before. Hearing friends and family yell at each other to “cut me in the middle then stand on my head” is particularly entertaining. Plus, this game is the perfect example of how to effectively utilize a single joycon as the controller. Overall it’s fun, stylish, and challenging. That’s a great combo.”
Best Graphics (3DS)
Metroid: Samus Returns
This game may have presented the best functionality of the 3D feature out of any title available on the hardware. Every background and foreground was not only beautifully detailed, but also seemed to be alive with tons of animated details. aJNation71 was enthralled by, “Exploring the caverns of SR388… allowing for the wildlife to slot into a beautifully, dangerous setting.”
Metroid has a rich history of keeping you sucked in with the little details, particularly in the Prime series. Beginning with the first GameCube title, the team managed to add so many like rain drops hitting your helmet, seeing your face in the visor if there was too much glare from your power beam, and so many other bits of minutiae that add up to one of the most visually stunning experiences of all time. This game took that to a level beyond even its fully 3D counterparts to create something truly spectacular.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
I felt a little bad for not being able to take many of Matt’s words for this piece as he had tons of great stuff to say, and not least of all was about this title, however he was sadly outvoted. “Released at the tail end of 2016 technically, Shantae: Half Genie Hero is a stunning drawn platformer with vibrant sprites, an immense palette of colors and superb artistry throughout. That it plays fantastically is also reason enough to give it an award.” I wish I could, buddy, but literally everybody else said Metroid, even Red who didn’t even play it.
Best Graphics (Switch)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This time our signature series won by a landslide. Hick heaps on the praise, “I have to go with Breath of the Wild as the land was beautiful. The water looked amazing and the sunrises [and] sunsets were breathtaking.” Red simply stated “No explanation necessary.” The stylization was key to the success of this title, as the game ran sub-1080p, and even the kind of people who seem to consider graphics everything barely batted an eye at this jaw-dropping world they had to explore.
Plus the aesthetic really worked out well for the series. Seeing Link as a watercolor painting in Skyward Sword made for some incredible artwork, but in-game I thought it looked rather awkward, the Toon-style Link of Wind Waker has been hit or miss since his introduction, and even the edgy realistic style of Twilight Princess has been met with much criticism. This new anime-esque Link really fits the bill for how badass he should appear as well as translating wonderfully to the screen, making for possibly the least complained about aesthetic the series has ever had. Can’t wait to see more of this.
Super Mario Odyssey
Zach and aJNation71, while sadly outvoted, made a convincing argument for this pudgy plumber. “Beautifully colorful and joyfully playful… not only in modern 3D but in traditional retro 2D.” aJNation71 really has a point with this one. I never really stopped to think about the 8-bit graphics, but they were spectacularly done, and the transitions between the two styles were seamless in gameplay as well as graphics. Truly well done.
Game of the Year (3DS)
Metroid: Samus Returns
Again, poor Matt has had little to say throughout this piece, as he was unable to vote in many of our categories for Switch games. If I had the dough, I’d buy him a Switch right now, but I don’t so instead I will use his inspired words to help paint a picture of just how brilliantly this remake was handled.
“I love the epic map and the satisfying means for progression. Whilst somehow being massive and engrossing it’s really easy to put down and pick up when time permits; the controls are easy to learn and relearn and the abilities are all intuitive. The mapping system is brilliant, especially being able to add little points of interest using the stylus and for me, this is exactly what I wanted from a Metroid  remake.” You spoke for the rest of us here too, buddy.
In addition to all that, earlier this year I thought the 3DS might die because of how much better I like playing Switch on the go. Whenever I played a game, even great titles like Fire Emblem Echoes, I just kept thinking “I’d rather be playing my Switch.” Samus Returns shifted my focus away for a good long while, and for what I now consider an outdated system, that’s impressive.
I want to put in something noteworthy like Fire Emblem Echoes or Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but the staff voted unanimously for Metroid. This year, everybody is the runner up.
Game of the Year (Switch)
Wait for it….
Wait for it….
…Have you guessed what game the staff of a Legend of Zelda fan site chose as Game of the Year? You will be shocked to find out that in our final category, the game riding off into the sunset is….
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Fanfare! Hip hip, huzzah! Gasp in shock and awe as this title from a lowly developer which nobody had ever even heard of managed to beat out every other game on the system! Okay, so we all saw this coming, but doesn’t it deserve the praise? This game is sitting at a 97 on Metacritic (The highest rated Switch game currently) and even the people who complain about it still generally state that they like it. Let’s see what our staff had to say!
“Super Mario Odyssey is a close second. There was just so much to do in Breath of the Wild and you weren’t contained to an area like Super Mario Odyssey.”
“Not only the Switch’s premium title, but also possibly the best game ever created.”
Before I wrote this article, I summarized my vote:
“Being the latest in my favorite series gave this title a head start, and being able to deliver possibly the most truly Zelda-like experiences while simultaneously turning series conventions on their heads instantly solidified its place as my favorite game this year.”
Finally, Zach, as always was the wordiest:
“In a year of perfect games, Breath of the Wild stands high and above all of the rest. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Words can’t describe what can only be experienced. This game truly is changing the way many view open world games, and I can’t wait to see how the industry redefines its standards because of this brilliant adventure. Generation defining.”
You do not get a game this special every day. This game literally made me question whether or not Ocarina of Time was my favorite game anymore. On March 2nd this year, I did not believe that to be possible. Ocarina was on a pedestal made of an immovable object, and this game managed to make it shake. It did what we all love about the N64 classic; it took everything we knew about gaming and made it feel new. This game will be around causing buzz for a long, long time, and we are proud to present it with a Game of the Year award that nobody saw coming. Well, nobody except for everybody.
Super Mario Odyssey
“I’ve been unable to put this down in a way that even Zelda hasn’t hooked me. Just the sheer variety of things to do in every world, the puzzle solving and platforming, the boss fights, it all adds up to my game of the year.”
These are the words of Red, who was the only person to actually vote for something other than Zelda, but almost every person who voted had this up in some category or another. If this were any other year, I think there would be no contest and Mario Odyssey would have swept many categories, and easily taken Game of the Year. This, however, was not any other year, and as much as we all enjoyed Odyssey, we are a fan site dedicated to the other franchise, so you totally should have seen this coming.
Okay, so I do have to conclude and wrap some stuff up, but that is all of our awards. Before I turn the conversation over to you guys, I seriously have to thank the rest of the staff who were all very supportive in this endeavor, giving lots of suggestions for the awards, and providing a large chunk of the content herein. A massive shout out to Hick, Red, aJNation71, Matthew Abbott, and Zach Winn. Without them, this article would just be my opinions, and I’m sure you get enough of those every week.
What do you guys think? Did you disagree with our category choices? Should more of us have voted for Star Fox 2? (Probably.) Did we all neglect our Nindies this year? (Yes.) We would all love to hear more from you, so by all means, comment below or follow any and/or all of us on Twitter and tweet us your sassy remarks! We would all love to keep the conversation spinning!