ByRob Harris, writer at Creators.co
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

It's getting to that time of the year again. The excitement and mirth of the holiday season is already palpable: festive lights are appearing, wood fires are burning and shoppers are scrambling for gifts. But, more importantly - gamers are busy quietly debating (read: fervently arguing) over which games were the best of 2014!

Luckily, The Game Awards - our industry's biggest yearly awards show - are fast approaching, and are sure to settle some scores. The show will take place on Friday, December 5 in Las vegas, starting at 6 PM Pacific / 9 PM Eastern time. And don't worry if you're not a Nevada native - the whole event will be streamed live over the internet for all to watch!

The illustrious nominees for each award category have already been announced, but there's been some major oversights in the official lists that are just criminal! It goes without saying that the panel of judges are entirely entitled to their own opinions, but nevertheless, here are what I believe to be the year's best overlooked games...

Best Independent Game

Best Independent Game nominee: Monument Valley
Best Independent Game nominee: Monument Valley

Official Nominees: Broken Age: Act 1, Monument Valley, Shovel Knight, Transistor, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

This is a very solid line-up of independently developed gems, and the quality of every title is tribute to the immense talent currently working out of smaller studios. However, there's one absent game I think was robbed of a nomination:

My Nominee: Kentucky Route Zero: Episode 3

Kentucky Route Zero continues to amaze me. Its visual art-style is so astoundingly stunning, I'd be happy hanging any still frame of its gameplay proudly on my wall. Cardboard Computer's episodic point and click adventure has restored my love of the genre. It's a hyper-surreal, hallucinogenic acid trip through the colorful minds of the developers - sometimes discomforting, often inexplicable, but always mesmerising. Episode 3 should absolutely be on this list.

Poll

Do you agree with my choice?

Best Narrative

Best Narrative nominee: The Walking Dead: Season Two
Best Narrative nominee: The Walking Dead: Season Two

Official Nominees: South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Walking Dead: Season Two, The Wolf Among Us, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Wolfenstein: The New Order.

There's no doubt that each and every one of the above games handled their narratives exceedingly well, but there's one game that should not only have been included in this category - it should have won it.

My Nominee: Broken Age: Act 1

Tim Schafer - the exceptional creative mind behind Grim Fandango and Psychonauts - had a lot to live up to when his Kickstarter page for 'a new adventure game' broke records by raising over $3.45 million, after asking for just $400,000. Somehow, Broken Age: Act 1 absolutely lived up to the hype, delivering a compelling dual-narrative that simultaneously follows an overly-mothered boy living on a spaceship and a rebellious girl all but ordered by her family to sacrifice herself.

The most impressive part is the way each side of the story seamlessly ties in to the other, building up to an excruciating cliffhanger that's left me yearning for Act 2's release! With some of the best writing of the year, it should be on this list.

Poll

Do you agree with my choice?

Best Mobile/Handheld Game

Best Mobile/Handheld Game nominee: Hearthstone
Best Mobile/Handheld Game nominee: Hearthstone

Official Nominees: Bravely Default, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Monument Valley, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Threes!

The handheld gaming market has exploded in the last few years, and the overall quality of portable games has only got higher. This category is a crowded one, but it's missing one key title:

My Nominee: Velocity 2X

FuturLab's Velocity 2X came from nowhere to become one of my favorite games of 2014. Without knowing a thing about it, I downloaded a free version of the game and quickly fell in love. It's synth-heavy soundtrack, neon-drenched visual style and addictive 'just-one-more-go' gameplay makes Velocity 2X a worthy nominee. If you haven't played it, give it a chance - you won't regret it.

Poll

Do you agree with my choice?

Game of the Year

Game of the Year nominee: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Game of the Year nominee: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Official Nominees: Bayonetta 2, Dark Souls 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

This is the big one. We'll have to wait until December 5th to find out who will take the ultimate prize, but for now I'm left to decide which game was my personal favorite of 2014 - and it's not on this list...

My Nominee: [South Park](series:200459): The Stick of Truth

When Matt Parker and Trey Stone announced that they were making a new South Park game, you couldn't be blamed for remaining a little cynical. The TV show has had a rather grim history with sub-par video game adaptations, but boy did this one turn that around!

The Stick of Truth's visual style is so well done, playing it feels like walking around an interactive episode of the show, with Parker and Stone's impeccably offensive writing remaining intact. The story is hilarious, the easter eggs are endless and the combat mechanics are dense. South Park: The Stick of Truth was quite simply the most fun I had with any piece of entertainment - be it book, film or game - all year long, and it's my game of the year for 2014.

Poll

Do you agree with my choice?

The Actual Awards

Now I'm done ranting about how wrong all the nominations are, let's get back to the official judges who really know what they're talking about. Make sure you don't miss The Game Awards 2014 which starts at 6 PM Pacific / 9 PM Eastern time.

You can watch a live stream of the event here.

And if you're not excited yet, take a look at this teasing tweet from the Awards' organiser, Geoff Keighley:

Poll

Which new game do you think we'll see at the awards?!


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