2012: The Offbeat Awards

Hello and a merry end of 2012. It’s been a grand year for videogames and for those of us who choose to wile away our time playing them. I’ve already celebrated the year’s finest, so now it’s time to dig a little deeper into 2012’s catalogue of hits and misses. Here’s where we champion things like videogame dancing, videogame sex, boss machinations in videogames, bad videogame characters and great use of taxpayer money in videogames.

Onward with haste.


Worst Dancer

Winner: Commander Shepherd (Mass Effect 3)

Videogame animation has come a long way in not a long time but we’re still unable to put the sexy into dancing. Despite that, 2012 played host to its fair share of gyrating twats. The gang from Far Cry 3, Marcelo from Max Payne 3 and the lady dancers from Hitman: Absolution all put forward solid cases, but Commander Shepherd had this one wrapped up way back in March.

Shepherd not only boasted the dancefloor swagger of a beached Humpback Whale, he also chose to do his dancing while the entire galaxy slipped into the inky abyss. Nice one S-Dog, your shitty dance moves almost cost mankind and its best friends everything.

Best (or Worst) Line of Dialogue

Winner: Chap in strip bar, (Hitman: Absolution)

Hitman Absolution

I swear to whichever God you feel the greatest allegiance to that this is something I genuinely heard. I was playing the strip-bar level in Hitman: Absolution, prowling through the drooling masses when I heard a man cry out from the swarm,

“I’m going to wear your ass like a hat!”

I just don’t have it in me to make that up.

Best Use of Taxpayer Money

Winner: The Chicago Police Department (Hitman: Absolution)

Hitman Absolution 4

Back in 2010 the Seacrest County Police Department bagged this award for using taxpayer money to fund the manufacture of Lamborghini patrol cars; a crime made worse by the fact that the SCPD didn’t just use them to chase down crooks but also to create roadblocks, which the crooks naturally plowed through at 250mph.

In 2011 the Steelport Police Department won for what was the equivalent of nuking Steelport from orbit each time the player did a little dance in front of a police officer.

So it’s only right that this year’s prize goes to another incompetent police department. Hitman: Absolution’s Chicago PD proved nothing if not dedicated to cleaning up the streets of Chicago. At one point midway through the game roughly a dozen of Chicaco’s finest opened fire on Agent 47. It was a perfectly executed maneuver bar one minor hiccup: the 84 civilians sprawled face down in the wet as a result of misplaced bullets. Oops.

Worst Game

Winner: Ninja Gaiden 3

Ninja Gaiden 3 4

There aren’t many developers who can say they’ve had easier jobs than Team Ninja. Under the guidance of Tomonobu Itagaki the Japanese developer perfected its fighting formula back in ’04 with the first 3D Ninja Gaiden. For the third major and modern Ninja Gaiden an Itagaki-less Team Ninja took the old formula round the back of the shed and gave it the 12-gauge treatment. In its place came a crude and unsatisfying combat system coupled with a gruelling cinematic camera that ducked and dived like an eight year old recording a distant ship with a Handicam onboard a dinghy in a monsoon. Oh, and there was a bit where a little girl asked Ryu Hayabusa to be her daddy. Good grief.

Quite how Team Ninja bungled Ninja Gaiden 3 is beyond my comprehension, but it was far and away the worst game I played in 2012.

Best & Worst Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Winner: Lucius

Use 2

Six-year-old Lucius wanders unsuspecting into a bedroom to catch his uncle playing hide the sausage with the maid. Rather than stop and explain what happens when a man and a woman love each other very much, the two continue at it in full view of Lucius. It’s game over for the player, but not before Lucius gets a good view of his uncle’s throbbing joystick.

Most Inane Boss Machination

Winner: Richard Attenborough (Ninja Gaiden 3)

Ninja Gaiden 3 6

Ninja Gaiden 3 was an inordinately stupid game with an inordinately stupid antagonist. Gaiden’s mastermind villain had cloned dinosaurs on a jungle island but unlike Richard Attenborough, Gaiden’s baddie planned to deploy his dinos in a bid to end the world. Fair enough. On the scale of bad ideas using dinosaurs to destroy the world falls somewhere between using tissue paper as toilet roll and bringing a blow-up hammer to a knife fight, but by the Gaiden yardstick it was a relatively spiceless scheme. At least, it was until he told Ryu Hayabusa he was also going to sell the dinosaurs to children as pets. Just drink that in for a moment.

They say if you put a monkey in a room for all eternity eventually it’ll write the complete works of Shakespeare himself. I say if you put a monkey in a room for fifteen minutes you’ll get the script to Ninja Gaiden 3 with 82% less MacGuffins and 35% less shit stains on the script.

Duke Nukem & Homefront Co-Sponsored Derp-de-Derp Award

Winner: Halo 4

Halo 4

Last year Homefront earned this prize for asking players to jump in a mass grave; a scene of incredible insensitivity and stupidity considering Homefront was a game about shooting Koreans in the face with little bubbling away beneath the wanton murder.

I’ve no recollection of anything this year being quite so tasteless, but as far as sheer unbridled idiocy goes, Halo 4 is our outright champ. Its story was largely a farce, but nothing could match the rampant absurdity pervading the final few scenes in which Master Chief punched a nuclear bomb and was then magically saved from the blast by the power of love. Even [DARK KNIGHT RISES SPOILER] Batman’s nonsensical bomb-blast-breakout made more sense. And that made precisely no sense at all. [SPOILER END]

Best Character

Winner: Tiny Tina (Borderlands 2)
Runner Up: Face McShooty (Borderlands 2)

I’m a sucker for alliteration so maladjusted teenager Tiny Tina was a shoe-in long before she graced our television screens. But let’s be honest, no other character this year was as funny or as brilliant as Tiny Tina. Not even Face Mcshooty.

Worst Character

Winner: The Didact (Halo 4)

Halo 4 Didact

Who lives in a Pokeball up in the sky? This twat. 343i hired The Didact – who could have been hauled from any sci-fi shooter from the last eight years – to offer Master Chief a desultory reason to wake from his slumber and shoot aliens for eight hours in his latest greatest hits compilation, Halo 4.

There’s not much to be said about the chap. He was the big bad guy for a while, and then he quicktime died.

Failed Assassin

Winner: Agent 47 (Hitman: Absolution)
Runner up: Ada Wong (Resident Evil 6)

Resident Evil 6 11

With disguises no longer foolproof and levels roughly the size of a grass snake’s anus, Agent 47 needed a new trick to help him skulk by his enemies. The answer? Taking cues from the Naughty Bear Academy of Stealth, Agent 47 placed his hand over his face. No, really. Probably the most remarkable thing about 47’s newfangled trick was it worked every bloody time (so long as 47’s magic bar was full). Chicago’s finest, hired goons, even SWAT patrols were hoodwinked the moment Agent 47 – a bald dickhead with an enormous scar etched into the back of his head – raised a hand over his face.

A special mention must also go to Resident Evil 6’s Ada Wong. Ada’s first mission saw her infiltrate a submarine, engaging in some lite-stealth against Killzone’s Helghan soldiers. One of the mission objectives was simply: “Don’t draw attention to yourself.” Thing is, with Ada’s low-cut top and skin-tight leather trousers not drawing attention to yourself proved incredibly tough and, perhaps inevitably, it was back to all things pew within a few minutes.

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