2014 Calvin Awards: Best Videogame
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
February 10, 2014
Dead Rising 3 is also dystopian in nature, but our fifth favorite videogame of the year is more straightforward. It is set a decade after the events of its predecessor, which in and of itself occurred years after a zombie apocalypse. Storyline has always been secondary with regards to the Dead Rising franchise, though. What matters is that this game is the first next-generation console game to be nominated for Best Videogame. It is absolutely gorgeous in terms of graphics. Plus, the game mechanics have been overhauled in a logical, user-friendly way. Combined weapons are not automatically stored in the player’s locker, meaning that they can be summoned at will. Plus, there are invincible vehicles in this game. If a player wants to run over thousands of zombies, all he has to do is level up high enough to enable that capability. From there, it’s a different kind of zombie apocalypse, and this time you’re driving.
Sixth place goes to Fire Emblem: Awakening, the latest in the terrific series of strategic role-playing games. Featuring some of the best story and production value you’ll see on the 3DS, you find yourself becoming wrapped up in the safety and welfare of the characters and planning their battles accordingly. The game is customizable, too, so that if you’re a more casual player, you can ensure the game is set up according to your needs, but if you want a real challenge, you must suffer through the fact that you get attached to characters who stay dead when they’re killed. It was a great year for the 3DS.
The second next generation game that we laud is surprisingly not an Xbox One or Playstation 4 game. Instead, it is a Wii U title. Please take a moment to recover from shock. Now that you can breathe again, the explanation is simple. There was a new Super Mario Bros. game last year. Specifically, Super Mario 3D World single-handedly justified the cost of a Wii U system for several of our staff members, me included. The joy of new Mario Bros. adventures never recedes, even after 25 years of gameplay. I could bore with the minuscule changes in this game from previous iterations, but there is little point. It is the latest ultra-entertaining release from the wizards at Nintendo. Simultaneously retro and innovative, Super Mario 3D World is a wonderful way to lose a long weekend blissfully gaming the time away. Our staff is thrilled to relive our youth with our seventh favorite videogame of the year.
Do you like to sing sea shanties? Sure, we all do. Perhaps this explains why Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag becomes the third game in the franchise to be nominated for Best Videogame of the year. This also may be our staff’s back-handed way of saying “Screw you, Assassin’s Creed II!” since that is the only title in the franchise that we have excluded from our list. Anyway, Black Flag is a huge leap forward for the franchise as gamers take to the open seas, exploring new lands. The real hook, however, is what I referenced above. During their voyages, players can compile pieces of various tunes. Once a full song is completed, the hearty crew members will occasionally regale the user with the tune. It is one of the most creative forms of quest-related positive reinforcement in the history of videogames. Our staff frequently sails across the ocean simply to hear a hearty song. Due to personal touches like this, Black Flag is our choice for eighth Best Videogame of the year.
You may need to employ Google Translate in order to understand our final nominations in the Best Videogame category. We once again celebrate RPGs with our last two choices. Finishing in ninth place is Shin Megami Tensei IV, the Megami-est of all the Tensei titles. The 3DS release features something called Demon Fusion abilities, and that is reason enough for anybody to want to play it. If you accidentally trigger an apocalypse via unforeseen Demon Fusion issues, please do not sue us. In tenth place is the ever so slightly easier to spell without cut and pasting Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. We technically voted for the Playstation 3 version of this game, although any of you who speak Japanese will enjoy the 3DS version as well. The game presumably involves a White Witch and some kind of Wrath. Basically, it’s an RPG wherein players defeat monsters thanks to the aid of their Familiars, which is Pokemon-ish without being legally actionable. Also, Studio Ghibli was involved in the development of the game, which means it is absolutely gorgeous.
Narrowly missing the top ten and thereby breaking one beloved staff member’s heart is Forza Motorsport 5. Its primary difficulty in getting nominated was that only a few of our staff members bought Xbox Ones this year. Most of the ones who did obviously preferred Dead Rising 3 instead. Also falling just outside the nominated group are State of Decay, Grand Theft Auto 5, Pokemon X, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.
2014 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
||Animal Crossing: New Leaf
||The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
||The Last of Us
||Dead Rising 3
||Fire Emblem: Awakening
||Super Mario 3D World
||Assassin's Creed IV
||Shin Megami Tensei IV
||Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch