What a great year for the video game industry 2017 has been. Excellent titles, the emergence of VR, 4K beginning to make its way to the mainstream, and a ton of options for every type of player made it a fun year for gaming aficionados. As the year draws to a close, its time to celebrate 2017 and announce the winners of the third annual Golden Controller Awards, or “Goldies” as I like to call them. The Goldies honor the best games and trends in the world of video games for the year.
How were the winners chosen? I hired the accounting firm of Ernst & Young to tabulate the results of a survey that I gave to myself. They sent me the results and here we are. Let’s get to this year’s winners!
Best Action Adventure Game – “Zelda: Breath of the Wild ”
This long awaited title was well worth the wait, offering gamers a vast and enjoyable world to explore. A consistent stream of DLC make this a title that players will keep coming back to for a long time.
Honorable Mention - “Horizon Zero Dawn,” “Assassin’s Creed Origins” (tie)
Best Multiplayer Game – “Call of Duty WWII”
A return to the classic “Call of Duty” setting of World War II couldn’t have come at a better time for this series. After exploring space and getting more and more futuristic, the familiar terrestrial world of “WWII” is exactly what the franchise needed. I’m back to being addicted to COD multiplayer.
Honorable Mention - “Destiny 2”
Best Family Game – “Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy”
I admit that I have a soft spot for the first three “Crash Bandicoot” titles. They were some of the first games that my son (who is now 23) and I used to play together. Still, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this remaster. Sometimes the titles that gamers are nostalgic for turn out to be a disappointment when revisited years later. Thankfully that wasn’t the case with “Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.” All of the fun, humor and enjoyable platforming I remember is still here, but in a lovelier and more well developed package.
Honorable Mention - “Super Mario Odyssey”
Best Shooter – “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus”
A compelling story and heart racing action make “Wolfenstein 2” an addictive experience and a sequel that surpasses its excellent predecessor. This is a must-own title for any video game fan.
Honorable Mention – “Call of Duty WWII”
Best Sports Game – “Forza Motorsport 7”
Racing games are like guacamole; you either love them or hate them. This title is the exception as it has something for every level of driver no matter your preferred driving style. With intense driving action and some of the most beautifully rendered cars and environments you’ll ever see in a racing game; “Forza 7” is a blast.
Honorable Mention – “MLB The Show 17”
Best Console – Xbox One X
Although more expensive than its competition, you can’t find a more powerful video console. With a strong roster of titles, a huge library of backward compatible games, and some promising new titles on the horizon (“Sea of Thieves,” “Crackdown 3”) the Xbox One X and its 4K power make it a formidable console.
Honorable Mention - Nintendo Switch
Funniest Game – “South Park: The Fractured But Whole”
It is incredibly hard to make a video game that’s funny. Its even harder to make a video game based on a TV show that is actually worth playing. Amazingly the team at Ubisoft managed to do just that. “The Fractured But Whole” is hilarious.
Honorable Mention - “Wheel of Fortune” (Although the humor is completely unintentional.)
Best Studio/Publisher – Bethesda
It’s hard to think of a gaming studio more consistently excellent than Bethesda. Every game they publish or develop is high quality, with an attention to detail that’s hard to find anywhere else. Bethesda just doesn’t miss.
Honorable Mention: Nintendo
Game of the Year – “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus”
I’ll be honest; I had a hard time picking a game of the year. This year a plethora of great titles were released, so it was hard to narrow it down to just one. But when reflecting on the games I played this year, there was only one that I kept coming back to over and over again, and that was “Wolfenstein II.” A fantastic title from top to bottom, “The New Colossus” was my favorite video game of 2017.
The Busted Controller Awards – These are the shameful trends we’re looking forward to leaving behind.
Worst Gaming Trend – Loot Crates
Loot crates have been an annoyance for gamers for a while but issues with “Star Wars: Battlefront II” brought the problem to the national stage, finally forcing EA and other publishers to try to make things right by consumers.
Dishonorable Mention – Season Passes
This is also a trend that’s been going on for some time but it seems like 2017 is the year when season passes became an epidemic. It’s rare for a title to come out without a season pass nowadays, leaving gamers feeling like their $60 initial investment doesn’t truly have the value it should.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.