Since 2003, EGM has saluted the very worst gaming has to offer with The Tobias Bruckner Memorial Awards for Excellence in the Field of Crapulence, named in honor of Turok: Evolution’s Indian-hating, dinosaur-riding cyborg villain. Every year, we promise Captain Bruckner that if he emcees for us just one more time, we’ll finally free him from the EGM dungeons. Every year, we laugh maniacally as we drag him back to that dank prison, basking in the look of pained betrayal that flashes across his face.
Foolish Tobie, the debt of your creation can never be repaid. It can only be only sated, like some eldritch beast that lurks in the umbra of human failure and feasts upon horrors that make sane men weep. Look upon these nightmares with your sole remaining eye. Gaze into the heart of darkness and despair, knowing you were once wrought from the same tainted blood.
The 2013 Tobias Bruckner Memorial Awards
The “Oh Yeah, That Happened” Award
Hot on the heels of its impressive $9 million Kickstarter campaign, the Ouya was released to record-breaking sales and universal critical acclaim. The open-source console was greeted by legions of eager amateur developers who spit out Minecraft-level hits at a breakneck pace, usurping the tyranny of the major publishers—though even they saw which way the wind was blowing and quickly pledged all of their biggest franchises as lifetime Ouya exclusives. By November, our paradigms were shifted so hard that no one noticed when the Xbox One and PS4 launched.Yep, that’s exactly what we imagine Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman dreams every night before awakening to the crushing weight of her company’s continued irrelevance.
Most Generous Use of the Term “Based On”
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
Given the popularity of AMC’s The Walking Dead, it’s unsurprising that Activision would want to cash in with a videogame adaptation, but due to rights issues, Survival Instinct could only use the show’s two original characters, sporadically racist good ol’ boys Daryl and Merle. This meant it featured none of the interesting interpersonal conflicts that defined the show, the comic, or the Telltale games—just a lot of really poorly designed combat against the least threatening zombies in history. It’s like making an Avengers game in which you play as Agent Coulson meticulously filing paperwork in a S.H.I.E.L.D. field office. Hell, even that probably would’ve been more fun than Survival Instinct.
Most Obvious Cry for Help
Geoff Keighley shooting pleading looks into the camera like the victim in an Iraqi hostage video. Reggie Fils-Aime threatening bodily harm to bystanders. Tim Schafer’s forehead attempting to sweat its way to freedom. Joel McHale stammering out lines from the teleprompter with the surefooted eloquence of a drunken kindergartner. Turquoise Suit Man screaming “Potatoes!” at the top of his lungs. Spike’s VGX was basically one large Native American short of becoming a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest remake. For all we know, everyone’s still there in the studio, mourning Reggie’s lobotomy and trying to find a water fountain to hurl through the nearest window.
Ride to Hell: Retribution
Let’s put aside the fact that nearly everyone Retribution protagonist Jake bangs agrees to do the deed because he just beat their abusive boyfriends to death—’cause, you know, the best therapy for battered women is immediate sex with violent strangers—and instead focus on the sex scenes themselves. Each one follows the same basic formula: Jake rubs his gorilla hands all over the girl’s body, his fingers passing through the surface of her breasts. She finds this violation of physics arousing and makes a moaning face, but no sound escapes. Her voice has been stolen by the Elder Gods. The shot fades to Jake rhythmically bumping his crotch against hers, both participants still fully clothed and dead-eyed. He climaxes in silence, ashamed that he’s ruined yet another pair of jeans. And that, kids, is how the EGM Crew became celibate.
The David Jaffe Prize for Being Completely Insane
We long ago learned to expect a certain flavor of, uh, independent thinking
from Twisted Metal
and God of War
creator David Jaffe, but nothing could’ve prepared us for his latest venture. For the last five months, he’s been telling the world that his new studio is both a game developer and a ghost-hunting agency run by an 80-year-old named Bartlet Jones. He’s kept up the front on Twitter, in media interviews, and throughout a bizarre string of YouTube videos
. It’s starting to seem less like a quirky brand and more like untreated schizophrenia. Don’t get us wrong: We’re happy that Jaffe’s back in business—but we’re also kind of worried that his new “game” will turn out to be a crudely drawn crayon flipbook about a half-dinosaur World War II fighter pilot made of ice cream sandwiches.
Most Questionable Human Being
It’s easy to hate on Don Mattrick for so thoroughly bungling the Xbox One’s always-online controversy, but what makes his E3 showing all the skeezier is the fact that he was already lining up a lucrative gig as CEO of Zynga in secret. Our take? Knowing he had an exit strategy puts all those glib lines and stupid grins into perspective: He just stopped giving a s***. He had the corporate equivalent of senioritis. Why else would he respond to a question about military personnel without Internet access by saying he “doesn’t even know what it means” to live on a submarine? No worries, Don. Given how quickly Zynga’s been sinking, you’ll find that one out soon enough.
Most Plausible Conspiracy Theory
The Aliens: Colonial Marines Debacle
We can’t say for certain whether all the juiciest stories surrounding Aliens: Colonial Marines’ development are true—that Gearbox spent publisher money for the project on other games and outsourced most of the actual dev work to a third-rate studio—but we can certainly attest that something fishy must’ve happened. The pre-release demos were promising, fairly polished, and visually impressive. The finished product was a hideous, buggy mess that briefly made being waterboarded seem like a more enjoyable hobby than playing videogames. Hey, at least no one bought into the hype and gave the game a ridiculously high review score anyway. That would just be stupid.
EGMNOW’s Best of 2013 Awards Schedule