Steam Awards 2023 - Nominations

Steam Awards 2023 - Nominations

With the arrival of Thanksgiving, we also have the arrival of the annual Steam Awards, and first, it’s Nominations. This gives me a chance to nominate games released this year that can be recognized for several categories. In past years, anyone was able to nominate any game; which never sat right with me. Like “VR game of the year” where a game released in 2016 could be nominated. It seems that is fixed with this year's nominations, as I tried to nominate a game that came out in 2022, and it came up saying it needed to be released this year. So, that’s nice at least. It gives the games that were shipped in 2023 a fighting chance, instead of a ultra popular game that saw its release years ago. Here are the categories for this year:

  • Game Of The Year
  • Maybe it was its immersive gameplay, or its gripping story... its well-crafted characters, immaculate design, or addictive multiplayer. Whatever the reason, the winner of this year's Game of the Year Award is an instant classic.
  • VR Game Of The Year
  • The VR Game of the Year isn't merely masquerading as regular reality. This game improves on reality, taking advantage of the medium of VR and pushing the boundaries of the virtual realm.
  • Labor Of Love
  • This game has been out for a while. The team is well past the debut of their creative baby, but being the good parents they are, these devs continue to nurture and support their creation. This game, to this day, is still getting new content after all these years.
  • Best Game On Steam Deck
  • This game was so good, you wanted to take it everywhere. So you grabbed your Steam Deck and did! Luckily, everything that made it endlessly playable at your desk got even better on the go.
  • Better With Friends
  • There are some games out there that just aren't the same when you play by yourself. Maybe you need to have a friend to watch your back. Maybe you need to have a friend that you can stab in their back. Either way, fun is awaiting those who gather friends together play this game.
  • Outstanding Visual Style
  • Visual style doesn't aspire to real-world graphical fidelity (though a noble goal in itself)… it describes a distinctive look and feel that suffuses an entire game.
  • Most Innovative Gameplay
  • The designers of this game are at the front lines of creative experimentation, bringing a fresh perspective and brain-breaking surprises. This game delighted, inspired and entertained with newness never played before.
  • Best Game You Suck At
  • This is the game that rewards persistence, and is not for the faint of heart. It's the toughest game we've ever loved.
  • Best Soundtrack
  • This unsung hero deserves to be recognized for its outstanding musical score. It's the OST with the MOST!
  • Outstanding Story-Rich Game
  • Some days, only a narrative-heavy game will hit the spot, and this one packs a wallop. It's as gripping as any soap opera, and as well-tuned as a prestige-TV screenplay. Bravissimo -- for making us feel things!
  • Sit Back And Relax
  • This game is the antidote to a busy day. It's smooth, it's relaxing, it lets your worries melt away. This game is your moment of zen.

There you have it. All the categories with some nice little descriptions, that help with choosing the games to nominate. In years past, sometimes there were no descriptions at all, some were so vague, or even the categories didn't make much sense. The only change this year is instead of “Best Game On The Go” made basically for the Steam Deck, they’ve just changed the name to “Best Game On Steam Deck”. But besides that, everything else remains the same. So without further ado, here are my nominations and why I think they should win. Since I didn’t play most of my Top Games of the Year solely on Steam, I think this isn’t going to spoil my list too much for my actual Game Of The Year list.

My Steam Awards Nominations Link:

  • Game Of The Year: RoboCop: Rogue City
  • When the game was announced, people said it looked bad, but I disagreed. Knowing it was developed by the same people that made the very good Terminator: Annihilation game, I was hopeful it would turn out similar. The dedication to nailing the movie authentic style, bringing back the actors and even using their likenesses goes a long way. This game is dripping with love for the property in a way very few licensed games get right.
  • VR Game Of The Year: Golf It!
  • Golf It seems like the only game I could give it to, since all my VR games of the year are not actually able to be picked. So here, we have a good mini-golf game that came out of Early Access just a few months ago. What sets it apart is it’s Create-A-Course, that you and your friends can play on.
  • Labor Of Love: DeadCells
  • This was probably the hardest game to pick, since it was a toss up between a couple. I fell back in love with SnowRunner earlier this year with the purchase of all the DLC as well. But DeadCells was not a game I ever thought I’d get into. Thanks to it being Game Of The Month in March and with the Castlevania DLC, I devoured it and actually beat it!
  • Best Game On Steam Deck: Dredge
  • I bought a Steam Deck this year, thanks to the stupid amount of traveling I was doing for the large part of the year. But I didn’t use it as much as I wanted to. I just don’t like handheld gaming, and if I’m gonna be playing games, I want it on a TV and to sit back and relax. None of the games I wanted to nominate came out this year, so I picked the only thing that was suggested. Dredge.
  • Better With Friends: Diablo IV
  • I don’t play multiplayer games. Maybe once every couple years for an evening or so. But I just don’t. However, when Diablo IV came out, I actually did get in contact with one of my close friends to become friends on Blizzard’s service.
  • Outstanding Visual Style: Pizza Tower
  • There were actually a few games in this category that came immediately to mind. But since you can only nominate a game once, I decided to choose Pizza Tower for best Visual Style. The gameplay wasn’t really enticing to me, as I hate countdown timers, but the unbelievable capturing of the weird squiggly late 90’s animation style is perfectly presented in this game. If nothing else, it’s the best stylistic game this year.
  • Most Innovative Gameplay: Shadows Of Doubt
  • Voxel graphics can be a turnoff to me, but at the same time, if presented well enough, it can make for some really cool gameplay. I was instantly sold on Shadows of Doubt just because of its PI/Noir presentation. I’m always down for a hardboiled Detective/Private Eye story. But it was in early access, and I wanted to wait till there was more in the game before playing it.
  • Best Game You Suck At: Street Fighter 6
  • I suck at fighting games. I’m a button masher, and never have been great at memorizing and pulling off multi-button combos to perform the moves required to win. And just forget about playing online at all. I’ll stick to story modes and move on. The weird mashup of Yakuza styled semi-open world grabbed me from the first moment I played the demo.
  • Best Soundtrack: Hi-Fi Rush
  • The game that came out of nowhere in January, for free on Gamepass and was an instant hit/GOTY contender. Its soundtrack consisted of both commercially licensed real bands and in-house original music. The core mechanic is it’s beat and music, and the game would be horrible if the soundtrack wasn’t good.
  • Outstanding Story-Rich Game: Starfield
  • I wasn’t actually looking forward to Starfield, but after watching my wife play it for a few hours, I decided to try it out on Gamepass, and dumped like 30+ hours into it in a single week. It’s a Bethesda game that could have done more stuff differently, but for what it is, it’s really fun and a pretty interesting story.
  • Sit Back And Relax: Pinball FX
  • This was probably the easiest one, as I got weirdly into Pinball for the entire Summer. Technically the Pinball FX game is just an updated engine, and the tables are all being resold, I wouldn’t recommend it, but playing the original Pinball Arcade tables, I spent easily a couple hundred hours this summer playing Pinball.