Game critics narrow down Best of E3

Journalists from 37 North American publications meld minds to vote on best of E3 2006; Gears of War, Nintendo lead pack. Winners announced next week.

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In the wake of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the only thing almost as abundant as the trinkets and schwag being sold on online auction sites are the Best of E3 lists touted by various publications. However, one set of awards stands out from the rest as it represents a large sample of the gaming press.

The Game Critics Awards, first held in 1998, is decided by a group of dozens of journalists from different media outlets. This year, 37 judges participated in deciding the best games and hardware from E3 2006. Leading gaming editors culled from publications such as Newsweek, CNN/Money, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, and GameSpot chimed in on what they thought were the highlights of the conference.

Categories this year include Best of Show, Best Hardware, and several genre awards. Epic Games' Gears of War for the Xbox 360 leads all games with five nominations, including Best of Show, Best Original Game, Best Console Game, Best Action Game, and Best Online Multiplayer Game. Following close behind with four nominations are Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed for the PlayStation 3, Electronic Arts' Spore for the PC (which won the GCA's Best of Show in 2005), and Irrational Games' BioShock for the Xbox 360 and PC, which won GameSpot's Game of the Show this year.

On the publishers' side, Nintendo was out in front with 13 nominations. Electronic Arts showed its muscle by coming in second with 11, while Sony and Microsoft followed with 10 and nine, respectively.

As for the most nominated platforms, the PC dominated the list with 29 nominations (perhaps helped by its own category--other platforms were lumped into Best Handheld Game or Best Console Game). The next generation is apparently well underway, as the Xbox 360 came in second with 21, the PS3 came in third with 10, and the Wii followed with nine. The war between handhelds wasn't much of a contest, as the PSP took nine nods, and the DS only three.

To qualify for the awards, games must have been playable in some form--editors must have been able to have hands-on time with the title. Games shown only as developer-controlled theater demos, trailers, and prescripted gameplay sequences were automatically disqualified. Nominations were made by each judge after E3, with the top five in each category going on the ballot.

Each judge will now vote on their top choice in each category, and the winners will be announced on the Game Critics Awards Web site on Wednesday, May 31, at 8:30 p.m. PDT.

A full breakdown of nominees is listed below.

Best of Show
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3)
BioShock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC and Xbox 360)
Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)
Spore (Electronic Arts for PC)
Wii (Nintendo)

Best Original Game
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3)
BioShock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC/Xbox 360)
Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)
LocoRoco (SCEJ/Sony Computer Entertainment for PSP)
Spore (Electronic Arts for PC)
Wii Sports (Nintendo for Wii)

Best PC Game
Crysis (Crytek/Electronic Arts for PC)
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage/id/Activision for PC)
Hellgate: London (Flagship Studios/Namco Bandai Games for PC)
Supreme Commander (Gas Powered Games/THQ for PC)
Spore (Electronic Arts for PC)

Best Console Game
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3)
BioShock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC and Xbox 360)
Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studios for Xbox 360)
Mass Effect (BioWare/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Handheld Game
Elite Beat Agents (Inis/Nintendo for Nintendo DS)
Killzone: Liberation (Guerrilla/Sony Computer Entertainment for PSP)
LocoRoco (SCEJ/Sony Computer Entertainment for PSP)
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Kojima Productions/Konami for PSP)
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo for Nintendo DS)

Best Hardware
DS Lite (Nintendo)
Logitech G25 Racing Wheel (Logitech for PC)
PlayStation 3 (Sony Computer Entertainment)
Wii (Nintendo)
Xbox 360 Wireless Headset (Microsoft for Xbox 360)

Best Action Game
Crysis (Crytek/Electronic Arts for PC)
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage/id/Activision for PC)
Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studios for Xbox 360)
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Capcom for Xbox 360)
Resistance: Fall of Man (Insomniac/SCEA for PlayStation 3)

Best Action/Adventure Game
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3)
BioShock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC and Xbox 360)
God of War 2 (Sony Santa Monica/SCEA for PlayStation 2)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo for Wii)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo for GameCube/Wii)

Best Fighting Game
Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory/Sony Computer Entertainment for PS3)
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Midway Games for PlayStation 2/Xbox)
Tekken: Dark Resurrection (Namco Bandai Games for PSP)
Virtua Fighter 5 (Sega for Arcade/PlayStation 3)
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007 (Yuke's/THQ for 360/PS3/PS2/PSP)

Best Role-Playing Game
Final Fantasy XII (Square Enix for PlayStation 2)
Hellgate: London (Flagship Studios/Namco Bandai Games for PC)
Mass Effect (BioWare/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)
Neverwinter Nights 2 (Obsidian/Atari for PC)
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Blizzard for PC)

Best Racing Game
Excite Truck (Nintendo for Wii)
Formula One 06 (Studio Liverpool/SCEE for PlayStation 3)
Gran Turismo HD (Polyphony Digital/Sony Computer Entertainment for PS3)
MotoGP 06 (Climax/THQ for Xbox 360)
Test Drive Unlimited (Eden Studios/Atari for Xbox 360, PC, PS2, PSP)

Best Simulation Game
Microsoft Flight Simulator X (Microsoft Games Studio for PC)
Sid Meier's Railroads! (Firaxis Games/2K Games for PC)
Spore (Electronic Arts for PC)
The Movies: Stunts and Effects (Lionhead Studios/Activision for PC)
Wii Music Orchestra (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Sports Game
Madden NFL 07 (Tiburon/EA for PS3 / Xbox 360)
Madden NFL 07 (Tiburon/EA for Nintendo Wii)
NBA 2K7 (Visual Concepts/2K Sports for Xbox 360)
NCAA Football 07 (EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts for X360/PS2/Xbox/PSP)
Wii Sports (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Strategy Game
Company of Heroes (Relic/THQ for PC)
Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II (EA for X360)
Medieval 2: Total War (Creative Assembly/Sega for PC)
Supreme Commander (Gas Powered Games/THQ for PC)
World in Conflict (Massive Entertainment/Sierra for PC)

Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor Game
Elite Beat Agents (Inis/Nintendo for Nintendo DS)
Guitar Hero 2 (Harmonix/Red Octane for PlayStation 2)
LocoRoco (SCEJ/Sony Computer Entertainment for PSP)
Lumines II (Q Entertainment/Buena Vista Games for PSP)
WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Online Multiplayer Game
Battlefield 2142 (Digital Illusions/Electronic Arts for PC)
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage/id/Activision for PC)
Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)
Huxley (Webzen for PC/Xbox 360)
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Blizzard for PC)

Discussion

243 comments
jaggy_12
jaggy_12

ELITE BEAT AGENTS FOR THE DS ALL THE WAY!!

rockatanski
rockatanski

Crysis is a definite underpants plasterer! (meaning excellent) Bioshock, I'm still a bit concerned about the action elements.. Yes, it is surprising that Spore isn't really highlighted much but then again, I think that game will be a bit too much - not to mention too annoying. Harcore sim fans only..

searsbarnett
searsbarnett

BioShock is awesome, so is Crysis....still picking my jaw up off the floor!

1stRifle
1stRifle

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Hurricane1123
Hurricane1123

Wii>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PS3 >>>>XBox 360

sando123
sando123

=( Why.... Why isn't spore 1st on one of the lists........ Crap...

1stRifle
1stRifle

what can I say, great great just great :)

frogiggy323
frogiggy323

Only took em a year, but it's a great list.

DoubleDragon1
DoubleDragon1

Good list. Every game there deserves to be in it's respective category.

JeTGoDLiKe
JeTGoDLiKe

Any 1 who has an xbox360 has gotta get gears of war the graphics r just the best graphics u will ever see on any game

flubagalub
flubagalub

Assassin's Creed, Gear's of War, Spore, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Crysis, Bioshock, BF2142, WoW: Burning Crusade, Resistance: Fall of Man... a hell of a lot of good games this year!

WisdomLink
WisdomLink

guitar hero 2, gears of war, wii sports, etc... will be awesome:D

iceuk
iceuk

I'm surprised MK: Armageddon even got nominated for the fighting section. It's real bad!!

ultimate_zero
ultimate_zero

I wonder how next year's e3 is gonna work out.

rad_2xl
rad_2xl

How can they judge games that are not even out yet? That's pretty silly.

Gboy2003
Gboy2003

Notice the Wii is in a separate category than the PS3 and XBOX360. That's how awesome it is.

sacramentho
sacramentho

XBOX doesn't have any creativity either...they got money instead, Nintendo is the **** maker of this market, they got the creativity

Snarfblast
Snarfblast

I think spore is gonna revive the computer and might even make me buy a new comp just for it. People keep getting pissed that games just get pre-rendered videos that look nothing like the real game will, but im glad that Bungie actually used the in-game engine to actually make their teaser. You can tell that they will follow through with it, and there is no fear in getting some crap ending either this time :P

Chris--beep--
Chris--beep--

my friend said "by this november i'll be playing with my wii" and i said, "dus it take that long ta come out? I can play with mine tonight"

gearsofwarfan89
gearsofwarfan89

its all about gears and 360 screw PS3 i herd dat games r goin to be about 70-100 possible just because of gay blu-ray **** who cares and the system isnt worth it if you want a system that delivers amazing graphics and online n control get 360 and even the Wii better than Ps3 2 PS3 jst added basicaly all the ides frm micrsft n nintendo cuz u knw y sony got no creativity n plus if you drop it, it might get ruined alredy.

BYS2
BYS2

god of war 2!!!

ShadowGirl13
ShadowGirl13

Ah, Assasin's Creed, probably one of the games I'll get with my PS3 [If it's there.]

wolfmm99
wolfmm99

Great games coming out in E3

tuddy_666
tuddy_666

wow, I never seen that coming. Nintendo got at least one game (or piece of hardware) in each category they could possibly get one in. Good for them!

hfrizado
hfrizado

I dont no wat Nintendo is doing, like wat r they thinking? i dont feel like playing with a remote control. and u nintendo lovers u no wat the "Wii"(retarded name first of all) is for? mostly for training, u no real life stuff, cooking etc, the "side" feature its a gaming platform which i think nintendo just lost alot of rep in my book. Nintendo used to rock with the super nintendo, and Nintendo 64, but imediatley when the gamecube came out, Microsoft and Sony took over the market in north america If nintendo wants to stay in the market, in north america, they better get cracking. But the best of all is the game Spore craziest game of evolution ever, I think it won the most nominees, dont believe me count, and search it up in the gamespot search field, and its by the makers of Sims, u no Maxis this will probably be on the top of my wish list until i get it

walkerctranger
walkerctranger

Im stating to get sick of all the first person shooter war and driving games, thats all ps3 and xbox are doing, nintendo should have won an award for being different

wishkatana
wishkatana

I really think that Zelda TP should be nominated best in show. I mean, it looks awesome.But hey that's just me. But come on!!!Where the h3ll is super smash bros. brawl in the best fighting game category. Seriously, thats gonna b 1 h3ll of a game. But other than that, i really like the list. Except for best handheld. I think the DS should have gotten a little more credit. I mean, I love my psp and can't wait for Killzone and love monster hunter freedom , but right now, the DS just has a lot of games that are good. The psp does have some very good games and in the future have more, but for right now i think the DS is ftw. O, nd FF12 in best role playing category FTW!!!

Ocram_Zepol
Ocram_Zepol

I can't wait till MGS: PO comes out. It looks like it's going to have the best graphics the PSP in awhile, and the game looks pretty fun too. But what I'm wondering is how they're going to fix the controls for this game... heh well I guess we'll find out when it comes out.

gforce85
gforce85

The Legend of Zelda is really rad, those creatures from Ganon are pretty bad!

therumor2
therumor2

HELGATE LONDON FOREVER!!!!!!

re1
re1

wwe got nominated but not ssbb, a sad day in gaming history

Syferonik
Syferonik

gears of war . bioshock . mass efect . will kick assssssss

ArizonaRoach
ArizonaRoach

Well... That takes care of my shopping list for this year.

endlesssnakes
endlesssnakes

testdrive unlimited is so awsome .the playstaiton 3 is going to be the best this year. mgs4 is great great game.

Kwzy
Kwzy

HDMI 1080p Wi-Fi Blu-ray Bluetooth 60GB HDD Metal Gear Solid 4 This is PlayStation Welcom3 Chang3

ryanfranklin
ryanfranklin

Gears of War might as well be elected for every catagory because you now everyone will vote for it.

vaspier
vaspier

Must be a sad year for the fighting genre when a WWE game is on the nominations list.

santiagochile
santiagochile

It's too bad that people disprespected the DS. The DS has a ton of great games coming out this year. It is 100 times better than the PSP. I think they should just stop making the PSP! At least drop the price another $50, then people might buy it.

VIP-Jerry
VIP-Jerry

How did World of Warcraft get on this list? By putting mediocre games like World of Warcraft expansion, who rips ppls pockets and giving nothing new and original, you are supporting this kind of behaviour and giving green light to companies like Blizzard (once known for his quality an willing to explore where others didnt want to) to continue developing crap avarage games and making idiots of gaming comunity in whole .

jokerrrican
jokerrrican

Nothing about the upcoming Resident Evil during all of E3?

i_love_my_ds
i_love_my_ds

they should also have an award for best trailer, it'd make the awards much more interesting....