Half-Life 2 named Game of the Year at D.I.C.E. awards

Halo 2 guns down four awards; San Andreas, Katamari, Fable, among a pack picking up two awards each; World of Warcraft named best MMO game.

LAS VEGAS--The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) handed out awards during the 8th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards tonight in Las Vegas. About 400 attendees watched as Valve founder Gabe Newell accepted nine awards, including First Person Action Game of the Year, the Innovation in Computer Gaming award, and, ultimately, Game of the Year.

Half-Life 2 was only nominated in two categories it failed to win: Outstanding Achievement in Game Design category, which went to Katamari Damacy, and Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development, which Fable took home.

While Halo 2 was the night's second-biggest winner, nabbing four awards, it could only muster awards in categories Half-Life 2 was not nominated in.

Trip Hawkins accepted his Hall of Fame award midway through the ceremony. Hawkins thanked the Academy and attendees, saying, "It was a dream of mine to turn games into an art form."

The festivities this year were a far cry from the raucous, noisy, smoke-filled, and open-bar-graced event of last year. One of the few spikes in energy this year was the passionate acceptance speech that followed the naming of ESPN NFL 2K5 as Sports Simulation Game of the Year. "I think we did all we could do to fight a big contender," the Sega rep accepting the award said as attendees cheered.

Possibly the one other highlight of the night was the 10 minutes Spider-Man creator and comic books legend Stan Lee spent on stage. Arriving at the microphone--and addressing the audience with his signature greeting: "hello, culture lovers"--Lee settled down and played the straight man. He announced a number of awards, deftly navigating the many disparate names of games, developers, and publishers. At 82, Lee's act was polished--he reeled the audience in easily with a quick-witted repertoire of wisecracks and one-liners.

The awards ceremony spanned about three hours in total. Category winners are noted with asterisks below.

Game of the Year Awards

Game of the Year
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Take-Two/Rockstar North)
** Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Katamari Damacy (Namco/Namco Limited)
World of Warcraft (Vivendi Universal Games/Blizzard)

Console Game of the Year
Burnout 3 (Electronic Arts/Criterion)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Take-Two/Rockstar North)
**Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Katamari Damacy (Namco/Namco Limited)
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)

Computer Game of the Year
City of Heroes (NCsoft/Cryptic Studios)
**Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
World of Warcraft (Vivendi Universal Games/Blizzard)
Sid Meier's Pirates! (Atari/Firaxis Games)

Innovation Awards

Innovation in Computer Gaming
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
City of Heroes (NCsoft/Cryptic Studios)
Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)
**Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
The Sims 2 (Electronic Arts/Maxis)

Innovation in Console Gaming
Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)
Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Donkey Konga (Nintendo/Namco)
EyeToy: AntiGrav (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Harmonix)
**Katamari Damacy (Namco Hometek Inc./Namco Limited)

Craft Awards

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Nintendo/Retro Studios)
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal)
Sly Cooper 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sucker Punch)
**Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)

Outstanding Achievement in Animation
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal)
Sly Cooper 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sucker Punch)
Jak 3 (Sony/Naughty Dog)
Rachet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)
**Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)

Outstanding Character Performance--Male
**Robert Guillaume, Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
The Bard's Tale (InXile Entertainment/Inxile Entertainment)
Metal Gear Solid 3 (Konami/KCEJ)
Demon Stone (Atari/Stormfront Studios)
The Chronicles of Riddick (Vivendi Universal Games/Starbreeze)

Outstanding Character Performance--Female
Demon Stone (Atari/Stormfront Studios)
**Judi Dench, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (Electronic Arts/EA/LA)
Zoo Tycoon 2 (Microsoft/Blue Fang Games)

Outstanding Achievement in Soundtrack
Need for Speed Underground 2 (Electronic Arts/EA Canada)
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (Activision/Neversoft)
Donkey Konga (Nintendo/Namco)
**Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar Games/Rockstar North)

Outstanding Achievement in Original Musical Composition
Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)
NBA Ballers (Midway/Midway Chicago)
Katamari Damacy (Namco/Namco Limited)
Killzone (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Guerrilla)
**Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)
**Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
Rachet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)
Sly Cooper 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sucker Punch)

Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay Engineering
Donkey Konga (Nintendo/Namco)
Spider-Man 2 (Activision/Treyarch)
EyeToy: AntiGrav (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Harmonix)
**Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)

Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay
**Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Atari/Epic Games)
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (THQ/Relic)

Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
Metroid Prime: Echoes (Nintendo/Retro Studios)
Demon Stone (Atari/Stormfront Studios)
Rachet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)
**Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design
Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)
City of Heroes (NCsoft/Cryptic Studios)
**Katamari Damacy (Namco Hometek Inc./Namco Limited)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar Games/Rockstar North)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)

Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar Games/Rockstar North)
Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Demon Stone (Atari/Stormfront Studios)
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (Midway/Midway)
**Fable (Microsoft/Big Blue Box)

Genre Awards

Console

Platform Action/Adventure Game of the Year
**Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal)
Rachet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games)
Jak 3 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Naughty Dog)

Action/Adventure Game of the Year
**Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar Games/Rockstar North)
Pikmin 2 (Nintendo/Nintendo)
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (Midway/Midway)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Shanghai, Paris, Annecy Studios)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Konami/KCEJ)

Action Sports Game of the Year
NFL Street 2 (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts Tiburon)
**Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (Activision/Neversoft)
NBA Ballers (Midway/Midway Chicago)
Mario Power Tennis (Nintendo/Camelot)

First-Person Action Game of the Year
**Halo 2 (Microsoft/Bungie)
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts LA)
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Nintendo/Tetro Studios)
The Chronicles of Riddick (Vivendi Universal Games/Starbreeze)

Children's Title of the Year
Shrek 2 (Activision/Luxoflux)
Backyard Baseball 2005 (Atari/Humongous Entertainment)
Mario Party 6 (Nintendo/Hudson Soft)
Pokémon Colosseum (Nintendo/Genius Sonority)
**Sly Cooper 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sucker Punch)

Fighting Game of the Year
Def Jam: Fight for NY (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts, Canada)
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 (Atari/Dimps Corporation)
**Mortal Kombat: Deception (Midway/Midway Chicago)

Racing Game of the Year
**Burnout 3 (Electronic Arts/Criterion)
Rallisport Challenge 2 (Microsoft/Digital Illusions)

Role-Playing Game of the Year
X-Men Legends (Activision/Raven Software)
The Bard's Tale (InXile Entertainment/InXile Entertainment)
**Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Nintendo/Intelligent Systems)
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (Nintendo/Square Enix)
Tales of Symphonia (Namco Hometek Inc./Namco Limited)

Sports Simulation Game of the Year
Madden NFL 2005 (Electronic Arts/Tiburon)
ESPN NHL 2K5 (Sega/Kush Games)
**ESPN NFL 2K5 (Sega/Visual Concepts)
Winning Eleven 7 (Konami/Konami)

Wireless & Handheld

Wireless Game of the Year
Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen (Nintendo/Creatures, Inc./Gamefreak)
**Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo)

Handheld Game of the Year
**Metroid: Zero Mission (Nintendo)
Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo)
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (Square Enix)

Computer

Action/Adventure Game of the Year
Myst IV Revelation (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal)
Full Spectrum Warrior (THQ/Pandemic Studios)
The Suffering (Midway/Surreal Software)
**Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (Ubisoft/Ubisoft Shanghai, Paris, Annecy Studios)

Children's Game of the Year
**Backyard Skateboarding (Atari/Humongous Entertainment)

Downloadable Game of the Year
Mahjong Garden to Go (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts-Pogo)
**The Incredibles: Escape from Nomanisan Island (Disney Online)
Shroomz--Quest for Puppy (Game Trust, Inc./The Planet)
Diner Dash (PlayFirst/GameLab)

Family Game of the Year
Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban (Electronic Arts/Amaze/Know Wonder)
Scrabble Online (Atari/Boston Animation)
Zoo Tycoon 2 (Microsoft/Blue Fang Games)

First-Person Action Game of the Year
Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts, LA)
Doom 3 (Activision/id Software)
Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising (NovaLogic/NovaLogic, Inc.)
**Half-Life 2 (Vivendi Universal Games/Valve)
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Atari/Epic Games)

Role-Playing Game of the Year
**Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker (BioWare/BioWare)
Vampires: Bloodline (Activision/Troika)

Simulation Game of the Year
**The Sims 2 (Electronic Arts/Maxis)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (Atari/Frontier Developments)
Pacific Fighters (Ubisoft/1C)

Sports Game of the Year
**Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts, Redwood Shores)

Strategy Game of the Year
The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth (Electronic Arts, LA)
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (THQ/Relic)
**Rome: Total War (Activision/Creative Assembly)

Online

Massive Multiplayer/Persistent World Game of the Year
**World of Warcraft (Vivendi Universal Games/Blizzard)
City of Heroes (NCsoft/Cryptic Studios)
Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed (Sony Online/LucasArts)
Final Fantasy XI Chains of Promathia (Square Enix, Inc./Square Enix Co. Ltd.)

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