AIAS award nominees announced

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences releases its list of nominations, prompting some to question the organization's objectivity.

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The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) has announced the finalists for the upcoming 5th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, which will be held on February 28, 2002, in Las Vegas. The finalists for the Game of the Year award include Sid Meier's Civilization III for the PC. The event will feature awards in a total of 29 categories.

The list of nominations has prompted some to question the objectivity of the AIAS due to the absence of certain games on the list. 3D Realms' Scott Miller suggested that the organization is biased toward games published by AIAS member companies, and companies that do not belong to the organization are not given the recognition they deserve. Remedy and 3D Realms' popular third-person action game 20 best-selling PC games for 2001.

"The AIAS has 29 categories and Max Payne is not nominated in any of them, even though Max is winning action game of the year awards and other high honors from numerous magazines and prestigious gaming Web sites," Miller said. "I've been told confidentially by one of the voters for the nominees that this is because neither 3D Realms, nor Remedy, is a member of AIAS."

According to one of the AIAS voters, companies can purchase bulk memberships in order to put their employees on the AIAS voting list. This system could skew the voting in favor of large companies, since those companies would have more voting members.

When asked about the omission of Max Payne from the list of nominees, an AIAS representative noted that hundreds of games were not nominated for awards. "Interactive Academy voting is secret, conducted online, and supervised and certified by PriceWaterhouse Coopers, the same firm that certifies Oscar voting," the representative said. "The integrity of the system, coupled with a broad-based voting population of Academy members, make the Interactive Achievement Awards the most credible, respected, and recognized awards for interactive entertainment software."

To see the full list of nominees for the upcoming 5th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, visit the official AIAS Web site.

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