COD4, Orange Box, BioShock, Rock Band D.I.C.E. up Interactive Achievement Awards

Activision's military shooter takes top prize, but 2K Games' undersea actioner, Valve's compilation, and MTV/Harmonix's rhythm game also get their props.

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LAS VEGAS--What the Oscars and the Emmys are to film and television, the Interactive Achievement Awards wants to be to games. Its sponsor, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, not only takes its nomenclature cues from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, it also put on a glitzy affair for the 11th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, which unfolded Thursday night in the largest ballroom in the Red Rock Casino and Resort in Las Vegas.

After an extended red carpet ceremony, the awards began fashionably late, with a group of sharply attired executives and cramped reporters rubbing elbows in front of the awards hall. After the obligatory hobnobbing and posing for cameras, the nearly 1,000-strong crowd gradually seated themselves and awaited the entrance of emcee Jay Mohr, who hosted the event for the third year running.

Unlike past events, this year's awards tried to enforce a strict "business attire" dress code on its nearly all-male audience. As evidenced by the flood of denim entering the hall, the upscale fashion edict didn't take. However, the skewed gender ratio of the audience did not go unnoticed by Jay. "It's like a hooker's fantasy in here," he proclaimed after taking the stage after several false starts.

Mohr then delivered some impromptu statistical analysis: "So 38 percent of gamers are women and older and 20 percent are over 50....that means 10 percent of gamers are cougars! Or as I like to call then, MILFs--moms I'd like to frag."

Following a round of applause, Mohr entered into a less typically NC-17-rated monologue than usual. "We’re streaming live on the Web right now," he said referring to GameSpot's live webcast, "so keep the profanity to a minimum." He then jokingly challenged a certain game designer: "I'm talking to you, Jaffe!" Appearing later on in the broadcast, the infamously outspoken game developer did not disappoint, letting forth a B-52's worth of F-bombs just to make his point.

Mohr's opening monologue also obliquely--and explicitly--referenced Web animator Zero Punctuation's recent review of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The subtle cue was no accident. The critically acclaimed shooter from Activision and its Infinity Ward studio took home the evening's biggest prizes, including overall game of the year, console game of the year, action game of the year, and outstanding achievement in online game play.

Tying COD4 at the four-award mark was top-nominee-getter BioShock, which won outstanding achievement in sound design, outstanding achievement in original music composition, outstanding achievement in story development, and outstanding achievement in art direction. Another favorite, Harmonix and MTV Games' Electronic Arts-distributed rhythm game Rock Band, took home trophies for outstanding innovation in gaming, outstanding achievement in soundtrack, and family game of the year.

Another title scoring a trifecta wasn't exactly a newcomer. Valve Software's Orange Box, which compiles 2004's Half-Life 2 with its two episodic sequels, the online shooter Team Fortress, and the darkly comic puzzler Portal took computer game of the year, outstanding achievement in game play engineering, and outstanding character performance. Other notable winners of the evening include World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (massively multiplayer game of the year), Super Mario Galaxy (adventure game of the year), and Mass Effect (role-playing game of the year).

But perhaps the night's biggest winner was Ken Kutaragi, the former head of Sony Computer Entertainment and the so-called "Father of the PlayStation." Largely unseen since he retired from Sony last June, the executive looked relaxed, sporting a tailored leather jacket and semilong hair as he took the stage to receive a lifetime achievement honor. However, the once-famously-aloof executive delivered a heartfelt speech thanking his family, colleagues, and the industry for the chance to help turn games from a novelty activity into mainstream entertainment.

A full list of tonight's Interactive Achievement Award winners are listed below in bold.

Overall Game of the Year
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Rock Band (MTV Games, Harmonix)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Nintendo)
The Orange Box (Electronic Arts/Valve Software, Valve Software)

Console Game of the Year
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios, BioWare)
Rock Band (MTV Games, Harmonix)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Nintendo)

Computer Game of the Year
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Crysis (Electronic Arts, Crytek)
The Orange Box (Electronic Arts/Valve Software, Valve Software)
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Vivendi Games, Blizzard Entertainment)

Handheld Game of the Year
Drawn to Life (THQ, 5th Cell)
Jeanne d'Arc (SCEA, Level 5)
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (D3 Publisher, Infinite Interactive, 1st Playable Productions)
Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters (SCEA, High Impact Games)
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo, Nintendo)

Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year
EVE Online: Trinity (CCP, CCP)
Guild Wars: Eye of the North (NCsoft, AreaNet)
Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa (NCsoft, Destination Games)
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (Midway, Turbine)
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Vivendi Games, Blizzard Entertainment)

Action Game of the Year
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Crysis (Electronic Arts, Crytek)
Halo 3 (Microsoft Game Studios, Bungie Studios)
The Orange Box (Electronic Arts/Valve Software, Valve Software)

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (Namco Bandai Games America, Namco Bandai Games)
Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (Electronic Arts, EA LA)

Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (THQ, Relic)
Supreme Commander (THQ, Gas Powered Games)
World in Conflict (Vivendi Games, Massive Entertainment)

Sports Game of the Year
FIFA Soccer 08 (Electronic Arts (Electronic Arts)
MLB 07: The Show (SCEA, SCE San Diego)
NBA 2K8 (2K Sports, Visual Concepts)
NHL 08 (Electronic Arts, EA Canada)
Skate (Electronic Arts, EA Black Box)

Adventure Game of the Year
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal)
God of War II (SCEA, Sony Computer Entertainment Santa Monica)
Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (SCEA, Insomniac Games)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Nintendo)
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (SCEA, Naughty Dog)

Outstanding Innovation in Gaming
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal)
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Rock Band (MTV Games, Harmonix)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Nintendo)
The Orange Box (Electronic Arts/Valve Software, Valve Software)

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Rock Band (MTV Games, Harmonix)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Nintendo)
The Orange Box: Portal (Electronic Arts/Valve, Valve)

Racing Game of the Year
DiRT (Codemasters, Codemasters)
Forza Motorsport 2 (Microsoft Game Studios, Turn 10 Studios)
Motorstorm (SCEA, Evolution Studios)
Need For Speed Pro Street (Electronic Arts, EA Black Box)
Project Gotham Racing 4 (Microsoft Game Studios, Bizarre Creations)

Role-Playing Game of the Year
Eternal Sonata (Namco Bandai Games America, Tri-Crescendo)
Jeanne d'Arc (SCEA, Level 5)
Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios, BioWare)
Rogue Galaxy (SCEA, Level 5)
The Witcher (Atari, CDProjekt Red)

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Paris, Red Storm)
Skate (Electronic Arts, EA Black Box)
Need for Speed ProStreet (Electronic Arts, EA Black Box)

Outstanding Achievement in Soundtrack
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Guitar Hero III (Activision, Neversoft)
Rock Band (MTV Games, Harmonix)
Singstar POP (SCEA, SCEE London Studio)
Skate (Electronic Arts, EA Black Box)

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition
BioShock (2K Games (2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (SCEA, Naughty Dog)
God of War II (SCEA, SCE Santa Monica)
Heavenly Sword (SCEA, Ninja Theory)
Lair (SCEA, Factor 5)

Downloadable Game of the Year
Azada (Big Fish Games, Big Fish Games)
Build-a-Lot (HipSoft, HipSoft)
flOw (SCEA, That Game Company)
Peggle (PopCap, PopCap)
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (D3 Publisher, Infinite Interactive, 1st Playable Productions)

Outstanding Achievement in Online Game Play
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Forza Motorsport 2 (Microsoft Game Studios, Turn 10 Studios)
Halo 3 (Microsoft Game Studios, Bungie Studios)
Rock Band (MTV Games, Harmonix)
World in Conflict (Vivendi Games, Massive Entertainment)

Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal)
Rock Band (MTV Games, Harmonix)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Nintendo)
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo, Nintendo)
The Orange Box: Portal (Electronic Arts/Valve Software, Valve Software)

Outstanding Achievement in Story Development
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Drawn to Life (THQ, 5th Cell)
Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios, BioWare)
The Darkness (2K Games, Starbreeze Studios)
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (SCEA, Naughty Dog)

Outstanding Character Performance
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)
Heavenly Sword (SCEA, Ninja Theory)
Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios, BioWare)
The Orange Box: Portal (Electronic Arts/Valve Software, Valve Software)
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (SCEA, Naughty Dog)

Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Crysis (Electronic Arts, Crytek)

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (SCEA, Insomniac Games)
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (SCEA, Naughty Dog)

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal)
BioShock (2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia)

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Heavenly Sword (SCEA, Ninja Theory)
The Orange Box: Team Fortress 2 (Electronic Arts/Valve Software, Valve Software)

Outstanding Achievement in Animation
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision, Infinity Ward)
Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (SCEA, Insomniac Games)
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (SCEA, Naughty Dog)
The Orange Box: Team Fortress 2 (Electronic Arts/Valve Software, Valve Software)

Family Game of the Year
Guitar Hero III (Activision, Neversoft)
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montpellier)
Rock Band (MTV Games, Harmonix)

Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action (Microsoft Games Studios, Screenlife)
WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Nintendo, Nintendo)

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