Rock Band tops Game Critics Awards

Harmonix's rhythm game named best E3 game by game-journalist jury; Mass Effect, LittleBigPlanet also honored.

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Nearly three weeks after the 2007 E3 Media and Business Summit closed up shop, its best games are still being lauded. One week after GameSpot gave its own E3 kudos, a jury of game journalism's most prominent members has handed out the Game Critics Awards to the event's top titles.

With Will Wright's two-year title holder Spore absent at this year's E3, the Best of Show award passed to Rock Band. Nominated a record five times, Harmonix's Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 rhythm game picked up two other awards: Best Hardware for its peripherals and Best Social/Casual/Puzzle Game. The only other multiaward winner was BioWare's sci-fi role-playing game Mass Effect. It was nominated in three categories, and walked away with Best Console Game and Best Role-Playing Game.

While multiple award winners have been common in previous years, the sheer quantity of big-budget, high-quality titles imminently poised to flood the market has dispersed the awards more evenly this year. However, many games received several nominations, including Activision's modern-day shooter Call of Duty 4 and Irrational Games' underwater shooter BioShock with four apiece, as well as Bethesda's postapocalyptic Fallout 3 and Sony's quirky LittleBigPlanet with three a pop.

Whereas Nintendo's platforms walked away as the definitive winner of last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, they ranked dead last this year. The Wii and Nintendo DS garnered a combined 16 nominations and two wins, compared to Microsoft's Xbox 360 alone receiving 38 nominations and 11 wins and Sony's PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable tallying a combined 33 nominations and eight wins.

Now in its ninth season, the Game Critics Awards annually name the best-in-show winners in various categories for E3. The selection panel comprises 36 gaming journalists drawn from a pool of print and online gaming news sources such as GameSpot, Newsweek, and the Los Angeles Times.

A complete breakdown of this year's nominees is listed below, with winners marked in bold.

Best of Show
BioShock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC, Xbox 360)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward/Activision for PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Mass Effect (Bioware/Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360)
Rock Band (Harmonix/MTV Games/EAP for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

Best Original Game
BioShock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC, Xbox 360)
de Blob (Blue Tongue/THQ for Wii)
LittleBigPlanet (Media Molecule/SCEE for PS3)
Rock Band (Harmonix/MTV Games/EAP for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Wii Fit (Nintendo for Wii)

Best PC Game
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward/Activision)
Crysis (Crytek/Electronic Arts)
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage/id/Activision)
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks)
World in Conflict (Massive Entertainment/Sierra)

Best Console Game
BioShock (Irrational Games/2K Games for Xbox 360)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward/Activision for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Mass Effect (BioWare/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)
Rock Band (Harmonix/MTV Games/EAP for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Handheld Game
Contra 4 (WayForward/Konami for Nintendo DS)
Dead Head Fred (Vicious Cycle/D3 for PSP)
God of War: Chains of Olympus (Ready at Dawn/SCEA for PSP)
Silent Hill: Origins (Climax/Konami for PSP)
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo for Nintendo DS)

Best Hardware
PSP-2000 (Sony Computer Entertainment)
Rock Band Instruments (Harmonix/MTV Games/EAP for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Wii Balance Board (Nintendo for Wii)
Wii Zapper (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Action Game
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward/Activision for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Crysis (Crytek/EA for PC)
Halo 3 (Bungie/Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360)
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Retro Studios/Nintendo for Wii)
Unreal Tournament 3 (Epic Games/Midway for PC, PlayStation 3)

Best Action/Adventure Game
Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
BioShock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC, Xbox 360)
Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory/SCEE for PlayStation 3)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo for Wii)
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (Naughty Dog/SCEA for PlayStation 3)

Best Fighting Game
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for Xbox 360)
Virtua Fighter 5 (Sega for Xbox 360)
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008 (Yuke's/THQ for Nintendo Wii)

Best Role-Playing Game
Eternal Sonata (Namco Bandai Games for Xbox 360)
Fable 2 (Lionhead/Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360)
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Hellgate: London (Flagship Studios/EAP for PC)
Mass Effect (BioWare/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)

Best Racing Game
Burnout Paradise (Criterion Games/EA for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Need for Speed ProStreet (EA Black Box/EA for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Project Gotham Racing 4 (Bizarre Creations/Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360)
Stuntman: Ignition (Paradigm/THQ for PS2, PS3, Xbox 360)

Best Sports Game
Madden NFL 08 (Tiburon/EA for All Systems)
Skate (EA Black Box/EA for PS3, Xbox 360)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 (Tiburon/EA Sports for PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (Neversoft/Activision for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

Best Strategy Game
Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (Firaxis/2K Games for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (Relic/THQ for PC)
Halo Wars (Ensemble Studios/Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360)
Universe at War: Earth Assault (Petroglyph/Sega for PC, Xbox 360)
World in Conflict (Massive Entertainment/Sierra for PC)

Best Social/Casual/Puzzle Game
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Neversoft/Red Octane/ATVI for PS2, PS3, 360, Wii)
LittleBigPlanet (Media Molecule/SCEE for PS3)
Rock Band (Harmonix/MTV Games/EAP for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Wii Fit (Nintendo for Wii)
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure (Capcom for Wii)

Best Online Multiplayer Game
Burnout Paradise (Criterion Games/EA for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage/Nerve/id/ATVI for PC, PS3, 360)
Halo 3 (Bungie/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)
Little Big Planet (Media Molecule/SCEE for PlayStation 3)
Unreal Tournament 3 (Epic Games/Midway for PC, PlayStation 3)

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