One Year With GamerNode and The First Annual Jason Awards

Today marks one year with GamerNode. I can hardly believe it’s already been a full year of writing for a website. I remember being fresh out of college and not knowing what the hell would happen to me, and now here I am, writing for a great site. 2009 was certainly an eventful year, not just for games, but for me as well. Thanks to this sweet writing gig, I live-blogged E3, conducted my first real interview, wrote my first feature series, and got my first press pass to a gaming con. Writing for this site has made me feel like I’m finally a part of the industry that I love so much, and I hope it’s something I can keep doing for a long time.

Enough about me, though, because there were certain things about the past year in gaming that really stuck out, things that many of us overlook or take for granted but deserve a shot in the spotlight. Let’s take one last (I promise) look back at the year 2009 with the first ever Jason Awards.

Here how it goes: these are my personal awards. Not Game of the Year or anything like that, those already happened on this site. These are awards you don’t usually see in the year-end review, but every gamer goes through it every year. I hope you enjoy!


Douchebag Of The Year

Bobby Kotick

Bobby Kotick

Did you expect anyone else? Mr. "Take-All-The-Fun-Out-Of-Making-Video-Games" himself. Believe me, this guy has done great things for not only Activision, but gaming as a whole. However, no one will be able to truly appreciate all that he’s done for we gamers until he learns to keep his damn mouth shut. Talking about wanting to raise the prices of games won’t help your popularity with a group of people who already shell out $60 at a time to play their favorite games. Listen dude, take it from someone who has a habit of sticking his foot in his mouth: leave those comments to a night of drinks with the buddies, because we gamers will do nothing but take it the wrong way. No amount of business acumen will make saying those dumb things okay, and for that Bobby Kotick earns my Douchebag of the Year 2009. I just hope, for his sake, he won’t repeat.


Best Gaming Friend of 2009

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci (Assassin’s Creed II)

I don’t think this one should come as any surprise either. Never before has a video game protagonist been aided so expertly and effortlessly as Ezio Auditore was with Leonardo here. If I were Ezio, I would have felt like quite the moron when I brought a codex page to Leonardo, only to have him solve it in three friggin’ seconds. Not to mention Leo made Ezio the only man in 15th century Italy who could FLY. Imagine being a Venezian guard and seeing a fully-armed assassin flying toward you, only to have him kick you off of the roof to your death. None of that is possible without Mr. da Vinci, securing him the title of Best Gaming Friend of 2009.
HONORABLE MENTION: Lars (Brutal Legend), Sully (Uncharted 2)


Biggest WTF Moment of 2009
My reaction to all the delays...

The Many Game Delays

Bayonetta. Dark Void. Bioshock 2. The list goes on and on. Many of the games that gamers are still looking forward to were supposed to be out already. I should have already been galavanting through Rapture. I should already be flying around with a jetpack. Instead, companies that were too concerned/afraid/chickenshit to stand up to Infinity Ward’s money-printing shooter Modern Warfare 2 instead decided to overload the first months of 2010 with their wares. The move is understandable, but my wallet would like to have a word with all of these developers. Do they really think that releasing their game right after the holidays, when no one has any money to spend on games, is going to help sales? Modern Warfare 2 was a sales juggernaut, yes, and a lot of these companies can be considered smart for dodging a launch of that magnitude. However, I expected there to be a whole lot more available to try and deter me from the frontlines once Modern Warfare got stale…which, because of all the glitches, wasn’t very long. Thanks, big developers, for being afraid of MW2. For your fear, I present the Biggest WTF Moment of 2009.
HONORABLE MENTION: Metroid: Other M revealed as a Team Ninja/Nintendo collaboration, Project Natal


The Gaming Boomerang of 2009

Marvel vs Capcom 2

Marvel vs Capcom 2 (XBLA/PSN)

For anyone that hasn’t figured it out yet, the Gaming Boomerang is the game that keeps gamers coming back for more, no matter how long ago it was released. Marvel vs Capcom 2 could have been considered one of these before it was re-released on Xbox Live and Playstation Network back in July, but once it was, its grip on me was re-tightened. The same fast, frenetic fighting action I lived for in my younger years, now with online play so I can smack around/be smacked around by others around the world? YES PLEASE. The release was certainly a sound business decision by the boys at Capcom, but it did nothing for my gamer attention span. Instead of saying "just one more mission" in games like Prototype and Brutal Legend (both of which I’ve since finished, by the way), I was saying "just one more match" in MvC2. Thanks, Capcom, for letting me scratch the itch again, and please accept the Gaming Boomerang Award of 2009 as a reward.
HONORABLE MENTION: Street Fighter IV, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box


The Daikatana Award For Excellence in Failing Hard


This was almost my WTF Moment winner, but it’s so obscenely dumb that putting it here makes much more sense. Yes, the digital age is coming, and yes, downloadable games are wildly successful. However, gamers are NOT, and I repeat, NOT READY FOR AN ALL-DOWNLOAD GAMING WORLD. Being in the trenches of gaming retail, I can honestly say that I’ve seen a whole lot more people calling the PSP Go a dumb idea than a good one. What about all of those people that already have a PSP and have no way to get those old games onto the device? What about all those who have an iPod Touch or iPhone that does all of the same things? What about those, no matter how few they are, that still don’t have internet?!I don’t know what Sony was thinking when they decided this would be a good idea, but until it’s a little more accessible to their already established fanbase, then I’ll call it the PSP No Go. Whether that happens or not, the PSP Go takes home the Daikatana Award For Excellence in Failing Hard.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Dante’s Inferno Marketing Team


Best Portable Game From Another Year First Played In 2009

Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations

I know what you’re thinking…"HOLD IT! It took you THIS LONG to play Phoenix Wright?! OBJECTION!" Yeah, yeah, I know. I went on a road trip back in June, and while looking for games to play on the trip, a buddy of mine suggested (and let me borrow for the trip) all four Phoenix Wright games. I thought they were just boring text-based adventures with nothing but case-solving. Boy, was I wrong. I played the entire series in the span of that week, I was HOOKED. However, this award is for a single game, not a franchise. Looking back, I found myself most immersed in the third game, Trials and Tribulations. I’ve never seen a game wrap up a continuing story so thoroughly, shockingly, or expertly. Sure, some of the big reveals are easy to spot, but others had me gasping as I played. The cheeky humor, pop culture references, and likable characters round out what was the marquee game in a fantastic series, making it my Favorite Portable Game From Another Year First Played in 2009. TAKE THAT!
: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Professor Layton and the Curious Village


Best Console Game From Another Year First Played In 2009
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

You thought missing Phoenix Wright was an affront to gaming? I can’t imagine what you think of me now. Here, let me make it worse for you: I’ve had this since I bought the damn PS3 in August of ’08. However, I also had Metal Gear Solid 4 since I bought the PS3, and that was the reason I bought it in the first place, hence Nate here getting pushed to the backburner for a year. I had seen and heard all of the wonderful things there were to hear about this game, and I really wanted to get it in before the second one released, and I’m glad I did. Nathan Drake is definitely Top 5, if not the best, main character created in this decade. He’s smart, witty, and he can handle a pistol as good as any Solid Snake or Soap MacTavish. The scenery was beautifully detailed, the score was incredible, and the story had me wanting more and more. I can’t believe I missed this one, but since I waited until last year to play it, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune earns my vote for Best Console Game From Another Year First Played in 2009.
HONORABLE MENTION: Fallout 3, Rome: Total War


Favorite Game of 2009 That Nobody Played
Suikoden Tierkreis

Suikoden Tierkreis

Suikoden was new territory for me. I was a huge RPG fan back in the day, but most of that love was fueled by Final Fantasy, The Legend of Dragoon, and Legend of Legaia. I had missed Konami’s franchise all together, so when I heard that the DS would be getting an iteration this year, I figured there’d be no time like the present to try it out. Not knowing what to expect, I was given a fantastic story, tight battle system, an amazing musical score (especially for the DS), and characters I found myself actually caring for, no matter how much the main guy annoyed me. What starts as a struggle against a fanatical religious sect turns into a fight for not only this game’s world, but all of the game’s parallel worlds right along with it. Playing this not only sent me back to the RPG days of my youth, but it got me wondering what my ignorance has cost me. Suikoden, I shall acquaint myself with you yet, and you can thank Tierkreis on the DS, which is my Favorite Game of 2009 That Nobody Played.
HONORABLE MENTION: MadWorld, Valkyria Chronicles


Least Favorite Game of 2009 That Everyone Played
Fight Night Round 4

Fight Night Round 4

Fight Night used to have a distinct moniker in my dorm room: The Game That Ends Friendships. We found ourselves almost boxing each other over the results of bouts in Fight Night Round 2. When Round 3 came out for 360, my buddies and I thought it was the best thing to happen for boxing games since Punch-Out!! When the fourth game was announced, we were ready for another round in the ring, now with the ability to play as Mike Tyson. Unfortunately for us, we got more of the same. Round 4 did build upon what Round 3 had added to the franchise, but it paralleled the additions that Resident Evil 5 made to 4’s engine: some, but not enough to make a lasting impact. It’s not that I didn’t like Round 4, but it really let me down in terms of what I expected from it. Hopefully if EA follows the idea of a new Fight Night every two years, Round 5 in 2011 will make enough strides to get the boxing juices flowing like Round 3 did. Regardless, Fight Night Round 4 earns the (dubious) title of Least Favorite Game of 2009 That Everyone Played.
HONORABLE MENTION: The aforementioned Resident Evil 5


Prediction for Game of the Year 2010
Alan Wake

Alan Wake

HA! Y’all expected Mass Effect 2 here, didn’t ya?! Now, while I truly expect ME2 to be a fantastic game, there’s something about Alan Wake  that really makes me think we’ll be raving about it this time next year. The whole psychological thriller aspect is very intriguing, and after such a long hiatus, the E3 2009 footage put my expectations sky high. If Remedy keeps up with what I saw last June, then when it hits the gaming world in 2010 (if it hits the gaming world in 2010, with the delay trend in anticipated titles we’ve seen recently) we’ll all be mentioning one name: Alan Wake. If it doesn’t come out this year, I still got my Commander Shepard, but right now Alan Wake is my Prediction for Game of the Year 2010.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, God of War III

There you have it, the first annual Jason Awards. These types of awards aren’t all that common at the end of each year, so I hope I got everyone thinking about not just games that released in a year, but every game you played in that year. May 2010 be as great for gaming as ’09 was, and if it isn’t, may you find a gem that you missed in previous years that will keep you going until 2011.




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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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