Stay on target Sorry, You Can’t Date Keanu Reeves in ‘Cyberpunk 2077”Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball Form When I think about The Game Awards, I just laugh. I laugh about its crass Spike TV roots before moving online. I laugh about how it’s more newsworthy for world exclusive trailers/commercials than it is for rewarding current accomplishments. I laugh about how its arbitrarily early cut-off date cuts off promising games from the rest of the year like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I laugh about how it wrongly equates quality and prestige with Naughty Dog-style expensive cinematic action and gloss. And being a part of a gaming awards show myself, the New York Video Games Awards, I laugh out of respect for the sheer amount of work Geoff Keighley must sink into the show.In that spirit, here are the nominees for the 2018 Game Awards along with my (hopefully) funny thoughts on them. Watch the show live online on Thursday December 6 at 8:30 PM EST.GAME OF THE YEARAssassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)Celeste (Matt Makes Games)God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)It’s probably Red Dead but give Monster Hunter an award for “Most Improved But Still Bad.” Holding out hope for Celeste, too.BEST ONGOING GAMEDestiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)Fortnite (Epic Games)No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)Overwatch (Blizzard)Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)A game being “ongoing” just feels like an excuse for it to launch unfinished, but it is impressive how much people care about Rainbow Six Siege now.BEST GAME DIRECTIONA Way Out (Hazelight Studios / EA)Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / SIE)God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)That cel-shaded Spider-Man outfit in otherwise realistic PS4 Pro New York is one of the most stunning things I’ve seen in a game this year.BEST NARRATIVEDetroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / SIE)God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)Detroit: Become Human is an awful game with an awful story written by an awful man. It even being on this list frankly invalidates this entire show.BEST ART DIRECTIONAssassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)Octopath Traveler (Square Enix / Acquire / Nintendo)Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)Return of the Obra Dinn (3909 LLC)Octopath Traveler’s blend of retro sprites and modern graphical flourishes got to me forget it was still a JRPG for about 15 hours, which is a long time!BEST SCORE/MUSICCeleste (Lena Raine)God of War (Bear McCreary)Marvel’s Spider-Man (John Paesano)Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom (Joe Hisaishi)Octopath Traveler (Yasunori Nishiki)Red Dead Redemption 2 (Woody Jackson)The first game did this too, but whenever Red Dead 2 kicks in a haunting cowboy vocal track it sure is something.BEST AUDIO DESIGNCall of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch Studios / Activision)Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)Forza Horizon 4 still carries over too many wrong lessons from realistic racing games, but the audio design for the vehicles isn’t one of those mistakes.BEST PERFORMANCEBryan Dechart as Connor, Detroit: Become HumanChristopher Judge as Kratos, God of WarMelissanthi Mahut as Kassandra, Assassin’s Creed OdysseyRoger Clark as Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker, Marvel’s Spider-ManThe way Christopher Judge bellows “boy!” sure is fantastic.GAMES FOR IMPACT11-11 Memories Retold (Digixart / Aardman Animations / Bandai Namco Entertainment)Celeste (Matt Makes Games)Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories (White Owls / Arc System Works)This is a weird, pandering category shunting off progressive games into their own ghetto and also makes the whole awards show suspect.BEST INDEPENDENT GAMECeleste (Matt Makes Games)Dead Cells (Motion Twin)Into the Breach (Subset Games)Return of the Obra Dinn (3909 LLC)The Messenger (Sabotage Studio)This is maybe the most stacked list. I would lean Into The Breach but really you can’t go wrong with any of these.BEST MOBILEDonut County (Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive)Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)Fortnite (Epic Games)PUBG Mobile (Lightspeed & Quantum / Tencent Games)Reigns: Game of Thrones (Nerial / Developer Digital)Florence’s digital love story isn’t just great but takes advantage of the mobile format by weaving in how smartphones are an essential part of modern romance and communication.BEST VR/AR GAMEAstro Bot Rescue Mission (SIE Japan Studio / SIE)Beat Saber (Beat Games)Firewall Zero Hour (First Contact Entertainment / SIE)Moss (Polyarc Games)Tetris Effect (Resonair / Enhance, Inc)Tetris Effect is maybe the only game that could ever make me feel jealous for not having PSVR at home.BEST ACTION GAMECall of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch / Activision)Dead Cells (Motion Twin)Destiny 2: Forsaken (Bungie / Activision)Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)Mega Man 11 (Capcom)This is a weird group of games that probably shouldn’t be compared. And I have too many separate issues with all of them to have a frontrunner.BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAMEAssassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Eidos Montreal / Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix)It’s Red Dead.BEST ROLE-PLAYING GAMEDragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Square Enix / Square Enix)Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom (Level 5 / Bandai Namco Entertainment)Octopath Traveler (Square Enix / Acquire / Nintendo)Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Obsidian Entertainment / Versus Evil)It’s Monster Hunter, or maybe Octopath.BEST FIGHTINGBlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle (Arc System Works)Dragon Ball FighterZ (Arc System Works / Bandai Namco Entertainment)Soulcalibur 6 (Bandai Namco Studios / Bandai Namco Entertainment)Street Fighter 5 Arcade (Dimps / Capcom)Dragon Ball FighterZ being so fantastic is one of the biggest feel-good gaming stories of the year for people of all walks of life.BEST FAMILY GAMEMario Tennis Aces (Camelot Software Planning / Nintendo)Nintendo Labo (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)Overcooked 2 (Ghost Town Games / Team 17)Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft)Super Mario Party (NDCube / Nintendo)This is another weird ghetto of a category by if we’re being strict about the word “Family” then my pick is Nintendo Labo.BEST STRATEGY GAMEBattletech (Harebrained Schemes / Paradox Interactive)Frostpunk (11 bit studios)Into the Breach (Subset Games)The Banner Saga 3 (Stoic Studio / Versus Evil)Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Sega CS3 / Sega)Another stellar category, but Into The Breach’s brilliant turn-based mech combat is the rare roguelike I straight-up adore.BEST SPORTS/RACINGFIFA 19 (EA Vancouver / EA Sports)Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)Mario Tennis Aces (Camelot Software Planning / Nintendo)NBA 2K19 (Visual Concepts / 2K Sports)Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 (PES Productions / Konami)Mario Tennis Aces should’ve been up for best fighting game but best sports game is a suitable consolation prize.BEST MULTIPLAYER GAMECall of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch / Activision)Destiny 2: Forsaken (Bungie / Activision)Fortnite (Epic Games)Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)Sea of Thieves (Rare / Microsoft Studios)It took jettisoning a single-player mode to get there, but props to the variety and quality of multiplayer modes on display in Blops 4.BEST STUDENT GAMECombat 2018 (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences – Norway)Dash Quasar (UC Santa Cruz)JERA (Digipen Bilbao, Spain)LIFF (ISTART Digital – France)RE: Charge (MIT)Sorry kids, but I don’t know these.BEST DEBUT INDIE GAMEDonut County (Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive)Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)Moss (Polyarc Games)The Messenger (Sabotage Studio)Yoku’s Island Express (Villa Gorilla)The awesome pinball Metroidvania action of Yoku’s Island Express truly came out of nowhere.via Efren Salinas/DotEsportsBEST ESPORTS GAMECounter-Strike: Global Offensive Dota 2 Fortnite League of Legends OverwatchBEST ESPORTS PLAYERDominique “SonicFox” McLean (Echo Fox)Hajime “Tokido” TaniguchiJian “Uzi” Zi-Hao (Royal Never Give Up) Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev (Natus Vincere)Sung-hyeon “JJoNak” Bang (New York Excelsior)BEST ESPORTS TEAMAstralis (CSGO)Cloud9 (LOL)Fnatic (LOL)London Spitfire (Overwatch)OG (Dota 2)BEST ESPORTS COACHBok “Reapered” Han-gyu (Cloud9)Cristian “ppasarel” Bănăseanu (OG)Danny “zonic” Sørensen (Astralis)Dylan Falco (Fnatic)Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi (Team Vitality)Janko “YNk” Paunovic (MiBR)BEST ESPORTS EVENTELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018Evo 2018League of Legends World ChampionshipOverwatch League Grand FinalsThe International 2018BEST ESPORTS HOSTAlex “Goldenboy” MendezAlex “Machine” RichardsonAndersBlume Eefje “Sjokz” DepoorterePaul “RedEye” ChalonerBEST ESPORTS MOMENTC9 Comeback Win In Triple OT vs FAZE (ELEAGUE) KT vs IG Base Race (LOL Worlds) G2 Beating RNG (LOL Worlds)OG’s Massive Upset of LGD (DOTA 2 Finals)SonicFox Side Switch Against Go1 in DBZ (EVO)There are seven eSports categories in this awards show and I couldn’t care less about any of them except SonicFox winning whatever he wants.CONTENT CREATOR OF THE YEARDr. LupoMythNinjaPokimaneWillyrexWe just hope whoever wins thinks women are cool and Nazis aren’t.For more on games likely to win many of these awards check out our reviews of Red Dead Redemption 2, Spider-Man, God of War, and Monster Hunter World.