Last night the Game Awards for 2016 took place in Los Angeles, and distributed a whole host of accolades across various platforms and mediums, even including fan created games and an eSports award. Despite a heavy emphasis on console gaming, there were a few mobile games nominated for numerous categories across the night, and against opposition from critically acclaimed releases such as Fire Emblem Fates, Ratchet and Clank, and even the stunning slashing iOS RPG Severed ($0.99), Pokemon GO (Free) managed to pick up the awards for ‘Best Mobile/Handheld Game’ and ‘Best Family Game’, the latter of which trumped a whole host of console releases to take the trophy. Similarly, Pokemon GO also triumphed in the same ‘Handheld/Mobile Game of the Year’ section of the Golden Joystick Awards, which is the UK equivalent to the Game Awards ceremony, as well as also winning the ‘Innovation of the Year’ accolade. Such universal recognition of Pokemon GO‘s impact on gaming is a fantastic thing for mobile gaming, and emphasises how the augmented reality craze managed to permeate the mainstream like nothing else over the summer months.
Naming Pokemon GO as the mobile game of the year for 2016 is guaranteed to be a controversial move, and whether a similar title is bestowed on Niantic’s creature-catching craze in the equivalent TouchArcade awards is still to be seen. However, there are numerous factors that have to be remembered in relation to these awards. Firstly, the understanding that, despite the obvious immense qualities of mobile gaming and the resulting perpetual stream of news and announcements that TouchArcade brings you, mobile gaming still isn’t treated entirely seriously by the mainstream gaming media – and, by extension, committees that decide ceremonies such as The Game Awards. However, Pokemon GO was a massive event as a pop culture phenomenon, and the sheer amount of coverage from websites that would normally not discuss mobile gaming in depth speaks volumes for how Pokemon GO has been perceived by those outside the mobile gaming community. Secondly, the aforementioned popularity of the game and the dramatic impact it had on bringing people together is certainly worth something, and while there’s a separate debate on whether Pokemon GO is technically better than other mobile titles, its success and influence justifies such hyperbolic accolades.
Anyway, there’s a lot more to be said about Pokemon GO, but that will come later – at the very least, the results from The Game Awards 2016 and the Golden Joystick Awards show are great to increase the perception and awareness of mobile gaming to the outside world, and hopefully this is just the start of a future assault on the bigger prizes. Be sure to share any well-argued assertions on whether the awards were correct, or which game you’d have liked to win something at these events, in the comments section below.