Awards and award shows in general are terrible by design. Award categories are often too general or narrow to be meaningful; smaller creations rarely get a look in; picking a single "best" winner is often a ludicrous notion; little to no explanation for decisions is ever given; and judges are often self-selected, poorly-qualified industry imbeciles who simply want to feel important.

On top of all that, show hosts are usually insufferably smug dickheads, their banter sucks, and all the fawning and fake sincerity is enough to make you want to barf. Everyone is there to dress up, piss up, and hook up anyway, so no doubt a few backslapping attendees will oblige with the puking as the night wears on.

Awards shows persist for many reasons, but the main one is they make bucketloads of money for their organisers. They do so by appealing to the vanity of nominees ("you are one of a very select few nominated!"), before selling them a table at the awards night for thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

Wealthy idiots then sit through commercials and sponsor shout-outs on the night on the off-chance they'll get a shithouse gold spray-painted trophy that looks like it was designed by throwing a magnet into the off-cuts bucket at a steel factory. Tell people something is special and maybe it's them, and they'll throw money at you, it seems.

Awards are generally dumb, but doling out awards to games shown at E3 that aren't even out yet is a special kind of stupid. The only bar a game needs to clear to be eligible for nomination is it must be playable for five minutes at E3. That's like asking someone to choose their favourite word from this sentence, then awarding that word a trophy. (The best word in that sentence was "favourite", of course.)

Naturally, some aspects of the E3 awards are taken very seriously by the judges, who graciously honour nominees on the E3 show floor by slapping stickers on their booths. These stickers sometimes display the face of said judge or judges, contorted to convey what these attention-fuelled robots believe a human face looks like when its wearer experiences joy and/or surprise. The results are always off-putting, a weird mix of desperation and existential angst.

It's all a bit of an embarrassment, and I can't help but feel that most studios sheepishly go along with the whole thing in the hope any exposure gained will grant them a few extra sales.

doling out awards to games shown at E3 that aren't even out yet is a special kind of stupid

"The Game Critics Awards", as these E3 awards are called, are not actually associated with or endorsed by E3 organisers the ESA. Any gaming publication can put itself forward for judging duties, and whoever runs things these days at TGCA decides who is in and who is out. (Unsurprisingly, Game Award fanatic Geoff Keighley is an alum of this organisation.)

There's one big advantage to being a judge: developers know you are one, and will make damn sure you get their play their game ahead of non-judges at E3. The list of judges this year is basically a list of every visible games website, plus TIME Magazine. Notably, Kotaku is absent, and AusGamers is the sole Oceanic representative.

Best of E3 Awards are a very dumb thing, but let's pick favourites anyway

After E3, publications then submit their top five choices in each category, which are weighted based on ranking. With all nominations from all publications in, five nominees are announced, and that, ladies and gents, is where we are at today.

From here, each judging publication then gets a single vote per award category, and once the votes are totalled, winners are announced to a roar of "I can't believe they chose X over Y!" At least there isn't an awards night for The Game Critics Awards… yet.

Anywho, now that I've spent 600 words railing against the practice, please peruse the nominations and my personal picks in each category (in bold). These picks are definitive, canon, and bellyfeel, and to believe otherwise is thoughtcrime. Feel free to list your own though, so the thinkpol's job is made a little easier.

Best of Show

Assassin’s Creed: Origins (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft Milan/Ubisoft)
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Monolith/Warner Bros Interactive Ent.)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine Games/Bethesda)

Correct answer: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Best Original Game

Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Dragon Ball FighterZ (Arc System Works/Bandai Namco Entertainment)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft Milan/Ubisoft)
Sea of Thieves (Rare/Microsoft)
Skull & Bones (Ubisoft Singapore/Ubisoft)

Correct answer: Detroit: Become Human

Best Console Game

Assassin’s Creed: Origins (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft Milan/Ubisoft)
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Monolith/Warner Bros Interactive Ent.)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine Games/Bethesda)

Correct answer: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Best PC Game

Destiny 2 (Bungie/Activision)
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Monolith/Warner Bros. Interactive Ent)
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlords (TaleWorlds Entertainment)
Total War: Warhammer II (Creative Assembly/Sega)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine Games/Bethesda)

Correct answer: Total War: Warhammer II

Best VR Game

Doom VFR (id Software/Bethesda)
Fallout 4 VR (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)
Lone Echo (Ready at Dawn/Oculus Studio)
Moss (Polyarc)
Transference (SpectreVision/Ubisoft)

Correct answer: Fallout 4 VR

Best Mobile/Handheld

Durango (What Studio/Nexon)
Metroid: Samus Returns (MercurySteam/Nintendo)
Hidden Agenda (Supermassive Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
King's Knight: Wrath of the Dark Dragon (Square Enix)
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux (Atlus)

Correct answer: Hidden Agenda

Best Hardware

Astro A10 Gaming Headset (Astro)
DisplayLink XR (DisplayLink)
Razer Thresher Ultimate (Razer)
Logitech PowerPlay Mat (Logitech)
Xbox One X (Microsoft)

Correct answer: Logitech PowerPlay Mat (Logitech) (Thanks for the sponsorship, guys and gals!)

Best Action Game

Call of Duty: WWII (Sledgehammer Games/Activision)
Destiny 2 (Bungie/Activision)
Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Star Wars Battlefront II (EA DICE/Motive/Criterion/Electronic Arts)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine Games/Bethesda)

Correct answer: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Best Action/Adventure Game

Assassin’s Creed: Origins (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Days Gone (SIE Bend Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Monolith/Warner Bros. Interactive Ent).
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo)

Correct answer: Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Best RPG

Battle Chasers: Nightwar (Airship Syndicate/THQ Nordic)
Kingdom Come: Deliverance (Warhorse Studios/Deep Silver)
Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlords (TaleWorlds Entertainment)
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (Level 5/Bandai Namco Entertainment)
South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Ubisoft SF/South Park Digital Studios/Ubisoft)
Vampyr (Dotnod Entertainment/Focus Home Interactive)

Correct answer: Vampyr

Best Fighting Game

ARMS (Nintendo)
Dragon Ball FighterZ (Arc System Works/Bandai Namco Entertainment)
Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite (Capcom)
Pokken Tournament DX (Bandai Namco Studios/The Pokemon Co.)

Correct answer: ARMS is actually out, so it wins

Best Racing Game

Forza Motorsport 7 (Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft Studios)
Gran Turismo Sport (Polyphony Digital/Sony Interactive Ent)
Need for Speed Payback (Ghost Games/Electronic Arts)
Project CARS 2 (Slighty Mad Studios/Bandai Namco Entertainment)
The Crew 2 (Ivory Tower/Ubisoft Reflections/Ubisoft)

Correct answer: Something else. Please let there be something else.

Best Sports Game

FIFA 18 (EA Canada/Electronic Arts)
Madden NFL 18 (EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 (PES Productions/Konami)

Correct answer: NBA Jam

Best Strategy Game

Battletech (Harebrained Schemes/Paradox Interactive)
Frostpunk (11 bit Studios)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft)
Total War: Arena (Creative Assembly/Sega/Wargaming)
Total War: Warhammer II (Creative Assembly/Sega)

Correct answer: Battletech

Best Family/Social Game

DropMix (Harmonix/Hasbro)
Just Dance 2018 (Ubisoft)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 (TT Games/Warner Bros Interactive Ent.)
Hidden Agenda (Supermassive Games/Sony Interactive Ent.)
That’s You (Wish Studios/Sony Interactive Ent.)

Correct answer: Hidden Agenda

Best Online Multiplayer

Call of Duty: WWII (Sledgehammer Games/Activision)
Destiny 2 (Bungie/Activision)
Star Wars Battlefront II (EA DICE/Motive/Criterion/Electronic Arts)
Sea of Thieves (Rare/Microsoft)
Skull & Bones (Ubisoft Singapore/Ubisoft)

Correct answer: Sea of Thieves

Best Independent Game

Ashen (Aurora 44/Annapurna Interactive)
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Inti Creates/505 Games)
Donut County (Ben Esposito/Annapurna Interactive)
Laser League (Roll7/505 Games)
The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti (Beethoven & Dinosaur/Annapurna Interactive)

Correct answer: Ashen


How many did you get right? Let us know in the comments!