The 2012 Gamer Theory Media Game of the Year Awards

By: Jeff Rivera

The 2012 Gamer Theory Media Game of the Year Awards

Some are saying that 2012 was a down year for gaming. Forget that! We found tons of great games to pick from when deliberating for our Game of the Year Awards. In fact, many categories had so many nominees and votes spread across such a wide number of games that picking a winner became pretty hard. And when it came down to it, it seems that plot and player choice factored into things more heavily than anybody would have predicted into things coming into the year. As we push into 2013, we take a look back at the games that were true leaders in 2012. Here are the Gamer Theory Game of the Year Awards for 2012.

Overall Game of the Year - The Walking Dead

There was a lot of competition for our top honors, but in the end, Telltale Games provided what we felt was the strongest gaming experience in 2012. The Walking Dead is a fantastic example of high level storytelling and it manages to set the bar a few notches higher for decision-based plot development. We have no reservations suggesting The Walking Dead to any type of gamer, and for that reason, it takes our award as 2012's game of the year.

Runner-Up - XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Firaxis' revival of XCOM was an unexpected star at 2k's boot at E3 2012, and they managed to deliver well on the hype drummed up at the show. With a campaign that rivals the best we've ever seen out of the strategy genre, XCOM: Enemy Unknown was successful at pleasing longtime fans of the series as well as newcomers. Firaxis knocked it out of the park.

Wii U Game of the Year - New Super Mario Bros. U

After the 3DS launched without a Mario game, every critic in the industry came out of the woodwork to scold Nintendo. Who knows if it was a direct reaction to the criticism or not, but Nintendo had a new Mario ready for the Wii U launch; and boy did it turn out to be a solid offering. Lost in the "it's just another New Super Mario Bros. game" was how polished, challenging, and beautiful NSMBU turned out to be as it easily proved to be the best of the "New" Super Mario Bros. entries.

Runner-Up - ZombiU

ZombiU got some stage time at E3 2012 as Reggie had some fun with the Wii U's camera feature, but come launch day, ZombiU would prove to be one of the more unique and satisfying survival horror games released in years. Making great use of the Wii U GamePad, ZombiU is the perfect launch title for anybody who wants to get a glimpse into what the Wii U can offer over more traditional consoles.

Wii Game of the Year - Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles was a title that gamers had to fight to bring to North America. Skeptics said that it wouldn't happen, but Nintendo finally gave into demands and released what would prove to be 2012's best game for the Wii on Western shores. Xenoblade takes the crown for its enormous world, amazing soundtrack, deep storylines, and graphical technical achievement on the Wii. Xenoblade was a great title to help usher the Wii out in its final year.

Xenoblade Chronicles

Runner-Up - The Last Story

Like Xenoblade, The Last Story was a game that gamers had to fight to bring to North America. XSEED published the game and it turned out to be one of their biggest hits, proving that deep Action RPGs could still be successful, even on a console that was in its final days. The Last Story is a beautiful adventure that shouldn't be missed by fans of the Action RPG genre.

Handheld Game of the Year - Persona 4: Golden

The Vita might have had a rough year, and Persona 4: Golden might be another remake of an older game, but honestly, it was the best handheld game we saw in 2012. The deep storyline, the gorgeous art, the catchy music, and the addictive gameplay all make for a killer experience on the Vita and it should not be missed.

Persona 4 Golden

Runner-Up - Kid Icarus: Uprising

Despite the controversial control schemes, Kid Icarus made a big comeback in 2012 with a rock solid 3DS release. The game was a hit for Nintendo, and it featured some amazing graphics, addictive gameplay, and some of the best music we've ever seen out of Nintendo. Kid Icarus: Uprising was truly a special handheld game.

Mobile Game of the Year - The Pinball Arcade

There is a glut of digital pinball apps on iOS and Android, but none of them capture the essence of pinball as accurately as Farsight's The Pinball Arcade. Using real life tables from Gottlieb, Stern, Bally, and Williams, The Pinball Arcade brings classic pinball tables to life with 100% accurate rules and table layouts. Even with a rough interface, The Pinball Arcade has no equal in regards to accurate pinball physics and action in the mobile space.

The Pinball Arcade

Runner-Up - Rayman Jungle Run

If any genre is oversaturated on mobile devices, it's the endless runner. But Rayman Jungle Run is by far and away the best in its genre and it actually hides most of the tired tropes found in endless runners with brilliant design. Combine clever level design with gorgeous art and catchy tunes, and you have an easy pick for the new king of ever-so-popular endless runner genre. Rayman Jungle Run is also wildly addictive, charming, and easy to play in short bursts, just as any mobile game should be.

PC Game of the Year - XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a revival of the classic XCOM series, reimagined to better fit more modern control schemes while still staying true to its hardcore PC roots. Firaxis pulled it off brilliantly and XCOM: Enemy Unknown brought to market one of the finest strategy games we've ever seen.

Runner-Up - Guild Wars 2

There's lots of talk that the MMO genre is dying, but fans of Guild Wars 2 won't hear any talk of it. Guild Wars 2 built upon its predecessor nicely with beautiful areas to explore, ingenious co-op play, and continued free to play support. Guild Wars 2 also solved the problem of playing with friends when your levels aren't similar, making for an experience that is inviting to both hardcore and casual players.

PlayStation 3 Game of the Year - Journey

It's always nice when you can point to a game and use it to strongly argue that games are indeed a valid form of art. It's even better when that game is also a wonderful game from a gameplay and narrative perspective. Journey is a truly special game, and it shouldn't be missed by PS3 owners, regardless of your gaming preferences. Journey leaves a lasting impact on those who play it, and it's worth revisiting time and time again.


Runner-Up - XCOM: Enemy Unknown

After taking the crown on PC, XCOM made a serious run at winning multiple awards on consoles as well. It's a rare feat when a game is designed so brilliantly that it shines equally well across both PC and console, and it's a real testament to the hard work Firaxis put into the XCOM revival. If you're looking for solid strategy action on the PS3, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is an easy pick.

Xbox 360 Game of the Year - Dishonored

Going into E3, I have to admit that I hadn't even heard of Dishonored, but on day 1 I had an appointment with Bethesda and I got to see a closed-doors showing of the game and I came out a believer. Looks like I wasn't alone as our staff showed the game some serious love and pushed the game to win for best Xbox 360 game. Dishonored is a great example that a new IP can find success late in a console cycle, and we're hoping that more developers take notice.


Runner-Up - XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Another nod for XCOM and by this point if you've yet to play this masterpiece, you need to run out and pick the game up. With its challenging campaign and its rock solid tactical action, there are few games that were so widely applauded this year as XCOM: Enemy Unknown managed to be.

The Rest of the Awards

Best Action/Adventure

Winner - Dishonored

Runner-Up - Lollipop Chainsaw

Best RPG

Winner - Xenoblade Chronicles

Runner-Up - Persona 4: Golden

Best Shooter

Winner - Borderlands 2

Runner-Up - Binary Domain

Best Indie

Winner - FTL

Runner-Up - Mark of the Ninja

Best Remake

Winner - Persona 4: Golden

Runner-Up - Jet Set Radio HD

Best Co-Op

Winner - Borderlands 2

Runner-Up - Guild Wars 2

Best Competitive Multiplayer

Winner - Halo 4

Runner-Up - Black Ops 2

Best Story

Winner - The Walking Dead

Runner-Up - Xenoblade Chronicles

Best Art

Winner - Darksiders 2

Runner-Up - Journey

Best Graphics

Winner - Halo 4

Runner-Up - Far Cry 3

Best Audio

Winner - Mass Effect 3

Runner-Up - Xenoblade Chronicles

Best Protagonist

Winner - Corvo Attano (Dishonored)

Runner-Up - Lee Everett (The Walking Dead)

Best Villain

Winner - Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)

Runner-Up - Egil (Xenoblade Chronicles)

Biggest Disappointment

Winner, if You Can Call it a Win - Assassin's Creed 3

Runner-Up - Mass Effect 3

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Curtis Mortensen Curtis Mortensen
1/10/2013 10:14 PM
Glad to see Guild Wars 2 get some love. I plan on playing that game for a long time.
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