The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is quite the prestigious organization. A few years ago they realized that they should start giving out awards to video games for those that exemplify the medium and push it forward as an art form. The 2012 BAFTA awards for video games were recently held to honor the games that were released last year. The winners are pretty surprising and a lot of them are in direct contrast to the winners chosen at the GDC awards.
Let's just Portal 2 out of the way since it won multiple awards. It took home the major award for game of the year, but it also took home the awards for best story and best design.
The next big winner was LittleBigPlanet 2 which took home the awards for best family game and game innovation. I'm glad BAFTA is here to remind me that LittleBigPlanet 2 came out last year. I totally forgot about it, but it definitely deserved those awards.
Battlefield 3 took home three awards. It won best audio achievement, best online multiplayer and the GAME award. The GAME award is the only one that's voted on by the gamers.
Batman: Arkham City also took home two awards. It won best action game and best voice performance with Mark Hamill's excellent portrayal of Joker.
Now we're getting into the single award games. Rayman Origins took home the award for artistic achievement. XBLA title Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet took home best debut beating out Bastion which is surprising to say the least. Peggle took home best mobile game beating out the excellent Super Mario 3D Land. Monstermind took home the award for best online browser game. L.A. Noire took home the award for original music. Kinect Sports 2 won the best sports/fitness game award. Total War: Shogun 2 took home the award for best strategy game. Tick Tock Toys was named the "Ones To Watch" as the game that should receive your undivided attention in the coming year.
Markus Pearson, creator of Minecraft, won this year's special award that honors game designers that help shape the industry in a meaningful way.
You may notice that Skyrim didn't win a single award here. It brings to light the difference between what game developers, the general public, the press and a group like BAFTA see as the greatest examples of gaming of the last year. BAFTA is always the most unique in that it pick games that wouldn't normally be considered for an award. It does have some overlap, however, with their pick of Portal 2 for multiple awards.
I think we can also make a connection between the last few awards shows with the rise of mobile games. Games on dedicated handhelds like the 3DS and PSP would normally win the mobile game of the year awards, but this year saw games on iOS and Android taking home the awards. Even though a game like Super Mario 3D Land has more legs and is subjectively more fun than a game like Peggle, it does show the effect games like Peggle have had on the industry at large. It's interesting to think about as we enter the new year with mobile gaming stepping up its game with the launch of the new iPad and other powerful Android tablets.[h/t: Digital Spy]