With the end of every year comes a variety of game awards from many sources, and one of the biggest names in PC gaming has unveiled its list of winning titles. In the second-annual Steam Awards, 13 games were crowned with a variety of superlatives, one more than the previous year. Each category had five nominees, and the community would vote on one category per day during the yearly winter sale, from December 21 to January 2. Whichever game received the most votes would be crowned the winner.
Only one game won two of the categories, with StudioMDHR’s Cuphead picking up both Best Soundtrack and Better Than I Expected. Surprisingly, of the 12 games in the winners’ circle, only three were released in 2017 (the aforementioned Cuphead, Tango Gameworks’ The Evil Within 2, and the battle-royale juggernaut PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds). The Witcher franchise appears twice, with both the first and third installments taking home their own awards.
Unlike most common award shows, Valve has decided to ignore titles like Game of the Year, Best Design, or Best Narrative. Rather, each category has a fun name attached to it. The pool of nominees is also decided by the community, which Valve refers to as the Steam Selection Committee. During the autumn sale, Steam users could nominate any game they wanted to these categories.
The awards are as follows: Choices Matter, Mom’s Spaghetti, Labor of Love, Suspension of Disbelief, The World is Grim Enough Let’s Just All Get Along, No Apologies, Defies Description, Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War, Haunts My Dreams, Soul of Vitruvius, Whoooaaaaaaa, Dude! 2.0, Best Soundtrack, and Better Than I Expected.
Below you can find the list of all nominees and winners decided upon by the democratic process. Winners are highlighted in bold.
This award was in the spirit of recognizing games that provide the player with choices that truly shape their gaming experience. The following games would likely not be played the same way by two different people.
- The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
- Divinity: Original Sin II
- Life is Strange: Before the Storm
- Dishonored 2
- The Walking Dead: A New Frontier
Named after the notorious Eminem song, games in this category put players in a state of fear so gripping that they might need to change their underwear when it’s over.
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
- Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
- Alien: Isolation
- Outlast 2
- The Evil Within 2
Some games live on after their release date, and this award focuses on developers who continue to patch and support their games beyond launch to provide players with new and exciting content.
Suspension of Disbelief
Games aren’t necessarily known for being grounded in reality. Whether there are mechanical Nazi soldiers taking over America or supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle-cars playing soccer, sometimes you just have to forget about what’s real and enjoy what’s in front of you.
- Rocket League
- Saints Row IV
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole
- Goat Simulator
- Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
This award is all about games that are nice and give off some feel-good, peaceful vibes.
Sometimes, you come across a game with more flaws than you can logically defend against, but for some reason or another, you still love it. This award is in the spirit of guilty pleasure games, but without the guilt.
- The Witcher
- Mount & Blade: Warband
- Gothic II
There are games that are hard to describe, even to the most grizzled veteran. More often than not, playing these games is really the best way to understand what they’re about.
- Garry’s Mod
- The Stanley Parable
- Doki Doki Literature Club
- Pony Island
This award is in the spirit of games that have the best potential to let players be reckless machines of pure destruction.
Haunts My Dreams
More often than not, we stumble upon games that hook us, unlike most others. It’s a game that plagues your every thought. You’re encapsulated by the nearly infinite number of strategies, and you want to find ways to be better.
Based on the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, this award looks at games that render the best-looking character, regardless of its species.
Really, the Steam description for this award sums it up perfectly. “This award is for the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas of video games.”
- The Evil Within 2
- Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
- CPU Invaders
As the simple title implies, this award looks to celebrate games that have soundtracks that perfectly immerse players into their worlds.
And the final category for the 2017 Steam Awards, this looks at games that go beyond delivering on the hype they built before launch.