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Award categories

Special Awards

These award categories focus on rewarding and recognizing innovation and excellence in the art of making games. Please refer to the Archives for a listing of past nominees and recipients. Please refer to the Rules & Regulations for details on the nomination/voting process, eligibility and so on.

Lifetime Achievement

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the career and achievements of a developer who has made an indelible impact on the craft of game development and games as a whole.

Pioneer Award

The Pioneer Award (formerly known as the First Penguin Award) celebrates those individuals who developed a breakthrough technology, game concept, or gameplay design at a crucial juncture in video game history — paving the way for the myriads who followed them.

Ambassador Award

The Ambassador Award honors an individual or individuals who have helped the game industry advance to a better place, either through facilitating a better game community from within, or by reaching outside the industry to be an advocate for video games and help further our art.


Regular Awards

All awards are for the 2018 calendar year.

Game of the Year

The Game of the Year Award recognizes the choice of game developers for the overall best game release.

Innovation Award

The Innovation Award recognizes the single game that demonstrates true innovation, advances the state of the art, and pushes the boundaries of games as an expressive medium.

Best Debut

The Best Debut Game Award recognizes the best game from any development studio which released its first publicly available title.

Best Audio

The Best Audio Award recognizes the overall excellence of audio in a game — including, but not limited to, sound effects, musical composition, sound design, orchestration, etc.

Best Design

The Best Design Award recognizes the overall excellence of design in a game — including, but not limited to, gameplay mechanics, playability, play balancing, and level design.

Best Technology

The Best Technology Award recognizes the overall excellence of technology in a game — including, but not limited to, graphics programming, artificial intelligence, networking, and physics.

Best Visual Art

The Best Visual Art Award recognizes the overall excellence of visual art in a game — including, but not limited to, art direction, animation, modeling, character design, texture creation, and so on.

Best Narrative

The Best Narrative Award recognizes the overall excellence of storytelling in a game — including, but not limited to, scenario, plot construction, story, dialogue, and other major factors.

Best Mobile Game

The Best Mobile Game Award recognizes the overall best game commercially released on any
mobile smartphone.

Best VR/AR Game

The Best VR/AR Game Award recognizes the overall best game commercially released for any Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality platform.