Best Writing - Drama: Overclocked: A History of Violence
With a title like Overclocked: A History of Violence, there's little question that you're in for a dramatic experience. The main character, David McNamara, is a military psychiatrist called to New York City to investigate the circumstances that led five teenagers to carry out uncharacteristic acts of violence in the city streets. As the story unfolds, we learn that McNamara is also tortured in his personal life, with his wife on the verge of leaving him, his best friend in on an unspeakable betrayal, and his own anger management issues threatening to bubble to the surface at any moment.
Adding to the dramatic impact is the backwards chronology with which the story of the troubled teens is revealed. David specializes in repressed memories, and he must gradually pull out the truth, one patient at a time, by asking the right questions. The stories that emerge, told from end to beginning and ultimately weaving together to expose the link between them, showcase a complex structure and storytelling style that set Overclocked apart from less ambitious games. In the end, the explanation for the violent acts is fairly straightforward; it's the process of discovering why the patients acted as they did, all the while witnessing the parallels in David's faltering personal life, that makes this drama intriguing.
At its heart, Overclocked is a story about ordinary people and the extraordinary circumstances that can drive them over the edge. At times, the writing does border on melodrama, but it always stays true to the serious story being told and delivers exactly what the title advertises: a fascinating look into the minds and hearts of people who have been pushed far beyond their limits, to perform violence they never would have imagined themselves capable of. It makes you anxious, it makes you scared, and it makes you think -- just like a good drama should.
Runners-Up: Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon, The Immortals of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure
Readers’ Choice: Overclocked: A History of Violence
The ambitious narrative structure of Overclocked could have easily come unwound without suitable supporting dialogue, but readers agree that the smart writing behind this "journey into character" was up to the challenge of its troubling, even controversial themes of violence and repressed memories. The many who voted for The Lost Crown and A Vampyre Story just think we're all crazy.
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