2009 Aggie Awards page 6

Aggie Awards
Aggie Awards

Best Concept: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories



It takes guts to remake a classic game by ripping it apart and rebuilding it from the ground up. Just about the only thing that Silent Hill: Shattered Memories has in common with its 1998 predecessor is the initial premise: the bookish Harry Mason searching for his missing daughter in the once-quaint, now-hellish resort town of Silent Hill. But while the original relied heavily on the familiar “survival horror” formula, Shattered Memories brazenly and successfully stakes out its own territory with several ideas new to both the franchise and its genre.

The Silent Hill series has always been about pitting ordinary people against the surreal, the horrifying, and the unknowable, but this is the first time that the protagonist has been totally defenseless – Harry’s only option when faced with the nightmare creatures of the town is to run. The lack of combat makes encounters with the monsters of Silent Hill feel helpless, desperate, and intense. To balance the tension, however, Shattered Memories clearly distinguishes the limited action-based escape scenarios from the leisurely (if still terrifying) adventure portions that fill much of the experience, solving puzzles and exploring without any threat of attack.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. Perhaps just as conceptually noteworthy is the game’s “psychological profiling” system, combining in-game psychoanalysis sessions (which frame the game’s main story) with concealed analysis of each gamer’s play style to alter the characters, locations, and narrative to a surprising degree. This system brilliantly plays into the game’s themes of perception, memory, and grief. Just one of these concepts might have earned this award on its own merits, but together they made an unstoppable force.

Runners-Up: The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Machinarium


Readers’ Choice: Machinarium



We didn’t ask for specifics, so it’s hard to know exactly what concept impressed you readers the most about Machinarium. But isn’t that really the point? Whether it's the silent storyline, tightly-interwoven game areas, three-tiered height restriction, clever moving-parts logic puzzles, or just the brilliantly-imagined robot world itself, when you don’t know which conceptual element is most impressive, you know a game is onto something good.

Runners-Up: Tales of Monkey Island, Time Gentlemen, Please!


Next up: Best Setting... the envelope, please!

Continued on the next page...


Feb 17, 2010

interesting winners. monkey island seems to be sweeping the awards so far. to me the clear winner was clearly “the book of unwritten tales”, so once its released in english speaking territories, i can already guess the winners for 2010 Grin. then again jane jensen may have to say something about that. we’ll see.

Feb 17, 2010

Great to see Machinarium and Blackwell in there! Really honing the best of adventure games.

DaveGilbert DaveGilbert
Feb 17, 2010

Holy crispy crap.  I didn’t expect this!  Thanks to the staff and the voters!  It’s really flattering.

Feb 18, 2010

Tales of Monkey Island Best Story? Hmmm… I don’t think it holds up that well, especially considering the incredibly convoluted role of Elaine in the plot. I agree with Best Writing, though.
I think Emerald City Confidential had a terrific and engaging story.

Feb 19, 2010

Next year I think Daedalic will win the best Graphic design award. The screenshots of The whispered world amazed me even more than the screens for machinarium, when I first saw them.

@Didus: I agree that The Tales of Monkey Island shouldn’t have gotten the Best Story-award. It just didn’t feel cohesive at certain times. Also other things bothered me with the story, that I know other telltale games has suffered of, mainly the recycling of characters across episodes. Many of the characters appear in almost every episode, where the original MI games had new characters for each island. Otherwise, I think it’s great.

Feb 19, 2010

Woo! I’d like to think I contributed a bit to ECC’s setting…

Feb 19, 2010

I think “Tales of Monkey Island” was the best adventure game in 2009 and it was fair that it was given so many awards.

Feb 20, 2010

I disagree profoundly on giving any award whatsoever to The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, especially “Best Port/Updated Re-release”. The update is less nuanced, less adult, less funny, and less well done graphically. Many of the jokes fall flat when spoken out loud, the backgrounds often feel unfinished, and the ambiance is changed for the worse. The magic is gone.

Feb 20, 2010

So the year 2009 was the year of Monkey Island and Machinarium. Hope the year 2010 will be a more diverse game in “the best of/in” adventures

Feb 21, 2010

Amen, oerhart. Monkey Island Special Edition is an amateurish, visually cheap ‘update’ of a game that at its time (and heck, even now) had remarkable state of the art graphics, and a dark, mysterious adventure-book aesthetic to complement the strange humor.

Special Edition doesn’t deserve any rewards. It deserved to be forgotten. And I certainly hope they keep their grimy hands off of the even more artistically successful Monkey Island 2.

Jackal Jackal
Feb 21, 2010

For the record, the SOMI: Special Edition is not just the “new” version, it’s BOTH versions seamlessly tied together. Those treating it like only the updated version itself are missing the point of why it won the award.

after a brisk nap
Feb 21, 2010

I was sorry to see Time Gentlemen, Please! miss out on any awards (particularly Best Writing: Comedy and Best Indie), since to my mind it’s not just one of the best indie titles in years, but one of the best adventure games in a decade, full stop. Though clearly Machinarium gave it tough competition, and it’s hard to stand up to the Monkey Island steamroller.

dekaneas297 dekaneas297
Feb 21, 2010

“Special Edition doesn’t deserve any rewards”

Totally agree.

Feb 21, 2010

Totally agree on the point that the jokes in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition fall flat when spoken out loud. I would switch to the scene to see what they’d done with the visual, then get right back to the classic view. Not that I am against games being remade, QFG II is a testament to that. And don’t get me started on the interface! Did you try playing on on the 360? I’d rather slam my hands in a drawer!

I do love sitting on a couch playing a classic old adventure game on my tv though, port more and I’ll buy em.

Feb 24, 2010

how in the world could ToMI possibly win for gameplay? that was the major complaint almost everybody seemed to have about it. the weird hybrid keyboard/mouse controls were obviously sub-optimal

Feb 24, 2010

@ RockNFknRoll: With Best Gameplay we were awarding much, much more than hybrid controls, which many people actually liked anyway. You can of course dislike them, but - as our award description reads - gameplay is more about “Good pacing, rich exploration, and variety of activities [...] all factors in player enjoyment as well, all suitably integrated into the storyline” than simply controls.

Tramboi Tramboi
Mar 2, 2010

I am quite sad at the unconditional Telltale praise.
If ToMI didn’t have the MI license, I’m pretty sure reviewers wouldn’t be so overlooking the *many* flaws.
Or is it the lack of proper competition?

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