Aggie Awards
Aggie Awards

2009 Aggie Awards

Best Graphic Design: Machinarium

 

 

The tiny Czech studio responsible for Samorost has always produced visually compelling games. But the cult freeware favorite and its sequel mixed cute but simple flash cartoons with re-purposed photography, and Amanita Design promised to up the ante for its feature-length debut, welcoming artist Adolf Lachman and animator Jara Plachy to the team. The outcome: Machinarium, a painterly dreamland of rusting metal and machinery, intricate detail and implausibly picturesque structures, all done using a muted colour palette and woven out of living concept art.

Each new background in Machinarium is a tantalizing reward for progress; each robot design perfectly evokes its distinctive character. And it’s all done wordlessly. Here the graphics not only provide the eye-candy, but drive the narrative as well, allowing pictures to tell their own stories that no amount of words could do as well. Better yet, the presentation doesn't obstruct the gameplay – there's no pixel hunting here, as every tiny button on the wall or collectable object is laid out with natural clarity. To cram so many visual wonders into every corner of a game takes a particularly deft touch, and Amanita has demonstrated that in abundance.

Runners-Up: Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures, Mata Hari, Runaway: A Twist of Fate

 



Readers’ Choice: Machinarium

 

 

How often do you see some concept art for a game and wish the finished version actually looked like that? The raw design art is less polished but more human, less managed but more natural. In Machinarium, that’s exactly what we get, and clearly we all loved it. It’s dirty, it’s grimy, it’s broken down and decrepit, it’s nearly monochromatic and looks like a pencil sketch… and it trounced all opposition for the best looking game all year.

Runners-Up: Tales of Monkey Island, Runaway: A Twist of Fate

 



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

Continued on the next page...

Tales of Monkey Island available at:

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Comments

tastebud
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.

brawsome
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.

Diduz
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.

Madtentacle
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.

JohnGreenArt
Feb 19, 2010

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

alkapel
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.

oerhört
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.

theleg
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

bakana
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.

brawsome
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.

RockNFknRoll
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

AndreaDraco83
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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