Best Writing – Comedy: Portal 2
When you first think of the Portal series, laughing out loud may not figure highly on the list of possible reactions. Certainly a game about psychotic machines and deadly human test environments developed by the makers of Half-Life doesn't exactly scream “hilarity”, and yet, not happy with simply creating the most innovative adventure franchise in a long time, Valve also managed to develop some of the funniest games ever released. If you’d played the original Portal, you may have thought you knew what you were getting yourself into with the sequel, only to find both the stakes and the rewards upped substantially. Those first entering the world of GLaDOS and Aperture Science for the first time could be forgiven for expecting some serious sci-fi, but what they found was something far more amusing, with biting sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humour by the bucketload.
Often an intriguing juxtaposition with the otherwise grim dystopian setting, the humour comes from the game's ragtag mob of ramshackle computers voiced by an excellent cast of actors working from a superbly crafted script. GLaDOS, the returning star of the show, once again proves a triumph of passive aggression, spouting acerbic lines at the player in an attempt to break your spirit. Wheatley, a new computerized foil to the maniacal rogue A.I., is a delightfully neurotic buffoon, and the two of them bring contrasting but sharp comic relief to the apocalyptic squalor. These may be the only two characters you ever “meet”, but the thigh-slapping fun doesn't stop with them, as Aperture founder Cave Johnson’s pre-recorded announcements add even more comedy gold to the proceedings with his utter deadpan disdain for anyone and everything in his employ. Even the company propaganda littered around the complex conceals visual gags. The game itself shamelessly parodies sci-fi tropes and does it with such razor-sharp execution that Portal 2 is not only a deserving Aggie winner for best comedy writing, but one of the most consistently funny games in recent memory.
Runners-Up: The Book of Unwritten Tales, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, Hector: Badge of Carnage – Episodes 2 and 3, Metal Dead
Readers’ Choice: The Book of Unwritten Tales
What do Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and World of WarCraft have in common? They’re just a few of the many pop culture phenomena playfully spoofed in KING Art’s tongue-in-cheek fantasy homage. Add in some bizarre characters, delightfully whimsical scenarios, and an often-hilarious script, and the result is a comfortable reader win for best comedy writing.
Runners-Up: Portal 2, Hector: Badge of Carnage – Episodes 2 and 3, The Next BIG Thing, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
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Next up: Best Writing – Drama... the envelope, please!