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2013 Aggie Awards

Aggie Awards
Aggie Awards

Article updated Friday, February 21st. Already read about Day One and Day Two?  Skip straight ahead to the final day's presentation!

This was supposed to be THE year – the year when all our favourite old-school developers returned to the genre in a blaze of glory.

Image #1As it turned out, some of them made it only halfway to the finish line, while others are still heading around the final turn into the home stretch, leaving unlucky 2013 a little thin on high-profile adventures. But as always, there were more than a few games that came out of nowhere to dazzle us and make for another year of hard Aggie decisions. You should know – you got to vote, too!

After all the hemming and hawing and waiting for bribes that never came, at last all the ballots have been cast and counted (and counted again in Florida), and it's time once again to reward the genre’s best offerings of the previous calendar year, both from staff and readers alike.

The beauty of awards is that they encourage healthy debate, and we welcome more of the same this year. Just remember: this is a celebration of success, not the Hunger Games. Whether first place or fifth, all the games here are deserving of recognition and praise, so enjoy yourselves and join us in applauding the talented developers who brought us another great year of gaming.

The awards presentation will run daily from Wednesday through Friday, so check back in each day to find out which games will take home the coveted golden statuettes.  And now, roll on, Aggies!


Table of Contents

Day One

Page 1: You are here
Page 2: Best Story
Page 3: Best Writing - Comedy
Page 4: Best Writing - Drama
Page 5: Best Character
Page 6: Best Gameplay
Page 7: Best Concept


Day Two (To be posted Thursday, February 20th)

Page 8: Best Setting
Page 9: Best Graphic Design
Page 10: Best Animation
Page 11: Best Music
Page 12: Best Voice Acting
Page 13: Best Sound Effects


Day Three (To be posted Friday, February 21st)

Page 14: Best Independent Adventure (Commercial)
Page 15: Best Console/Handheld Adventure (Exclusive)
Page 16: Best Non-Traditional Adventure
Page 17: Best Traditional Adventure
Page 18: Best Adventure of 2013
Page 19: Final Notes


First up: Best Story... the envelope, please!

Continued on the next page...


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Community Comments

Latest comments (54 total)

I wasn’t aware it could get quite this hostile on the comments here, it seems to me that Cognition deservedly won a lot of the categories, makes me wanna play it asap, specially after seeing it beat some other outstanding games.

Jul 31, 2014

This list is very interesting. It shows the big changes in Adventure genre. There are more and more console type games and not so many classic point and click games.

For me the adventure game is the game with good story and logical puzzles. The form can be different. Sometimes it can be classic point and click 2D game, sometimes 3D action game controlled with keyboard or pad. I was also very skeptical about these pad and keyboard controlled games with action sequences but after playing Dreamfall, Fahrenheit and Shadow Of Destiny I had to change my point of view.

So go on with these AGGIE awards because they can be very informative. They always let me find out some very interesting titles which I would probably never play.

Mar 27, 2014

Thanks for this. I didn’t buy a lot of games last year or keep up with the releases—I only got the new Broken Sword, to be honest, and some Daedalic back catalog I’d not gotten to yet—but now I am really interested in trying Cognition and Brothers. They both sound great!

Mar 26, 2014

Let’s not turn the Aggie thread into yet another argument about what is and isn’t an adventure, or 2D vs. 3D, or any of the other endless debates that are entirely subjective and therefore never go anywhere. There’s a whole forum to do that to your heart’s content.

If anyone wants to comment on the, you know, best games of 2013, that’s what this thread is for.

Mar 3, 2014

(Subbi) If you think that majority of gamers are fascinated by all this non traditional “adventures”, than could you tell me please why both “broken”
games consist of 60+ pages on forum?And yes, I hate games like “the wolf
among us” because that is not even a game let alone adventure.
Jackal, I appreciate all of your hard work on this site(and whole stuff), site
looks awesome.But only issue is that you’re little unfair on the reviews of
“classic adventures”.Reader comes to conclusion that traditional adventures era is over, because those games are sooo boring for Today’s Youth.

Mar 2, 2014

Suejak, god forbid you could actually read the Aggies to get some new idea’s on games to play, maybe a game you’d otherwise wouldn’t have picked up.
If you’re only looking for games that feature PnC, inventory puzzles and in an AGS style, then please do go some place else. I’m sure that there are sites that only celebrate games with such narrow definitions and I’m equally sure they could use a few more devoted fans such as yourself, as the majority of us appreciate an evolving genre, albeit in different ways.

Mar 2, 2014

I understand that narrow-minded people who only want us to cover the type of games they like are the source of endless whining. That’s about as much as I care about anyone’s personal agendas and arbitrary genre distinctions.

But thanks for your insightful staffing advice, and for your singleminded negativity in an article designed to honour the year’s best games and the designers who made them. Whatever would we all do without contributions like this.

Mar 2, 2014

Heaven forbid there should be a variety of games to choose from. If it ain’t 1993 all over again, I guess it’s not an adventure!

Honestly, people.

Mar 1, 2014

I mus say that the runners up became a bit of an un-necessary read since it was mostly the same few games in every list…

but posting the runners up is great because it shows that a game you may have discounted, might have a lot more to it… or if you don’t have a huge amount of time for games then it is a nice list of games you should play when you do.

Although i personally think Beyond Two Souls should have gotten a few more awards, I still want to thank AG for these lists, please keep up the good work

Feb 27, 2014

I don’t understand the point of showing runners-up in each category.

I can’t understand why Cognition and Gone Home are considered best story of the year. Last year there weren’t good stories.

Feb 25, 2014

Jackal WINS.

Sorry Tsampikos, but your definition of Adventure is really short sighted.

Wasn’t Heavy Rain an adventure? And wasn’t it a cool one?

If you’re going to complain about the lack of a mouse cursor, then you might as well be considering Grim Fandango (the best adventure game of all times in my opinion) something else.

Feb 25, 2014

Claiming a traditional adventure is the “definition” of adventure is so wrong, it really doesn’t merit explaining why.

Feb 24, 2014

I don’t understand why the “traditional adventure”  has become a subcategory of this contest. After all the “traditional” adventure is the “definition” of an adventure game and should be the main category (or better to say no category), with everything else beeing a subcategory. The readers awards seem to be far more logical and representative to the adventure gaming spirit that the staff choices.

Feb 24, 2014

I hate episodic games a whole lot. I just want to make that clear, thanks.

Feb 23, 2014

I think Dream Machine is a good example of how tricky it can be to decide when to consider an episodic release for the Aggie awards. The game will eventually have six chapters. The first two chapters released in 2010, the third chapter released in 2011 and the fourth in 2013. If you waited until the game was finished to consider it, you might be waiting until 2015.

It’s almost impossible to know exactly how long it will be before many episodic games are completed. (In the case of Dream Machine, since so much is modeled in clay, the process is slow—but other episodic releases also encounter unexpected challenges that slow the process down). And it’s quite difficult to compare pieces of a game to another game that’s finished and whole.

Feb 23, 2014

I feel like Dream Machine should have gotten at LEAST an honorable mention somewhere. If nothing else, for art design. I really enjoyed that series.

Feb 23, 2014

I agree that with a game with episodic releases, it should be weighed once all episodes have been fully released. It was very hard to judge where Cognition was going with just one episode being released, and in fact, many people were on the fence until ep2 and especially 3 were released, where we could finally show where the story and characters were going. On the other hand, it did help us in terms of us being indie, so it’s always hard to tell.

Feb 22, 2014

Yes, we really shouldn’t have included Cognition last year, and instead just treated the whole game as a 2013 release. But it’s tough getting a handle on dealing with episodic releases, so that was a lesson learned. We didn’t include Broken Age, Broken Sword this year for that reason. Then again, we did include Kentucky Route Zero, which raises the same kinds of problems for next year (like Cognition, it probably won’t get the same weight of consideration the second time, but both benefited from winning staff awards the first year).

Feb 22, 2014

What puzzles me is that Cognition was also in last years AGGIEs, so I guess last year only the first episode was covered and for this years AGGIEs the first episode was probably not taken into account. I think Jackal explained that it depends on whether an episodic game was sold separately as a whole season. The user vote took it as a whole season, including the strong first episode, but should in fact only count the episodes of 2013.
This explains why the critics did not nominate Cognition for most categories.

Feb 22, 2014

I agree,Tale of two Sons fantastic story,great caracters and great visual experience.And Cognition as readers choice spot on.Really good.

Feb 22, 2014

Thanks, Adventure Gamers, for this beautiful writeup. I look forward to the Aggies every year, and, as always, you’ve presented us with a very enjoyable read.

Feb 22, 2014

I want to thank everyone that brought Cognition up to the top of the Reader’s Awards with 6 awards, including the top prize of the year! We are very humbled at Phoenix online for all of your support, and we are glad you loved our commercial debut so much. You’ve made us all very happy today!

Thank you all. You’ve inspired us to continue thriving and getting better and better at the genre!

Congrats to all the winners!

Cesar Bittar
Phoenix Online Studios

Feb 21, 2014

And Cognition takes the cake from the readers! Nearly half of the categories + best game. Nice to see that so many people liked it Wink

btw, Lily had best animation than Beyond? I haven’t played it yet and i am intrigued by this.

Feb 21, 2014

Please don’t cancel any future aggie awards, i actually enjoy these. 


i’m surprised Byond didn’t win best animation (i don’t know a thing about “Lilly Looking Through”, so somethng to check out). Voice acting was obvious, Cognition a close second )

On to day 3!

Feb 21, 2014

Richard & Alice deserved more - at least to be mentioned in the best writing for drama category. Also, Face Noir deserved to be mentioned either into the Graphics Design or into the Best Setting category.
My two cents for what they’re worth.

Feb 21, 2014

ahah ! I see that ASA didn’t win in the Best Sound Effects category. Honestly this is not a surprise and I didn’t have much hope Smile I’m very happy that the game was nominated previously. Thanks for that, and thanks for the Aggie2013 awards ! I have to admit that I agree globally with your choices and the reader’s choices. Can’t wait to discover the last results tomorrow !

Feb 21, 2014

I’m really glad that Cognition won the Music Award. I still listen to the soundtrack Smile

Feb 21, 2014

Well, there is a sizable bunch of people that really do appreciate the Aggies (and the excellent Top100 list, which is even more work to pull off), so please keep doing these. They are nice moments in the year that put the spotlight on a genre that is otherwise pretty much neglected.

So many thanks for that!

Feb 21, 2014

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in fellow video game players’ inability to look past the facade that was Sam’s “simple” story. Even people who liked the game weren’t able to spot that narrative as a honeypot, just one single perspective of a family, something to intrigue that player into exploring the history of the house including how a terrifying event in the father’s childhood rippled through generations and was finally overcome unknowingly by Sam’s rebellion. Every single place you look closer in the household, from the little touches like Sam being a better writer than her father to Lonnie’s loyalty to the army, you will find not only depth but consistency in theme. Was it because they were feminist themes that revolved around patriarchal decay that the average player couldn’t even register their existence? Other mediums often give their audiences enough credit to recognize subtlety, meanwhile here we get condescending comments asking for depth when it is laid plainly in front of you. Fullbright asks players “what if instead of using the ham-fisted storytelling of other games, we placed the players in an environment that was so rich in detail that they could piece together the story themselves through exploration and rumination - could we trust the player to figure out the big picture on their own?” and videogamers responded with a resounding “No.”

Feb 21, 2014

The endless negativity is incredibly annoying, subbi. And time consuming, and utterly pointless.

I mean, apparently calling Phoenix Online a “talented team of designers” is somehow an insult because we dared mentioned their famous story consultant, whom the developers themselves openly credit for her valuable input. I swear, some people go looking for reasons to be offended, even if they have to completely make them up.

What’s even more disappointing is that people are using the Aggies to yet again slag games they don’t like. Like Becky (and the article itself) said earlier, the whole point of this thing is to celebrate games that did great things in the past year. If people can’t do that without pissing all over the choices they disagree with, then maybe it is time to reconsider whether this is even worth doing. I expect better from this crowd.

Feb 20, 2014

^The third deponia really did get carried away in that sense (but i liked it anyway). But really, im not asking for endless twists from gone home, im asking for anything intriguing or thought provoking. The story landed very flat to me. And the attention to detail, and the ability to use the house to tell a story was neat and refreshing. Its just too bad they didnt have more of a story to tell.

Feb 20, 2014

With all the insults being flung at Gone Home, I would suggest that its story was exactly what adventure games needed - simple but extremely potent and emotional. It was refreshing to see so much effort put not into more and more details but making a very basic story richer with everything you find, and it was the only 2013 game (besides maybe Two Brothers) where I wanted to find out what happened above wanting to complete the game.

I’m tired of AGs thinking that endless twists and turns will make a story interesting to me. Rather, it’s more likely to turn me away. Even Deponia, which should have been a humble comedy series, I had trouble following because of the needless (and endless) exposition, which probably only existed to stretch the game out to a trilogy. AGs need to know how to extend a game by deepening it rather than just adding more characters and events.

Feb 20, 2014

The quote from the article: “With all due respect to the developer’s own talented team of designers, we’ll go out on a limb and suggest that a certain “consultant” named Jane Jensen might have had a little something to do with Cognition fairly comfortably claiming the reader award for top story of the year.”

When I read this, I took it to mean that the strength of the story was thanks to Jane Jensen, not that readers had voted for it more because she was involved than because of the story quality.

Feb 20, 2014

Well… i do believe that Cognition has been awarded in the past (if i’m not mistaken it won best game in 2012… or at lest was awarded with a few trophies).

So it’s normal that the guys behind Adventure Gamers aren’t higlighting it this year.

I played 1 hour of the firts episode and didn’t amaze me, but still i will give another try as i think i’ll enjoy it as the detective work settles in.

After playing Heavy Rain i was expecting much more from Quantic Dream and Beyond. But well… i value much more the “Adventurers” review and community that its Metacritic score… so i’ll pick it up 2nd hand.

Feb 20, 2014

I love it when my choices don’t win, means i have some gaming to do!:) Swiss Constable Anton Zellner looks really interesting, so i’m gonna play the raven. I haven’t played Tales of two brothers either. 

I like AG’s choices (and the fan’s ofc!) and look forward to day 2!!

Feb 20, 2014

Regarding Cognition, I am also surprised that it (deservedly) won the reader’s choice for best story and best dramatic writing, but wasn’t even in the top 5 for the editors. However, As I didn’t yet play any of the editors’ runner-up games that beat out Cognition, maybe they know something that I don’t. Smile

Feb 20, 2014

I’m sorry, but I really thought that Gone Home as an overall game was crap. Of course, that was mostly for other reasons such as technical (crashes) and gameplay (lack of), but the story was just OK. Definitely not the best of the year. There was barely a story. You can sum up the whole story in one paragraph, maybe 2. I don’t see how that can win best story.

No offense, AdventureGamers.

Feb 20, 2014

The purpose of the awards is to compliment, not criticize. The short write-ups are a way to celebrate the game and provide some context (for instance, mentioning that Jane Jensen was a significant influence) in a way that is entertaining and hopefully not (gasp) boring. So humor is part of the equation. Deconstructing every phrase and guessing that it has an alternate meaning is kind of beside the point.

I’m now wondering how “beside the point” might be deconstructed. Smile

I think the goal is to spark conversation/debate about the games that were released this past year—an awards format is a great way to do that.

Feb 20, 2014

Thanks to the AG team for these results, and I’m sorry that they won’t please everyone : I’m sure it was a lot of work to decide. I find it interesting for a small dev like me to discover what you chose and why, as it’s quite a good summary of the best ideas of the year.

Feb 20, 2014

I agree with subbi. If I were Jackal, I’d get a little tired of having to defend the site’s integrity every single time AG do a countdown like this. As soon as their results don’t match some reader’s personal opinions, there will be bitching about it and AG staff will be called to the question.

Feb 20, 2014

I am really glad to see Cognition here, but I’m still hoping to see Memoria somewhere.

Feb 20, 2014

Geezze, is all you folks can do is whine about the fact that some of the editors descriptions in this article are not entirely your cup of tea?
Don’t you see that there’s a little tongue-in-cheek humor in there occasionally?
It’s quite a bit of work to put all of this together, so a little but more appreciation is due here imo!
And beyond: we can all agree that Gone Home won the critic award and Cognition the user vote. You’re free to decide which means more to you.

Feb 20, 2014

I never implied you forgot about Cognition or even that I’m disagreeing with your assessment of the game. I was just pointing out how bluntly you’re responding to the criticism. I was saying you likely weren’t meaning to be negative about Cognition in response to the criticism, but it’s coming across to me (and likely others) that way.

Feb 20, 2014

And if it did in fact literally mean “a little”, well then it neglects to tell us what it had ” a lot” to do with Wink Other than it had a “rousing start”. see what i mean?

Feb 19, 2014

Yeah well, to me that “With all due respect” sounds a lot like “no offense but”, and typically “a little something to do with” doesnt literally mean a little.

Feb 19, 2014

UG, I guess in a world where not making a top 5 list of the year’s best means something “sucks”, that might be true. But that world isn’t this one. Nothing I said implies that.

And speaking of badly twisting words to mean something different, zane, the article says that SOME of the credit (in fact, just “a little”) for Cognition’s story success goes to Jensen.

Feb 19, 2014

On cognition: i cant really make a judgement. I havnt played it much beyond the demo. But it was funny that the article suggests it won because of association with jane jensen. Im still trying to figure out why gone home won best story… Their methods for telling a story were interesting and well done for sure… but the story content itself? Extremely cliche, bland, and uneventful. The “normal person meets rebel, they become unlikely friends, they fall in love but society disapproves, they almost break up but instead run away” has been done hundreds of times. This game puts absolutely no twist on that at all. Again, their method was interesting… but that belongs in a category like best concept, not the story itself.

Feb 19, 2014

Speaking of what people are meaning, I’m sure what you meant to say was, “I assure you we took all the relevant games into consideration.”, but it’s coming out as “Cognition sucks.”

Feb 19, 2014

It doesn’t matter what you meant, skywalker. We didn’t forget it. It just didn’t beat out other games.

Feb 19, 2014

Will be interesting to see if gone home gets any reader awards, while it probably gets 5+ from the site.

Feb 19, 2014

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