Video Games That Can Win GOTY, But Not An Oscar

(For this article, GOTY isn’t just from the VGA’s as I feel that is mostly an advertising platform. These games won, or were nominated by various major websites for the overall GOTY in their respective sites multiple times.)


Call of Duty

This game can hardly even be mentioned for Game of The Year anymore without trouble. It’s a yearly release, it’s a major release, and it’s non-stop action. While it hasn’t won a VGA, it has won numerous awards throughout franchise history. COD4 was probably the most awarded entry in the series, but it is closely followed by Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops 2. Black Ops 2 brings up even more criticism since it expanded on the zombie portion of the game. As many film buffs will tell you, zombies are a big “no no” in Hollywood right now.

Call of Duty is simply too big and too mainstream to gain any respect in the film world. If it were ever made into movie it would be nothing more than your standard summer blockbuster with a big name behind it. Yet the idea of winning an Oscar starts to take a turn for the worse when you realize that Call of Duty is your standard Michael Bay treatment. It doesn’t have a deep intertwining story, instead it is an overly simplistic story that pushes action in your face more than Michael Bay could dream of. I mean through franchise history, what city has the game not destroyed? It may possibly win an award for best visuals, but best picture? Forget about it!



Destiny would be snubbed for very similar reasons as Call of Duty as it sits now. Yet, it has the potential to be something bigger. Destiny could, and probably will be, very easily expanded upon. It could create a massive universe and be really in-depth. It could make a whole new universe come to life and have the best visuals ever. Yet regardless of it blowing our minds… It’d still be snubbed.

The Oscars have a trend of simply not giving the victory to science fiction no matter how good the film. A Clockwork Orange was nominated in 1971 and is a rather good film. It was nominated for several categories, and lost all of them. Star Wars (you may have heard of this film!) was nominated in 1977 in 10 categories, and it came out on top for 6 of them. Yes, Star Wars was the best visuals, sound, costume, score, editing, and art direction, but by no means was it the best film….

I mean if something as massive as Star Wars still gets snubbed simply for being Science Fiction and a blockbuster, how would something like Destiny ever make it? Even if it developed the story really well and put together something thought provoking like A Clockwork Orange, it’ll still miss out. Destiny not only represents itself, but every science fiction game out there like Halo, Unreal Tournament, etc…

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The Last Of Us

Who hasn’t at least heard of how awesome this game is? It truly is and it deserves every single award ever handed to it. One of the few games that felt deserving of a VGA and it still didn’t win. It did win GOTY in almost every other publication, or at least sweep up some secondary awards. The strong story that will pull your heart out of your chest and stomp on it and brilliant gameplay to really draw you in makes this an amazing experience. The game was damn near perfect.

While it may be video games pride of recent years, the movie industry would still snub it death. It might get a nomination if it wasn’t released in a prime blockbuster spot (summer), but it sure wouldn’t win. It has monsters that resemble that of zombies and a lot of focus on action sequences (mostly due to the fact it is a game) and from there you have a recipe for some artsy movie winning the honor instead. Don’t get me wrong, if one of the games on this list had a fighting chance to actually win it would be The Last of Us. That being said it’s still on this list. I mean come on, all this praise and it still somehow didn’t win a VGA, how would the old men at the Oscars be able to award it?

The good news is that it is becoming a movie, so we will see how that turns out!

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Dragon Age

Dragon Age finally won a well deserving Game of the Year (including our own!) with Inquisition. The deep storytelling of the franchise bloomed in the latest installment, and the gameplay made a lot of our staff disappear for days on end! That being said, bridging it to a movie would be extremely simplistic with the right person. There is plenty of story to tell and the game franchise could easily translate into several films and become a movie franchise. The lore itself could take several movies just to get through.

Dragon Age is as good as a story gets without actually reading a book, so what more could you ask for? That’s why I think under the right direction, Dragon Age could lead into the next Lord of the Rings. Which by the way was the first fantasy blockbuster to actually win best picture, so I guess miracles do happen!

Not only could Dragon Age win best picture, but it’s set up in a way to sweep awards. Best costumes, visuals, editing, all of it could easily been won by the game if the movie was done well. If it was done well, then it’d be hard to say it doesn’t deserve an award.

Yet we go right back to Star Wars that did just that… and lost. Not only that, the Lord of the Rings victory came at a time when a production like that was still rather new. There wasn’t big epic sets and storytelling of that caliber just yet. Switch to modern day and we get a movie that tries to be “big” every other weekend, so it’s nothing special. Dragon Age would need to find a way to tell a deep story, while limiting itself to big scale.


Grand Theft Auto

Almost every single year a new Grand Theft Auto releases it seems to be at the top of every single GOTY list. It’s there for good reason; Rockstar knows how to make excellent games. Yet of all their franchises, I think Grand Theft Auto wouldn’t win an Oscar. I think they would have a fighting chance with Red Dead Redemption, and they would probably win it with LA Noire, but GTA? Forget about it!

The Departed is honestly the saving grace here because it deals with similar situations and was a well developed story. It won best picture in 2006 and deserved it, but with GTA would you make another movie like that or would you attempt to make a blockbuster franchise? That in itself is the major problem here. GTA is massive, so massive that it takes itself out of the race for best picture. Similar to how The Dark Knight films were so well done, but the Oscars wouldn’t even mention their name because it was Batman and it was a major summer franchise.

GTA may win GOTY every single time it’s released, but it would never even be nominated for an Oscar in the film world. On the flip side, if they focused on story and it did get nominated then I would admit that it’s a sure victory that year, but my prediction is that it would never even get that far.

Overall there is a general censes among people that the Oscars are ruled by an older staff. That’s why animated movies get little to no respect, and that’s where this list came from. Due to that aspect of the selection, they would find excuses to not award these games if they were movies.

Honorable mentions:

Ratchet and Clank – It’d be an animated movie, and animation never gains respect at the Oscars unless Pixars name is on it. Even then they still don’t stand a chance at best picture. Who knows, I could be wrong since this is being made this year!

Tomb Raider – Even though the reboot is being much more story driven and simply awesome, it probably is still too much focus on action.

Fable and Oblivion – Same reason Dragon Age wouldn’t make it through.