Skip to main content

Canadian Video Game Awards & Canada Games Conference 2011!

 

Canadian Video Game Awards:

To further express our countries amazing video game developers, we here in Vancouver hold an annual Canadian Video Game Awards show. This show is filled with development superstars and high profile press/entertainment icons. The second annual CVGA's took place the eve before we kicked off the Canadian Games Conference. Here is the list of the winners and nominees followed by my romp through the Canadian Games Conference.



Game of the Year:

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

    Dead Rising 2

    FIFA 11

    Mass Effect 2 (Winner)

    Splinter Cell: Conviction

Best Console Game:

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

    Dead Rising 2

    FIFA 11

    Mass Effect 2 (Winner)

    Splinter Cell: Conviction

Best Game on the Go:

    A Space Shooter For 2 Bucks

    Lil' Pirates

    Osmos for iPad (Winner)

    Scrabble iPad

    Trainyard

Best Downloadable Game:

    A Space Shooter for 2 Bucks

    Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

    DeathSpank (Winner)

    HOARD

    Shank

Best Audio:

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Winner)

    Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising

    Mass Effect 2

    Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

    Splinter Cell: Conviction

Best Social/Casual Game:

    Dex Hamilton's Bug Quest

    GardenMind

    Mercenaries Of War

    Pocket God on Facebook (Winner)

    Pot Farm

Best Game Design:

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

    DeathSpank

    Mass Effect 2 (Winner)

    Splinter Cell: Conviction

    Trainyard

Best Tech:

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

    Kinect for XBOX 360 (Winner)

    Mass Effect 2

    Scrabble iPad

    Your Shape Fitness Evolved

Best Visual Arts:

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Winner)

    Mass Effect 2

    Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

    Splinter Cell: Conviction

    Tron: Evolution

Best Writing:

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

    Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising

    Mass Effect 2 (Winner)

    Prince of Persia – The Forgotten Sands

    Splinter Cell: Conviction

Best Student Game:

    Codex

    Ginkgo

    Hootlin

    WOMP! (Winner)

Innovation Award:

    Kinect Joy Ride

    ModNation Racers (Winner)

    Scrabble iPad

    Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

    Your Shape Fitness Evolved

 

Canadian Game Conference:

What was Vancouver's first real week of Spring was also the week of the Canadian Games Conference and the Canadian Video Game Awards. I cannot explain to you enough that there is nothing that will stop me from spending boundless time outside the convention chain smoking and soaking up the sun. The Canadian Games Conference is a rendition of last year's 1st annual GDC Canada. I am to this point uncertain as to the reasons behind the scale down done by the conference. None-the-less there is no longer a GDC tag on the conference and less then stellar showings on the floor.


Day 1:
The event kicked off with Kelly Zmak (industry adviser and CGC board member) briefing the attendees of what to expect at this years outing. The tone is set very early that this is no longer as big of an event as in the previous year. Many of you may not know this, but the CGC (or former GDC events) are built for those either already in the business or just on the cusp. The subjects of the panels are geared towards the development of games rather then the games themselves (ie E3, PAX). The tools and development companies promoted on the show floor are minimal (5 booths). The booths are filled with a range between unknown companies (Masters of Digital Media & RAD tools), to the somewhat relevant Silicon Knights. I'm not stating that there is nothing to be learned from the presentations or the booths, but it definitely is a different monster then the consumer shows such as PAX.


David Helgason (CEO of Unity Tech) was a delightful keynote speaker and is convinced that everyone should focus on a more "Free2Play" world. Helgason vows to create a Free2Play world for development tools. His views and opinions of the indie scene is astounding, Helgason wants for nothing more then to be able to distribute properly his tools.

After some coffee and “fresh air” I sat in on Dee Jay Randall (TD, Capcom Vancouver) and his chat about the hurdles faced when building the Dead Rising 2 multiplayer. I was a little weary to sit through the entirety of the panel based on my displeasure when continuously being barraged with stories about Dead Rising. It's been a long time since Capcom Van hasn't stuffed DR2 down your throat and it doesn't look to be ending any time soon.

LUNCH TIME! Subway + root beer = happy Wyatt. I Had some issues picking which panel to sit in on after lunch and ended up picking the right one. Michael Fergusson (CEO, Ayogo Games) talked to us in a smaller room at the convention center. His views and science behind the human nature vs video games was awe-inspiring. He spoke a lot about the link between a humans need to succeed vs what a developer can give them for completion. Fergusson strongly believes that with smarter builds and clever creation the developers of the world can help shape the human population into healthier and more productive people.

Konami had an early meeting with some developers in private at the convention center that morning and later announced that in partnership with EDC they will be assisting the funds of 17 indie developers. This is big news, especially for Vancouver where every 24 year old gaming guru has either already started, or is planning to start their own studio. No real indication on who met with them or even what the next step is was announced. I do know (through a relationship with a studio) that a good friend of mine who runs a “will remain un-named for now” studio, met with Konami and proposed a redesign and re-release of all their classic ip's.



Day 2: Started off with a melancholy conversation (staged) between Victor Lucas (Greedy/Electric Playground) and Blaine Kyllo (The Georgia Straight, Escapist Mag, CBC). The conversation that was staged had no bad intentions, but seemed to me as something built for Lucas to toot his own horn. Kyllo states that the sit-down was to show to the crowd all of the things that Lucas and company have seen and gone through on his journey to “success”. The feel of the room was the “everyone stare at the superstar” vibe. It still strikes me as funny that Victor Lucas is the local “superstar” in the video game world. Lucas has a lot of good stories and I enjoy listening to all of the “how we got started” tales.

The good folks at Nvidia had the generosity to not only show off the already released “Samaritan” demo, but they also took us on a nice little journey into the behind the scenes of the creation. Storyboards, goals and software were all flushed out in the chat and quite honestly, when the conversation veered towards the technology, it all got kind of blurry.

I then sat in on Tyler Sigman's chat about the creation and exploration behind Hoard. Now some of you have already played Hoard, and I commend you for that. We (ShogunGamer) got to have a nice little hands-on with Hoard at PAX last year before the launch of the game. I must say that the struggles and the hard work put behind this game makes me love it (and Big Sandwich) even more. The game itself is available on the PSN and Steam. The title has recently been a part of a 50% off sale on steam and will hopefully amount to a good fan-base.

In closing, I must insist that anyone who wants to be “inside” the world of gaming attend these shows. This is not a fan-fare, these are real professionals who take their time to give the gift of knowledge and understanding to those who dream to develop. I love conventions. From PAX to E3, CES and GDC. Gaming conventions never fail at being a great time and a good showing of tech and titles. There are a lot of differences between PAX and GDC. The Canadian Games Conference falls under the GDC umbrella and should be taken seriously by future/present developers, not the gamers themselves.