The Neowin Community Game Awards are unlike other "Best of Year" awards. Every step of the process is voted on by Neowin.net community members. From the initial nominations to the final voting, you, the people who play the games, get to voice your opinions on which titles truly stood out from the rest throughout the year. The NCGA's are the epitome of a "for the fans, by the fans" award. With the final stage of voting completed, we've tallied up the results. So without further ado, here are the games, released between October '06 and October '07, that the Neowin community picked:
SPORTS: Wii Sports
Sorry football and hockey fans; your typical "Title" "Year" game didn't win this time. This game requires that you put down your beer and lose the "couch potato" label. Wii Sports consists of baseball, boxing, bowling, golf and tennis – all in one game, all interactive. No button mashing for you. This title probably won the sports category because it is the only game that is closest to actually playing the sports we all love.
RACING: Forza Motorsport 2
Racing without the danger of crashing: the adrenaline rush for this one is simply unmistakable. If you played the original and now you own the second instalment, you'll understand why we believe this is a perfect example of taking the original game and improving it. The game is one of the most realistic racing games to date; your car handles like you'd expect it to. The racing category has its number one.
FPS: The Orange Box
The Orange Box could not cover both single player and multiplayer FPS experiences better. Not only do you have the realistic and serious game Half-Life 2, you also have the mind numbing game Portal, as well as the quite entertaining game Team Fortress 2. All three are games ones that would fly of the shelves if they were available separately, so it's no shocker the Orange Box won the FPS category.
ACTION: Gears Of War
Here's a third person shooter that gives the Halo franchise a run for its money. The game is strongly based on cooperative play, either with bots or your best friends. Not only does Gears Of War break a few graphics barriers, it brings a few new tricks to the table that gamers have never seen before. You'll beg for that rush of adrenaline that will keep you playing. We're not at all surprised this survivor type game won the action category.
ADVENTURE: The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
There isn't a single Zelda game that wasn't a success and the latest title is no different. You've got the familiarity: Link, Hyrule, rescue the Princess; and you've got a whole lot of new features that will keep the Curious George in you very happy. Go forth and save the Princess again, you know you want to! The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess will keep you busy for hours on end (even after you've beaten it) with everything there is to explore, making it the pick for the adventure category.
STRATEGY: Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
There's something riveting about taking charge of your own army and this title gives you the most flexibility in how exactly you want to go about doing so. Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars keeps you multi-tasking like no tomorrow – and of course, if you don't do it right, there won't be a tomorrow. Gameplay has been significantly improved and multiplayer features are aplenty, making Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars the winner of the RTS category.
(MMO)RPG: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Well that's definitely unusual: a single player beat a multiplayer game. What's the reason behind this one? It probably has something to do with the fact that Oblivion takes RPGs to a whole new level (especially in terms freedom). The game is quite limitless when it comes to what you can do, and the graphics will allow you to seriously enjoy simply walking and looking around. The number of hours that can be dedicated to exploring this game puts this title at the top of the RPG category with no second thoughts.
FIGHTING: Virtua Fighter 5
Take the last game, up the graphics and you have a new title, right? Close, but not quite. This title has 17 fighters, including two new ones. Players can customize their own characters and can win money to buy items from the shops. The levels and environments feel much more realistic, and there are many noticeable improvements, but this genre seems to be a dying one. Win by default!
PUZZLE: Portal (the Orange Box)
Not exactly the most highly-anticipated game of the year, but it is easily one of the most innovative FPS I've seen in a while. The makers of Half-Life created something that will keep you interested as you happily manipulate the environment of this single player game. Definitely a game worth trying, assuming you aren't scared you'll have to think a little.
PC GAME: Half-Life 2: The Orange Box
If you have not yet played a single level in any of the Half-life games, you are not a PC gamer. Take control of Gordon Freeman once again and immerse yourself in a world that feels like a science fiction movie straight from the big screen. You've got the realism, you've got the weapons, you've got the monsters – everything seems to be perfected in this game, even more so than the last one. It just keeps getting better.
PS3 GAME: Resistance: Fall Of Man
Don't even consider buying a PS3 and skipping this title. You'll enjoy the graphics, the single player and multiplayer modes, and most of all, the military style action. As you go forth in to a world different, yet familiar to ours, and kill everything that looks even remotely evil, you'll be entranced. U.S. Army Ranger Sergeant Nathan Hale has the fate of humanity on his bulky shoulders, as the Chimera overrun everything.
XBOX 360 GAME: Halo 3
Master Chief wants to finish the fight, but he can't do it without you. Halo 3 is undoubtedly the game that keeps 360 owners up all night. It is no secret that 360s began to sell all the more quickly when this game was released. The conclusion to the trilogy, Halo 3 completes a saga that this generation will remember for years to come. For those that didn't like it, we're still sure you'll remember the many, many sales records this game broke.
WII GAME: Wii Sports
Nintendo knew what it was doing when it bundled this game with their console (in certain countries). Wii Sports is great played in single player or with a bunch of friends that just came over. A real party game, it will easily take care of any "getting to know one another" that might be forced upon you when the new neighbours are invited over by your significant other.
BEST OF '07: The Orange Box
This one is a cheater; it had an obvious advantage over the competition. It comes with 3 great FPS' in one, so the opposition really didn't stand a chance. Out of all the games out there right now, this one is the best bang for your buck (given that you don't think Steam is the devil). We even recommend it as a present for the holidays, seeing as any FPS gamer will appreciate at least one of the games.