Last of Us 2 wins big at 2020 Golden Joystick Awards

28 Nov

As I assumed in my play through of Last of Us Part 2 it would win big, but never this big. It won Game of the year (or decade for me), Best Story telling, Best Visual Design, Best Audio, and Studio of the Year, there was also backlash against there win as well. While there was undeniable backlash against the plot of the story, as I did remember thinking about being somewhat flawed, I was sure it was going to win anyway. I understood the scope of what Naughty Dogg did in order to create a story worth telling. While there was Ghost of Shushima, and even Doom Eternal nominated for Best Game of the Year, as it should have been, but only should have won for a best First Person shooter category, Last of Us 2 did do all the things you could imagine. It updated the workbench model as the updated animations were solid and what I expected it to be. The graphics and the ability to crawl was a plus. As the story went by telling. a story about how we share so much with our enemy, is achieved. Also, ironically, Last of Us represented a story about how might was right. Joel’s decision to kill the doctor at the end of the first game provided an opening that I knew would only make people hate the game. Of course, I was aware of the rumors of Joel’s presence described as “a ghost” and while I just shrugged it off waiting for the final product it’s admirable to think that sometimes developers tell on themselves in order to create buzz, or warn people of what was to come. The ghostly presence of Joel, surrogate father to Ellie, and Jerry, Abby’s biological father, in turn shares more with King Lear than it does Pulp Fiction.

What the game awards do prove is that while many awards are biased, but I did see that the backlash did create an open dialogue about how you should treat a character people get attached to, it does share much more with Game of Thrones and Black Ops II, as Menedez’s path to vengeance can be associated with Abby’s anger toward Joel, and the retribution Mason’s son feels toward Menedez is placed with Ellie and her path to destroying Abby. Ultimately this does prove that a character like Ellie could not be like Joel, because of size and stature, but also emotionally, as the idea of forgiving your enemy is taken straight from Christianity. While hate is the central theme, it proves that Ellie is not the action hero feminism would want her to be. Abby, before her capture by the Rattlers, is stronger than Ellie, but failed in the end. As revenge is a circular path, not straight.

There are videos trying to create discussion about how games like Spec ops the line works over Last of Us 2, and both games are incomparable in story and tone. I believe people just wanted Joel to be killed in the third game, and not the second, giving him a right to die in the natural way. But honestly, this is not the end of Joel for Last of Us. There could be a story of his twenty years to survive and how that might affect a third game’s narrative. Or have JJ take over the third entry’s narrative. (I could help write it for Naughty Dogg, but they wouldn’t hire me, because I don’t fit the diversity box and I covered Naughty Dogg’s foul business practices, so I’m not going to be hired that quickly).

What is certain is that awards never did hold legitimate views when the crowd and critics think differently. Consider this: When Brokeback Mountain did not receive best picture in the early 2000’s, and Crash, a movie about the circular firing squad of racism in modern day LA, won instead, it didn’t represent the majority of filmgoers who saw the movie, and created a natural discussion about how awards, like the Academy of Arts and Sciences, do not represent the majority of film goers. Another example is that Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won each award it was nominated for, but was rejected for Cinematography, and the acting categories. Clint Eastwood complained that when his noir crime drama, Mystic River, didn’t receive any wins, he felt “hobbitized.” Good thing for Clint because he can take a punch and he won for Million Dollar Baby the year after in 2005. Because if Return of the King had not won, no one would have remembered Mystic River either way. Only Passion of the Christ at that time was the movie everyone was talking about, and while that received the same controversy, the Passion matters more to me than Mystic River ever did. That’s when movies were important.

Awards, at there nucleus, are controlled by a board, and not with the people’s viewpoints. While I never played Ghosts of Tsushima, I knew it was otherwise a game mostly made for Dark Souls players, and I respect those players, because that game shakes me to the core. While Call of Duty makes more money than most of the games nominated at the Joystick awards, I am certain that all the games of 2020 are mostly more important than movies will ever be.

Last of Us 2 is what happens when the question is answered, and we have to pay for our crimes that would damn humanity, but what I sense is that time will tell if Last of Us 2 will hold sway in the future. Which after the dust settles, we all hold our games we like as worthy, but we don’t share the same views as the Academy would like us to see. While the Joystick awards could be voted on by the gamers, it means that while there might be voter fraud, it does also mean that gamers did vote for it. Both ideas are acceptable in my eyes, because conversation creates discussion.

If gamers did vote for Last of Us 2, maybe they realized, it was better than they thought. I know the “internet” would not agree, but I do definitely take back ideas I originally thought before, and change them. I think at the end, Last of Us 2 did realize what I do in my novels. It answered the hard question that nobody wanted to see. And that’s why it won the Joystick award. For making us relate when we shouldn’t. Some would call it a dirty trick, I call it story telling. Will it win in at the 2020 Game Awards? We’ll see.

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