With the prestigious Game Awards looming just ahead as the biggest award show in the video game industry, and the Golden Joystick Awards having just ended in Europe, it would seem as if the ultimate bookend in video game honors have been set in stone for the year. However, bucking trends as Valve often does, the Steam Awards have opened nominations for their own curated content.
Valve created the Steam Awards back in 2016, with user-voting as the main foundation for the top honors. Unlike the format of most traditional award shows, the Steam Awards utilizes a unique two-phase system, which culminates in the final announcements being revealed in February. First, in the current nomination phase, Valve presents a select number of categories to all Steam users that are all atypical in nature, with some of this year’s having titles such as “Labor of Love” Award, “Best Alternate History” award, and “The Most Fun with a Machine” Award, among others.
Users can nominate one game of their choice to each category, as well as submit their own custom category. After this week-long voting period is over, Valve subsequently reviews all the nominations in order to come up with the top five nominees for each category, as well as the user-submitted category that was most strongly suggested. Gamers are then given another week-long window to vote on the final nominees, after which Valve will announce the ultimate winners.
Though the winner of these honorable awards won’t get any real award, the process is fairly democratic throughout. If anything, the tongue-in-cheek categories and surprisingly detailed voting process might be Valve’s anti-establishment stance against the rigid, critics-based process of traditional award shows. Users who vote ultimately don’t get anything out of this besides Steam’s trademark badges and trading cards, though there might be a degree of satisfaction in picking the eventual winner amongst these arbitrary categories.
The first-round nominations of the Steam Awards 2018 are open from November 21 to November 27, 2018.