It’s the first annual Glitchy Awards, a GameRevolution event where the categories barely matter and none of the winners feel good about themselves. 2018 has given us some good games, but it has also given us a bunch of news stories that have made us want to curl into the fetal position and wait for death.
The following awards have been dished out to the biggest busts, flops, and controversies we’ve seen this year. Check out the winners (and we use that word very lightly) below:
The ‘Well, That Was Disappointing’ Award
Winner: Fallout 76
I live in Brexit England, so if I want to see a barren wasteland managed by people who have seriously misjudged their target audience, I’ll go outside. Unfortunately, Fallout 76 offered everyone the opportunity to do this in a video game, and it was an unmitigated disaster.
Fallout 76 takes all of the good bits of the Fallout series and either outright removes them or makes them worse. An immersive world filled with rich characters and darkly humorous dialogue? Nope, now you have dead NPCs telling you why you should care about what you’re doing via audio logs. Branching dialog option where your choices actually impact the game? Forget that, now you have half-assed PVP with players who just want to be left alone to complete another meaningless quest.
The worst thing about Fallout 76 is that to get the most out of it, you have to convince your friends to also buy it. As if this thing wasn’t bad enough, in order to get your money’s worth you’ll also have to force your friends to suffer, too.
The ‘Just Stop’ Award
PewDiePie, who keeps stumbling into anti-Semitism like Sideshow Bob stepping on rakes, was yet again involved in another controversy this year after promoting a YouTube channel that featured heinous anti-Semitic content.
This latest incident came after Disney dropped him from Maker Studios due to his use of Nazi imagery in his videos, after he paid two Indian men on Fiverr to hold up a sign reading ‘DEATH TO ALL JEWS,’ and after a PUBG live stream in which he used the n-word (hard R and all) to insultingly refer to another player.
All throughout these controversies, PewDiePie has seemed confused that broadcasting such content to an audience of 78 million subscribers would be newsworthy. After recommending the channel E;R, which houses many videos containing anti-Semitic, racist, and homophobic content, PewDiePie noted how he only vocally endorsed a video review of Death Note. However, that same video review featured aerial footage of the murder of Heather Heyer in a counter-protest against the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, peddling a far right-wing conspiracy theory that she had been killed by heart complications rather than by the vehicle driven by a neo-Nazi sympathizer.
Many have expressed concern that PewDiePie’s actions could provide a gateway for his young viewers and YouTube’s bubbling far right-wing channels. However, I’d be more concerned that he’s teaching a generation that already has minimal job prospects how to methodically fuck up a comfortable career. Flash-forward to PewDiePie’s fans in 10 years time, landing a well-paid executive job before promptly being fired after trying to joke with HR about the Jewish Question.
PewDiePie is bemused by the negative reaction to him (outside of his existing fanbase and right-wing figures keen to “red-pill” more teenagers), complaining that he was once again left out of the annual YouTube Rewind video. While YouTube makes some terrible decisions as a company, keeping PewDiePie away from that thing is completely understandable. It’s really only a matter of time before he lights a box of kittens on fire then uploads a response video claiming that the Wall Street Journal handed him the matches. PewDiePie, mate: if you want to stop the media reporting on you doing dumb shit, then stop doing dumb shit.
(Shortly after I wrote the above, PewDiePie published another video in which he laughs at a TikTok video featuring someone posing as Anne Frank. IT HASN’T EVEN BEEN TWO WEEKS.)
The ‘Failure to Launch’ Award
Game delays happen all the time, but a series of delays for the same game taking place within the same month? That right there is impressive.
Atlas failed to set sail on numerous occasions throughout December, with the pirate MMO being frequently pushed back as its developers struggled to get a playable build off the ground. Originally set to launch in early access on December 11th, the game’s release was then moved to December 19th, with a countdown timer appearing in the build-up to its launch. However, when that counter hit zero… nothing happened. A trailer appeared in place of the full game everyone was expecting, and the official Atlas Twitter account tweeted that it would be delayed until December 21st.
Unfortunately, this also wasn’t the case, with Atlas being delayed again before some Twitch streamers were able to access its servers along with a small number of other players. Onboarding was eventually increased, allowing more players to hop in, but this MMO’s release has now been completely overshadowed by its shoddy launch.
The ‘Worst Stream Ever’ Award
Winner: Ninja, Logic, Justin Roiland, and Bethesda
In a sponsored video that was always going to fail, Bethesda paid streamer Ninja, rapper Logic, and Rick and Morty‘s Justin Roiland to play Fallout 76 on Twitch. In a foreshadowing of things to come for the game, the entire stream saw the trio wandering around its empty world, trying to make their own fun, but desperately failing to do so.
It’s unclear exactly how anyone thought this was going to work. With Roiland being forced to improvise as both Rick and Morty during the stream, Ninja and Logic had to attempt to interact with a comedian portraying two animated characters at the same time. Shockingly, as neither Ninja nor Logic are comedians, this devolved into Roiland talking to himself for three whole hours while presumably waiting for the ground to swallow him up.
Lowlights included Logic using his PS4 headset mic throughout the broadcast despite having a professional setup right in front of him, Roiland awkwardly veering into a joke about handicapped people, and Ninja wearing a blue Fallout 76 hoodie and looking like Sonic the Hedgehog about to rob a convenience store.
The ‘Even Worse Than Sonic Boom‘ Award
Winner: Ugandan Knuckles
Meme culture is thousands of people being simultaneously unfunny online. This was exemplified by Ugandan Knuckles, a meme that spread to the virtual reality game VR Chat in early 2018, before promptly taking over the entire internet.
The premise behind Ugandan Knuckles is grown men poorly mimicking a Ugandan accent and asking others if they know “de way,” along with them accosting female avatars and attempting to make them their “queen.” If none of that makes sense, that’s because it isn’t meant to, but when you have thousands of twenty-something-year-old men putting on expensive VR headsets to virtually cosplay as a racist variant of a Sonic the Hedgehog character, logic and reason kinda go out the window.
The ‘This Was Always Going to End Badly’ Award
Winner: Diablo Immortal
No one watching or attending Blizzcon was more interested in seeing Diablo Immortal over the rumored Diablo 4. We now know that Blizzard wasn’t ready to show footage of the sequel, but the optics of ignoring it and instead showing a mobile Diablo wasn’t a particularly smart move.
Fans are understandably concerned whenever a developer veers into mobile gaming. We know that the platform is lucrative and comparatively inexpensive, so there’s always the worry that a publisher will focus on mobile titles rather than console or PC games. This fear was personified by ‘Red Shirt Guy,’ who stood up and asked the developers whether Diablo Immortal was an “out-of-season April Fools joke.”
It was a low-effort joke for a low-effort Blizzcon, but the internet praised Red Shirt Guy as a beacon of light in an otherwise dark event. He later appeared in a Reddit AMA to capitalize on his brief e-fame, in which he stated that he had attended the event with his kids. You think your dad is embarrassing, but is he ‘publicly dunks on developers at Blizzcon for making a mobile game he doesn’t like’ embarrassing?
Blizzard has stated that two separate teams are working on Diablo Immortal and Diablo 4, but the damage has already been done. While Blizzard has committed to never discussing games before they’re ready, they should’ve just thrown the Diablo 4 logo up on stage and been done with it. Everyone would have applauded, no one would have been mad at Diablo Immortal, and Red Shirt Guy’s kids would’ve gone home without watching their dad become a meme in real-time.