The Hugos omit the best SF of the year

This year’s Hugo winners were announced a couple weeks ago.  I had friends at the event, and I’ve read or seen most of the nominations of core works.  I haven’t explored any of the related works or the fan-created stuff (well, other than occasionally catching Squeecast, but with that many published authors involved it’s hard to say that’s a fan product).

However, the three best, most powerful, most interesting, and most emotionally gripping SF stories I’ve experienced in the last (many) years weren’t on the ballot.  There’s not even a slot for them.  Two of them were epic projects, involving the level of production of “The Avengers” and one had its roots in a graphic novel that beat the pants off “Saga.”  They have characters that you care about, stories that grip you, conflicts you are desperate to see resolved.  They have female characters with agency and gravitas.  They make you part of the story.

They are Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, and The Walking Dead (Telltale Games).

They are computer games.

I humbly submit to the Hugo committee that a category be created that will allow these amazing stories to be recognized.  It could be Best Other Media.  It could be Best Game (I know there are a lot of gamers in the WSFS), which would open it to board / card / dice games as well.

I know there are problems.  Bioshock is a FPS, so to “read” that story (you actually live it), you have to be able to play an FPS.  The Last of Us is on Playstation only.  But there’s really no barrier to playing The Walking Dead – it’s even on iPad.

It just kills me that, especially regarding Bioshock Infinite, an SF story that grapples with real social issues, employs difficult literary mechanisms well, is based on some interesting scientific theories, and is so emotionally powerful, won’t be experienced by the vast majority of people who would love it.  I understand that not everyone can play an FPS, and I’d love to pitch Irrational Games about creating a Bioshock RPG, but Ken Levine deserves SF artist recognition as much as Joss Whedon (and you KNOW how much I love Whedon’s work).

At the very least, I encourage the writers and artists competing for Hugos to check out these games and check out your competition.

What the Pacific Rim game should be

Two electronic games were made as product tie-ins for Pacific Rim. The one for consoles and computers is pretty obvious – it’s a fighting game, like Street Fighter but with jaegers and kaijus.  I don’t have a problem with the concept, but I do have a problem with the business model.  You have to buy multiple downloads to get the full game.  When I’m King of the World, games targeted at kids won’t use the micropayment model.

Anyway, the kids like it OK, but what they really want are to be Drift-paired jaeger pilots.  This kicks it up a notch…and I have no idea why Legendary et al didn’t do this.  Here’s the pitch:

Pacific_Rim_Gipsy_Danger_Crew

You take Just Dance or Dance Central or DDR, some Kinect game where two people dance side-by-side.  Then you make the scoring based on how much of the “dance” they do in sync.  On screen is a kaiju, like you’re seeing it through the jaeger’s interface.  The fighting moves scroll down the side.  If you and your Drift partner are doing really well, you can launch a power move.  When you do something really cool, you get to see your jaeger from the outside.
This could also work like Rock Band – some of the moves could be highlighted, and if you do them perfectly you build up power, which you can use to save your Drift partner if he is failing (“chasing the rabbit”).

You could pick and customize your jaeger, and your power moves would be based on which jaeger you were playing.  You would also start off by the intro move of your team (Cherno Alpha’s double fist bang, or Gipsy Danger Raleigh/Yancy or Raleigh/Mako), or make your own after a certain rank.  Of course you would get promoted through ranks, take missions, get weapon and defense upgrades, and have the option to add kill stickers or nose art.

It would be extra cool if you could do tandem missions with another jaeger team via the net.

At the end of each battle you get your stats, like Rock Back – percent of success, special things each pilot did, etc.  Lots of opportunities for achievements and PacRim art.

So what do you say, Legendary?

You’re welcome.