Hundreds of gaming enthusiasts gathered at the Hilton Austin to support their favorite game titles and watch the distinguished presenters hand out awards to the winners of the third annual SXSW Gaming Awards. This year’s SXSW Gaming Awards had a phenomenal line up of finalists for the 21 award categories. In July 2015, the official Gaming Awards page opened it submission process for the SXSW Gaming Awards categories and closed in December. The nominees were selected and voted on by more than 40 geek culture industry experts in the SXSW Gaming Advisory Board. Once the finalists were chosen, the general public cast their vote on IGN.com to determine the winners in each category for the 2016 SXSW Gaming Awards.
As soon as the evening’s hosts walked on stage, the audience went ballistic. The SXSW Gaming Awards had the privilege of having wildly popular internet personalities Seán William McLoughlin, or perhaps better known as Jacksepticeye, and Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico as its hosts. Seán McLoughlin, or, as his fans call him, Jack, is an Irish game commentator on YouTube who is known for his comedic Let’s Play videos, vlogs, and frequent yelling. Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico is an avid PC and Xbox gamer on Twitch, and she is also a hostess and interviewer for professional gaming events internationally. This dynamic duo kicked off the night by selecting audience members to play a game of “Tough Coded” against its creator, Little Nando. The seemingly impossible and visually overwhelming game got the audience on the edge of their seats, howling with laughter, and cheering for the challengers.
This award show was a highly entertaining and interactive experience through and through. It had a plethora of award presenters in addition to its wonderful hosts. SXSW Gaming Producer, Justin Burnham, opened the evening for the SXSW Gaming Awards and praised the games’ creators and the fans for their contributions to the gaming community. Onstage chaos ensued when the Smosh Games crew took over and presented the award for the Most Entertaining Online Personality to the YouTube entertainer who could consistently entertain their audience with humor, stories, special effects, and more. The Daily Dot Esports producer, Ian J. Barker, handed out the Most Valuable ESports Team award, which celebrated, “…the incredible achievements of truly gifted competitors…” Later in the awards show, Justin Burnham returned to the stage and presented the Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award, an award honoring Burham’s late SXSW Gaming associate. Burnham stated the award was, “…dedicated to the people that take a chance telling an emotion story, take a chance taking a different outlook on things, take a chance doing not the normal gameplay, that take a chance at a different kind of look of how a game should be played…”
Roars erupted from the audience as a group of brightly colored and futuristic-looking musicians made their way onstage for the half-time entertainment. Tupper Ware Remix Party (TWRP), Ninja Sex Party (NSP), and Starbomb made their grand arrival, causing the crowd to collectively lose their minds. Tupper Ware Remix Party is an ’80s-inspired Synth Rock/Electro Funk band consisting of four members. Starbomb is a band composed of Ninja Sex Party’s Leigh Daniel “Danny Sexbang” Avidan and Brian “Ninja Brian” Wecht, as well as Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson of the popular YouTube Let’s Play channel, Game Grumps. The band’s original music, partnered with clever video game-based humor and Arin Hanson’s entertaining animations, made for an amazing performance.
All in all, the 2016 SXSW Gaming Awards was every gamers fantasy, regardless of their PC, Console, or tabletop gaming preference.
For a detailed list of all of the nominees for each of these categories, visit the SXSW Gaming Awards page, or visit Twitch to watch the recorded livestream of the show. The winners for the awards were as follows:
- GAMER’S VOICE SINGLEPLAYER: “SUPERHOT” (SUPERHOT Sp. Z o.o.)
- GAMERS’ VOICE MULTYPLAYER: “Gang Beasts” (Bone Loaf)
- MATTHEW CRUMP CULTURAL INNOVATION AWARD “Undertale” (Toby Fox/Toby Fox)
- MOST PROMISING NEW INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: “Splatoon” (Nintendo/Nintendo)
- MOST FULFILLING CROWDFUNDED GAME: “Undertale” (Toby Fox/Toby Fox)
- MOST ENTERTAINING ONLINE PERSONALITY: Greg Miller
- MOST VALUABLE ESPORTS TEAM: Evil Geniuses
- MOST ENDURING CHARACTER: Lara Croft (Rise of the Tomb Raider)
- EXCELLENCE IN CONVGERGENCE: “Batman: Arkham Knight” (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment/Rocksteady Studios)
- EXCELLENCE IN MULTYPLAYER: “Rocket League” (Psyonix/Psyonix)
- EXCELLENCE IN MUSICAL SCORE: “Ori & the Blind Forest” (Microsoft Studios/Moon Studios)
- EXCELLENCE IN SFX: “Star Wars Battlefront” (Electronic Arts/EA DICE)
- EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN: “Bloodborne” (Sony Computer Entertainment/FromSoftware)
- EXCELLENCE IN NARRATIVE: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” (CD Projekt/CD Projekt RED)
- EXCELLENCE IN VISUAL ACHIEVEMENT: “The Order 1886” (Sony Computer Entertainment/Ready at Dawn)
- EXCELLENCE IN TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMNET: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” (CD Projekt/CD Projekt RED)
- EXCELLENCE IN ANIMATION: “Riser of the Tomb Raider” (Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics)
- EXCELLENCE IN ART: “Bloodborne” (Sony Computer Entertainment/FromSoftware)
- EXCELLENCE IN GAMEPLAY: “Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain” (Konami/Konami Digital Entertainment)
- TABLETOP GAME OF THE YEAR: “Pandemic Legacy” (Z Man Games)
- MOBILE GAME OF THE YEAR: “Her Story” (Sam Barlow/Sam Barlow)
- GAME OF THE YEAR: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” (CD Projekt/Cd Projekt)