The Seattle region may be known for operating systems, airplanes and coffee, but video games play a huge role in the technology scene, and today we’re pleased to present a new GeekWire Awards category that recognizes this important field.
Below you’ll find the five finalists for Game of the Year — the top video games to emerge (and evolve) over the past year from the Pacific Northwest, as selected by our panel of judges from your nominations. They include blockbuster first-person shooters, casual games with a unique spin and, in one case, a unique partnership between two Seattle companies whose names suggest they must have been destined to work together.
This new category, sponsored by the creative gurus at Filter, is part of the expansion of the GeekWire Awards event just a bit beyond its roots in the startup world. That’s why you’ll see titles from bigger companies such as Microsoft and Valve in the mix of finalists.
We kicked off voting for the GeekWire Awards last week (see previous categories here) and we’ll continue tabulating the votes in the 14 categories as we announce new finalists every day. The winners will be revealed at the big GeekWire Awards bash on May 9 in Seattle.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: This multi-player first-person shooter is the latest installment in the popular Counter Strike franchise from Bellevue-based Valve. Yes, it was released months later than the original target date, but isn’t tardiness practically an expected feature of Valve’s games? GameSpot praised “Global Offensive” as “absolutely enthralling” and “one of the greats” in the multiplayer FPS genre. Joystiq said it “brings us back to a time of simpler multiplayer action.” The game is available across Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PCs and Mac.
DoubleDown Casino: This popular suite of casino-style casual games has expanded from its roots on Facebook to offer versions on mobile devices and tablets, fending off a rising wave of competitors in the market for casino-style games. Seattle-based Double Down Interactive, now part of gambling technology giant IGT, has been expanding the reach of the DoubleDown Casino internationally growing its presence significantly in Seattle at the same time, as explained by CEO Greg Enell in this GeekWire interview last year.
Halo 4: Microsoft proved that Halo has a life beyond Bungie last fall with the release of Halo 4.
It was the first game in the blockbuster franchise to be developed by Microsoft’s own 343 Industries, which took over from the original Halo developer after Bungie spun off from the Redmond company. And the new Halo for Xbox 360 debuted to a big audience, setting a record of $220 million in sales on its first day alone.
Hawken: Published by Seattle-based Meteor Entertainment, this ambitious first-person shooter has been lauded for its striking visuals and design, featuring robotic warriors engaged in fierce combat. The game, developed by Adhesive Games, is a new entrant in the free-to-play online market, letting gamers pay for add-ons such as one-time explosives and character customizations. The game represents a big bet for Meteor, which raised $18 million in additional funding as it prepared for the Hawken launch last fall.
Match-Up (Big Fish/Jawfish): This collaboration between Seattle game developers Big Fish and Jawfish games is early glimpse of Jawfish’s approach to real-time tournament style multiplayer games, as discussed by Jawfish CEO Phil Gordon on the GeekWire radio show this weekend. Match-up features three games — Mah Jong, Qbeez and Word Rack — matching up real players from around the world to compete in live game tournaments. It’s available for iOS: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
The GeekWire Awards — originally started by Seattle entrepreneur Marcelo Calbucci — are in their 5th year now. Past winners have included Tableau Software, PopCap Games, angel investor Andy Sack, Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh, Zillow Chairman Rich Barton and many others. Tickets are available here or below.
Thanks again to Filter, our Game of the Year category sponsor.
Previous categories: GeekWire Awards: Vote for Young Entrepreneur of the Year … Vote for Next Tech Titan… Vote for App of the Year… Vote for Perk of the Year… Vote for Do-Gooder of the Year… Startup CEO of the Year.