After several weeks of debate, discussion, and deliberation, Kotaku's 2011 Game of the Year Award came down to a simple vote, and the majority voted for science.
We voted for Wheatley, the delightfully ditzy but well-meaning artificial intelligence that unwittingly guided us to our potential doom. We voted for GLaDOS, the power-hungry robot with a heart of solid gold spite, with whom our relationship grew closer and stranger than ever before. We voted for Cave Johnson, founder and CEO of Aperture Science, whose words of wisdom will guide us til the end of our days. We voted for Atlas and P-Body, a mechanical consciousness built for two. We voted for Chell, history's most resilient guinea pig.
We voted for the team at Valve that delivered such a solid and entertaining experience, building an extremely clever puzzle game into something far greater. We voted for Erik Wolpaw, Jay Pinkerton and Chet Faliszek, the writers that kept us in stiches at every turn.
We voted for Portal 2.
Not all of us, mind you, but enough that it would take the assassination of at least two of our editors to make the voting a tie.
The outcome came as a surprise to many of our editors, especially with a powerhouse like Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim hitting hard and deep so late in the year. Indeed Skyrim was my original pick for Game of the Year (Luke Plunkett's as well), but then it took an arrow in the knee (I am so sorry).
That arrow was Evan Narcisse's impassioned argument for Valve's Portal 2. Game's released towards the front end of the year (Portal 2 hit in April) are often at a disadvantage when it comes time for Game of the Year arguments, but Evan's nomination and subsequent explanation reminded many of us how nearly perfect Portal 2 was.
Of course this doesn't mean that the other three games (nothing doesn't count) we nominated this year are failures. They still represent the very best titles we played this year. Portal 2 was just better than that.
Be sure to check out the stories below to experience the process we went through to get to where we did today, and if you see anyone from Valve's Portal 2 team today, be sure to give them a vigorous face licking for us.
What was the best game of the year, according to those of us here at Kotaku?
We don't know.
We don't know... yet.
Throughout the week of December 26, we will present five Game of the Year arguments. More »
Oh look. Somebody is voting for Skyrim as Game of the Year. How shocking.
Truth be told, I very nearly voted for something else. Total War: Shogun 2 had me hooked for most of the year, and its near perfection of the series' blend of strategic planning and real-time tactics seemed to make it, for... More »
I played a ton of games in 2011. More, probably, than any other year of my life. So when it came time to choose the best from among them, I spent a lot of time thinking back, sifting through the triumphs and the frustrations, the unexpected joys and the unfortunate disappointments.
Arkham City and... More »
This may sound off-key coming from the guy who nominated the 12th edition of annual sports franchise for overall GOTY last year. But I'm inclined to say "None of the above," this year. More »
What Valve did this year seemed impossible: they improved on the perfection that was the first Portal. That feat was accomplished, surprisingly, by making everything about players' return to Aperture Science less perfect. More »
The hardest thing at the end of the year is to parse yourself from the hype you're experiencing and think back to the games you played during the summer, the spring, and yes, 2011's early months. More »