The Games Journalism Award

The 2017 Short List


Yussef Cole

As the recent fight over Confederate memorials shows, the history we should be most concerned with preserving isn’t material, but contextual. Cole’s analysis of Cuphead’s animation style is that kind of historic preservation: it reminds us of an inconvenient past–one that we have to grapple with if we ever hope to understand the present.

See: Cuphead and the Racist Spectre of Fleischer Animation

Matt Leone

Leone’s expansive Final Fantasy 7: An Oral History unfurls, like the game it chronicles, out beyond the horizon of your expectations. It crosses oceans, its cast swells. And yet it reads throughout like an intimate conversation between party members.

See: Final Fantasy 7: An Oral History

Laura Hudson

It takes empathy–and agility–to pluck stories like The People You Won’t Meet from the modern media deluge. Hudson’s work demonstrates both, and it isn’t content to leave the moral stakes as mere subtext.

See: The People You Won’t Meet

Julie Muncy

It seems like about once a year, a review columnist gets on a heater and starts stringing together a streak of quality entries. Is it a violation of etiquette to talk about it when a critic’s in the middle of that flow state?

See: Super Mario Odyssey, Like Nintendo’s Best Games, is a Surrealist Triumph

Astrid Budgor

Complacency is the critic’s hypothermia: it drains the faculties, and seduces journalism into its own kind of terminal burrowing. Budgor’s invigorating writing, which thrums with the novelty of its subjects, will bring you back.

See: Wicked Game

Ajay Singh Chaudhary

An alternate title, perhaps: “The Audacity of Rage.” Few could have guessed that the shooter genre would come to speak so well to our political moment, or that it would do so by embracing its unrepressed id. Chaudhary’s case is compelling; he knows how you feel.

See: DOOMguy Knows How You Feel

Gareth Damian Martin

The popularization of the photo mode signals new ways of seeing the games we play. This might be the idealistic assertion of Martin’s Heterotopias zine: that games–and writing about games–have always contained more than was presented.

See: Heterotopias

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