|This is a series of awards at Gamasutra that I'll be keeping a close eye on and participate in, here is my first vote "article" as well as my recent one (just submitted).|
Quantum Leap Awards: First-Person Shooters
(my vote "article" can be found on the last page)
[Half-Life] is the first time I can ever recall a 3rd/1st person view game where the cutscene unfolds "around" the player rather than infront of them as most games do. It also obviously was using fully realtime ingame scenes (using the game engine) rather than pre-rendered video. Even today many of the biggest titles still do not do either of these, which is a shame as the level of immersion is way beyond that of mere pre-rendered cut scenes, that are non-interactive.
Think of the intro of Half-Life, being in the train/cart, able to look around as much as you want, while being "moved" to your starting position. It is a image I'll never forget. Half-Life 2 carries on the legacy (introduction unfolds around you at the train station) but it can not compete against the impression that Half-Life gave me! BINK video and similar has served games well, but it is time for the game engines to do what they do best, immerse the player into the game world. Half-Life did this 8 years ago (which is like 40 years in gaming years), so in my eyes that makes it a pioneer in story telling for FPS games (as well as 3rd person view games).
Quantum Leap Awards: Role-Playing Games
[Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic] made the biggest leap in my eyes!
Sure there are the likes of Oblivion, Torment, and many many more that has made an equally big impact or more, but...
KOTOR was the first time that the Star Wars universe was properly portrayed,
BioWare did something amazing with the franchise, something original (rather than a remake of the movies or whatnot) and although the Jedi Knight games had a mini RPG element only KOTOR was a full blown one. In fact KOTOR achieved what Star Wars Galaxies Online failed at doing.
KOTOR gave us a fresh story, unique but familiar designs and ideas, a balance of good and evil which caused your party members to get affected as well.
KOTOR is probably one of the very few games indeed that I can not find any flaws to point a finger at, and that is unusual.
It is a great example on how to make a RPG, how to handle a franchise yet still be innovate and original. KOTOR II took the good and evil even further and gave multiple endings, if it was not for the fact that it was rushed and not truly completed I would have nominated that instead.
KOTOR is truly a great example of when everything just clicks together perfectly, thank you BioWare for letting me experience suck a creation.
(Yeah! I know, I managed to spell suck instead of such, I hope the editors catch that one.)