‘Animal Crossing’ sweeps the board

Danial Norjidi

The winners of the Japan Game Awards (JGA) 2020 were recently announced on the sidelines of the Tokyo Game Show, celebrating notable achievements by individuals or organisations, such as productions teams, who have contributed to the development of the Japanese home videogame industry.

Organised by the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA), the annual event promotes computer entertainment software in vitalising the industry.

Nintendo’s life simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons emerged as the winner, garnering the Japan Game Awards’ most prestigious prize – the Grand Award – as well as Award for Excellence.

The event organisers said, “Because we were forced to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a slow-life experience in this game in which you can do everything freely became a comfort to people all over the world.

“Communication with close friends through the game and interaction with other players in events went beyond the bounds of a single game. The game showed the power of entertainment from Japan, acquiring overwhelming support from many users of all ages, from children to senior citizens, in general voting, and won both the Award for Excellence and the Grand Award with unanimity.”

Nintendo’s life simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons emerged as the winner of the Japan Game Awards’ most prestigious prize – the Grand Award. PHOTOS: DANIAL NORJIDI
Nintendo’s Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield won Best Sales Award, the Global Award (Japanese Product) and Award for Excellence

The Animal Crossing development team also received the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award for having made great contribution to the growth and development of the Japanese computer entertainment software industry.

Nintendo’s Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield also won Best Sales Award, the Global Award (Japanese Product) and Award for Excellence.

“With a new battle system and many new features (in the latest Pokemon series), the game fulfilled the expectations of many users who were waiting for a new product,” said the organisers.

Other Nintendo titles that won Awards for Excellence included strategy roleplaying game Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Ring Fit Adventure, a fitness adventure game that requires players to use their whole bodies to play.

Two games from Atlus also won Awards for Excellence. One was sci-fi adventure 13 Sentinels: Aegis on PlayStation 4 (PS4), a game in which 13 boys and girls become the operators of robots called Sentinels and fight against the fate of an unavoidable destruction beyond time from their respective standpoints. Another was Persona 5 Royal, a renewed version of the highly popular roleplaying game Persona 5, with a number of new elements mixed in.

PS4 and PC adventure title Death Stranding, directed by renowned game creator Hideo Kojima, received Award for Excellence, alongside PS4 title Nioh 2, an action roleplaying game set in a dark fantasy version of the Sengoku period in Japan.

Awards for Excellence also went to Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, an expansion to the highly successful roleplaying game Monster Hunter World on PS4, Xbox One and PC, as well as Yakuza: Like a Dragon on PS4, which puts a new RPG spin on the long-running Yakuza series.

Meanwhile, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare earned the Global Award (Foreign Product), which the organisers described as a game that “has multiplayer modes that can accommodate up to 100 players, including various player-versus-player modes. It has various features that impressively reproduce aspects of modern combat as a military first person shooter describing heated battles in realistic combat fields”.

Another accolade was Game Designers Award, which went to Hempuli’s puzzle game Baba Is You.

Head judge of the award Mashiro Sakurai said the game was named the winner due to “its excellent design and the amusing way it releases us from common sense”.

In addition, the Special Award went to location-based roleplaying game Dragon Quest Walk, which the organisers noted achieved a high level of popularity in Japan.