Hades wins Hugo’s first prize for best video game
This is the first year that the Hugo Awards have recognized video games with an official category, and the very first winner is Hades.
This year something special happened with the Hugo Awards – something that may become relevant to video games in the future. It was announced earlier this year that the 2021 Hugo Awards will include a video game category, and now the winner has been announced.
For those who are not in the know, the Hugo Awards are a series of literary prizes awarded to novels, publishers, artists, etc. around science fiction and fantasy genres. As such, the nominated games were some of the best released in 2020 falling into these categories, including The last of us 2, Spiritist, and Underworld.
Out of five games with great gameplay and storytelling, the last of which is the most important for a literary award, it was Underworld who emerged victorious. Considering the competition and the level of quality that the Hugo Awards regularly face, that’s quite a feat. Having said that, it is hardly surprising that Underworld would eventually emerge victorious. The Hugo Awards recognize the work of fans in its own category, and Underworld is essentially a huge piece of complete and magnificent fan-fiction from Greek mythology. After all, not all games allow players to reunite the lost lovers Achilles and Patroclus in the afterlife.
Furthermore, Underworld has a unique twist on the way it presents its story to the player. As a roguelite, Underworld players die and restart a lot, and for a lot of these games it’s a total blockage of progress. Underworld, however, progresses through its story each time the player returns to their primary hub, either through death or a rarer successful run. It also advances the story based on what the player has done and said previously, making it an expanding narrative that feels dynamic like few others. This is one of the reasons Underworld won awards at the Industry Game Awards in 2020.
On top of that, the writing for Underworld is fantastic overall, with the characters being fun, interesting, and surprisingly heartwarming when they interact. It ranges from the deep heart of romance options to the excitement of each god as they offer Zagreus their legendary boon.
Underworld isn’t just a game with a great story, it’s a game filled to the brim with a great story and unexpected things. There are still things players don’t know they can do in Underworld, and maybe even more to discover. This award was a one-off thing, but if there is enough interest, maybe it will become a semi-permanent or permanent category of the Hugo Awards.
Underworld is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
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