Video Game 'Hades' Makes History As First Video Game To Win A Hugo Award
from the games-are-art dept
While arguing that video games are a form of art and should be respected as such has been a personal drum I’ve enjoyed beating for a decade, it’s worth acknowledging just how far the public has come in its acceptance. While I spent a great deal of time ten years ago trying to get people, especially older folks, to see the light on this topic, the idea that video games are an artform has become far less controversial. As more people experience games, they’ve come to recognize better that games exhibit all the traditional hallmarks of an artform: creativity, political and ideological expression, efforts at preservation, and fights over expression in the courthouse.
But, of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone is convinced. So every once in a while comes a news story that gives me the opportunity to pull the old drum and sticks out and get back to playing persuasive percussion. Today that story is that a little bit of history was made by indie video game Hades, which has become the first game ever to win a Hugo Award.
The Hugo Awards are an annual literary award given to various sci-fi and fantasy works at the World Science Fiction Convention every year. Normally, video games aren’t nominated for the award, however, this year a new category was introduced for video games. This follows years of conversations among the governing members behind the prestigious and long-running Hugo Awards. The new category is only, at least for now, a one-off thing, but it could continue in the future.
Yesterday, Hades made history by becoming the first video game to ever win a Hugo Award.
Now, the Hugo Awards have a recent history filled with expanding categories like this to reflect the changing artistic landscape. Categories have been added for “best fancast”, for instance. But that’s how it should be. The artistic landscape is constantly changing and with it should industry recognition. Writing a script for a video game is certainly not the same as writing one for a screenplay, or writing dialogue for a novel. But it’s close enough that prestigious awards for quality writing in artistic content probably should have kept up with the times a long time ago. A game with a storyline and writing built on Greek myths was probably the perfect introduction for a writing award such as this.
But I would also argue that you’re going to start seeing more bleed-over and crossover in the awards space. Or, rather, that we should see that. For example, MTV’s Music Awards has a category for best video game soundtrack, but the Grammy Awards does not. There are categories for film soundtracks, but not video games. And if someone wants to point me to why John Williams should pile up all those Grammys for his work in film and television but not for the work he did years back as a composer and producer of video game soundtracks, well, good luck because that doesn’t make much sense to me.
Again, we’re on the tail end of the era in which games aren’t accepted as a true artform. The last of the old breed is dying off, or has been convinced, or is becoming a silent minority. But seeing the recognition so deserved for artistic games like Hades is still worth noting.