The Nintendo Power Awards predictions roll on, ignorant of holidays and better ways to spend our time. Even Tony thinks Sonic Unleashed will win Best Wii Graphics, and he actually owns it, so you should totally pay attention to my prognosticating prowess.
Best Shooter/Action Game Bangai-O Spirits (DS), Blast Works (Wii), Call of Duty (Wii), Mega Man 9 (WiiWare), Metal Slug 7 (DS), Ninja Gaiden (DS)
MY PICK: What a fucked up category. Shmups, retro stuff, an FPS, and whatever the heck you want to call Ninja Gaiden. Seriously, why is Mega Man not nominated in the platforming category? It's, like, a platformer. This one is a mess, just seeing the words "Blast Works" puts me in a mood, so I'll go with Ninja Gaiden because I played the demo.
VOTERS PICK: This is the one Mega Man 9 gets. In fact, that's probably why it's in this category instead of with the platformers where it belongs, and where it would be beaten by at least two other games. Realistically, most Nintendo fans did not play any of the other games on this list... but they did play Mega Man 9. I smell collusion.
Best Sports Game Madden 09 All-Play (Wii), Mario Super Sluggers (Wii), New International Track & Field (DS), Sega Superstar Tennis (Wii), Tiger Woods 09 All-Play (Wii), We Love Golf (Wii)
MY PICK: Mario. Although Track & Field does have Pyramid Heads in it.
VOTERS PICK: Mario. I don't think the All-Play games have a chance in hell because Wii owners just do not buy "real" sports game in large numbers.
Best Racing Game Ferrari Challenge (Wii), GRID (DS), Mario Kart (Wii), Sonic Riders (Wii)
MY PICK: Kart.
VOTERS PICK: Kart.
WORLD PICK: Kart.
UNIVERSE PICK: Kart.
TIME/SPACE CONTINUUM PICK: Kart.
This might as well be the "Best Mario Kart Game" category.
Best Platformer Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant (Wii), de Blob (Wii), Kirby Super Star Ultra (DS), Mushroom Men: Spore Wars (Wii), Sonic Unleashed (Wii), Wario Land (Wii)
MY PICK: Wario. It really is a slick piece of work.
VOTERS PICK: Ugh. Probably Sonic Unleashed, I guess. Even a Sonic game deserves it more than the borked jumping controls in de Blob.
Best Puzzle Game Boom Blox (Wii), Dr Mario Online RX (WiiWare), Professor Layton (DS), Tetris Party (WiiWare), World of Goo (WiiWare)
MY PICK: You know, this is the first time that Boom Blox has come up? Huh. Still, I can't support it because it has the worst menus in the history of interactive media. Seriously, I made shit in HyperCard that was better than that. Until I buy World of Goo, I'll vote for Professor Layton again. I think that guy needs some love. I want him in the next Smash.
VOTERS PICK: Tough call. My gut feeling is that the voters will choose Tetris or Boom Blox, and the editors will us this as an opportunity to push World of Goo.
Best Alternative Game Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii), Trauma Center 2 (DS), Wii Fit (Wii)
MY PICK: Only three games? WTF. The sports category is fluffed up beyond all recognition, like three-week-old roadkill, but NP can only muster up a trio of "Alternative" games? How about Sam & Max Season 1? My Pokemon Ranch? Endless Ocean? Goddamn Ninjatown?
Anyway, I'm going with Animal Crossing.
VOTERS PICK: Also Animal Crossing. I know Wii Fit is the media darling, but I also know that nobody plays it for more than a week because it is dead boring. If NP was polling parents at the mall, Wii Fit might have a chance. But they're polling gamers and fanboys.
Best New Character Apollo Justice, Blob, Neku, Layton, Shade, Travis Touchdown
MY PICK: Oooooo. Professor Layton or Travis Touchdown? I mean, let's rule out Shade because nobody likes or needs new Sonic supporting cast members. Neku... if I know my Square Enix, Neku is an unlikable cypher with no real personality except to aggressively move the plot along. Like Kermit the Frog with a mad-on. Blob? Too blatantly merchandisable, like he's expected to become the world's new favorite video game character on pure strength of design alone. And Apollo Justice, I just can't get behind that guy. I know the Ace Attorney series is about a hundred years old in Japan, but here in the States it feels like we bailed on Phoenix Wright way too soon.
I really like both Layton and Travis for entirely different reasons. Travis is super cool, but I would hang with Layton.
VOTERS PICK: Ugh, wouldn't it be terrible if Whoever-Shade-Is from Sonic Chronicles won? That's kinda who will though.
Best Multiplayer FFCC: Ring of Fates (DS), Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii), Mario Kart (Wii), Rock Band 2 (Wii), Smash Brawl (Wii), Tetris Party (WiiWare)
MY PICK: Brawl. Although I enjoy the forced listing of World Tour since they included Rock Band.
VOTERS PICK: Brawl. And again, Kart as a close number two. I mean, those are core Nintendo games that are pretty much entirely multiplayer anyway, so they're a shoe-in to run away with this one.
Best Story/Writing Chrono Trigger (DS), Dragon Quest IV (DS), No More Heroes (Wii), Professor Layton (DS), Robocalypse (DS), World Ends (DS)
MY PICK: Is it incredibly sad that only one Wii game makes this list of nominations? de Blob? Sam & Max? LEGO Batman? Even Endless Ocean kinda had a story to it. And wait a minute, what about goddamn Subspace Emissary mode in Smash Brawl? Bullshit to this category as another excuse to flog DS RPGs.
No More Heroes FTW. Although Professor Layton was really cool, M-rated games on Wii need far more fan support than brain teaser games on the DS.
VOTERS PICK: Do you think voters will be sick of voting for their niche-favorite DS RPG by this point? Chrono or DQIV will get it and I don't even care which. Fine, Chrono, but only because Tony keeps going on and on about it.
Unless the vast Robocalypse voting bloc finally organizes and gets some major grassroots efforts in. EYEROLL.
Best Online Functionality Animal Crossing (Wii), Bomberblast Blast (WiiWare), Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii), Madden 09 (Wii), Mario Kart (Wii), Rock Band 2 (Wii)
MY PICK: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Where's Brawl? You're going to tell me that almost being able to download new songs in RB2 or GHWT outranks Super Fucking Smash Bros Goddamn Brawl?
Although even in an imaginary universe where the Nintendo Power Awards are based on merit and I have to choose between Brawl and Kart, I have to back Kart. In my experience, it has been far more lag-free and they're still putting out weird little secret tourneys whereas they stopped handing out free Smash movies/pics some time ago (Spectator Mode still kicks ass though!)
VOTERS PICK: Kart.
Best Fighting Game Bleach: Dark Souls (DS), Castlevania Judgment (Wii), Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 (Wii), Brawl (Wii), King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga (Wii), WWE Smackdown 2009 (Wii)
MY PICK: Brawl.
VOTERS PICK: Brawl.
So we'll see you in a few months after NP is done tabulating all the dumbass Sonic votes!