TSA Game Of The Year 2014: Community Choices

We had an unprecedented number of votes in this year’s Community Game of the Year poll. The range of games you voted for was perhaps indicative of the nature of the releases over the past twelve months. There aren’t too many absolute stand out contenders that are obvious winners, but there are plenty of solid competitors in most categories, jostling for position.

Every vote cast in the poll, in every category was counted. For the first time, we included a box to input your own choices, if none of our staff’s nominations tickled your fancy. That meant a lot (like, two full days) more work to make sure they were all gathered up and counted properly. We did our best to allow for common spelling errors, missing colons before subtitles and lack of capitalisation while automating the spreadsheets to count themselves too.

Once everything was counted, we eliminated any games that had garnered less than one per cent of the total vote. This was simply a measure to keep our graphs readable and it meant that we filtered out the hilarious joke entries one or two people chose to put in the text input box. The remaining results were recalculated to work out their new percentage based on the titles that were left (those that scored more than 1% of total votes).

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That’s the complicated bit out of the way, let’s get into the results.

First up, is our Soundtrack of the Year category. The TSA staff chose Mario Kart 8 for this award but you guys have other ideas. You gave your vote to a soundtrack that mixed old and new influences into an emotive and well-developed audio background to a stunning adventure.

Far Cry 4 wins the TSA Community Soundtrack of the Year 2014.

Next up was the mobile category. This one had quite a high number of uncast votes but it also had one of the widest fields of games added by users, although none of those met the “greater than one per cent” cut off point for inclusion in the graphs. That’s perhaps quite indicative of the fragmented, casual nature of mobile games and our winner is also quite indicative of the kind of marketplace that now exists on smartphones. It was a phenomenon that seemed to spring up out of nowhere, cause a raft of copycats and a bit of a scandal and then disappear again, having made its creator a lot of cash in the process.

Flappy Bird wins the TSA Community Mobile Game of the Year 2014.

Polls like this one essentially boil down to a popularity contest so it’s no surprise to see what won our sports category this year. It is nice to see the range in the rest of the field though, with even a Kinect game finding its way into your hearts. Nothing was ever likely to stop the eventual winner though, and we’re not sure anything ever will.

FIFA 15 wins the TSA Community Sports Game of the Year 2014.

Next, we move onto independently developed and released games. This was another category with plenty of variation in it and a closely-fought battle for top spot. The indie scene is currently being plundered to bolster the downloadable offerings on both consoles so a vibrant, innovative range of games is good for everyone and, if your votes are any indication, that’s exactly what we have. The eventual winner perfectly encapsulates that trend too, having existed as a PC game before being tweaked, repackaged, added to and re-released on a console.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth wins the TSA Community Indie Game of the Year 2014.

Strategy and Simulation is a category that still has most of its best games on PC and for a predominantly console-focused site, you might expect that we’d overlook these kind of games. No chance of that, with a very high number of you keen to cast your vote and tell us what you think deserved to win here. The eventual winner clearly outshone the competition, with more than double the number of votes.

Civilization: Beyond Earth wins the TSA Community Strategy or Simulation Game of they Year 2014.

In the staff vote, we showed a lot of love for two downloadable Ubisoft titles that were really quite different from traditional platformers or sidescrollers. You’ve chosen to lavish your praise on a slightly more familiar game but that’s a good indication that these kind of games are still capable of versatility and variation. The eventual winner is an evolution of one of the best ideas of the last generation of consoles, with the gameplay only half the fun and a practically endless amount of replayability.

LittleBigPlanet 3 wins the TSA Community Platform or Sidescrolling game of the Year 2014.

The shooter category features a close race for the top spot, with four titles jostling for position. It’s great to see annual favourites make a resurgence this year but it’s equally as pleasant to note that some of the old classics, and their own particular quirks, can remain as popular as ever with fans. There’s new IP in there too, and four very different kinds of game fight it out for first place. The eventual winner, though, is a game that was packed with so much to do and a set of systems and mechanics that are particularly well refined, it’s a deserved victor among a field of well-deserved competitors.

Far Cry 4 wins the TSA Community Shooter Game of the Year 2014.

The action/adventure category is another than plays host to a huge number of potential winners and a great many different takes on the category. Obvious in our list of well-supported games this year are the traditional third person action games but they’re alongside the slower-paced, decision-based adventures games that have become so popular over recent years. The winner, though was a game that felt like it almost came out of nowhere, with an innovative new system at its heart (at least on newer consoles) and a familiar world to explore.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor wins the TSA Community Action/Adventure Game of the Year 2014.

Racing games come in all shapes and sizes now, from ultra-realistic sims to cartoony kart racers. That range is not quite completely represented in our poll, with the more serious end of the racing game spectrum taking a year off, we’re left with two console exclusives that straddle the line between arcade-style handling and progression, and realistic visuals and superb attention to detail. In the end, though, nothing could compete with the tight design and joyous execution of our winner.

Mario Kart 8 wins the TSA Community Racing Game of the Year 2014.

A slightly unexpected winner in the Horror category is perhaps quite fitting and, for me at least, this category seemed like it was destined to be won by the triumphant reemergence of an old favourite universe from cinema. That was not to be, though, as a great many of you favoured your terror with a little less sci-fi and a little more gore.

The Evil Within wins the TSA Community Horror Game of the Year 2014.

For many of us, video games are all about transplanting ourselves into another life and experiencing that kind of fantastical escapism for a few hours. No genre accomplishes that more completely that the Role Playing Game. The top two in this category ably demonstrate that you don’t have to default to a fantasy setting for a great RPG, though it certainly helps. It’s worth noting that third place was decided with only 0.49 percent of the vote, one of our closest margins in any category. There can be only one winner though, and this year it’s gone to the victorious return to form for a series that started out in spectacular fashion before a slightly less well-received second installation.

Dragon Age: Inquisition wins the TSA Community Role Playing Game of the Year 2014.


And now, for the big one. This is the overall category, which featured some of the closest voting in the entire poll. First place managed to stretch a respectable lead but there’s less than two per cent difference between second and third and fourth place is only 0.07 per cent behind too. There’s only 0.14 per cent between fifth and sixth too. It was incredibly tight between a field of deserving candidates.

The top six features games from four different categories, ably demonstrating the range and balance of tastes among the TSA Community. We also get to ninth position before we encounter an exclusive game, with only three console exclusives appearing in any position. That’s a great indication of the strength of third party publishers this year, which might be a little unexpected, given how early we are in the new console’s life spans.

Our winner is an epic adventure that blends its finely balanced systems with intuitive mechanics and some spectacular visuals to wow PC and console gamers. It obviously won a place in the hearts of plenty of our TSA Community too.

Dragon Age: Inquisition wins the TSA Community Game of the Year 2014.

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11 Comments

  1. I’m surprised to see DA get that GOTY top spot so emphatically but it’s a cracking game for sure.

  2. Best RPG and best overall game for DA:I makes me happy. The results in most other categories made me cringe a bit though, soundtrack being the worst really. Oh well…

    It wasn’t as bad a year as people make it out to be, especially if you’re not stuck on one console. Games like DA:I, Sunset Overdrive and Disgaea 4 really made the year for me (not to mention all the games I missed on Wii U and 3DS), each of them was greatly executed. I wish there were more gorgeous JRPGs like last year’s Ni no Kuni, but Child of Light was such a nice surprise, in terms of both amazing art and music.

  3. I received DA:I for xmas, only played a few hours yet but enjoying it so far.

  4. Just finished Dragon Age: Inqusition on Nightmare this morning. Cracking game and a deserving winner.

    Would go as far to say this is my Skyrim. Some sixty hours in and there’s still so much more to see and do. Will probably continuing exploring to pick up those last few trophies before laying it to rest for a while.

    Great to see that Shadow of Mordor managed to beat its way through the rank too.

    • Same sentiments echoed, fella. DA:I is absolutely stunning. I’ve finished it (through a 120 hour play-through) and loved all of it. Sure, I can see where things can be improved but it’s a shockingly good game.

      Mirroring your sentiment further is my feelings about Shadow of Mordor as well. Lovely, lovely fun with a Nemesis system that’s sure to be emulated by other devs when looking at how to add variety and depth to open world games.

  5. I’ve only played destiny out of the top 4 overall games, and I’m done with it now I reckon so it’s time to start playing through the other 3 which all interest me in their own right. Think dragon age is next on my list given the love it’s received in these polls. Well done on compiling all this data guys, good job, and well done to everyone who voted.

  6. I’m pleased to see Dragon Age taking it’s deserved spots, but some of those other categories leave me scratching my head.

    I guess my opinion isn’t fact after all…. But seriously, Binding of Isaac for best indie?! Are you sure you removed the joke entries?

    Less than one percent voted for DK Tropical Freeze and its soundtrack? I’ve seen it dominate discussions elsewhere.

    • I agree, I love a good indie game, I certainly wouldn’t call Binding of Isaac a bad game, it’s well made, but for me it has nothing on many of the other indie games this year. Very surprising.

  7. Tough one for me. Played last of us for first time on ps4 and not only best game 2014 for me but best game ever too. Guess it doesn’t count for this list though but makes me think all others not in same league. Haven’t played da:i though. Perhaps worth getting when cheaper….

  8. Surprised to see Drangon Age Inquisition take top spot on GOTY, I havent actually played it yet but judging on the last two it wont be for me. The Evil Within is definitely the best horror and was bitterly disappointed not to see it as more of a contender for GOTY. That game takes you through alot of challenges and is very addictive, gameplay and graphics are sensational although the story was abit of a let down. That said, anyone who hasnt played it have seriously missed out on a complete masterpiece for gameplay!

  9. DA:Inquisition is a fantastic game and well deserving of the award. Dark Souls 2 was my choice but not at all disappointed or indeed surprised with the overall selection other than to notice that Mario Kart is missing from it, completely and Hearthfire is not even there with a solitary vote. Always interesting to see just how different selections are by us members of joe public.

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