Hugo Awards Announce Best Video Game Category In 2021

A tweet on the official Twitter account for the World Science Fiction Convention (or Worldcon) has announced that the 79th Worldcon will be creating a special category for “Best Video Game” next year.

Convention co-chair Colette Fozard wrote, “Since early 2020, many of us have spent more time gaming than we ever expected. This award will offer fans an opportunity to celebrate the games that have been meaningful, joyful, and exceptional over this past year.

The award category for 2021 is considered a one-off special category. There was also a mention that the Hugo Study Committee, which handles the rules regarding the awards process, is contemplating creating a permanent “Best Game or Interactive Experience” category to the list for future Worldcons after 2021.

The Hugo Awards are part of the speculative fiction community’s “triple crown,” along with the Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards.  The nominees and winners are selected by attendees of Worldcon, which usually takes place around September, and the primary criteria is a piece of science-fiction or fantasy literature which has been published or translated into English during the previous year. The award was originally conceived during Worldcon 11 in 1953, skipped in 1954, and became permanent in 1955. It was named after sci-fi editor Hugo Gernsback, founder of the sci-fi anthology magazine Amazing Stories.

Food For Thought

With all respect to Geoff Keighley and The Game Awards, this is potentially a major shift in how pop culture and literary communities view video games. If Mass Effect or Destiny hadn’t been a game series, but appeared as a series of original novels, it’s hard to argue they couldn’t have competed for a Hugo (depending on how well it was written). Nobody is expecting pure games such as Tetris Effect or Words With Friends to get nominated, but those titles which are arguably interactive fiction (not just “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories) should be recognized for advancing the genre, even if the medium is different.

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